Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
An interesting comment about the side-effects of "faith" was made by Bruce Bartlett in an interview with Bill Moyers that I saw recently.
The following puts the comment in context. You can watch the interview in its entirety (approx. 25 mins.)
[quote]Bill Moyers talks with conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, who wrote "the bible" for the Reagan Rev ...[text shortened]... than deluding themselves into thinking that they are based in reason.
There seems to be a much simpler answer, one that doesn't involve any hasty generalizations about a Christian's capacity for rational thought or an unnecessary commitment to the idea that reason plays no part in Christian faith:
Much more likely the major culprit for the widespread Republicanism among the faithful in America is due to the Republican party being increasingly identified with a pro-life agenda (other social issues probably have played a part). It hasn't helped that over the years Republican leadership has, oftentimes cynically, fanned the flames surrounding certain social issues in order to gain support from the Christian demographic (which is substantial). This has been documented by journalists like Thomas Frank in his book, What's the Matter with Kansas?
Kathleen Sebelius' success in Kansas at dividing the GOP along economically moderate/conservative lines by avoiding hot-button social issues her Republican colleagues regularly exploit shows that the Christian base is less aligned with conservative economic policy than its social policy.
Even so, it seems rather presumptuous for someone to say that conservatives (as distinct from Christians
) have no reason to hold the positions they do (e.g., low taxes, small government, privatization, etc.). I know from experience from debate with conservatives that a case can be made for each of their various positions. Whether they are right is, of course, debatable, but I don't think anyone can say that economic conservativism, on its own, is something that only an irrational person could accept on blind faith. So it is a rather thin claim to say that a Christian who also happens to be economically conservative must have embraced that ideology due to a rejection of rationality.
Because the nature of deep religious belief is faith, which means you accept things for which there is no proof. And so, I think it's not that hard to shift that faith over to believe a lot other things that you've been told are true so many times that you just accept that on faith as well.
I have a hard time accepting this assertion, as it seems based on fallacious reasoning. Lack of proof does not entail lack of reason. There are many things which we accept as true without proof, for example, historical events. It is a mistake to assume that we must have proof, scientific proof, in order to rationally believe anything. So the analogy doesn't seem to hold. Just because an individual happens to be a person of faith (Hindu, Jew, Christian, etc.), doesn't make that person any more or less susceptible to irrational conclusions than the average person.
Now, that said. I would agree that there is a certain anti-intellectualism among the Christian right wing, but I think it is the result of a class warfare instigated by Republican politicians having sought to paint Democrats as "liberal elites" rather than anything systemically wrong with faith itself. More likely it is a a cultural phenomenon.