Sunday, 19 September 2021

Atheists Top the List of Those Doing Right by Others. Evangelicals are Bottom.

Atheists nab top spot in shots; White evangelicals least vaccinated - Freedom From Religion Foundation

I mentioned at the end my last blog post that Christians seem to need the promise of a reward in order to do the right thing, with the implication that it would be much better if they just did the right thing because it is the right thing to do. However, nowhere in their handbook of morals and ethics, is that ever mandated or even recommended.

The closest they come to it is the instruction to do to others what they would want others to do to them - the so-called golden rule, common to just about every culture. Unfortunately, after several decades of the Republicans advocating greed and selfishness and insisting that it deserves a reward, most American fundamentalist Christians have come to associate doing the right thing by others as some sort of undesirable, socialist/liberal subversion of the 'American Way', and so not what God wants at all.

Few things highlight this better than the findings of a recent Pew Research survey into COVID-19 vaccine take-up, which places white evangelicals at the bottom of the table and Atheists at the top. Atheists clearly understand that by being vaccinated, they are not only protecting themselves, but also protecting other people and the society at large, by:
Atheists believe in this life, not an afterlife, and we don’t need a god to threaten us with hell to do the right thing. We’re good for goodness sake.

Dan Barker
Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)
  1. Reducing the number of potential carriers to spread the virus.
  2. Reducing the burden on the health services and freeing up resources for those who really need them.
  3. Reducing the opportunity for the virus to evolve new, potentially more dangerous, variants.
  4. Increasing the 'herd immunity', so reducing the opportunities for the virus to spread.
Confirmed new cases by day (USA)

Evangelical Christians, on the other hand, because of the cult-like nature of their local churches, are more susceptible to lies and disinformation being promulgated by politically motivated preachers and activists who have politicised the pandemic, following former president Trump's knee-jerk response of minimising the pandemic and dismissing it as a politically-motivated hoax, to explain away his inability to grasp the science and come up with a plan to mitigate the impending danger.

Together with their unholy alliance with the political right in the USA, their unswerving support for the politics of greed and social stratification, their belief that magic spells and an invisible magic friend are protecting them, and their cult-like search for martyrdom and persecution, has made the white evangelical Christian right susceptible to manipulation by political conservatives more interested in political power and the opportunities for self-aggrandizement this presents, than in the health and welfare of their fellow countrymen.

The extent to which this has become a political issue, to which the evangelical right has eagerly subscribed, can be seen from the second chart. In every measured demographic there is a wide gap, often of 20-30 percentage points or more, between those identifying with the Republican Party an those identifying with the Democrats, with the Democrats always ahead.

In fairness, I should point out that Hispanic Catholics came a close second to Atheist and just ahead of Agnostics in third place. It seems that this may be one of the few instances of American Catholics listening to the Pope and of the Pope getting it right on a major moral issue. If only he would do the same on issues such as contraception, human rights, over-population and clerical abuse of power and their accountability under the law of the land in which they live!

This is one of the great moral issues of today — and religion is simply failing. Religious folks are often suspicious of a tiny little shot to prevent the spread of a lethal contagion that has killed 1 in every 500 Americans and has completely overwhelmed and overworked our heroes on the health care frontlines. It takes religion to make the immoral seem moral.

Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Co-President, FFRF.
So, a religion which purports to follow the teachings of a god who allegedly told them to love their neighbour as themselves, is now being used to encourage a dog-eat-dog culture in which greed and selfishness are exalted qualities and 'thy neighbour' can take a running jump because it's probably his fault if he gets sick for not being faithful enough - probably what God sent the virus for in the first place!

And, in any case, a virus which has to date killed 4.7 million people world-wide is probably harmless because people who know nothing about the subject, but who talk a lot about their friend Jesus, and claim to know the mind of a god, have said so in the social media, and it's all a Satanic plot to ban Christianity, abolish the First Amendment and close the churches.

Meanwhile, that despised group, the Atheists, who supposedly lack a moral compass, are continuing to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.

Thank you for sharing!

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