Atheists, Christians, and Money

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Atheists, Christians, and Money

 

Just an observation that I have thought about for some time.

 

Many of the atheists I know lean left politically. Thus, they believe the government should be utilized to take care of people through social programs.

 

Now, many of the theists I know lean right politically and, thus, believe the government should not be used to help the poor because such a system would diminish the work ethic of society and foster laziness. 

 

Here is what I find fascinating. Atheists believe in evolution; however, most desire a government system that flees from Social Darwinism. Many theists are creationists who passionately critique Darwinism. Yet, these same theists avidly promote an economic system based on the system, namely Social Darwinism.

 

Any thoughts and why you see this phenomenon in our culture? Why do the creationists pursue Social Darwinism and the Atheists pursue a system that helps the weakest in society?


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Christians tend to only care

Christians tend to only care about people with the same level of intelligence as themselves - hence the concern about fetuses and the brain dead while not caring about those who are actually functioning human beings.

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Observer
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hahaha...funny Yet, I am

hahaha...funny

 

Yet, I am serious here. I am not trying to put down any system. I am seriously trying to figure out if there is a

correlation here. Why do atheist tend to go against Social Darwinism when theists pursue it. Any thoughts? Thanks for the reply.


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Be more specific. This is

Be more specific. Natural selection or class competition? Where does consciousness come into this? Your question is too vague.  I, a dumb atheist, doesn't think competition, as I think you politically refer, relates to biology evolution. I am not real well read on this. Your question doesn't compute well. Sounds interesting tho ....    Good luck. Natural evolution in progress .... and so we are, as we are. ( g-o-d, stardust, one ) 

Thanks for posting .... you and I will be rewarded. RRS cares.      [ edit: baited - My atheist "sermon" below, wasn't directed at anyone personally. - This thread, after reading down to Hamby,  has been bugging me. Everything we are, in a broad sense can be related to our biology evolution, while also distinguishing our cultural evolution. Equating Darwin and Politics gets murky for me. - Sorry for this noise ]  


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Actually, it is my

Actually, it is my experience that atheists tend to be a bit conservative. Mostly along Libertarian lines.

That's not to say there isn't a solid percentage well into the left, all the way to socialists and communists (Marxist, not Soviet).

 

I don't think the phenomenon you assert exists. It's not Social Darwanism that the neo-con/conservative/religious right use, but instead the idea that - all things being equal - the only motive to excel is personal gain and self-interest, tempered with societal altruism of a strictly volunteer basis.

Where the left leaners and liberals don't believe all is equal, and that it is kinder or more moral (or both) to make sure that no matter how poorly a member of society is doing, they are never actually suffering. They also believe that people will be motivated to excel for it own sake, or because they want more than society alone grants.

Neither has to do with any take on evolution, or with an opinion on the abomination known as Social Darwinism.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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I think, in many ways, this

I think, in many ways, this is an American phenomenon. And, if I were to venture a guess, it would be that America is founded, in part on very libetarian ideals. Many of the founding fathers were very strong believers in libetarian ideas, which were very much in vogue at the time, during the Industrial Revolution. Many (like Thomas Jefferson, for example) were not religious either.

But America, while not founded on religious ideals, were very much populated by some very religious people. That is, all the various Christian demominations that fled persecution in Europe.

And because libetarianism worked so well for America (the Wild West was practically an anarchy: every man for himself, and his immidiate community) it became an ingrained part of American culture.

Religion also became an ingrained part of American culture, and so, the two go hand in hand.

They are just being true to their cultural heritage. It doesn't have to be logically consistent. Just culturally consistent.

That's the same reason many religious Americans are so adamantly defending the seperation of church and state. Because even though it looks like they are going against their own interests, they are in fact fighting the fight of their forefathers (though they might not think of it that way: it's just part of their cultural identity), who came to America precisely because the state-churches in Europe didn't like their particular brand of Christianity.

That's also why evangelicals are only in reasant years beginning to be against the separation of church and state: saying stuff like America is a nation founded on Christian ideals, for example. After Reagan and the Bush'es they are identifying more and more with the state, and so are forgetting their own history, and slowly changing their cultural identity.

By the way, I'm a lefty (being a Dane, I will invariably be a lefty by American standards. Our most right wing party here coresponds more or less to American Democrats. Political Libetarism is a joke in this country) and I am also an atheist (again, being a Dane, how could I be otherwise? Religion is a joke here too.)

