While out and about today I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing people, asking their opinions on the Republican candidates for president. One of the men being interviewed said that he could not vote for Mitt Romney because he didn’t follow the Nicene Creed. A woman that followed him said that she wants a Christian in office. Both seemed to express that a person of faith was a prerequisite to earning their votes.
I wish I could say this attitude surprised me, but it is all too common and as I listened to this painful drivel a few thoughts struck me.
This has hit me at a moment when I have been weighing the societal harm of religion and its effects on our political subculture. This is America, after all, where being an atheist is worse than being a member of any other minority and people throw about the term “Christian nation” and think that the world is coming to an end because the ten commandments were removed from a courthouse.
To really examine the harm that religious and faith based thinking does to our body politic we need to reveal the basic thought process in operation.
Faith is, in essence, the acceptance of information presented by other human beings as if it were the instruction of a higher power. No evidence is required to believe by faith and in turn no facts can dissuade the devoted and faithful.
This way of viewing reality is instilled in most children at a young age and affects how many people fundamentally view everything around them. When questions arise, the mind has been prepared to reject doubt and accept faith without proof as a symbol of piety and righteousness.
This manner of processing information does not naturally divorce itself from the mind in other areas. It makes the mind pliable to accept any number of ideas so long as the messenger can convince the other person that his message is not his own, but the will of a higher power.
In a society like ours with such a high density of religious individuals, it leads one to wonder how this might play into how people process news and information and make voting decisions.
Consciously or not if your modus operandi for the most basic metaphysical thought processes is the willingness to accept information without proof as long as you can be convinced with sophistry that the source is divinely inspired, then you can be led to believe any number of things based on nuances and emotionally inspired gut reactions.
It is here where we begin to see the psychological malleability that is engrained in our culture through religion. Simply replace a deity with the mainstream media and religious leaders with talking heads and the correlating impact becomes much clearer.
Reason disintegrates in cloud of rhetoric while objective reality passes by right in plain sight and is ignored for a dogmatic principle created for the enslaved mind by those with the power of contrived authority and respect.
What astounds me is that we often see glimmers of reason within religious members of society where they artificially divorce faith in some aspects of their life, and compartmentalize it, clinging to a cognitive dissonance which allows the dichotomy to exist.
This is also, in my opinion why there is so much hypocrisy in American society. We have a love/hate relationship with reason, and because of this, our minds cannot break free to their full potential having been wrapped up tight in an underlying thought process that has been implanted with all kinds of traps and mechanisms to prevent it unraveling.
Underpinning all of this is one very basic and primal motive: fear. Fear of hell, fear of death and so on. It is the fallback position to every religion to ensure the mind is fully ensnared.
This enslavement of the mind is almost beautiful in its design. It is a self perpetuating, man made prison where the victim holds the key to their freedom but chooses to remain enslaved of their own accord.
The true power behind this illusion is not in its ability to keep people locked into circular thinking, but that it convinces the slave that he or she is free while the mind is still shackled.
Because of this, anything that is considered a threat to this illusion is an enemy of that perceived freedom and is viewed as something which needs to be opposed, many times in a violent fashion.
Now we see why atheists are so hated in a society ruled by a theist majority, and how the design of this system prevents the most free in thought from ever attaining political power.
With a population readied to believe in things not backed by reason or evidence, the political field is whatever those who control the methods of propaganda wish it to be.
This is the very disturbing consequence of a pervasive thought pattern prevalent in our culture. It is what will lead us to our doom and why there are so many “undecided” voters. Everything is reduced to sound bytes and rhetoric which is what most people use to make their final decision at the ballot box.
This shows us that our efforts are not best used in fighting political battles at this point, but instead on changing minds and helping others use the key to their prisons.
Some will call this a religious effort, but in the end, all who enter through the door of reason will see the difference, and not by convincing arguments, but by the truth of reality itself using their own mind.
Let’s just hope we wake up enough people before its too late to recover.