Sunday, February 14, 2010

Conservative Views Shaped By Fear

           Nicholas Kristof
In an Op-ed piece published February 13, 2010 in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof delves into research that indicates conservatives are more fearful than liberals, that spankers are more fearful than parents that choose time-out, and hence those that support the National Rifle Association are more skittish than those in favor of control.  How wonderful.

Conservative Christians who like to paint God as judgmental may do so because they fear God more easily than those who see God as love. Fear makes conservative Christians think that God is after them.  If God is after them who are trying so hard to follow his rules, how much more must God be after those who interpret God's rules less dogmatically.

Conservative Christians see interpreting the Bible in anyway, but literally (dictated by God) as a chink in their wall of belief.  Conservatives are hard-wired to be afraid that their whole system of belief could collapse at any moment.  More liberal Christians are hard wired to be more laid-back. Liberals understand that the Bible was written by fallible human beings and must be viewed through the lens of history. No wonder there is conflict.

Liberals need to deal with conservatives as fearful children.  Conservatives must be convinced that those with other views can keep them safe.  The logic of an argument does not matter.  The argument must instead convince the conservatives that its goal is safety.

Photo by Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

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