Since Jesus was a liberal thinker in his day, you'd expect that true Christians would follow Jesus' loving, compassionate, accepting message. Many do. Too many, particularly in the Mid West Bible Belt, do not.
The US has a peculiar religious history. In its early days, many zealots fled to America's colonies, devotees of religious denominations that were despised by good Christians in the Old Country. Although Puritanical values gave way to enlightenment in Europe, moral rigidity took hold in the colonies.
The New World attracted many who could not make it in the Old World for whatever reason. This influx of the desperate, the ambitious, and those fleeing justice ensured a dynamic mix.
As new settlers spread across the land, religious meetings were a form of social connectivity and of entertainment. Because the Church could not provide sufficient priests and ministers, the Scriptural emphasis of Protestantism proved a cheap evangelical means of ensuring that far flung settlers could remain in the fold. A combination of isolation and a hard life made certain that the paterfamilia's notions of strict obedience, backed by scriptural proscriptions, were handed down through generations of moralistic, fundamentalists.
Education was a limited affair in the US and the early universities were bastions of Christianity. While Europe was enjoying the enlightenment, the rise of scientific method, and the thoughts of the modern philosophers, American thinking seemed trapped in the 16th century.
Ironically, this nation that worships the almighty buck and believes that sex sells products is also home to narrow-minded, religious fundamentalist bigots who believe that they have the right to dictate how others should live and what others may not do with their bodies.
Hundreds of years ago, before science revealed the actual mechanisms that govern the natural world, the God of the Gaps represented the best available explanation. During the Dark and Middle Ages, the Church represented most of the learning available at the time, and some of the brightest minds attempted, unsuccessfully, to elaborate a philosophically rigorous description of God. With the Enlightenment and the rise of scientific method, theologians retreated to the safe bastion of faith, acknowledging that philosophical attempts at proofs for God's existence had all failed. Knowledge moved inexorably forward in Europe, and the Church lost its stranglehold on the minds and lives of even believers in these increasingly educated Western nations. However, it has long been known, and repeatedly confirmed, that there is an inverse correlation between education/intelligence and religiosity.
When the US is compared to other countries on measures of religiosity and IQ, America stands out like a sore thumb. Excessive USian religiosity places it with the developing nations, well behind other more enlightened and secular countries. In this graph, The US's degree of religiosity places it alongside nations with functional IQs close to 83.
A recent Gallup poll demonstrated what we already knew – frequent Church attendees are less likely to be educated, more likely to be morally narrow, more likely to vote Republican, and less likely to accurately comprehend human origins.
Science education in the US is under threat from creationism, even though most of Europe reconciled religion to the fact of evolution over 100 years ago. Within the US, a disproportionately high percentage of religious folk refuse to recognize that the Bible is a pseudohistoric allegory and insist on Biblical inerrancy, counter to all known facts that demonstrate that much of the Bible is inaccurate. Because science disproves Genesis, creationists have mounted a campaign to attack the fact of biological evolution in hopes of inserting creationist pseudoscience for dummies in competition with science.
Although the Founding Fathers intended to protect religion from the state, ensuring in the First Freedom that the state could neither establish a religion nor interfere with personal religious beliefs, the result was a constitutional separation of religion and state.
The exigent need in the US no longer concerns the protection of religious freedoms, but rather to protect political decision making, minority rights, and education from the depradations of religious fundamentalists
ɷ junk tanks
ɷ Agnostic vs Atheist
ɷ Apologists make Apologies for God
ɷ Creationism only flourishes amidst Ignorance
ɷ Dei Non Existent
ɷ Furor over Stupidity
ɷ Inverse Correlations
ɷ Judge Jones Rules
ɷ Moral Absolutism
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ One Evolution, Many Creationisms
ɷ Spirituality, Religiosity, and Madness
ɷ State must keep Church out of State
ɷ Statistics on Stupidity
ɷ un-designed intelligences = intelligent [sick] design
ɷ Wedge Document
ɷ We, the Products of Blind Evolution
ɷ YEC yack
π All Concepts are NOT Created Equal
π Black Sheep are Sheep Too
π Anti-Stupidity Quotes
π Behe Retreats
π Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?
π Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
π Pseudoscience Chicanery
π Rigidity and Religiosity
π Error Filled Belief Systems
π Un-Designed Intelligences
γ Against Theocracy
γ intelligent [sick] design
γ And Man Created . . .
γ Misleading Pseudoscience For Dummies
γ Caught in own Mousetrap
σ Theocratic Threats
Though the US is not officially a theocracy, far too much political power is sought and bought by the highly vocal religious right. The fundamentalist bigots of the religious right seek to overturn any human rights gains made by visible minorities. If the US wishes to join 21st century nations, its education standards and standards of thinking must be brought up to date with the rest of the developed world.
This blog is participating in the July 1-4 Blogswarm against Theocracy. First Freedom First is an organization dedicated to separation of church and state, and provides resources, including articles and book recommendations. FFF is NOT a "sponsor" of the Blog against Theocracy blogswarm.