Facebook has various sections where which they define categories for the social individual; granted, it’s not unique to facebook. But how odd is it to have a category of “religious views”.
Back in the day, there were no such things as religious views, there were just people, and different people. Now its, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist, Pagan, Agnostic, ‘I have my own views’, Spiritual, and Transcendentalist muhababa fucking bullshit…
I think about this because I recall reading Kant’s work on natural religion. “Religion” as a category, only occurs if there is difference, or, I suspect, if difference in belief is important.
Who cares what you believe? Does it make a difference when I go down to Sainsbury’s to buy toilet tissue? When I am in the pub? When I’m on a date? What bullshit, that’s like being judged for being a woman, or being attractive, in every domain of life (admittedly this often happens, but analogously, we see the ineptitude of the latter and, the former, by analogical relation)
Okay, so maybe it matters whether or not I am a Jehovah’s Witness if I am considering a blood transfusion, or a Muslim and consuming alcohol. But really, people are just people at the end of the day. During my academic ventures, I come across all sorts of weird views, but I always expect a nice friendly conversation, a nice bit of chitchat afterwards about anything else; the weather, big brother (not that I watch it), dick jokes, complaining about men, and so on…
There are a lot of people who don’t care about other beliefs, not in a bad way, but merely that they get on with their lives in spite of difference, and don’t mind, or have other foci in their lives. To assert that there is such a thing as religious views, and that they have some special status (like, whether it matters if I like marmite, gothic metal, guys with long hair and tight black shirts).
Atheists, or “atheists” sometimes just never think about religion, or care. Maybe that’s wrong, but I’m not here to judge, my point is. People have very different foci and conceptions of what are important beleifs to them. I have friends who are Christian, and what’s important to them is promiscuous sex (okay, not very good Christians, admittedly). I know certain atheists, and all they seem to care about involve interpreting Greek philosophy. I know certain police officers, and their most important defining motivation is Jesus.
To ascribe labels like religious preferences is a very negative and normative imposition of identity upon the individual. Reject the labelling, but not the labels. Have your beliefs, have your marmite, but don’t make it a definitive thing whether or not you judge a person because they like marmite or not.
Caveat: I think Debussy is terrible music, and I think anyone who likes it has horrible preferences. But, I will not impute as a social category that whether they like Debussy or not is something all people as a matter of principle, MUST do… that’s absurd.