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
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There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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I'm god, religion opposes

I'm god, religion opposes what I AM, god, me, just as you .... so the old saying is true, "love the enemy" , the idiol worshipers who deny what we all are, for they do not know what they do ..... dening themselves and all humanity, that we all are the force, 100% the shit ....

Nothing is greater than YOU ..... unless you are an idol worshiping praying blind fool , and a hypocrite too boot .... snakes and vipers, creators of hell, SEPARATISTS. If you aren't god , fuck you .... all is GOD !

So Yeah, no god, over there, nothing separate to worship. Fucking words. No god, all is gawed .... I hate bable, ..... believe in ONE, call it whatever ..... fucking language ....


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Evolutionary theory isn't a

Evolutionary theory isn't a matter of belief, it's just an explanation for biological phenomena. To say that acknowledging its scientific credibility mandates it as a prescription, rather than an observation, is a composition fallacy. You may as well say we're 60% water, so we should plan our lives around evaporating and condensing.

 


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Clarification

Magilum said:

Evolutionary theory isn't a matter of belief, it's just an explanation for biological phenomena. To say that acknowledging its scientific credibility mandates it as a prescription, rather than an observation, is a composition fallacy.

.........................................................

 

I would like to clarify. I am trying to see if there is a correlation. I agree with you to a point. There may not be. Yet, I still think there may be a correlation here. I am NOT saying that scientific credibility mandates a prescription. Yet, the opinions of many did try to find a correlation. Yet, not a mandate. In fact, if you read my post, I think there may be proof that the opposite has happened in history with most people.

I most definitely believe that early on in history, after Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species," that economic philosophers quickly used the model and made application to economics. A clear example of this would be English philosopher Herbert Spencer. William G. Sumner, a political science professor at Yale, promoted Social Darwinism as well. Therefore, while some may think it ludicrous to implement Darwin’s findings into economics, it is historical accurate to say many influential figures who had an actual, legitimate influence on our economics did in fact attempt to do this. Hence, Sumner, Spencer, and other economic theorists pursued a laissez faire approach to economics in the belief that this approach would allow the fittest entities of the economy to manifest.

My point is that I find it very, very odd that those who pursue this method were theists, more specifically, Christians. John D, Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and others supposed believers also followed Social Darwinism. More specifically, the religious right today: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Sean Hannity (if he counts), and others crave an economic system that can be described as being formulated to fit a model of Social Darwinism.

I guess to make the question more simple I could say this:

Why do atheists tend to lean left and support social programs?

Why do Christians tend to lean right and not support social programs?

 


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Quote:Why do atheists tend

Quote:

Why do atheists tend to lean left and support social programs?

Why do Christians tend to lean right and not support social programs?

Like I said, because of American history. What is your opinion on my observation?

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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Observer wrote: Just an

Observer wrote:

 

Just an observation that I have thought about for some time.

 

Many of the atheists I know lean left politically. Thus, they believe the government should be utilized to take care of people through social programs.

 

Now, many of the theists I know lean right politically and, thus, believe the government should not be used to help the poor because such a system would diminish the work ethic of society and foster laziness. 

 

Here is what I find fascinating. Atheists believe in evolution; however, most desire a government system that flees from Social Darwinism. Many theists are creationists who passionately critique Darwinism. Yet, these same theists avidly promote an economic system based on the system, namely Social Darwinism.

 

Any thoughts and why you see this phenomenon in our culture? Why do the creationists pursue Social Darwinism and the Atheists pursue a system that helps the weakest in society?

Noone has suggested it yet that I noticed, so I will.

Christians think that it is everyones responsibility to become christian. Unless one is a christian, one is an infidel and a threat to christianity. Threats to christianity should be defeated, not supported. When christians actually do get off their collectively stupid asses to help someone who isn't a christian, their help comes with requirements to sit and watch stupid videos designed to brainwash people into christianity. They will never donate when they have no control over making the infidels accept god.

Atheists don't give a rats ass, we just want humanity as a whole to rise above our current position.

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Another reason could be

Another reason could be atheists realize this is the only life you have - and we should try to make everyones life as pleasant and free from suffering as possible. Christians figure this life doesn't matter - you can have an utterly shitty life and as long as you're like them the 70 or so years of misery is nothing since you'll spend eternity in heaven (and if you're not going to heaven the worst life imaginable is nothing compared to eternity in hell. )

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Nikolaj, Thanks for your

Nikolaj,

 

Thanks for your response. I think it makes a lot of sense.

