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Fausnaught's avatar

Why are intellectuals hated by the Religious right in America?

Asked by Fausnaught (373 points ) March 19th, 2010

Conservative media have made no bones about their opposition to intellectualism and education and recently the Texas Board of Education dropped the great American Intellectual, Thomas Jefferson from their text books and replaced him with Protestant Reformation leader, John Calvin. Is this a growing trend or a lucky strike for evangelicals?

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33 Answers

CMaz's avatar

It is like this…
A child, when provided reason that they refuse to accept. Will kick and scream, as a last resort, before falling a sleep.

It is not they are hated. It is that they are making more and more sense. Contradicting the “Religious rights” way of thinking. Instead of applying the information to their situation. It is just easier to have a hissy fit.

silverfly's avatar

They’re not used to thinking, just accepting.

Lve's avatar

I remember reading an article a little while ago that said the more educated people are, the more likely they are to have a liberal world view. (can’t remember where I read this, will try to find link). If this is true, it means education will turn people away from the religious right. Therefore, it is in their interest to keep people uneducated

Edit: here’s the article I was talking about: http://chronicle.com/article/College-Makes-Students-More/64040/

philosopher's avatar

@ChazMaz
I agree.
LOL I simply laugh at their narrow mined stupidity.
The Romney’s and Bush’s will not even listen to Nancy Regan.
If the lack of research and cures affects their families? Will reality penetrate their narrow little Brains?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Calvin was also an intellectual. No need to drop Jefferson from the text though. And Evangelicals should realize that Jesus was quite the Liberal.

jfos's avatar

Leaving out my distaste for the far right in America, I think that this theory of yours is not party-specific. I think that intellectuals would be disliked (for lack of a better word) by any strong religious group.

CMaz's avatar

Intellectuals through out history, received most of their opposition from Religion.

Look at Darwin. He had to tip toe around the church. Otherwise we probably would not have heard about him.

Brian1946's avatar

For me this begs the following question: what was the religious right’s relationship with William F Buckley, Jr. (a conservative intellectual) after he denounced Robert W. Welch, Jr. and the John Birch Society; urged the GOP to purge itself of Welch’s influence; worked to remove anti-Semitism from the conservative movement; barred holders of those views from working for National Review; and supported creation of a national holiday for Martin Luther King.

bob_'s avatar

If I had a business that depended on intellectual property, I’d be pretty mad if you started telling people all about it.

Nullo's avatar

The intellectual elite hate the religious right, you see, and the RR is merely distancing itself from its aggressors.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because the religious right seems to be a group of warriors fighting their wars on drugs, on terror and also their war against science.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I think they are fighting against logic, reason and all factional information.
They are fascist, narrow minded reactionaries. They dispute facts and rational people.

Pandora's avatar

Has anyone ever considered that intellectuals are disliked by the public in general because many are known to have a superiority complex and feel it is their duty to tell others how they should think.

Actually if your views are right winged or left winged in politics or religion, you are always going to clash with society in general because most adopt a superiority complex and again want to tell every body how mainsteam society should think.

I say find an old fanatical church lady from the Bronx and put her up against an old science professor who is just as fanatical and see who emerges.
I’m laying 10 bucks on the old lady.

jfos's avatar

@Pandora I don’t think that you can blame it on a superiority complex. I am not doubting that some intellectuals have a superiority complex, inferiority complex, super inferior complex complex, or whatever else, but the majority most likely does not.

I think it is important to establish the line between an intellectual forcing his/her beliefs on a religious individual and an intellectual explaining his/her beliefs to an individual.

Nullo's avatar

@philosopher You know what world-class theologians use? Logic, reason, and facts. That’s Lewis, Spurgeon, Halley, Strong…
Research some before venting your bile on the interwebs.

The original fascists were, unless I am mistaken, of a more atheistic bent.

