The more time that passes and the more books I read, the more I realize how dangerous the religious right is, and how pointless it is to try to reason with them. You might as well be trying to argue with a brick wall.
The Christian Nationalist movement (also known as Dominionism - which both Bachmann and Perry appear to have some ties to) is a subset of the evangelical community that is highly mobilized, extremely efficient, well financed, and extremely dangerous.
For many who do not know much about them, they are often dismissed as quacks that have no influence, and those who raise the alarm about them are accused (even in the liberal community) of being "alarmist over-reactors."
However... this is one of the most dangerous things about the Christian Nationalist movement.... their chameleon ability to appear harmless and even beneficial. Make no mistake! Those of us who watch them like hawks are NOT alarmists! They are more powerful than most people know, and they often lack any sense of moral decency. They are willing to lie, cheat, threaten, bribe, and even occasionally murder to get their way. They will hide their true motives from the American public with deceptive language, that often they have one message for the public, and another for their own kind.
Knowing how dangerous they are, I wish I knew what to do about them. They are determined to take over the country and forcibly subdue it to biblical law. They are raping and rending the Constitution on their way there.
I have tried using logic, reasoning, and modern scholarship to make them see that what they are doing is wrong in more ways than one. But as I have learned, this is pointless.
Atheists can debate all they want. We can write books or throw books at them. We can point out logical fallacies or laugh at them. We can make youtube videos or send letters. We can flash our degrees at them and demand they recognize that we know what we're talking about.
There is no point to this at all.
Christian Nationalists live in their own parallel universe. And certain aspects of this "universe" make it quite obvious that there is nothing we can say that will convince them that they are wrong.
Michelle Goldberg lays out the immunity that the Christian Nationalist delusion has devastatingly clear in the book "Kingdom Coming."
1. Most of the "warriors for Christ" have been brainwashed from infancy to believe only what their cult tells them to believe. They are denied public education and herded into either homeschooling or special fundamentalist christian schools... where like any cult, they are cut off from the outside world, until their brainwashing is so thorough that there is no escaping it.
2. They are trained to believe that mainstream science and academics are part of a liberal agenda, corrupted by professors and scientists who push an anti-christian religion. They will therefore, refuse to believe any of modern scholarship no matter how stacked the evidence is against them. In fact, the more the evidence is against them, the more they believe that they are the only pious people, the holders of the real truth that is being suppressed by evil anti-christians. There is no way to get through to them... so don't even try.
3. You can't use liberal christians to convince them because they believe mainstream christians are deluded agents of satan.
Basically, nothing we can say will ever get through to them.
However it is absolutely essential that we stop their drive to push christianity on the country by force. My question is... what are we supposed to do? They cannot be reasoned with. They are relentless and enraged. They are well financed and have many "friends in high places" within our government.
What can we do to stop them before it is too late?
You're right, I don't think you are going to get through to anyone at the individual level. If you can, try to get involved with groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation or the ACLU who are equipped to handle matters of constitutional law. If you can't, then even doing something simple like writing a letter of complaint whenever you see a church/state violation can be helpful. The law is the law, no matter how much they dislike it.
Isolate the genes responsible for fundamentalism, produce monoclonal antibodies specifically to target and destroy those genes, develop a method to disperse these to the general population.
What are we supposed to do? We keep doing what you, and others (myself included), keep doing - by blogs, videos, etc. We expose them and keep exposing them until a majority of people - including other Xians and the mainstream media, finally get the message that such people are dangerous.
We must not relent, we must remain diligent and resolute ;-)
Unfortunately, I have been told repeatedly even by liberal christians and agnostics that I'm "overreacting." I know that I am not.
Hi Beth. You can't compose your text somewhere else and paste it into the stream unless you have the text in white because of the black background.
first, welcome! Second: please drop the black font, it very hard to read on a gray background.
