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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Trumping the culture of dependency

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We, as a country, have descended so far into a “nanny state” that I have my doubts that even the most Conservative president could resolve our dependency problem without all of us feeling a lot of pain — but with that pain, if it comes, will come personal growth and an increased sense of control over our own lives. To me those ‘rewards’ sound like they are worth the price (the pain) but I seriously doubt the stoicism of the masses.

There will be a lot of whining when the trough is no longer full; whining from those who have been taught over many years that they are helpless without the government in control of their lives and fortunes. These same ‘helpless’ citizens have also been taught by Liberal teachers and politicians that they have a “right” to many of the government paid benefits they enjoy; it will be hard for many when they learn they are wrong.

[NOTE: Social Security and pension payments are NOT benefits, they are repayments of money placed in trust.]

If the government is not dramatically downsized and that “pain” is not felt by all Americans, the United States will eventually loose it’s status as a sovereign nation when those who own our debt come to collect.

No, neither this culture of dependency nor the irresponsible management of government is solely the result of the Obama presidency, although he contributed more than any president since FDR; it has been growing over the decades through the concerted efforts of politicians who lost sight of some basics:

Wealth and well-being are the bi products of creativity and risk; the wealthiest Americans are the ones who pay most taxes, create most jobs and give the most to charities that help the truly helpless;

The profit motive is what made this country as strong and as productive as it is. When private enterprise is over regulated and/or overtaxed, threatening and diminishing profits, that business will move to an environment that allows it to thrive. The more businesses that follow this ‘path of least resistance’ the greater unemployment will grow;

Illegal means illegal! American citizens and those here legally are the ONLY ones who should be entitled to benefit from the taxes we pay to government entities and the only ones who should benefit from employment in the United States;

This may all sound very uncharitable but we all have to understand that the government has been overspending and over controlling for many decades as it grew to it’s currently outrageous size and we have to admit that the same rules MUST apply to a government budget as they do to a household budget: you only go into a debt situation if you have a reasonable expectation of being able to pay that debt.

It looks very much like Donald Trump may decide to run for president in 2012 and, at least in my opinion, a President Trump may be exactly what this country needs after four traumatic years of an unabashed socialist agenda feeding a now morbidly obese Federal Government. Trump is a man who sees a job and gets it done. If given a cooperative and equally dedicated congress he will get the job done. Right now, at this time in our country’s history, he appears to me to be our best bet.

Wikileaks: A Destructive Force

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It’s hard to know what to say about an organization like Wikileaks. On one hand, publishing classified information must certainly be illegal, but on the other hand, exposing illegal activity certainly shouldn’t be illegal; except, of course, when it puts people (the “good guys”) in danger.

Right now, Wikileaks, in the name of journalism, focuses on nothing; it is throwing everything out there into the public domain, everything from classified government documents to private messages sent between private parties.

Is this really “journalism”?

Perhaps in today’s wired world it can be considered at least “new journalism” but it must also be recognized as “dirty journalism,” journalism devoid of ethics or standards.

When it publishes, as it has, security procedures used at the United Nations and elsewhere, it potentially puts many people in danger in today’s terrorist infested world. When it publishes the tens of thousands of pager messages sent between friends and family on September 11, 2001, without permission from the parties involved, as it has, it steps way beyond any conceivable ethical journalistic standards.

Perhaps “junk journalism” would be the best descriptor.

Another consideration, and the one that concerns me the most, is the future of the Internet! The U.S. government is very upset! You can bet your 401K that the end result of Wikilinks will be new controls on the Internet, more government involvement in Internet operations and perhaps even laws that can punish bloggers (most of whom, who seem to consider themselves journalists) for what they publish in their blogs.

I’m talking about censorship (or whatever they’ll choose to call it); we’ve witnessed it recently: a determined administration will do whatever the hell it wants without regard to public opinion.

No, Wikileaks is certainly not a positive presence in either the world of journalism or the World Wide Web.

Certainly, just my opinion!

Petition: Stopping Obamacare

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Obamacare

So far, nearly three-quarters of a million people have signed an online petition designed to let our congress know that they (we) don’t want a government controlled/government run healthcare system.

We have seen what happens to EVERY government social program (e.g., social security): they go broke because the congress has no idea what the words “trust fund” mean. We have seen and heard the horror stories created by the National Healthcare systems in Canada and Britain we don’t need to emulate systems like that; but now our legislators are proposing a system that will do just that; it will force insurance (THEIR insurance) down our throats, increase everyone’s financial burden, put thousands of people in hospice-care situations and, in general, take away control of our own healthcare decisions.

Our current healthcare system IS NOT BROKE and doesn’t need to be trashed and replaced. The current system has some problems — no doubt about that — but most of the problems have either been caused by the U.S. government’s meddling and/or could easily be fixed with some sensible legislation.

The online petition is at http://freeourhealthcarenow.com/. It specifies some basics for any healthcare legislation:

  • Choice: The right of individuals to choose their own doctor and health insurance provider based on their own individual and family needs.
  • Access: Patient-centered, not government-centered healthcare.
  • Fairness: Fair taxation (and tax breaks) for individuals who buy their own insurance.
  • Responsibility: Individual control over healthcare decisions and portability of insurance.

This petition, admittedly, does not say everything we as individuals want to say but it sends a sure signal to Congress that we don’t want Canadian or British healthcare — we want healthcare that is controlled by a patient and his or her physician.

If we can get congress to (1) trash that abominable, bureaucratic mess that is working its way through the legislature, (2) start listening to their constituents instead of the Obama-controlled robots that are in charge, and (3) understand that the government is the real problem, we might get some intelligent healthcare reform.

Please sign the petition! Go to: http://freeourhealthcarenow.com/.