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Activism, Politics, Religion

Denialism and the Rise of Extremism

Humans are very good at denialism.  We all do it to some degree or another.  And in fact, it’s not always a bad thing.  Contrary to popular belief, depression isn’t always a sign that a person has an unrealistic view of the world.  It’s often the opposite.  We need a certain amount of healthy delusion to believe we have a chance of being the homerun champ, or getting the girl of our dreams, or winning at poker.  Statistically speaking, for practically every one of us, the odds are stacked against us in most things we try to accomplish.

So denialism is good — in the proper context.  But it also has a dirty underbelly.  Every mother knows that her child never does the things those other boys and girls do.  And just last week, a mother whose child has done far worse than other children proved the point.  David Mabus, internet loony and originator of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of verifiable death threats, is finally being investigated.  And what did his mother have to say about it?

Mabus’ mother defended his actions saying that she does not interfere with what he does because “he wouldn’t hurt a fly” and “it’s [his behaviour] his job for what he believes” [paraphrased, translated from French].  (LINK)

On a grander scale, denialism extends to beliefs about one’s own peers.  When faced with incontrovertible proof that many, many Christians are truly hate-filled, what’s the most common response?  “Oh… that’s just a few loonies.  Most Christians are really very good, very loving, very compassionate people who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”  When further pressed by theevidence that there are many, many Christians who would most definitely hurt people, the denial becomes even more profound.

The fact is, nobody wants to believe their world is going to a dark place.  But the world does go to dark places with startling regularity.  And the U.S. is far from immune.  We are not a shining beacon of democratic hope and freedom for the rest of the world.  We are the nation that tortures detainees for months and even years.  We are the nation that allows millions to go bankrupt from expenses for basic medical care.  We are the nation that invades other nations unilaterally.  We are the only nation NOT to sign international treaties for human rights.  We are the world’s most gluttonous consumers of… everything.  We are ruled by a cabal of brobdingnagian corporations and ultra-rich individuals.

We are already in a very, very bad place.




2 thoughts on “Denialism and the Rise of Extremism

  1. Since, I seem to fail at posting comments on examiner, I’ll cross post here too.

    For me it’s not denialism, it’s “suspend due to lack of evidence”…errr ism.

    Let me clarify that I’m not denying that there are hateful Christians out there, but to claim there are a majority, I just don’t see it.

    My skepticism comes from several angles.

    One is empirical. I posted it before, but it was a survey where a majority of Christians support seperation of church and state. The only objections I’ve seen to surveys like that is “No True Scotsman” or “You should have just surveyed the hateful ones” from people who never took a stats course.

    Empirical trumphs anecdotal every time.

    Second is a lack of evidence. Your article about hateful Christians only posted six and there are millions of Christians out there. I can point to hateful comments from atheists, some even on examiner, and that wouldn’t mean a thing except that that indivdual atheist is a douche. I can’t expand that to all atheists.

    You’ll notice when I speak out against the atheist movement I do my best to avoid sweeping generalizations.

    Third is from when I was a Christian interacting with the atheist movement. I still see it. No matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough. One of my atheist co-workers was talking to a Christian one, about how he does nothing while religious extremists cause choas. The Christian is now deployed to Afghanistan and the atheist is still quoting Chris Hitchens and still thinks he’s doing more.

    With that said, I agree 100% that we should do something about hateful Christians like Mabus [who isn’t a TRUE Canadian, he’s from Quebec] I say this because I know people will think I’m saying we should sit around and do nothing. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. [even though even with this disclaimer people will still think that, but I won’t generalize to the entire atheist movement ;).

    Posted by Alison | August 16, 2011, 7:23 pm
  2. Rachel Maddow did a great report on Perry’s links to the New Apostolic Reformation:

    We are in a very, very bad place.

    Posted by Ian | August 17, 2011, 7:43 pm

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