The Psychology of the “Fair-Weather” Believer

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Nigel Barber is an author, blogger and biopsychologist . . . wait a minute, what’s a biopsychologist? I looked it up and apparently it’s a real branch of psychology; it is: “The branch of psychology that studies the biological foundations of behavior, emotions, and mental processes,” i.e., how what’s happening in your life effects your thinking and your actions.

Nigel Barber has published an article in the “Huff Post” blogs titled: “Big Government Kills Religion.” I found this title particularly interesting because I’ve argued for years that Religion is the poison pill that has destroyed fair, equitable and rational government, but I had never really considered the effect of government on religion.

Mr Barber proves his thesis pretty well by citing statistics that show that, in his words:

“It seems that people turn to religion as a salve for the difficulties and uncertainties of their lives. In an earlier study of 137 countries, I found that belief in God was higher in countries with a heavy load of infectious diseases, making life difficult and uncertain. Moreover, fewer people believed in God in wealthy and well-educated countries where life is easier. Countries with a more equal distribution of income – and hence less social problems had more atheists. Atheism was higher for countries with a well-developed welfare state (as indexed by high taxation rates). [see *NOTE].

Assuming that Mr. Barber’s thesis: “Big Government Kills Religion” is 100% accurate what does that tell you about religious people. It is more of an indictment of religion than it is of government (large or small). It suggests to me that people use religion as a “crutch” not as a firm, honest belief. To them, the existence of their God, their religious texts and their belief in an afterlife are just medicine to see them through the “sick” times; but when ‘the “patient” is “well,” the “medicine” sits on the shelf over the bathroom sink, just as the ‘religious text’ sits in a drawer; until, that is, it is needed again at the moments just before death.

*NOTE: Mr. Barber, tends to prove his ignorance of Atheism with statements like this: “Countries with a more equal distribution of income – and hence less social problems had more atheists.” If anyone were to think about it, they would realize that social problems or the existence or non-existence of a welfare state have very little to do with true Atheists; these things might, however, effect how much supposed ‘believers’ bother to embrace their religion. People who go to church and pray during the hard times and forget religion during the good times are NOT Atheists, they are “fair-weather believers.”.

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Obama’s ‘Sequestaria’

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President Obama has assembled his troops to whip up a hysteria over the upcoming budget sequester. If you can manage to translate all the ‘financialese’ surrounding this issue you will understand why President Obama, who is the actual ‘father’ of this sequester, is now so against it.

The sequester, if the Republican Congress does not ‘wuss out,’ will accomplish “some” of what politicians with economic savvy have been trying to accomplish since President Obama took office: it will somewhat reduce the size of government and to some extent reduce spending. In spite of what you have been hearing from the “Obama Media,” the military will not be crippled (perhaps handicapped but not crippled) and the country will not go into a full recession.

The following points were made in an article in Human Events, written by financial guru Lawrence Kudlow:

The $85 billion so-called spending cut is actually a cut in budget authority, not budget outlays. “According to the CBO, budget outlays will come down by $44 billion.” [The main point is the amount of money the government is ‘allowed’ to spend (their budget authority) is being reduced.] There is a reduction in the budget outlay (the amount is is currently being spent) but “that $44 billion outlay reduction is only 1.25 percent of the $3.6 trillion government budget.

“And please remember [Kudlow points out] that these so-called cuts come off a rising budget baseline in most cases. So the sequester would slow the growth of spending. They’re not real cuts in the level of spending. (Not that a level reduction is a bad idea.)”

“Looking at the sequester in this light,” Kudlow continues, “its clear that it won’t result in economic Armageddon. In fact, I’ll make the case that any spending relief is actually pro-growth. Thats right. When the government spending share of GDP declines, so does the true tax burden on the economy. As a result, more resources are left in the free-market private sector, which will promote real growth.”

