What I am talking about are Christian Fundamentalists, particularly in the US. These are expressing views of and attitudes towards their fellow beings so outdated, their newest ideas seem to be 19th century. The same applies to ideas of how society is/ought to be. (They constantly mix up “is” and “ought”.) If they accept any result of social progress they are probably unaware of anything else existing before that.
Now, I got my ideas of what Christian Fundamentalists think from people criticising them. However, I assume their critics to at least try to do better themselves. This because they praise mainstream scientists for largely adhering to the rules the critics themselves try to follow. These include pointing out to each other if they make any mistakes. This is done without making each other into enemies. So I think they would at least try to avoid misquoting, taking quotes out of context or thoughtless mischaracterisation. Consequentially, I assume quotes from Christian Fundamentalists to be correct and not taken out of context. Similarly, I assume mentions of their opinions not to be entirely different from what these individuals have actually said. We are not talking spontaneous associations here.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell what someone really thinks. For example, a man might beat his family members for not doing exactly as he tells them. Say it is pointed out it makes them live in fear of him. Then he insists that he is “showing love”. Is he deliberately lying to get away with it? Or did hostile upbringing conditions make him radically misunderstand the concept of love? Some people seem to take it for granted everything they do is perceived as intended. To me this is very evidently not the case. This is an important reason why I become a utilitarian.
The reason I have not contacted any Christian Fundamentalist is fear it would lead to me being labelled evil over and over. That would be a so much worse version of all the shaming I got during my upbringing. A shaming which left me with a compulsion to tell others I could not help what I had been shamed for. I no longer feel this compulsion so often. But I am still oversensitive to the rhetoric of hate preachers.
I think about Christian Fundamentalism as a Venn diagram with more or less overlapping circles. Each circle represents an idea which makes no sense in light of the experience one would get from growing up as part of a Western society. Even if one don’t believe in any of those ideas one can still be considered a Christian Fundamentalist if one sincerely support their goal. Which is a totalitarian regime were impossible demands are placed on everyone other than themselves.
It is bad enough to show a slave-owner’s attitude towards one’s fellow beings. It is even worse to presuppose things about others and one’s position in society like the following ones:
1. Believing human rights to only apply to the group one identifies with. This corrupts the very concept of human rights to its opposite. The basic idea of human rights is applying rights to more than one of something. Otherwise, you could as well have an entire social class placing themselves above the law. Which appears to be what the individuals claiming this want instead.
2. Believing one’s own group to have legal monopoly on political power. This monopoly is treated as having been usurped in one’s lifetime. As far as I know nothing such has happed since American independence. The Founding Fathers thought of politics as something for male property owners. However, they never intended it to limit it members of a specific organisation or people of a specific opinion. (They did not even agree with each other on the later subject.) To create an illusion of one’s own group’s monopoly one has to experience something I can’t explain how it could occur. One would only have had reason to talk about the subject with those making it sound like one’s group was always in power. Then one would suddenly be confronted with people treating such monopoly as non-exist. Under what circumstances would something like that occur?
3. Taking it for granted everyone has the same religious beliefs as oneself. This in a country which never had a mandatory state religions in the first place. Still, everyone is presupposed to hold essentially the same religious beliefs as oneself. It can go so far as to assume belief in constant divine intervention to be more important to everyone than any ideas of physical reality. Not even members of the same local church have such virtually identical religious beliefs. If religion is such a large part of one’s life how can one entirely miss that?
4. Believing everyone to read out of the Bible essentially the same as oneself. Biblical literalism arose after the invention of the printing press in a doomed to fail attempt to coordinate Bible readings. I can understand people in the 16th century Europe could believe that to work. But in a society where everyone has the chance to learn to know others? How does one come to believe everyone to read out of the Bible virtually the same as oneself if they made no attempt to interpret?
5. Assuming others to be deeply unhappy just because they express a different opinion. This seems to require one’s entire circle of acquaintances during one’s upbringing to have the same authority. One they could not to any significant extent express disagreement with without breaking down. Does anything such occur outside destructive cults?
6. Accusing one’s opponents of having turned evil as if it would convince them. That might work for a violence-prone priest in front to a terrified eight-year-old. However, you should not try this on a fellow adult which neither consider you any authority nor is afraid of you. Apart from it being insolent it only convinces the person you hate him or her.
7. Believing one could gain supernatural ability to destroy by a literal deal with the Devil. This is what people were accused of during the Witch trials of 1400 – 1750. If that was real threat why did such trials stop? I think the rising standard of living resulted in less need for scrape-goats. After some time without any accusations the authorities stopped to take any further ones seriously.
Before anyone accuses me of anything I want to ask the following questions:
A. Why I am supposed to lie? Why would it not be humanly possible to misunderstand something?
B. Why I am supposed to be hateful? What in my writing on this subject would indicate hatred?
C. Why I am supposed to live in sin? What makes you believe opinions to equal habits?
I have an impairment in theory of mind meaning I have an increased risk of misunderstanding. Either I can miss what is not said outright. Or I can think someone means something more than is said which the person does not. Sometimes I get panic attacks when reading about extreme cruelty or even someone promoting it. Then I wonder if the they are doing the cruellest thing I can imagine in context. Yet I don’t take it for granted they are actually doing so.
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