Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is it because I is Bright?

Thanks to Andrew, it occurs to me that I am among the only remaining groups that a majority of Americans say they would not vote for in a presidential election.

Don't worry folks: we shall overcome.


Matt M said...

"The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events."
- JK Galbraith,

As more and more people become familiar with atheism they'll begin to see it as less and less of a "threat". I think that's what's happened in Europe - few people care whether you're an atheist because they know too many of them for it to really be an issue. The same will happen in the US eventually.

J. Carter Wood said...

Hi Matt.

I'd like to think that you're right, and there are times that I do think that.

On the other hand, American history is full of recurrent waves of religious revivalness, and I believe that one of these took off just about the time I was in middle-school (so the early 1980s). For a couple of decades before _that_ I think there was a notion that went by the grand moniker of The Secularisation Thesis (or something) which suggested we'd all just sort of automatically get less God fearin' as science and knowledge and progress improved.

'Twasn't so, I fear.

Secondly, judging by some of the blog-reactions that Christians -- or Muslims for that matter -- have with secular society (I know that blogs are not necessarily a random sample of the real world, but bear with me) it doesn't appear that they necessarily find more _understanding_ as a result of that encounter.

Your theory is partly based on the idea that the more people get to know each other, the more they learn to overcome their differences.

This is, I believe, sometimes true.

But not always. And there are circumstances -- though this is more anecdotal and personal than based on statistical studies -- where I think getting to know other groups better makes us _less_ willing to accommodate them.

Or _them_ less willing to accommodate us.

I can't say, for example, that spending more time with Very Religious People has broken down any of the distance that I feel separates me from them. In fact, it has sometimes worked out in the opposite direction. (Depends on the person, obviously.)

Not that I think you're necessarily wrong. And I do tend to agree with the idea that most of history has to do with blind historical processes that are beyond any particular person or ideology's control. So there we might agree.

Thanks, as ever.