We’ve been through four plus years of reckless spending by an administration that either has no clue about how the economy works or does not care; and a budget (Constitutionally mandated) has not passed the Democratic-controlled Senate in those four years. The country has been driven in the direction one man wanted to drive it and that one man apparently has no real regard for the nations econonomic health — his only often-stated concern is fairness; and his attempts at fairness have never been really fair to all Americans, only to the poorest. That may sound noble but it’s a sure way to destroy a country’s economic foundation; it is also self-serving; think about it: as the unemployment rate rises, more and more people are forced into that “poor” category and the president has a better argument for a larger and ever growing government.

The sequester probably (hopefully) will go into effect on March 1st. No doubt, it will bring lots of pain but it will be a healing and needed pain.

Make no mistake, however, even a harsh cutback will not set the country back on the correct course; in the end, the only thing that will set the country back on that course is getting someone with economic sense, a clear vision and a true respect for America in the Oval Office to replace President Barack Obama who displays none of those qualities.

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An excellent post . . . but, in my NEVER humble but always CONSIDERED opinion, there is one flaw.
Please understand, for the sake of intelligent discussion, whatever your personal/religious philosophy, that the framers of the Bill of Rights DID indeed “CREATE” rights that they sincerely BELIEVED were “Divine Rights.” No one, however, can speak with absolute authority on that subject! Religion and much of life is based on belief, not fact! It is our beliefs (religious, political, philosophical, moral, etc.) that guide us through our lives, they are all we have to maintain a sense of what life is all about. Even the most outspoken atheist has such beliefs.
When the author penned the paragraph: ” The Bill of Rights describes a set of individual rights and liberties which are not granted by government, but recognized as DIVINE rights given to use by our Creator. Because government never granted the rights in the first place, it has no authority to take them away.” he carefully stated that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are “recognized as DIVINE” when he should have, to be accurate, stated that these rights are: “RECOGNIZED as Divine.” It’s just a matter of emphasis. Emphasis has the power to deceive as well as inform.

Jaded Truth

(Natural News) Mike Adams (C),

There is a destructive, delusional meme spreading like a virus among many misguided Americans. It pushes the idea that government can pick and choose which rights codified in the Bill of Rights it wishes to recognize or discard on any given day.

This delusion is predicated on the concept that if a popular majority can be emotionally whipped into a frenzy over one particular right, then that right can simply be discarded and stricken from the Bill of Rights.

But no such power exists to discard any portion of the Bill of Rights, at least not without proper ratification by three-fourths of the fifty states. There is no such power found solely in the federal government. There is no such power placed solely in the executive branch, nor in Congress, nor in the White House.

The Bill of Rights describes a set of individual…

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Immigration Reform: My Thoughts

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I tend to obey the law and would greatly prefer it if everyone else did the same. Oh well; I can dream!

On the topic of Immigration Reform, a topic that (along with gun control) is dominating the talk on Capital Hill today I have very few thoughts that I have not expressed before in this blog. Unlike our Senators, Congressmen and all the members of the Executive Branch, I’m not out looking for votes among the legal immigrant population so I have the ability to speak freely.

While I would actually prefer that the U.S. rid itself of every illegal immigrant within it’s borders, I realize that is something that cannot happen. Why? Finding and deporting every illegal here would be a logistical nightmare and would probably be no less expensive than allowing them to stay.

Self Deportation is the Answer

I understand why, when the subject of “self deportation” came up in the last election it was ridiculed; it sounds “mean-spirited. Be that as it may, self deportation is not difficult, costs us little and will solve several a large problems for the US and it’s citizens: If we don’t allow anyone who is not in our country legally to become employed or to benefit from any form of public assistance (i.e, if we obey our own current laws) most illegals will leave rather than put up with the hardship and the certain knowledge that the hardship will continue. It may sound cruel to some but let’s remember that the definition of “illegal” has not changed since the first dictionary was published.

Alas! Reality sets in: There need not be exceptions to this self-deportation concept but, this is the U.S. and we as a people have become very soft-headed and warm hearted so there will be exceptions, up to and including the complete elimination of the concept of “self deportation.”

A compromise will be reached in Washington, probably this week, and far-left Liberals like Harry Reed have already “guaranteed” that it will be passed . . . without, of course, knowing any details. Typical! They did the same thing with the “ObamaCare” legislation.