 

Let me restate it to make sure I understand you right.

 

Restatement: People are following libertarian notions present at the start of the USA.  Therefore, they are carrying on a meme that was very much apart of the foundation of America as built by the founding fathers.

 

Is that a fair restatement?

 

I have a further question then to add. As social programs grew, such as during the New Deal to current day systems, why have Christians become hostile to such programs and atheists have seemed to endorse the social programs of today?

 

I think you have explained good reasons that partially help explain why anyone would endorse libertarian notions. Yet, why do we see such a rift here in the USA? Why do Christians lean right and atheists left on social programs? Why the dichotomy?


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Observer wrote:Why do

Observer wrote:

Why do Christians lean right and atheists left on social programs? Why the dichotomy?

 

I'm not at all convinced that Christians can be lumped together like that and I'm even less convinced all Atheists can.


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 Nikkimato:I understand

 

Nikkimato:

I understand your concern with my generalization.  Yet, I do see coloration in the area of the country I live in. It is almost like the red state / blue state correlation. Atheists were a lot less likely to withhold a vote for Bush in 2004 and Christians more likely to offer it. Consequently, atheists were more likely to support a candidate, John Kerry, who endorsed social programs. This is just my observation though, it could surly be skewed. It is just the way I see it.

 

Mattshizzle:

I see your point. I can’t speak for everyone. However, I am a Christian and I support social programs. I do not think my view of the after life causes me to not want to help others. This is why I am so perplexed at other believers.  Many I respect feel that FDR was evil and social programs are as well. I am going against the grain and I just wanted to share my observation and try and figure out why Christians lean right and atheists lean left.  Thanks for your input.

 

Vastet:

Thanks for your post. I see your point that some Christians don’t want to help unless they can try to convert as well.

 

 ...

Okay here are some reasons and other points addressed so far for why Christians lean right and atheists left.

 

First, the objection that my point is untrue: My original assumption is just a generalization. Thus, we can’t really even lump Christians and Atheists into these categories.

 

 

Second, if it is true….

1. Libertarian ideas that, in time, came to be affiliated with Social Darwinism are apart of the founding fathers policies and Christians have picked these up and carried them on.

 

2. Christians are less motivated to offer help via social programs due to belief in an after life

 

3. Christians don’t want to offer help (aka: social programs) without an opportunity to covert others. Therefore, they oppose social programs because they can’t proselytize at the same time.

 

Any other ideas anyone? Perhaps we could evaluate why atheists lean left and less on why Christians lean right for th next few posts (assuming my assumption is true). Thanks for those who have replied so far!


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Observer wrote: Nikimoto:I

Observer wrote:

 

Nikimoto:

I understand your concern with my generalization.  Yet, I do see coloration in the area of the country I live in. It is almost like the red state / blue state correlation. Atheists were a lot less likely to withhold a vote for Bush in 2004 and Christians more likely to offer it. Consequently, atheists were more likely to support a candidate, John Kerry, who endorsed social programs. This is just my observation though, it could surly be skewed. It is just the way I see it.

 

I'm sure there's some truth to that but I think if you polled Kerry voters you'd find most of them are Christians too.

For me voting for Kerry was less about social programs than it was ousting a moronic embarrassment who wants king-like powers. I also didn't agree with the war, our treatment of prisoners, our going from a surplus to a deficit, the Supreme court appointments, mixing religion with government, curbing civil rights, fear mongering, diplomatic stupidity etc., etc...


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Yeah Matt, those wait and

Yeah Matt, those wait and pray for heaven waste and diminish what is now. There's some cool saying along those lines. Something like,  'Those who pray, make Hell this day.'

"The God Who Wasn't There" clip - Rapture Letters , 3 mins
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The God Who Wasn't There - 10 minute clip

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nikimoto wrote:Observer

nikimoto wrote:

Observer wrote:

Why do Christians lean right and atheists left on social programs? Why the dichotomy?

 

I'm not at all convinced that Christians can be lumped together like that and I'm even less convinced all Atheists can.

I totally agree. I know a few liberal christians and they by and large are in favor of universal health care, while most fundies cannot stand the thought of any socialized medicine. I wonder if they are going to use medicare when they get old? As far as I know medicare is the largest socialized medicare program in the world. 