Pandora's avatar

—@jfos, Even on fluther I have seen evidence of self proclaimed intellectuals and right winged religious flutherites go head to head. But I have seen the same happen in politics as well. I know there are many intellectuals who don’t have a superiority complex but many are percieved to be and so anything they have to say will be met with contempt. And one of the first things I seen is how many times people write posts basically calling anyone with religous beliefs as being naive, ignorant or stupid. That instantly closes down any possiblity for a reasonable, respectful debate. The saying “It only takes one rotten apple to ruin the batch” holds true for anything and anyone.

laureth's avatar

@Pandora – Oftentimes, thinkers come up with the right answers. Then, they present the answers as “We researched this, and this is true information.” Some folks, though, resent being told what information is true, citing that all information is just opinion anyway and their opinion is just as good as anyone else’s. They see the injection of facts into a debate as being condescending and rude, and the fact-injecting intellectual as being wrong for doing so, no matter how good the information.

If someone is wrong a lot, there may be a fair number of attempts to share the right information. This seems to lead to a feeling that the intellectuals have a superiority complex, whether they really do or not. (This can also be seen in the dislike for people who are always trying to “save” you because they believe Jesus is the Right True One Way.) I suppose it’s annoying to be told that one is wrong so much, but what if one really is wrong? Is that the intellectuals’ collective fault? And if presenting correct information to groups that sorely need correct information is the same as “telling them how they should think,” well, bring it on.

As my mother in law used to say, “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up!” She used to say this in a mocking kind of way until she turned uber-Right. Now it’s become true of her own thinking.

Pandora's avatar

@laureth, I’ve seen intellectuals who can state the facts without being condensending or beligerent. However that is not always the case. A little respect for what people believe can go a long way. If someone were to have a religion that said the moon was fake and of course I believe it to exist, I would simply lay out the facts. They may have a loony religion but I don’t believe it my place to say your an idiot if in all other things they are not and otherwise quite sane. If it gives them comfort to believe in such a thing, then so be it. I’ve explained the facts and they can take it or leave it. I’m not going to beat them over the head till they concede that I am right. I would know I am right and will continue to believe it exist. Could care less if they believe me wrong.
I love your mothers in laws saying. LOL
Point is you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink. There are people who try to hold that horses’ head in the water till he either drown or drinks. Some are as stubburn as a mule and you can’t even get them to the water.
Another saying. “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

laureth's avatar

@Pandora – I agree with what you’re saying to some degree. However, I think people are often considered rude or condescending simply because they share facts in a neutral way – because that implies that the “moon is fake” person is wrong. I can take a certain amount of that as long as it doesn’t affect me directly, but sometimes these people feel moved to vote their conscience, and their conscience is informed by things that may not be true. My choices are then: 1. Inject truth and be thought rude and elite, or 2. Allow my health and welfare to be directly affected by these people without even trying to stand up against it. It’s ugly either way.

Even honey is considered rude if they’re an intellectual Vegan! ;)

mammal's avatar

A refusal to find the middle ground and the facile satisfaction of belonging to a particular camp seems to appeal to both sides, who become increasingly entrenched and stale and frustrated and jaded and bigoted. in very crude Hegelian terms the Thesis and Antithesis are yet to Synthesise if ever.

Pandora's avatar

@laureth There is a 3rd choice. Educate those who haven’t made up their minds yet. Yes, you are going to have your vegans but there will always be those who haven’t made up their minds yet one way or the other. I can no more make an intellectual or not intellectual athiest believe in God than I can make a intellectual religious zealot believe there is not a God. To attempt either is to waste my time. Time would be better spent if I were to appeal to people of like mind or people who are on the fence. I think we might’ve gone off subject a little. Appologies to Fausnaught

laureth's avatar

@Pandora – good point, and some of my debates with the ill-informed are aimed at informing the spectators more than the hopeless debatee. Point taken, and back to the subject at hand. :)

Judi's avatar

Truth is counter to their agenda.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

The big problem with this is that we line either party along a certain political stance, and neither party holds on very dearly to this stance. The GOP has very few real aligned Right-Wingers. Jefferson himself had very right winged views, hell a lot of what he stood for defined what the GOP started out as, now it’s all shit backwards.

