Friday, April 04, 2008

Why Christians Are More Open Minded Than Leftists

A couple of my favorite socially liberal otherwise moderate bloggers, Ann Althouse and Rachel Lucas, have mentioned that the Left is always more vicious than the right. In their experience, conservatives are far more open-minded and "liberal" than their supposedly liberal counterparts. There are reasons for this and the reasons are rooted in the philosophy and belief systems of the leftists and the right-wingers. So, I thought it would be interesting to explore them.

Leftists believe, fundamentally, in the preeminence of men. Namely, the preeminence of themselves. If God is even in the picture, He is there as an abstract entity not as a being whose ideals are meant for today. Therefore, the ideals must be created by men. This is a tremendous amount of pressure. SomeONE has to be right. And so, a lot of blood gets sweated in an attempt to find the "right" way. The right way must be rational and make sense to them. And anyone who doesn't believe like the Leftist has after years and years of refinement, must be a total moron. Anyone who disagrees is not just irrational and stupid, he is also evil, because this person is disagreeing not with a an idea but a whole, fully thought out ideology.

Because Leftists essentially create their own religion, made up of their own rules, they tend to dislike anyone who deviates from the rules. In contrast, a Christian, knows that everyone falls short of God's rules. They might be the church lady, but actually there's usually only one row of church ladies. More likely, they're the average pew-sitters who are fully aware of how they, themselves, fall short. Throwing stones at someone who disagrees seems silly. Most Christians have had a spiritual notion finally sink in years, even decades, after first learning the principle. Most Christians see their own failings when looking at the Jesus blueprint. Most Christians know that they are just stumbling along like everyone else. Judge not lest ye be judged, and what have you.

Now, here's where I've seen the church people get aggressive: When someone claims to be religious and sets himself up as a spiritual leader of sorts, he can tend to be judged more harshly. The Anchoress has received hate mail from those on the right who expect more of her because she's a good Catholic. I think this has the same roots as the Leftist hate towards moderates or those who don't 100% see things purely. It is an absolutism that comes from having complete and utter faith in the self's ability to identify "truth". This perspective is annoying whether it's coming from a Leftist or a right winger.

Beyond the "we all fall short" dogma most Christians adhere to, there's also a strong belief in free will. People have to answer for themselves on judgment day and no one else. Everyone has to choose in their own time. Add to this the notion that most Christians believe that God has a plan for everyone. Do I need to go to some blogger or friend's house and convince them of anything? Not really. God takes care of those things. Christians have faith that God's in charge.

Contrast that with the screaming Left. Wouldn't you be screaming hysterically, though, if you thought the outcome of the entire universe was all on you? That tends to make every policy decision seem like life and death. Any person who doesn't see the light is deluded and must be converted, NOW, because, LIFE IS SHORT! We could all die by Global Warming or we could harm animals by wearing fur or we could do any number of Very Bad Things and must be stopped!

Faith tempers a person's reactions, or it can. Faith encourages civility. Faith reinforces free will. Faith gives a person an alternative when things seem like all is lost. In short, people of faith, Christians particularly, can have a sense of humor. They can relax because it's not all on them. They can be content doing their part knowing that should they fail, someone else will come to finish it. Faith makes for happier, more generous people. Why be condemning? Who knows God's plans?

And these are some reasons that Christians and conservatives can be kind to those who might not believe like them while Leftists leave mean messages, attack people personally and act like looney tunes when protesting. It's life and death to them. No, it's not. We're just all little blips on the surface of the universe. Leftists need to get some perspective. They need to get Jesus. They'd have more fun. Oh, and they'd be nicer, too.


Anonymous said...

I am assuming that all critical comments (Anchoress?)from Christians {Catholics} on the right aren't from people who see themselves as having the "self{s}ability to identify truth." Some actually are referring to what they believe is God's Church identified as truth and are zealous in protecting that truth from the inovators and enthusiasts who tend to want to make their own church (spin) out of it.
If criticism be the evil then the founder of the Catholic Church is the one to blame the most. Jesus had no problem with criticism and speaking the unwelcome truth.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Whoa, now. Who said criticism is the problem? I specifically noted that "hate mail" and personal vicious attacks are the problem, not criticism. The Anchoress welcomes civilized debate and even stiff criticism. Her posts on immigration demonstrate that. I have sharply criticized her ideas, even, and consider her to be a friend. It's the quality of attacks that's the problem.

Going after a person's career, intelligence, looks, etc. does not constitute criticism. It's just a personal attack. And that happens far too often.

jeff_from_mpls said...

"It is an absolutism that comes from having complete and utter faith in the self's ability to identify "truth". This perspective is annoying whether it's coming from a Leftist or a right winger."

I take issue with three aspects of your claim.

First, the human intellect does have the ability to identify truth. Your taking offense to this proposal would surprise and disappoint Aristotle, Plato, William F. Buckley, and lots of other very smart people.

Second, the perspective which you said you find annoying, that the human intellect has the ability to identify truth, is not commonly found among educated right wingers as you seem to imply. The educated righties I know tend to be critical realists, which means we believe there is a truth, and that it can be known -- now here comes the nuance -- but only with great effort. In contrast, self-proclaimed educated leftists tend to propagate a post-modernist doctrine which denies our ability to grasp truth. Indeed, they deny the validity of the concept of truth itself, preferring class-warfare to settle things.

