Label me for ya.

  We don't label anyone for anyone's benefit but our own.   What labeling people gives us is a sense of understanding, and thus control.  By control I mean, the ability to predict someone's behaviors and act accordingly.   We as a species like to 'know' and are always thriving to be one step ahead of the world around is.  We develop technology to predict the weather, and millions of people seek out those results every morning before they head out to work.  Relating that to how we socialize, we have names for every kind of combination of beliefs and values, along with every kind of lifestyle.  We've been doing it since the beginning of time.

We label and generalize whether we agree with it's meaning or not.  We all refer to drug addicts as "Junkies".  If you do drugs, junkies are good to associate with.  But if you don't, you know not to loan a junky any money - no matter if they promise to pay it back.  Whether it's for love or hate, to seek or avoid, we label.  We even label ourselves, in order to describe ourselves and provide other people with an understanding of your beliefs, behavior, and overall lifestyle.  However labelling has it's obvious flaws, and sometimes it even contradicts it's very purpose. 

Like the weatherman, labels are not always accurate.  By using them, you are making an assumption.  When we assume, we close our minds to some degree to things that may contradict that label's stereotype.  If that's the case, we aren't actually learning anything, and we don't actually know as much as we thought.  With the possibility of failure being a constant risk, you may wonder why people still generalize everything.   We have to.  We prioritize safety the same we prioritize nourishment.  It is a need.  To be safe, we need to prepare, to prepare we need to predict, and to predict we have to know. Even though we all joke about how inaccurate the weather network is, we still watch it.   It's more favourable to bring an umbrella and not use it, than it is to get wet. 

Another problem arises when people label themselves based on an existing set of values, and adopt other values only because they are attributed to that label.  They want to be a "good Christian" so they consciously conform and even alter their beliefs just to fit the bill.  They believe to be pure, they must adopt everything, and are unable to pick and choose by using logic and common sense.   They feel pressure from their idols who say things like "you're not a true Christian unless you...." This results in a bunch of people going around preaching ideas that they don't authentically believe. 

There's a lot of talk about religion here.  With that, there is a lot of labeling, and even more discussion about how accurate those labels are.   I've read comments like "You're not a Atheist  you're an Agnostic, because .... blah blah blah", or "It's too bad you don't know that this religion is actually this religion because... blah blah blah. "   There's more talk about who's right, who's wrong, and who's what, than there is about how religion has impacted human civilization.  Personally, I find that the history behind religious groups and the cultures who have deeply enveloped themselves in them is more interesting than the religious teachings of that group.  It's too bad that we argue more about what the bible says, than talk about what the bible has done.  

Labeling has caused a lot of confusion in me.  I don't know what I am.  I don't believe in God, but I don't have any alternative answers as to how everything all started.  I have learned about, and adopted many religious principles, but I don't go to church.   If I were to sit down and try to pick a side that best describes who I am, I would have to make a list of everything I believe, and everything I disagree with and compare it to the assumed beliefs associated to every religious, and anti-religious title I can find, and see where I fit best.  Even then, I would question the credibility of those stereotypes, and would have to conduct an extremely massive survey, of a proportion like no other, asking people to first label themselves, and then list everything they believe that means.  I would have to take all of those entries and put together all of the consistencies and differences for each religion, in order to know what it means to fit in each label.  And even then there are going to always be those who say "I am this but I also....."

When I was born my parents gave me a name.  They had no way of knowing my future, who I was going to be, what I was going to believe, or anything.  I was a blank slate.   Now I realize that some cultures believe that all children are born (insert religion here) but in reality I had no knowledge.  I was just me.   Even when I was baptized, I can't say that it was against, or within my will, because I had no fucking idea what was happening to me.   In fact, not knowing why some stranger was pouring water on my head was, according to my parents, a horrifying experience for me.  It bothered me a great deal not to know, it bothered you too, and that's what makes us human.  The need to know, in order to have control, and feel safe.  

Now that I'm significantly older, I do know.  I know what was happening, and why I was scared.  Just like I know what religion is, and why people want to pick a side. 
I've given up trying to figure out where I fit in society.  Since each label carries different meaning to each individual, it could never be completely accurate.  Even calling myself a girl (which science tells me I am) doesn't accurately describe who I am as a person.  In fact, if I wrote an anonymous autobiography, leaving out the parts when my boobs developed, you would most likely believe it was written by a dude.   As for religion, I refuse to say I belong to any one group.   I have never found a religion, or anti-religious group that I completely agree with.  To become one, people will assume false things about me, and I may even feel pressure to conform and alter my personality and lifestyle to do so.   

So, sorry.  I'm not going to make your life easier.   If you want to know what I am, you have to understand who I am.   There is no one word to describe anybody, even our names contain at least two. 
 Humans will always be this way, even I'll continue to be lazy by replacing prejudice with known facts.  At least I can admit that I don't know. The irony of it all is that somebody somewhere has a name that sums up my "side" of this argument, even though I'm claiming to be a part of nothing in particular.  It's ok.  You can label me if you want, I won't get mad. As long as you understand that just because you're satisfied with your description, you don't actually know who you're talking about.  

Uploaded 04/11/2013
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