Whatever it is that passes for Immigration Reform in the end will not be completely beneficial for the country — but it will be beneficial for certain political aspirations. In the end, however, it will make the situation for “we the people” worse. It will be a signal to others who want to come here that not only New Orleans but the entire U.S. can rightly be called the “Big Easy.” We will also be telling the world’s leaders (if any have not realized it already) that we are so weak and our politicians are so incompetent (and corrupt) that: we cannot make the hard decisions and that we will always seek compromise rather than just “man up” and do the right thing. That is a very dangerous thing to tell the leadership in certain countries.

It may not seem like the “right thing” to some (or maybe most) people but if we refuse to enforce our immigration laws we ourselves become lawbreakers; if we refuse to control our borders we lose our country to whoever wants to come in; if we refuse to protect our own citizens even from this controllable kind of ‘foreign invasion,’ we, as a country, lose our right to be called a sovereign nation.

References:

Fox News: Talks over immigration reform, guest worker program ramp up in Washington

Center for Immigration Studies: Costs of Immigration

Washington Post: Reid: Senate will pass immigration reform

The BSA Motto Should Be: “Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world”

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The headline on the current NBC News blog reads:

“‘Gravely distressed’: Religion looms large over Boy Scouts decision on gays.”

That decision is supposed to be announced in the middle of this week.

There is no real need to specify who is gravely distressed, everyone involved in the situation is stressed.

The churches who sponsor boy scout troops are distressed to imagine that the Boy Scouts will be forced to accept gay scouts and possibly even gay scout leaders. It’s pretty obvious why the religious groups would be distressed and, if gays are allowed in scouting, the religious organizations might be forced (by their membership) to stop sponsoring Boy Scout Troops or if not, they will certainly go into overtime praying to keep their kids on the “straight” and narrow.

That possibility plus the possibility that many parents of Boy Scouts may pull their kids out of scouting altogether and make a big “stink” in the press while they do it is certainly stressing out the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) leadership.

Then there are gay kids who just want to be Boy Scouts: go camping, have fun and learn all the skills that boy scouting teaches. They are distressed that the churches and the BSA are attempting to reinforce their status as “social outcasts” based on nothing more than an unreasoned fear of their sexual preferences.

The false assumption that underlies all this is that gay kids who go into scouting and gay scout leaders are predators and will try to molest and/or convert straight kids. It’s as simple as that! To say that will never happen in isolated instances is being as naive as those who think that all gay scouts will be happy and accepted and not be routinely taunted, bullied and brutalized by the good “Christian” scouts.

Many kids have been brought up (by their parents and by religious institutions) to be intolerant and have little respect for those who have different beliefs and values than they have. If this were not true school bullying would not be the epidemic that schools are being forced to spend time and money trying to control and many gay kids would still be alive. The churches that sponsor scout troops, even if they sincerely try, will not have a major impact on that unfortunate situation; but continuing to deny straight kids the option of normal socialization with gay kids not only exacerbates that situation, it reinforce myths, rumors and misleading religious teachings.

Maybe the BSA and the religious groups should look at this entire situation as a challenge rather that a distressing problem. If the leadership of the BSA is up to the challenge of developing better leaders, and if the pressure being put on BSA leaders by the church are minimized, it’s very possible that current boyscouts may learn to truly accept the fact that there are many different types of people and social beliefs in the world. Who knows, a boy who learns that, may well grow up to become a tolerant, open-minded individual with a better understanding of how life really works and how the world in general works. That type of person may no longer be welcomed into the strict, narrow-minded world of some religious organizations but, if they are not, it’s a win for society and a loss for those religions.

It is said that scouting builds character! The title of this blog entry is taken from a popular quote about character building by ‘Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe:’ “Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.”

In closing, let me emphasize that in America the BSA, as a private organization, will not be forced by the government to accept gay scouts — nor should they be. Scouting has been going on for many, many years without being all inclusive. Over the years, time, attitudes and public pressure have changed their outlook and methods. In the 1970s there was a Nudist Resort that sponsored small troops of boy and girl scouts. That would probably be unheard of in America in the 21st Century but times change and attitudes change — sometimes for the better.