The religious right however, are a special group I don’t seem to get. Despite being one once, I can’t understand how they can carry some of the torches they do.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Many people sneer at intelligence and not all are whatsoever religious.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think intellectuals are hated by the religious right because many of them have crossed the threshold from holding non-testable claims, to making factual claims that are provably wrong.

Most intellectuals hold that it’s good for people to have their own spiritual beliefs and actively encourage it, while also defending those who would have their rights to religious beliefs/expression trampled on. But when a religion makes a testable claim that is demonstrably false, it become acceptable to challenge this claim.

For example, Mormons believe that Native Americans are descendants of ancient Israelis. When we test the DNA of both groups we are certain that this claim is false. It’s fine if Mormons want to continue to believe what they want (they have the right to their own beliefs—I don’t believe you could find a single intellectual who would advocate thought police), but it’s not ok for them to try to alter the textbooks of everyone to accommodate their false ideas. Also, it’s unacceptable for them to challenge the entire basis of Science and try to actively undermine it’s authority simply because the facts are not on their side.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

If by Intellectuals we are referring to well educated people of above intelligence, who apply their advanced thinking and problem solving skills to advance the knowledge in their chosen fields, then nobody but the ignorant or those intimidated by those more capable than themselves should vilify intellectuals or allege that they are elitists.

Those whose “knowledge” is based on religious or political dogma rather than verifiable observations and logical inferences from these observations.

Typically, hatred is the knee-jerk response of the ignorant.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – I would say moving toward fascism or bordering on fascism. Fascism itself is even worse and there is a gap between most of the religious right and groups like the KKK or White Supremacists or other more extreme forms of hate groups.

@Pandora – I agree with you. Well-educated intellectuals displaying arrogance are no better than uneducated religious fanatics displaying arrogance. Mature intellectuals usually value virtues like humility, prudence, and self control.

@Nullo – You said that the original fascists were, unless mistaken, of a more atheistic bent. I’m not so sure about that. Some claim that fascism focuses on the spiritualist elements of Hegelianism. And most atheists are open minded in my opinion while fascists are very close minded, see related recent discussion about open versus closed-minded atheism here http://www.fluther.com/disc/77776/raising-children-can-explanations-for-the-existence-of-religions-explain/

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I see the anti research people as total fascist.
The Scientist facts prove them to be idiots. I could not care less what they think of me. I hope they reap what they sow.
If it were up to them people would still believe the Earth is flat.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – I disagree. Fascism is worse. Nazism (which is a form of fascism) is far worse. The anti research people do not systematically murder millions of Jews, homosexuals and busloads of patients with mental diseases. The anti research people do not climb on roof tops and pour canisters of Zyklon B through pipes.

The anti research people are still dangerous and we should not ignore this danger. We should do something about it, no doubt.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
The extremes you speak of are worse but; in the world of the anti research only the wealthy would live past forty. These hypocrites only believe in Science when it is to their benefit.
I no longer waste my time auguring with them.
Three to Six Cells have no Heart or Brain. They have no sense of awareness. They are immoral for opposing using these Cells to cure suffering Humans.
I do not have the patience to argue with narrow mined deluded morons.
My primary focus is my Autistic Son.

Nullo's avatar

@philosopher
Ah, but they have souls. And it is the soul, not the heart nor the brain or even, I suspect, the mind, that gives a person his intrinsic value.
Would you deprive a soul of its earthly existence for the sake of your son? Two souls? Five?
Don’t you think it’s kinda monstrous that we kill our unborn and then take them apart for spares?
There, now we’ve both totally misrepresented the stem-cell research issue.
Look up adult stem-cell research sometime. Nobody has a problem with that.

Believe in Science? What, is it a religion now? Seems like it, sometimes.
RRs have no problem with science whatsoever. It’s conjecture, masquerading as Science, that they do not like.
* stuffs Al Gore into the oubliette * And that is for ruining my twelfth birthday party! You don’t even remember that museum, you thoughtless jerk!

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