Bad religion as a source of anti-social sentiment

Thanksgiving-ebt Ongoing Congressional fight to exclude food stamps program from the Farmer’s Bill gave rise to the food stamps/welfare programs discussions. Though food stamp apologetic articles suffer from the careful avoidance of stepping on somebodies toes and commitment not to look at the root cause of the problem.

For example the article mentioned above says: “But of course that doesn’t stop many conservatives who think the food stamp program should be abolished from believing that people who are poor enough to receive food stamps and other benefits are somehow morally depraved. They look at being poor as a personal shortcoming.”

“Somehow morally deprived” – why we dance around one simple thing that this view does not incidentally come to some people and they surprisingly happen to be (religious) conservatives. Have you ever associated yourself with the Pilgrims, and viewed the Massachusetts Bay colony as a prototype of our country? That these Puritan colonists brought the spirit of Freedom and Liberty and Toleration from the religious oppression in England and other Europe? Considering ubiquitous Thanksgiving stories, most likely – yes.

However, did you ask yourself what they were persecuted for in England, and why they were hunting witches at the very end of the XVII century?

The answer is that Puritans were England’s Calvinists, and Calvinism has a doctrine of the predetermined salvation. I.e. only those who were chosen by God (at the beginning of time) can be redeemed, while all others, doesn’t mater what they do and how hard they try, are doomed. There is, though, another Calvinist concept of the life-time reward. If one follows particular ethic rules he will be given a sign of his chosen status – earthly wealth.

Now you can easily see why any type of wealth distribution is not only wrong in Calvinist’s eyes, it’s literally evil. You take wealth from the God’s chosen people and give it to the doomed, Evil people. You work against God’s will as Satan’s agent.

Evangelical movements, which rose as an “democratic” off-shoot of the Calvinism, primarily got rid of the predetermined soteriology and eased requirements to the behavioral ethics, but retained the wealth as the life-time reward ideas.
And that has a huge impact on the religious-political connections.

One could expect that the religion and politics are completely orthogonal to each other, that we can find about 50/50 split in political sympathies in every religious group. Not so, says the PEW research on the religious affiliation of voters. We have a shockingly strong, for a social phenomena (30/70 or even 20/80%), correlation between the Republican vote and radical Protestant affiliation.

There are no bad religions, you say? But, may be there are? And guess what, may be it’s not even Islam…

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