One thing to remember is that one need not be faced with some religious fundamentalist type to find its hard to discuss serious topics, be it Bible/God stuff or science topics. Now I tend to step back and ask myself if the roles were reversed, what words would I want used or how would I like to be spoken to? By and large I think some people may feel that their religious beliefs are being attacked rather than someone who is a non believer wanting a thought provoking dialogue.
And I speak from experience where one rabid atheist who was a friend, started to even turn me off as far as being around her. Sadly there are some atheists who will turn a person off as much as some fundamentalist Christian who comes knocking on ones door. Or some animals rights vegan who tossed fake blood on some meat eater.
Know of a wonderful agnostic whom when Christians meet her,assume she is a Christian, because of her gentle spirit and kind ways. Its well after Christians meet her and fall in love with her, that they discover she doesnt share their religious beliefs. She is very upfront and simply requests that she be allowed her beliefs. And for some reason none of the Christians in her life ever try and convert her. They may be praying for her, but they love her enough to leave her in peace.
Hope this post shows up correctly.
Believe it or not, not all fundies are permanently set in their ways. I personally know several hardcore believers that are now very adamant atheists. But, despite these cases, I say that the fundies aren’t the real target. The real targets are the prospective fundies and those with a naturally weaker grounding in their religious beliefs. These people constitute the majority of believers in our country and stand a better chance of being more susceptible to logic and reason.
That doesn’t mean that we should turn our attention from the fundies. By engaging the most radical views, we are putting out our most persuasive and compelling arguments. These messages are reaching a much wider audience than simply the fundie population. We must persist if for no other reason than they will. Just imagine how dangerous fundie arguments and propaganda would be if they were not countered by something equally as compelling. It is better to have one’s voice heard by someone rather than by no one.
By addressing all the issues brought up by the fundie community, we are addressing all of the important religious issues. While our messages may not get through to them, they are getting through to those around them and each generation seems to be weakening in faith.
As frustrating as it may be sometimes, I think that it’s better to engage in dialog than not.
1. I suggest some serious ridicule of fundie beliefs whenever possible--show that the emperor has no clothes as loudly and publicly as is safe. Not a few religious folks are in it for social reasons and making their beliefs look most uncool will cause at least some to reconsider who they run with.
2. Make use of the Constitution whenever religious folks try to impose their beliefs on anyone--nothing like some public civics in a country that could use as many civics lessons as possible. Lets not waste one of the greatest documents in history.
3. Speaking of the Constitution, if worst comes to worst, don't forget the Second Amendment--it's not just for right wingers anymore.
4. And for the FSM's sake, stay open and public about your atheism--that's where social acceptance ultimately comes from and will also continue to make others think about what they really believe. As much good as atheist groups, including this one, do and as much influence as prominent atheists like the four horseman accrue in the media, it's individual, personal relationships that, one by one, will affect the deepest and most lasting change.
As for the terminally close minded in this country, you're right, nothing can be done for them. But the future of such folks is not bright, in a world that changes faster than ever. As Larry Niven likes to say, think of it as evolution in action.
There is a diagram on google-pictures called "debate_flow_chart.jpg". It shows how to have a rational debate. At the very top there is a box with the very first question that the atheist should ask the theist:
"Can you envision anything that will change your mind on this topic?"
If the theist replies affirmatively, then there are instructions for continuing the debate.
If the theist answers negatively then the atheist is instructed to reply:
"This is not a discussion. I will not talk to you about this topic."
And that ends the discussion.
One thing I would love to see is non believers doing more local authors nights, science fairs for the entire community, math and spelling bees, and even debates. Just make sure the non believer who will be debating the Christian, is actually a strong debater and a nice person.
And start a charter school where math, science are stressed, because I know many of our homeschooling peers dont like the regular public schools because they are so weak when it comes to math and science. And if you homeschool, start or join a secular homeschooling group like we have done since the 80's.
Jim does bring up an interesting question. Why do we have so few babies being born to non believers? Or am I wrong on this?