I feel that I am caught between two worlds, and most of all, that it shouldn't be that way.
I really miss my life of being a theist/christian. I had so much more confidence, I could explain so many more things, and the people I became friends with over the past several years knew me. Now that I'm a nonbeliever, I don't have those luxuries anymore. I have become a student of reality all over again, relearning a lot of things I thought I knew. A lot of my old friends no longer speak to me, and I have to believe that it's simply because they're uncomfortable. Some people still talk to me like it's normal all the time, and retain the ability to have normal conversations about disagreements, and if I've made one thing consistently clear, it's that disagreement does not bother me in the least. I don't mind being told I'm wrong, and I don't mind debating issues if people want to. I change my views if it is warranted by evidence and good arguments, and I think that bothers some people.
I must conclude that some people don't want to discuss issues. Maybe they're scared, maybe they're confused, maybe they're trying to justify themselves, maybe they just don't care. Either way, it really sucks that to some people, I am apparently a set of beliefs instead of a person, and they cannot get past their disagreements enough to still speak to me. It's unfortunate that this sometimes comes out in rather petty ways, and it's sad that people can't take 10 minutes out of their day to thoughtfully speak to me when they think I'm incorrect or out of line. It's sad that a lot of people disregard my continued idealism as anger.
Then again, it's nothing new. I'm just on the wrong side of the fence now.
I totally get why some atheists act religious about atheism. Humans are social, and they need social groups. Tribal groups provide that, and they provide a cause, a way of uniting against a common enemy. It seems like a lot of people choose this, and my understanding is because that's how people evolved to act. That doesn't upset me, though it used to. It certainly doesn't make sense to act this way about being an atheist, of all things, but it's apparently the majority. If there's one thing that's always been true about me, it's that the majority is the first thing I question, and if they don't measure up to ideal definitions, then we have a disagreement. Some people simplify that with the term "making trouble."
I have to accept this part of me, because it's not going away. Though it has made a lot of people go away, that is their decision, not mine. I can't be upset about it anymore, because it's killing me. I'd rather be happy about the people that still want to talk to me and hang out with me and discuss issues and disagree if necessary without it being the end of the world, because that's much more enjoyable.
I think there's an unfortunate tendency for people to need a tribal group lead by authority figures, and I think that the sooner people can overcome this, the sooner we can have peace. Wars don't surprise me, yet another group of people that trod on the rights of others doesn't surprise me, political manipulation and religious abuse don't surprise me. What surprises and amazes me is when people rise above all of it and care about what's true and choose to act in a way that is transparent and beneficial. Those are the people I enjoy and admire, and there should be more of them. What's funny is, these people are also troublemakers. The people with agendas and axes to grind can't stand them, because they change their mind when it should be changed, they question things when they should be questioned, and they don't swear blood allegiance to a group of any kind.
I aspire to make as much trouble as these people. I wish to be dispassionate and at once enthusiastic in pursuing truth, and I wish to never settle for what a majority of people tell me to just "have faith" or "come to conclusions" about. Making trouble is a good goal, I think.