Sunday, February 11, 2018

Beliefs Are Dark And Terrifying

An insider explains how rural Christian white America has a dark and terrifying underbelly:

In the eternal sense, my title is REALLY true. Every one of us carries a VERY fundamentalist belief that either:

  1. We have an eternal soul, and the issue of eternity is far larger than whatever comes up in our short stay in this mortal coil.
  2.  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! If it starts to "feel bad", drug yourself, distract yourself, or kill yourself. "Without God, everything is permitted.

The author of the linked column is clearly in the #2 option 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 fool 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. Peak hubris? It certainly begins with "KNOWING" that "man is the measure of all things' -- and if that is so, why not make yourself "the man".

The column is all about those dangerous, racist, Christian Fundamentalist, angry rural whites, and their "closed systems". Certainly American university campuses that are creating rules to label anything that doesn't agree with them as "hate speech" are "open minded"? 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 norm is "anyone that doesn't agree with me is closed minded!"

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, because loving our enemies is a REALLY high bar.  However, when it comes to seeking to be like the only divinely perfect human in history (Jesus), the height of the bar should be at least checked! We all fall far short, and making that bar MUCH higher, Christians are admonished not to judge!

Do not judge lest ye be judged, and love your enemies would be good places to start for Christians. For the column author, clearly he feels clear qualification to judge!

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 (for Christians)! 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 tribe? "Might is right" seems like the most real answer. I'm guessing he might say something like "commonly held standards of decency by reasonable, well educated, "woke" people ... naturally, if tomorrow, the "standard" of "woke" includes pedophia as a disorder vs a crime, a new group of people will become deplorable. (the ones that will then be deplorable are the ones that still see pedophia as criminal/punishable/wrong).

 I don't mean to be demeaning, ALL people are closed minded about their beliefs (including me)! I had some folks get REALLY nasty with me in the early '80s when I told them that I agreed with the then evil "Ronnie Raygun" and 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!

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.
'The author is too 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".

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 a true scientist, you can't use science to support ANY "belief" at all! (it is never "settled")

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!"

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.
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 all agree on, like "all men are created equal" (before God), endowed by their CREATOR with certain UNALIENABLE rights, and a written and FOLLOWED Constitution is what worked for 200 years.

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 to worship 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 ... as long as "it feels good". Those are very different belief systems, and it is very easy to see why they are in increasingly violent conflict.

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" (say 100-200 million killed by Communism), but hey, that is a FEATURE! All fixed now ... well, unless you are one of the 60 million aborted babies so far and counting.

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. Why in the world are  the hicks in fly over country so 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 celebrate 57 genders and counting?

Sadly, in a Godless world, it is all a question of power for those in power -- how many voters, divisions, state agencies, media pundits, dollars, etc.

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