Is it just me, or is rage over differences (even tiny ones) strange?

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BarfingJesus's picture
Is it just me, or is rage over differences (even tiny ones) strange?

Lengthy wall of text payed for by taxpayers' money, TL;DR toward the bottom. If you have trouble getting past the [text] wall but you want to get to the other side, get a shovel and start digging.

Hi, there. Got a lighthearted rant here (I have a weird sense of humor, I'll admit it), along with a question on the community's take of things. I'm interested in what you guys have to say on this, whether our opinions match or not, so please lemme know.

Alright, so before we start, please let me clarify a little bit here:
Most of this is coming from personal experience, and like I said, it's a little bit of a rant. Maybe I've just had bad luck, maybe humanity's doomed, maybe I left the stove on; it really doesn't matter to me.

These experiences have been in real life, when I physically or socioeconomically can't just politely say "can't talk right now/Don't feel comfortable talking about this, sorry/I gotta go" (or remain silent and have a crazy person follow me for a while, making a fool out of themselves in public). It's in situations where I can't just up and move or leave.
On the net, there's that sweet, sweet block button; alternatively I can get up off my scrawny butt and grab a cup of coffee/play video games/dance on a table sober, so for that, I'm fine, thanks. I digress.

From many, many of the people I come across there's been this "tribal" (for lack of a better word), "us versus them" mentality. Not just with religious beliefs, but everything. Sports, sweet potatoes, favorite color or pattern. It's crazy. (And here I am pointing out the obvious.)

Yeah, I know it's nothing new either; we're humans, and humans are still animals (gasp). We have emotional responses to everything. It's brain chemistry.

But for the love of whatever god you may or may not believe in, can you calm the absolute fuck down?

I've been forced through lengthy one-sided arguments where I literally just sit there as someone unloads a construction-sized load of crap (read: emotional baggage) over the dumbest things.

If I could leave the situation, you bet I would have. As mentioned, it's usually been when I can't get away. Being polite is worth extra piss-off points.

"Oh, you're from a certain state? I hate you already."
"Oh, you don't go to the exact same church? (fuck my childhood) You're an inferior piece of shit."
"Oh, you're remaining calm as I'm yelling, and even though you're acknowledging I'm upset and active-listening (STOP NODDING YOUR HEAD!), I'm not calming down but getting angrier because you won't yell with me? You're a despicable human being."

People get threatened over really dumb shit. I've had nutbars respond to my "good morning" with a guttural "WHY DO YOU HATE ME?" (Love ya, mommy!)

I know there will always be people out there who will fight for what they believe in, maybe because they want to feel powerful, and/or that thing they cling to so strongly is special to them: maybe it gives them hope, and what would people do without hope? That I can understand. If it's special to you, cool. That's awesome. You keep doing you; I have nothing against it.

But can you stop trying to pick a damn fight? I'm not even telling you you're wrong. Even if in every bone in my body tells me you're wrong, I really don't want a fucking fight. Call me a wimp if you want, I'm just not interested in fighting and yelling. I'm a weirdo that way.

There's no other seats on the bus. Stop telling me to go to your church.
I can't get away from you if we're carpooling together, though I feel like popping on a helmet and tucking and rolling.
We're walking to our destination a block away and you're bringing up a subject that could get me shot in this town if I gave my take, you bet I wish I could Rambo-roll over the nearest parked car hood and bail.

Remember, that's just me. I have better things to do with my time than actually shout at people on trivial topics.

I just hate fruitless arguments. It's a waste of time, and time is something I really don't have in my schedule to donate to your silly little argument about how plaid is better than polka-dots. I have work, I have hobbies, I have obligations. I'm not obligated to you.

Hope I haven't lost you so far. Don't get me wrong: civilized debates are cool. Calmly talking things through and seeing where the other person may stand, trying to see where they're coming from and being granted the same respect (that's the keyword here). I like that. Whether you come away feeling the same or stronger on your own opinion, or it changes your mind to be more open to something; whatever, dude.

Just be cool.

Please understand this is just where I'm coming from. Cue the cheesy Barney music, but I personally like being different and not having the world end over it. It may be unrealistic, but I wish people could just do the same sometimes. Doesn't have to be all the time. Then I'd be like them. Think I lost my point.

I think part of me being calm is because of being born with a heart condition and kind of *needing* to stay calm from a survival standpoint, heh (not whining for attention, potential grumps, just wondering if this could be a factor from a physiological standpoint). I still have strong beliefs of my own, I still abhor injustices. I still value life and empathy. I like to volunteer when I have the time and energy to help people. I just don't like going drill sergeant mode on people. I'd rather try to come to a resolution if possible, and be comfortable in my own skin.