Fundamentalist attitudes are always very self centered. You always hear them saying things like, "gays don't have the right to marry but I believe in equal rights for everybody".That being said, I find the extremist left just as guilty.

So I agree that it's mostly the most ardent christians that believe in some form of social darwinism and not all christians...... just most. I lean towards Libertarianism myself like many other atheists.

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Well I think human nature

Well I think human nature can at times be 'ugly' due to our evolutionary heritage so we needs laws and a strong society to control/redirect it (relatively middle ground by British political standards Stalinist by American standards Smiling.

Many christians think humans are inherently evil and born of sin due to Adam and  original sin and need god to  be controlled  (completely insane by British standards and well  the same by any American with a rational brain).

I think you can pretty much go any political  way regardless religion , America of course like so many things is the exception nowhere in the western world is abortion, homosexuality, sex education, creationism even an political issue never mind a left/right arguement

 


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Quote:Here is what I find

Quote:
Here is what I find fascinating. Atheists believe in evolution; however, most desire a government system that flees from Social Darwinism. Many theists are creationists who passionately critique Darwinism. Yet, these same theists avidly promote an economic system based on the system, namely Social Darwinism.

Nah.  You've got it ass backwards.  Social Darwinism is a myth.  Doesn't happen.  What most people think of as social darwinism is actually completely opposite to what real evolution is.  I'm not saying that there aren't atheists who believe in social darwinism, but the ones that do are just ignorant of evolution, whether they believe it exists or not.

Theists, most of whom lean conservative, are actually pursuing something quite in opposition to what evolutionary psychology teaches us about human nature.

I think if you really dig into some of the resources available here, you'll discover that theists are often guilty of something called projection.  That is, they accuse their opponents of exactly the same faults that they have themselves.   Most of the atheists I know are not true leftists.  None of the people I know who understand evolution believe that extreme leftism is a workable system.

Personally, I base my political beliefs on my knowledge of evolutionary psychology and game theory.  While I lean far left socially, I think I can only be described as a moderate economically.  That is, I believe in capitalism tempered by socialized social support institutions and taxes structured to protect the poor more than benefit the rich.  Most of the atheists I know are in about the same boat. 


 

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I'm not sure most fundy

I'm not sure most fundy christians ARE against social programs. How many will refuse social security or medicare? The problem is that those that control the republican party hate social programs and non-thinking christians drink the kool aid if Hannity or O'lielly says social programs are bad.

Where in the bible does it say that the government is supposed to take care of the poor? If I recall it is the responsibility of the church to take care of the poor. Don't get me wrong many churches do a lot of good helping the needy, but not near as much as the government can.

I don't believe my thoughts of assisting people through social programs has any bearing on my being an atheist. I would like to think it's because I have a more grown up mentality that focuses on the health and well-being of the collective.

For what it's worth the terms evolution and social darwinism are not anything alike. Darwin's name is the only thing they have in common. Evolutionary theory is not darwinism and social darwinism is an idea that has been around as long as we have had leaders just not coined until Herbert Spence called it that.

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Observer wrote:I would like

Observer wrote:

I would like to clarify. I am trying to see if there is a correlation. I agree with you to a point. There may not be. [...]

You seem to suggest there ought to be a correlation.

Observer wrote:

I guess to make the question more simple I could say this:

Why do atheists tend to lean left and support social programs?

Why do Christians tend to lean right and not support social programs?

The first question hinges on ignoring that Social Darwinism is just a competing ideology, and that it's not viewed as a logical or natural consequence of understanding a scientific theory. There's no seeming contradiction to interrogate unless you suppose that atheists should subscribe to it but don't. But that 'should' doesn't follow, for reasons outlined.

I don't know the answer to the second question, other than to say that people tend to hold competing ideologies and behaviors. That is, they're hypocrites.


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My thoughts on this

Observer wrote:

Any thoughts and why you see this phenomenon in our culture? Why do the creationists pursue Social Darwinism and the Atheists pursue a system that helps the weakest in society?

