THE BLOG

Me - Good: You - Bad

28/10/2015 17:23 GMT | Updated 28/10/2016 10:12 BST

What makes 'us' the good guys, and 'them' the bad guys? Whoever your idea of 'us' and 'them' is, it usually boils down to a simple statement:

They do bad things, we don't.

But what are bad things? Well, that depends on who you are.

Kissing in public warrants a death sentence to some, not so much to others. Eating meat, driving a car, showing your female form, genocide, farting and 'Whistling on a Tuesday' can be heinous crimes or great ideas. Your point of view will always depend on where you stand and, while you may be flabbergasted that I could put genocide and farting next to each other, you must acknowledge that there are no rules that everyone must universally live by and that everyone, including you, must take a side.

There are people who believe women should be enslaved, raped, mutilated, even killed for doing things that I, and many people like me, would consider perfectly acceptable behaviour- like simply existing, in spite of the painful truth that their own dear mum was one. They're 'wrong' surely? That's a level of wrong that can't be argued. It's non-negotiable, right? Well, if you ask me it's a no-brainer. Ask those doing it, however, and they'll show you where it's is written that they are, in fact, entirely correct and that you (we) are wrong.

There are those who think that being a kind of creamy, pinky beige colour- sorry, white, or being born somewhere nice, makes them superior to those who aren't. Like it's somehow a skill, or an achievement. I don't understand their logic, but they do.

Homophobes, islamophobes, racists... all morons, yeah? How about worshippers? Now we're onto thinner ice. Are the righteous, the god-fearing and the faithful just idiots? They seem to be to me, blind faith is just voluntary ignorance isn't it? There are loads of perfectly decent, intelligent people who don't agree. Now who's right? Me? You? Are we still 'us'?

Does common sense become more sensible the more common it is? In other words, does the number of people who stand by a particular point of view make it more correct? More than half the world's population is either Muslim or Christian, there are more of either religion than people who think like I do. Several billion people can't be wrong- right? It's only their opposing views on something I write off as nonsense that keeps them out of my life. Imagine if they all suddenly found a common ground and became one religion that ruled the world. That would leave atheists like me as a tiny minority of extremists, with the world telling me I need to change my ways and 'see sense'. Sound familiar?

So, we pick a side and we hold up a flag and we stick to our motto. 'We're right- you're wrong', or, 'You do bad things, we don't.' It's the way of the world and, until God/Allah/Kang and Kodos pops whatever they call a head over the horizon to tell us all how things really ought to be, there's little we can do.

However.

Whatever side you pick, it's kind of important that you stick to your own rules. The moment you do whatever it is that 'they' do, you can no longer claim the higher ground.

If you think a teacher shouldn't be allowed to smack your child, then neither can you.

If you hate thugs who beat people up and carry guns and use violence to get their own way. You're going to look pretty foolish if you do those things yourself when you get hold of one.

If you hate foreign dictators because of their penchant for executions and appalling human rights abuses, then don't just shoot them through the head, or drag them through the streets or hang them from a lamp post when they finally come a cropper. Put them through the fair, open legal system you held up so excitedly when you were showing the world just how different to them you are.

If the arbitrary murder of innocent people is why you go to war then don't do that yourself in the process.

Play by your own rules, even if the opposition won't.

I have my own set of values, I believe it's driven by the simple principle of fairness, but I'm not naive enough to think they should be set in stone and forced upon the world. I also feel the need to stick to my values and be fair to those who don't agree with me, no matter how unfair they are. Once you understand that there is no absolute right and wrong, and that even the most obvious human horrors seem perfectly ok to their perpetrators, all you can really do is stay true to yourself and hope your team wins in the end.