Anyway, apathetic rant and entirely personally subjective opinion piece over.

Hope that made enough sense. I'm sleepy. Also, sorry for any spelling/grammatical errors, I usually check myself on that shit.

Tl;dr: Hi there, human beings and questionable human beings who think they were born with the spirit of a wolf. Can you calm the fuck down? If I don't want to fight, you aren't going to die.

We can all have our differences and be different, separate people, liking one thing and another liking something else and the world won't spontaneously combust! (Uhhh... for the most part.) And I think that's absolutely beautiful. You may disagree but that's okay.

It's okay.

Now go eat a damn Snickers, you're not you when you're bitching about a magic book.

(My sarcasm is playful, take what you will of it, but please know I mean no harm.)

Just to wrap things up:
I was just kind of wondering if other people feel the same sometimes or if I seriously have something wrong with me by not getting sucked into arguments and staying calm. Even though I acknowledge people's concerns, that seems to get them riled up even worse. It's not like I'm sitting there and staying smug or ignoring them, either: I let them know they're being heard. Apparently that's threatening?

What are your thoughts? I think I've pretty much covered my side, hopefully I haven't come off as a damn narcissist in the process either; but whether our opinions align or not, I'd like to have a civil discussion and hear your take. Please know I say this honestly and civilly.

I'm listening.

P.s.: thanks for reading my lengthy post and take care, dudes.

Mabe I should start a blog nobody will read packed with obnoxious pop-ups? Heh.

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Diotrephes's picture


I read it all and it sums up the behavior of posters on every forum I've ever been on. People like to feel important and they want to be respected. They tend to feel violated when other people don't agree with them. Sometimes I fall into that mode. I try not to take it personally.

If you want to express your opinion about an issue you should respect other people to express their own opinions about it as well.

As it says in Proverbs 15:1 (CEV) = A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.

Rohan M.'s picture
Yep. I've noticed that many

Yep. I've noticed that many theists (especially Muslims) seem to think that they somehow have a right to never be offended, and feel personally attacked whenever they find something in their constant hunt for things to get offended by and then passive-aggressively whine about it and righteously demand that the thing that hurt their extremely fragile feelings be self-censored out of existence. I have nothing against them getting offended, but if they are going to be that insecure about it, then I'll have a problem.

Tin-Man's picture
Hey, Barfing Jesus! Good to

Hey, Barfing Jesus! Good to see you back around!... *smile*... I actually enjoyed your little rant. But, then, I have a fairly warped sense of humor myself... *chuckle*... One part in particular stood out and gave me a good snortle. You said...

"Oh, you're remaining calm as I'm yelling, and even though you're acknowledging I'm upset and active-listening (STOP NODDING YOUR HEAD!), I'm not calming down but getting angrier because you won't yell with me? You're a despicable human being."

Now, maybe I'm just a sadistic mo-fo, but it cracks me up when people are throwing a tantrum in front of me, but then get even angrier when I do not react to their hysterics. Had to deal with stuff like that on a regular basis before I retired, and it never ceased to amuse me. Even so, I am thankful I no longer have to encounter such situations nearly as often anymore. My tolerance levels for BS have lowered considerably over the past few years. lol

Overall, I see/know what you mean. I have seen people get totally torqued out over some of the most insignificant and petty reasons. Although, in all fairness, a majority of the time the petty expressed reason was not truly the actual reason for the extreme outburst/reaction. Much deeper issues involved in most cases. Have to admit, I've been guilty of it myself a time or two... *sheepish grin*... But, hey, humans will be human... *chuckle*...

Rohan M.'s picture
@Tin ManMy tolerance levels

@Tin Man

My tolerance levels for BS have lowered...

So have mine! In the past few months...

Cognostic's picture
Hi BJ: (Bad Choice of

Hi BJ: (Bad Choice of Acronym by the way - Have you thought of RJ - Ralphing Jesus, or VJ - Vomiting Jesus, UJ - Upchucking Jesus, TJ - Throwing up Jesus, HJ - Heaving up Jesus, DJ - Dry-heave Jesus, SJ - Spit up/out Jesus, SJ - Spew Jesus, RJ - Retching Jesus, PJ - Puking-up Jesus, EJ - Expelling Jesus, RJ - Regurgitating Jesus, GJ - Gagging on Jesus, or even CJ - Choking on Jesus?