 

 I think I am less of a Social Darwinist than I was while I was in my younger years. I am just as much of an atheist (I think), but I think that the struggle that I had to endure to get where I am today tempered with my belief that it might be gone tomorrow has softened me up quite a bit. I'm not sure that there exists a correlation between atheism and anti Social Darwinism but, I speak for myself. I think as an atheist I'm of the opinion that you have to make things happen for yourself, but at the same time I understand that I was able to get somewhere because of the social consciosuness of our society, even though I had to REALLY SEARCH for it sometimes. However, the proof is in the puddin' so so speak.  I can only assume that my story is pretty much the same as other atheists, who,  in many cases, have had difficult struggles to get where they are today and are thankful for what they were provided. Maybe all that's just drivel, I dunno. 

 

In regard to the opposite view, it's the church that is supposed to take care of the poor, not the government. And the good (read as bad if your sarcasm indicator is off) thing is that if the government doesn't do it, they can do it and preach all their psychobabble bullshit to people at their lowest point.... when they are begging for help. Does the distain for religion just drip off my fangs or what? 

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Let me say more about social

Let me say more about social darwinism.  The idea that human society evolves is pretty ludicrous on several levels.  First, there is no unit of social heredity analogous to the gene.  Second, we have a much more parsimonious model of the progression of human society based on population density and resource availability.  If you're interested, you can read about it in this book:

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright (Paperback - Jan 9, 2001)   Unfortunately, the things that are most wrong about social evolution are the ones that sound the most promising.  The idea that society necessarily improves because of evolution towards "better" societies is just flat wrong.  Society can advance as easily as it can regress.  Just open any history book to see the truth of this.  

In fact, the belief that human society is destined to get better is wrong by analogy as well.  Evolution isn't an upward progression towards perfection.  It's a treadmill.  Humans aren't "better" than other animals, nor are any other animals "better" than us.  We are smarter than lions, but we suck at killing antelope with our fingernails and teeth.  Hell, we can't even catch one of the damn things!  Evolution is nothing more than adaptation to current conditions.

 

I also want to say a little bit more about why atheists tend to lean left more than theists.  First, this is not representative of atheism so much as it is a reflection on the current state of affairs in America.   In a country that was far left, atheists might well tend to be more conservative.

However, it's worth pointing out that atheists also tend NOT to be as authoritarian as theists.  This phenomenon is explained and thoroughly documented in this book:

The Authoritarian Specter by Robert Altemeyer (Hardcover - Nov 15, 1996)   This book should be required reading for every American, by the way.  Anyway, authoritarians tend strongly towards conservativism in politics.  I'm not going to guess which is the chicken and which is the egg, but authoritarianism, theism, and conservativism go together like peas in pods.   One more thing.  Rational materialism, which is a very common philosophy for atheists, recognizes the relativity of terms like good and evil.  Liberalism tends to allow and encourage diversity. Theism, which is very common for conservatives, tends to view the world in black and white more than shades of gray.  Conservativism tends to discourage and penalize diversity, instead striving for uniformity.  

 

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When you say atheists tend

When you say atheists tend to lean left, it depends on what issues. I am NOT for everything being socialized. I am for the free market. I am socially liberal, but NOT BY ANY MEANS, politically correct.

From a human standpoint I look at every issue as an empathy issue. If I want more, I know the other guy may want more, so in that sense I don't think I have the right to stop others from going for more. At the same time I am also against hordingand abuse, be it from a rich mega coorperation or a monochromatic dictator.

As far as speech is concerned, I am all for bitching |I know I like to bicth, but also understand TIME PLACE AND CONTEXT. People both on the left and right confuse "it probibly wouldn't be wise to say that in this context" as an outright ban.

For example, when we say that "In God We Trust" should not be on the money, we are not suggesting that government use guns to shut down churches. We are simply saying that the money is a representation of all who live in this country, and as such, it should remain neutral.

So to say that all atheists are the same, I know that is not what you are saying. But all humans, even when under the same "label" can demonstrate diversity.

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Overthinking the subject?

Obviously, as the conservative christian set is comprised of almost all old white people in this country(but certainly not exclusively), they would be in favor of some social programs such as social security or medicaid.  When you speak of the social programs that conservatives are NOT in favor of, you're generally speaking of programs that would be primarily utilized by poor minorities.  Atheists I would guess make up a younger, less affluent demographic(complete specualtion on my part, admittedly) in this country.  Younger people are far more tolerant of other races than people of older generations, and as they may be as a whole worse off financially, the idea of needing a program like welfare may hit closer to home.

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Thanks to all who responded

Thanks to all who responded and critiqued. Hambydammit thanks for the links.