Monday, June 2, 2014

OkCupid question about altars

I used OkCupid with great success for years, and disabled my account a few months ago for a variety of reasons.  Less interest in new dates for the time being, an increase in creepers, and an increase in militant atheists (friends who also used OkCupid at the time experienced the latter two trends as well).  For those unfamiliar with OkCupid: among the best ways to meet quasi-compatible people is to answer questions in a quizlike fashion.  A list of people who answered these questions similarly is provided.  There is a text box to include comments for each question, and you can read other people's written comments as well.

One question was "On your first visit to a friend's home, which would bother you more, the open display of a religious altar or of a porn library?" For the first few years, I focused more on the reply to the porn library part of the question - I was learning and discussing a lot about sex work, sexuality, etc. so that was more directly relevant to my life.  It did still seem silly to me that a religious altar in the privacy of one's own home would bother anyone.

Among the noticeable signs of the increase of militant atheists on OkCupid was the rise of more rabid responses to this question.  Not only were more people, primarily white men, replying a dislike of altars, but also more written explanations against them.  To be clear: when I say "militant atheist," I mean a person who speaks out against anything religious solely because religion is involved, a person who judges any non-atheist as an idiot.

I don't have a home altar and I have no interest in getting one, but all the people I've known who have had their own (Pagan, Catholic, Buddhist, nondenominational Protestant) took great personal comfort in them.  Many of them told me, upon my asking (after asking if it was ok that I ask), "this house/apt feels like my home because it's where my altar is."  The idea of anyone judging them for that is disgustingly sad.

How about this:
Whatever a person has in their home that doesn't hurt* anyone is ok.
And a person who doesn't want that same thing in their home is ok too.
Let's just not judge someone based on a thing that has no effect on anyone other than the person doing the thing, ok?

* Yes, cultural appropriation is hurtful.  Example: if you're white and making a Hopi Kachina, stop.