Finally, I ask you not to place the word truth in scare-quotes. It's no more appropriate than referring sarcastically to "President" Bush, or to the "terrorist attacks" of 9-11. I assure you, Mr. Bush is the President, the attacks of 9-11 were committed by terrorists, and there is a truth.

Don't get me wrong, I think you're a great writer with a great blog. I just cringe when anyone smacks around or denigrates the idea of truth.

Birdzilla said...

Leftists are so one seded and are not open minded and they opose those want want to object to their position

Melissa Clouthier said...


I do not buy into post-modernism clap-trap. I am NOT saying that truth is unknowable. I am saying that no one knows ALL the truth. And the righties that I know tend to be critical realists, as well. That was the overall point of the post.

In the case of the Anchoress, I was acknowledging that Christians can also be guilty of misusing their dogma and impugning a person's character rather than sticking to the argument.

I want to make this clear: There IS objective truth. Humans, though, have limited vision and do not see all things. Therefore, a little humility is in order.

Anonymous said...

Identifying truth is the basis on which Biblical Christianity is based. Don't judge lest ye be judged is the most misunderstood quote from scripture. The Bible is full of messages telling us to judge people's actions. Bad company corrupts good morals. We are not to be hypocrits i.e. condemning behavior and then doing the same thing.

When people preach destructive, immoral behavior they should be confronted and judged. The question is "what is the truth".

To see how bankrupt liberals are look at how they promote the destructive feminist welfare state. Destroy the family and create generation after generation of unskilled, uneducated poverty sticken, rednecks. Yet liberals continue to promote it.

This is evil, yet liberals don't care because their ideology says this is the way.

Humanism has murdered more people in the 20th century than all the holy wars for the last 3000 years.

Anonymous said...

I got the impression from your blog that you feel, a person without Christianity or God in their life, cannot be kind to others who might not believe like them. By stating that a person needs your god or Jesus in their life in order to be "nice" seems to me a tad bit delusional. I am a very nice, open-minded non-Christian and I am not a leftist.

Terri Wagner said...

Thanks. I hadn't really seen it in this light, I just wondered about the left's dogged dogma. I see now why Christianity is a threat and why they get foam-mouthed. You're right, I probably would too.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Anon 11:01,

I'm not saying that about nice non-Christians. I'm saying that Leftists who substitute their own ideology for religion act as morally superior and dogmatic as they accuse Christians of doing. Ironically, their language and beliefs are framed in religious terms.

The average non-churched American is often unconsciously driven my a Judeo-Christian ethic--even if they're not church-going or Jesus-believing folk.

For the Leftists, all I'm saying is that they'd be better off trusting God and getting Jesus than elevating their own dogma. That puts them into the role of enforcer and tends to make them insufferable and lacking mercy.

coffee260 said...

Dr. Coulthier--(Loved your post)

Notice the offensiveness with which we Christians defend what we believe to be absolute truth? We are a rowdy bunch when it comes to our truths. Sometimes down right mean. The reason for this, I believe, is because Christians see the assault on absolute truth coming from all direction. And we get just a little jumpy.

I'm a Christian who believes the bible is absolutely true. Yes, even Genesis. I have faith in it's accuracy for many different reasons and believe it to be absolutely true. But I can't prove it. Neither can anybody else. What gives me comfort is the wisdom and simple logic within it's teaching.

I don't need empirical evidence that Jonah spent three days inside the belly of a whale. (Which, by the way, can neither be proven or dis-proven. But is it plausible?) But some Christians do believe that without empirical evidence some people will not accept Jesus. And that truth is under assault only makes their/our job that much hard.

It's the wisdom within the stories of the bible that makes it true for me. I know that man, absent God, could never invent such divine wisdom.

I think C.S. Lewis wrote that the reason Christianity has to be true is because it's too logical for man to invent. And that's how I see the biblical truths.

I think you nailed it when you wrote, "Christians have faith that God's in charge." I think that does get lost in some Christians from time to time.

Dr. Feelgood said...

I've always suspected that leftists were mainly victims of their own corpulent self-importance. It's an intuitive conclusion when you're observing leftist behavior. You're also absolutely correct that other people groups who commit similar bad behavior are operating from the same inflated ego.

[sarcasm] It really is a burden being the only person who is right all the time. [/sarcasm]

What tremendous insight you have to be able to give words to this idea I've struggled to quantify. I would add that liberal anger also has roots in insecurity, since challenging their deeply held ideologies rocks the very core of their tenuously-held identities. Examples abound--just look at the multiplicity of ready-made identity groups (complete with labels) on the left: gay, womyn, trans-gendered, every imaginable form of dash-Americans, etc. You can be "somebody" without ever having to develop character or earn merit.

Conservatives want credit for what they do, liberals are entitled to glory for who they are. I think that's the most fundamental difference between the two mindsets.

posterior_sling said...

2 Corinthians 6
"16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
Now it is just a question of belief, isn't it? I definitely see the Scripture flowing with qualifiers and direction. How is it we wish to compare on any other basis?

Echo said...

Hi there! I found my way here through Conservapedia and found your idea of leftists a bit puzzling. I'm left-leaning myself, and I didn't realize that arrogance and anger came with the job =P

Besides, atheism (which I suppose is what you're referring to) isn't in the definition of 'leftist' - political and religious views are distinct, even if they happen to crisscross a lot.

There are bad apples in every bunch (yes, even Christians!), and it'd be nice if you didn't paint us all with a broad brush. Thanks for your time =)