In the eternal sense, my title is REALLY true. Every one of us carries a VERY fundamentalist belief that either:
A. We have an eternal soul, and the issue of eternity is far larger than whatever we think is interesting in these 4 score and 10 years on this rock.
B. No soul, no god, no meaning -- whoever is smartest, most smug, gets the most votes, has the most fun, etc is "king". It really doesn't matter -- "grab for all the gusto you can". Most of all, be smug while doing it!
The author of the linked column is clearly in the B column big time -- his belief is very strong, and there is no way he is buying into "the fear of God is the BEGINNING of wisdom". He has reversed the Biblical injunction that "a fool says there is no God" to be "a foot says there IS a God!".
Par for the course for human behaviour -- this guy doesn't say it, but I heard it again recently, "to think you have an immortal soul is the height of hubris". Possibly ... the "height of human hubris" is a big stinking pile, that is for sure. Thinking that YOU can define the "height of human hubris" doesn't really sound all that humble to me all on it's own. Peak hubris? It certainly begins with KNOWING that "man is the measure of all things'.
The column is all about those "dangerous, racist, Christian Fundamentalist, angry rural whites, and their closed systems". I suppose that American university campuses that are creating rules to label anything that doesn't agree with them as "hate speech" would be "open minded" for this author. Again, "closed minded" people are really not a trick to find in any crowd -- they tend to be every bit as common as hubristic people.
The key is naturally LABELS ... your hubristic closed minded "whatevers" are of course "right" and "ok" ... "righteous even", while the other tribe ... well, not so good. Let's just say "deplorable".
I'm absolutely certain that the author can find white Christians in fly-over country that DO meet every single negative stereotype he has to pile on them. To the extent they are Christians, they would be less than perfect ones -- which is the unfortunate state of 100% of us. However, when it comes to seeking to be like the only divinely perfect human in history, the height of the bar should be at least checked!
Do not judge lest ye be judged and love your enemies would be good places to start for Christians.
Let's use alcoholism vs being gay as an example ... sin is sin, it makes no difference. It is possible to love your alcoholic spouse, sibling or child and hate their sin? It is even possible for realize that controlling their sin is HARD ... they have a strong desire of alcohol, however it is killing them. You DON'T have to judge their behavior ... you can just love them and do all you can to help (rather than enable) them.
Even if the alcoholic is your "worst enemy" ... the author of the column for example (I'm joking), or a jihadist wearing a bomb -- they are fellow humans with eternal souls and in light of eternity it is almost believable that they are possible to love! Without eternity, the author is right. Why would anyone even consider "loving" a deplorable that is obviously wrong, evil, racist, etc?
That's the bar for Christians on how to think about folks like the author of this column. What is the "bar" for his closed minded tribe? I think "might is right" pretty much covers it.
I don't mean to be demeaning, ALL people are closed minded about their beliefs! I had some folks get REALLY nasty with me in the early '80s when I told them that I thought the USSR **WOULD** be "consigned to the ash heap of history". Their certainly that I was completely insane was at least as certain as the column author of his rightness. The "experts" had all spoken, how dare I, a mere computer programmer question them!
'The author is to modest in his application of "belief systems". ALL beliefs, held by ANYONE are resistant to change! His, mine, EVERYONES. Trying to convince an atheist there IS a God is at least as hard as trying to convince a believer that there isn't. Trying to convince BO that fracking was drastically going to lower gas prices was just as hard in 2012 as trying to convince this guy that there are MANY Bible believing Christians that are every bit as "well informed" as he is! ALL of our belief systems are built on SOMETHING that we consider to be "fundamental".
In deep-red America, the white Christian god is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, or change. When you have a belief system built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t that coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans. The problem is that rural America doesn’t understand itself and will never listen to anyone outside its bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views will be automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they will not even entertain the possibility that it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact that I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.
Philosophy says that science MUST be falsifiable, or it isn't science (it can only be inductively true ... as fragile as the next experiment) ... which means that if you are scientist, you can't use science to support ANY "belief" at all!
Oh, and BTW, if your belief system says that there is no meaning to the universe beyond pleasure, deciding that adultery is OK, gay sex is OK, transgenderism is OK ... and whatever they think of next is not "change", it is "more of the same". Much of what the left calls "progress" is the same as "I was drinking pint a day, now I'm drinking a 5th! See, I'm making PROGRESS!"
Nobody "wins" a "battle of beliefs" -- that is what we have elections and wars for. If you want to NOT have to have wars, having a shared set of transcendent beliefs that we could agree on, "like "all men are created equal (before God), endowed by their CREATOR with certain UNALIENABLE rights".
For us “coastal elites” who understand evolution, genetics and science, nothing we say to those in flyover country is going to be listened to because not only are we fighting against an anti-education belief system, we are arguing against god. You aren’t winning a battle of beliefs with these people if you are on one side of the argument and god is on the other. No degree of understanding this is going to suddenly make them less racist, more open to reason and facts. Telling “urban elites” they need to understand rural Americans isn’t going to lead to a damn thing because it misses the causes of the problem.
Your "god" may be the sanctity of gay sex, killing babies in the womb, legal pot for all or just "if it feels good do it", but it is YOUR GOD ... you are exactly as "open minded" to changing your view on those things as I am willing to decide that a few thousand year old religion which billions have based their life on is "wrong". You have your pleasure to worship, I have my God that I "bitterly cling to". In my system, I need to attempt to love you, in yours, however you run over me is A-ok.
No God, nothing "unalienable" ... all just POWER. Ballot box or bullets, take your pick -- and guys like this author are not very excited about accepting the outcome of elections that don't go their way these days!
When a 2,700-year-old book that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation innumerable times, and edited with political and economic pressures from popes and kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, respect or evidence is going to change their minds and assuage their fears.Yes, godless human systems have made a few "mistakes", but hey, that is a FEATURE! All fixed now ... well, unless you are one of the 60 million aborted babies so far.
Nazism did in 6 million nasty Jews that were one of those "old closed system" people ... one wonders if the column author sees that as a bug or a feature? Perhaps just something needing a "correction"?
Communism did in over 100 million in the last century ... many of those that had to be killed there were "closed minded", unwilling to see the brilliance of "the state" ... again, lots of Jews and Christians. If you read the whole column you really get the feeling that there just isn't much way to deal with people who won't bow to "science". (Lysenkoism is a worthy remembrance of always listening to your state sponsored "experts") Perhaps forcing closed minded religious people to work on top notch state science projects like Chernobyl would open their minds?
Mao's "Great Leap Forward"? North Korea's nuke program? Godless humans have such a wonderful track record, the hicks in fly over country are really untrusting of the coastal elites expertise! Abortion is one of the current shining examples of how godless elites respect "the least of these".
Yes, beliefs CAN be "dark and terrifying". It is really a matter of what you see as a "nightmare".
Gulags, death camps, 60 million aborted, or some states not forcing everyone to celebrate gay "marriages" and "honor" 57 genders and counting?
Oh, the horror.
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