"us versus them" mentality. " This is largely a Western idea perpetuated by the Christian faith as well as concepts of individualism and equality under the law. Everyone has a voice and everyone is to be heard. This is not the mentality throughout Asia. Group think is very common throughout Asia. Ask a Korean what they think on a subject and they will respond "We Koreans think." Have you seen the little Asian tour groups that all run around taking pictures while wearing the same colored hats and T-shirts? Belonging to the group is much more important than any one person's idea. An old Buddhist adage - "It is the nail that sticks out that gets pounded back in." China, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, and many other countries in Asia have this sort of mentality.

Now, with that said.... The us vs. them mentality is certainly there when these people leave their own countries and travel abroad. You can find videos on Bad Chinese, Japanese, Korean Tourists. The jingoistic cultural cohesion that works in their own countries is prejudice and bigotry when they travel abroad. And it must be pointed out, travelers from the West are no better off in this regard even with their individualism.

"I just hate fruitless arguments." You should look into "Street Epistemology." Another thing that really helps me out in dealing with people is understanding that communication is not just the words. There are levels to communication. Why is the person telling you what they are telling you. Do they want you to agree and be their friend. Have you threatened them in some way and now they are defending them-self. The motivation behind the communication is often more interesting than the communication. Pay less attention to the overt and try to find the covert. Overt communication is a symptom of covertly held emotional positions.

I have found that responding to the emotional instead of the overt works really well. "Did I say something that made you angry? That wasn't my intention." "Wow, you have a really strong opinions about this, tell me more." (Negative Inquiry - an assertion training technique.) Just let them unload and then thank them for their opinion.

Unfortunately: You are citing things that do happen frequently. In another thread I mentioned a 4 hour flight where I was seated next to a preacher and his wife. Inevitably the question came up - "Are you a Christian." I responded in the negative and the wife asked why. I gave her a quick response involving stuff that probably only her husband would understand and by his look he was shocked I was so knowledgeable. But then the stewardess came and we ordered waters and the issue was dropped as we both dozed off to sleep. The preacher did tell me that he thought I was a very nice person and I told him the same. Upon exiting the plane, he just had to get in the ole "God Bless You." I responded, "thank you and good luck to you too." So nastiness avoided and the flight was reasonably enjoyable.

There are a whole lot of religious people out there in the world and very few of us non-believers, willing to stand up and be counted. Dealing with the religious is just something we have to do every now and again. Maintaining our cool in the light of being an amoral sinner bound for hell is simply one of the burdens we take on.

Good luck to you in the future. Stay calm because by doing so, you make us all look good.

arakish's picture
I always love the part when

I always love the part when they blow up. Hell, I had one go completely nuclear. Ask others. And then RandomHero said, "Oh dear. Arakish has broken another one." Gosh I wish I had copied that nuclear detonation before a Mod erased it. It was so damned funny.


Rohan M.'s picture
If someone is outraged by you

If someone is outraged by you hurting their feelings, then the best way to drive them ballistic is with humor- something that most of such people lack.

arakish's picture
@ Rohan

@ Rohan

And that is exactly what set him off. I used humor for a logical fallacy he had made and he just went nuclear. I forget which thread it was now.


Rohan M.'s picture
I once made an insecure and

I once made an insecure and extremely narcissistic YouTube troll who was the same person who often trolls RationalWiki with a bunch of sockpuppet accounts LOSE HIS SHIT by pointing out that he is a joke ("I am NO a jokes!") and that he is the RW troll (I am NO a LOGICN")- btw he even posted the latter repeatedly on RW, after whining about how I said that "he could be" the troll- and was promptly banned for being a sock of him.

David Killens's picture
The internet is partially

The internet is partially responsible, one can assume a hidden identity and do things they cannot be held accountable for. personally, I always attempt to conduct myself as if it was face to face, and my conversation remains the same. I understand that I often break many rules of grammar in here, but it is for a reason.

And from my personal experiences, when one encounters someone strident and rudely loud, the odds you can get them to think and ponder the arguments is practically impossible. So I just walk away.

And when you do that in real life, it's actually hilarious. I do not react or respond, I just leave them sputtering and red-faced.

Rohan M.'s picture
@David Nice logo.

@David Nice logo.

CyberLN's picture
Over the years, I’ve seen

Over the years, I’ve seen many, many theists AND atheists go off the rails when ‘debating’. Most online and street ‘debates’ are not debates. They are arguments. That’s not a value judgment, rather an observation.

arakish's picture
And I can attest to that.

And I can attest to that.


Rohan M.'s picture
Yep. Just we're smart about

Yep. Just because we're smart about one thing doesn't mean that we're smart about all other things, like debating.

LogicFTW's picture


Read your whole post.

Certainly feels like in the US anyways people are increasingly getting more and more divided and increasingly going more tribal "my group vs "others." I like to think I stay calm and collected most of the time on these boards, but sometimes I too can get heated.

