Do you remember when the hipster movement began? Essentially, it was about non-conformity. Being counter-cultural. Leaving the mainstream to assert individuality. To that effect, everyone began doing the opposite of what had been done. Men all began growing beards, sporting man buns, and wearing glasses. What was interesting about the movement however, was the blind-spot that seemed to exist. Hipsters didn’t seem to notice that by trying to look different, they all ended up looking the same. That by trying to be non-conformists, they were conforming to each other. That while trying to leave the herd, they were becoming the herd.
Or what about goths. Again, the idea here is to be counter-cultural. To come out of the mainstream and assert individuality. To be a free-thinker. Except, again, there seems to be a blind-spot amongst goths to the fact that in trying so hard to be unique, they have ended up looking exactly the same. They have just left one herd and joined another. In their bid to be seen as non-conformists, they have conformed.
The same thing is essentially true of the atheist subculture. Not in appearance, course. But rather in ideas. Atheists like to see themselves as “free-thinkers”. This is despite the fact they all think exactly the same things. Atheists like to think they’ve left behind “the herd”, while failing to realise they are statistically the biggest herd in the country. Atheists like to think of themselves as being non-conformist, independent-minded people, while having a blind-spot to the fact their opinions are conforming precisely to the message being touted in the media; to the opinions of celebrities; and to the opinions of their social circle.
The idea of atheism being the reserve of the “free-thinker” is, in fact, a myth. As highlighted in this week’s “Answers” video, to be an atheist is to conform more than most realise…