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?
Isolate them and quarantine them. Yes, they are a threat, but they are set in their ways and it's difficult to change that. Your best bet is to play mind manipulation with the ones that are loosely clinging to faith or to encourage the kids to look at science. That requires involvement in the community. Anyone want to tell me what we atheists do in the community (other than be scientists and create/discover cool shit)? Know of an atheist soup kitchen? I don't. Know of any atheists who go to lower income neighborhoods and ymcas to tutor biology? I don't. When large natural disasters occur, do we have a relief group for atheists that goes in to help the community? I haven't seen one, I'm sure there might be a couple though.
My point being is that we consider ourselves to be high above everyone else. If we want to stop the encroachment of archaic ideas, it's pertinent that we reach out to communities doing positive things for the community. This does not include going face-to-face against a fundy and arguing about evolution. If we're going to make strides, it has to be done in a subliminal manner, one that allows people to be hooked in. Essentially, what you have to be is a hustler. Kind of like when you go buy something. You have to make not-believing worth cashing in for. Also, the sooner we can get rid of the staunch atheist who feels the need to berate religious folk at every opportunity, the sooner and faster the religious right can be undermined.
I agree 100% with KT on the need to reach out to ones community and do positive things. You do not have to preach to people. Actions speak louder than words my Dad used to say.
Sometimes I think it may be because atheist is often thought of as being connected to the former Soviet Union where it was basically a no no to practice a religion. Where Christians and Jews were jailed and hated. Thus I think some (not all) Americans who happen to be in some Christian denominations fear that ever happening here.
And sadly there are few if any soup kitchens, food banks, even low income health clinics that are started and run by atheists here in California. After Ron died I was able to find a support system at the local hospice, but even it had volunteers who belonged to various churches, liberal but still churches.
Being pro choice we took in unwed mothers because having their babies was their 'choice'. But most folks assumed because we helped at the local food bank which all the area churches helped with, and took in unwed mothers, and were homeschoolers that we were active Christians. Over time a few found out we were not, but loved us anyway and welcomed our help.
Heck even the volunteer literacy tudors via the public library are volunteers I know from the area non conservative churches. There are lots of non church going volunteers as well, but ask them when visiting if they are agnostic or atheist and they tell you no, they just arent anything.
My Dad was a university graduate in both physics and engineering, yet he saw 'god' as just what was around us. We assumed he was a non believer but he never pushed it. And the same went for the family friends. Now...because I was adopted in '50 which was a different time, the secular adoption agency required that my parents give me some type of 'religious' background. Since Dads family was Presbyterian which was NOT conservative, I went to Sunday school most Sundays. My parents did not attend church. So I can see where they were doing what was required but by their actions also showing me a different way.
And when you know the word God came about around the 6th century and has German roots, and can mean simply to 'make happen', I think sometimes it's the fact some religious people don't know the word and that it isnt as Biblical as one may see in the Bible. But folks are free to disagree with me.
Am just so fortunate to live in an area where people like me for me and never try and force their religious beliefs if they have any on me. Will even note that the majority of Christians I know are cultural ones based on the fellowship and get togethers they have with family and friends.
Non-theist Natural Disaster Relief Group - Doctors without Borders.
I completely understand what you're saying here! I was raised in this type of environment and have seen how ridiculous it can get. It's scary when you hear them talking in church about how they are trying to get people into strategic places in political office in order to basically bring about a theocracy. And while I agree that it is often pointless to try and reason with them, it is not pointless to reason with all of them. And it is only pointless to reason with some insofar as you will not be able to convince those particular people. I have a friend who was raised in that type of fundamentalism who is an intelligent person, and with whom I can have good discussions about religion. He is reluctant to abrogate his beliefs, but he is willing to discuss them and will concede when you make a good point, and when something doesn't make sense. I think he honestly wants to understand. He wants to approach his beliefs rationally. This however is not the case with a lot of fundamentalists. For those others it is still good to discuss the issues with them even if you can't get them to see any other perspectives for a number of reasons. For me it helps me to better understand the types of tactics they often use in argument so that you are better prepared when discussing these issues with those who may not be as adamant about being willfully ignorant, but who have still been trained to respond with those same arguments. But also, and especially when the argument takes place in a public setting, it can allow those with a more liberal mindset to see first hand how deluded the fundamentalist point of view is. Even if those with whom you are having the discussion cannot be persuaded of the illogicality of their own arguments, perhaps some onlookers can. A first thought on the subject. Looking forward to reading the other comments.