Thursday, September 25, 2008

What if there were no God? Politically conservative and liberal Christians imagine their lives without faith

Interesting:
A sample of devout Christian adults, ranging widely in political orientation, described what their lives (and the world) might be like had they never embraced faith. Politically conservative Christians (also scoring high on right-wing authoritarianism) tended to imagine a life deficient in impulse control, wherein unrestrained sexual and aggressive urges, addictive behaviors, and human selfishness undermined the social good. By contrast, politically liberal Christians (also scoring low on right-wing authoritarianism) imagined an empty and barren world, devoid of the emotional intensity that makes life worth living. Gender differences were also observed, but they did not interfere with the relation between political orientation and the narrative themes. In accord with theoretical writings regarding normative and humanistic ideologies, the findings suggest that, at least among American Christians, political conservatism may entail a fear of, or strong sensitivity to, the prospects of conflict and chaos, whereas political liberalism may entail an equally strong fear of, or sensitivity to, emptiness.

Via Razib.

I've noticed the conservative fear of an anything-goes world without God, but I'd never associated a fear of an empty, meaningless world with liberals in particular.

It does seem to fit nicely into George Lakoff's model (YouTube) of the two parental metaphors that underlie conservatism and liberalism in America: that of the strict-father family and the nurturant-parent family. Take away the strict father for conservatives and we're Sodom and Gomorrah. Take away the nurturant parent for liberals and we're at a loss for what we should do.

20 comments:

jewish philosopher said...

"What if there was no God?"

What if there was no government? Atheism is really not much different than anarchism.

Check out societies which have no government or which have no God. It's not pretty.

Brian Westley said...

Check out the jewish philosopher's bigotry against atheists. Talk about "not pretty".

jewish philosopher said...

Hating people who are destroying the world isn't bigotry, the last time I checked.

Comrade Kevin said...

The fear is rooted in the fact that humanity is too weak and too easily swayed by evil to function properly in a world without a God.

And I have a tendency to ponder whether everyone on earth is truly capable of being an responsible atheist.

Brian Westley said...

And last I checked, atheists weren't destroying the world. Bigots like yourself can rant and rave that they are, of course, but again it's just your delusional bigotry speaking.

Holy Hyrax said...

>an responsible atheist.

It's about being a responsible human being. Not all atheists are responsible either. Ingrid Newkirk of PETA in my opinion is a good example

jewish philosopher said...

Brian, atheism is synonymous with unbridled narcissism and hedonism. Why don't you relocate to North Korea to see how great it is when people like come to power? Or are you too bigoted to actually live in an atheistic country?

Brian Westley said...

"Brian, atheism is synonymous with unbridled narcissism and hedonism."

Only in your bigoted view. Other people consider Jews to be christ-killers and subhumans. They're bigoted too, just like you.

jewish philosopher said...

Oh, so atheists are so wonderful? When are you moving to Pyongyang?

Brian Westley said...

"Oh, so atheists are so wonderful?"

Some are, sure. Some aren't. Just like other people.

Only bigots like yourself pathetically try to tar all atheists (or all Jews, Catholics, blacks, etc) with the actions of some.

It IS nice that you make your bigotry so obvious.

bobvis said...

Brian, atheism is synonymous with unbridled narcissism and hedonism. Why don't you relocate to North Korea to see how great it is when people like come to power?

JP, how do you figure the first point? (I'm not actually an atheist, but I'm curious.) It strikes me as very possible that atheists may be as a group narcissistic, but that is a far cry from saying that they are synonymous.

Also, I don't see how North Korea is an example of the threats of atheism in general any more than Sudan is a testament to religion in general. North Korea's issues seem to stem from totalitarianism and isolationism, and those have existed in both religious and a-religious states.

jewish philosopher said...

Brian, I am going to level with you. You can call me whatever you want to, however I don’t particularly like atheists, Muslims or gays. I do however like Jews. Nothing you have said has refuted my beliefs.

Bobvis, I see atheism as being merely an excuse for pleasure seeking and selfishness. I say that because atheism is so clearly irrational and because so many atheists have exhibited these characteristics. I believe that this explains why any government preaching atheism has had a horrendous human rights record. I find it very interesting that all the militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens seem to be quite content to live in countries filled with “primitive delusions”. You would think they should logically be running to North Korea or at least Cuba, Vietnam or Russia. I would personally love to live in a country governed according to Talmudic law, if such a place would exist. However atheistic countries are all unlivable.

Brian Westley said...

Brian, I am going to level with you. You can call me whatever you want to, however I don’t particularly like atheists, Muslims or gays. I do however like Jews. Nothing you have said has refuted my beliefs.

Bigots like yourself are notoriously hard to reason with, true.

jewish philosopher said...

Trying to tell me that it is unethical to attack Muslims without first receiving a formal declaration of war didn't cut it; sorry.

Brian Westley said...

Oh, I already know you advocate murdering people just because of their religion, yet you have the gall to say atheists are the murderous ones.

jewish philosopher said...

Murder means killing an innocent person.

Brian Westley said...

I know that, of course. You advocate murdering people just because of their religion. Duh.

jewemp said...

Mr. Stein, it is important to not go extreme in your views toward Muslims and others that you consider to be your enemies, even if they would be very happy to see your destruction. It does no good to be as extreme as they are. Is the world really going to be so much better off if we nuke Mecca and Medina? Think of the side effects from nuclear fallout, the outrage it would cause among those who are not yet our enemies, the moral issues involved with any attack on civilian populations, and a host of other issues. Even if it makes it a better place for Jews, is it worthwhile to kill millions of people for the sake of a few?

bobvis said...

I see atheism as being merely an excuse for pleasure seeking and selfishness.

jp,
I agree that it can be, but is it necessarily so? Can't people also adopt religion as an excuse for various bad things? I don't see why that should reflect poorly on religion itself (or on atheism itself). There are always going to be bad people who attach themselves to legitimate beliefs and causes.

Baconeater said...

JP, is one of the most irrational people in cyberspace. He can't cope with facts, so he makes facts his enemy, he makes those who accept facts his enemies.

I only view JP as an internet circus freak, nothing more, nothing less.