It takes a lifetime of literalistic Bible studies to destroy a human brain as completely as is necessary to make an otherwise intelligent person trust Bronze Age myths over science and a flake as obviously perverse as Ted Cruz over a man of such obvious integrity as President Obama.
by Patrick Feller
Reprinted from huffingtonpost.com
Fundamentalist belief grows brains incapable of dealing with the
world as it actually is. Being raised in a home where you're taught
from birth - as
I was as the son of evangelical missionaries -- that the
evidence of your eyes and ears is wrong, that, for instance, unseen
forces are fighting over the destiny of your soul, that whatever
science the local newspaper or your teacher says to the contrary,
the earth is young and science can't be trusted, changes your
brain. Delusion leads to more delusion, unless something helps you
snap out of it. I describe my "snapping out" process in my new
book And God Said,
"Billy!" There I explore
the roots of American religious delusion, and offer another way to
approach spirituality and God that makes peace with a fact-based
Religious delusion takes smart young brains and makes them
unable to relate to the actual world. It makes them ready to
believe anyone standing "against the establishment," since the
fact-based community has always been portrayed by evangelicals as
the enemy of their Bible-based literalism and the godly community
of the self-isolated embattled I-believe-everything-in-the-Bible
Thus the "world's way" is always suspect-- even when it is true.
So 2 plus 2 can't equal 4 because "those liberals" writing in
the New York Times say it does. "Worldly" facts
are bad. They contradict scripture. So down the rabbit hole we go!
Enter the Tea Party and its evangelical base primed for accepting
an alternative reality.
This evangelical-Tea Party anti-facts conditioning is
the only way to explainwhat the New
York Times describes here:
After the budget standoff ended in crushing defeat last
week and the political damage reports began to pile up for
Republicans, one longtime party leader after another stepped
forward to chastise their less seasoned, Tea Party-inspired
colleagues who drove the losing strategy... [Yet] in Mississippi, a
42-year-old Republican state senator, Chris McDaniel, was
announcing his bid to take the seat held by one of those "adults"
-- Senator Thad Cochran, 75, a six-term incumbent and the very
picture of the Republican old guard, whose vote to end the standoff
Mr. McDaniel called "more of a surrender than a compromise."
Insurgent conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund,
the Madison Project and the Club for Growth immediately announced
their support for Mr. McDaniel, the chairman of the Mississippi
State Senate's Conservative Coalition and a former Christian-radio
host, providing an early glimpse of what the next three years are
likely to hold for the Republican Party.
The evangelical/Tea Party wing of the GOP only makes
sense when you realize that they see politics as an
extension of their embattled religion. Faith based politics, for
instance that president Obama isn't one of us, when he is, or that
he's not a Christian, when he is, or that his medical care reforms
are socialism when they're not come from a theological mind set
secular folks just don't grasp. Far from learning from their
failure-- say to force the end of health care reform, the Tea
Party-evangelicals that drove the confrontation between Congress
and the president and that put the 144 House Republicans that voted
against ending the shutdown in Congress, are now redoubling their
forlorn bid to take the GOP farther and faster into their fantasy
land of paranoid right wing delusion.
"This was an inflection point because the gap between what
people believe in their hearts and what they see in Washington is
getting wider and wider," said
Jim DeMint, the Heritage Foundation president, who, as a
founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund, is helping lead the
evangelical-Tea Party insurgency. DeMint, a guru of flake
dysfunction to the Republican bat-crazy rabid right, said of his
dysfunctional evangelical-Tea Party followers: "They represent the
voices of a lot of Americans who really think it's time to draw a
line in the sand to stop this reckless spending and the growth of
the federal government."
Following the disastrous $24 billion tab meaningless
gesture, that gained only bad approval poll numbers,
evangelical-Tea Party House Republicans learned nothing.
"Republicans have an opportunity to reset the debate over the next
few months. As the nation's attention turns from Washington
politics to the Obamacare disaster, Democrats will have no choice
but to reconsider our fair and reasonable proposals to delay the
law," Georgia evangelical-Tea Party Republican Rep. Tom Graves
said. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a leader of the House conservatives said
that the defeat came about because conservative weren't able to
"drive home" the argument.
Appeals to rational thought, facts or evidence gain no traction
in brains conditioned to think that reality itself is a threat and
that theology contradicts science. What began in a million Sunday
schools produced a 24 billion fiasco to no purpose, diminished
America's standing in the world, and hurt countless Americans. It
takes a lifetime of literalistic Bible studies to destroy a human
brain as completely as is necessary to make an otherwise
intelligent person trust Bronze Age myths over science and a flake
as obviously perverse as Ted Cruz over a man of such obvious
integrity as President Obama, let alone interpret Jesus' teaching
as a reason to strip the poor of health care.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book
-- And God Said,
"Billy!"exploring the roots of American religious
delusion, and offering another way to approach true spirituality,
is #1 on Amazon Kindle in the Political Humor category. On Kindle,
iBook and NOOK for $3.99 and in paperback.
Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author. He is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as "pretty terrible." Frank's nonfiction includes "Keeping Faith-A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps" and AWOL-The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country." Frank's latest book is, "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back."