In real life I have gotten very adept at telling people what they want to hear. I have figured out here and in life that you are not going to change a person's mind, especially if it comes down to argument. Argument almost never works. Only when a person is mostly by themselves have come to a conclusion where they are "on the fence" does any sort of debate, fact sharing etc really make any difference. The other person essentially has to be ready and willing to change before you can ever hope to change or sway them. My job relies heavily on keeping my clients happy and on task, quite often there is zero time for debate of any type to creep in. My friends I get to pick, and my biological family we just come to the point where we agree to disagree but can still cooperate and respect each other enough that it works.

Knowing that I never try to change people, especially when it comes to religious feelings. I tell them what they want to hear and let them get bored, because everyone gets bored if people just agree with everything they say.

People say I am calm, but that is an important trait for my job. (Disaster management in IT/cyber security.)

I do wish everyone else would calm down. At the risk of creating more division; I do consider the current white house administration to be a huge disaster, but then, we have not all died to nuclear armageddon yet ;)



I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.

Yossarian's picture
I don’t know if anyone has

I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this book but, The Righteous Mind, by: Jonathan Haidt would have a lot of answers for you. It’s all about the psychology of morality and the different kinds of moral principles that motivate people’s reasoning. He also wrote a book with Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, (they work on first amendment cases in college settings). The book is called, The Coddling of the American Mind, it’s about how people have come to be offended by everything.

arakish's picture
Yossarian: "’s about how

Yossarian: "’s about how people have come to be offended by everything."

Ain't that the damned truth. Very little offends me anymore. I can get angry, but it is mostly dealing with religitards that otherwise seem intelligent but do not use it. Talk bad about me wife and daughters and Tin-Man, Old Man, Cognostic, CyberLN, Sheldon, David, Nyarlathotep will have to hold me back. That is something I won't tolerate since they are no longer living to defend themselves.

I have to go look those books up and maybe have a read. Thanks for the post.


Elaine's picture
Yes, I have encountered a

Yes, I have encountered a sense of self righteousness and us against everyone else, good and evil, not only in religion, but in politics (democrats versus republicans versus liberals versus right wing etc), in lifestyles relating to how one chooses to eat (veganism versus paleo versus keto etc), in job titles and education or lack of. I am so sick of labels. I refuse to be defined by them and follow them like some religion.

This may offend some that are vegan so be forewarned but understand I am not against vegans (I am an ex vegan and this seems to really upset a lot of vegans), but I was strict vegan for 6.5 years, the animal rights kind, leafleting in the streets, trying to convert family etc. I became so self righteous and argumentative about moralism, ethics, animals etc that I even drove myself crazy, never mind my family, coworkers and friends. I saw it a lot in others in vegan communities to the point that even my character was attacked and I was never good enough because I fed my dog meat, lived with an omnivore (though I refused to let him have meat in the house), took meds that involved animal testing. Eventually, due to a restrictive eating disorder and because I got so sick of how much it reminded me of the restrictive rules and moral righteousness of Christianity, I broke with veganism. I called myself vegetarian for a while, then pescetarian, and finally have chosen to simply not call myself anything at all and break with all those groups and rules. I see the same characteristics in these groups that I saw in the church (and same reaction when you break with them), or in various political groups. I refuse to be defined as a liberal or republican etc. I do not believe there is only one way to live, eat, work, etc. The world is too diverse. Live and let live. It is impossible to be perfect and saintly in any and every way. And it doesn't make sense to tear down one group of people (or animals) to "save" or care about another group. Everyone picks their battles and the issues they care about. Sometimes this causes friction. That's life.

I'm not very good at arguing with others. I'm pretty sure I have never had the ability to change anyone's mind with anything I said or argued about, especially if it's to point out someones perceived flaws or "sins". I tend to back away or walk away when people decide to go off on me for some perceived sin/wrongdoing i have committed. I choose not to deal with bullying, intimidation, or someone picking on me to make themselves feel better. Though yes sometimes I am guilty of allowing buttons to be pushed. I'm only human and at times insecure. I'm also highly sensitive to others and hypersensitive about myself. I just try not to let it get the best of me, but sometimes yes I fail.

Rohan M.'s picture
Yeah... vegans tend to be

Yeah... vegans tend to be extreme... in fact, a group of them even started doxxing Alllie Jackson (one of the people who are in charge of the ARep organization, along with Armin and Jim) and sending her rape and death threats (some of which were even directed at her children), and also posted lies about our site, e.g. that we're homophobic (never mind that Allie herself is gay).

All because she dared to say that her kids need that lactose and calcium from cheese. Apparently the lives of farm animals are more important than the lives of people. >:(

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