Conservatives are groupthink and liberals are individual freethinkers when it comes to morals – liberals can be total kool-aid drinkers when it comes to pet causes. Drink deep so you don’t think deep is pretty common to people of all creeds.
Conservatives don’t mind any minority as long as said minority isn’t uppity about being a minority and they act like the majority – conservatives actually need minorities, because without minorities, there’s no majority to be a part of. There’s just no fun being a have unless there are have-nots, so there can be no heaven without hell.
Which is why there is no agreement between liberals and conservatives – conservatives are not only tolerant of inequality, they rely on it. Liberals, who see any group as equal or equally valid to any other group, are literally wanting to eliminate the social distinctions that conservatives depend on.
Conservatives are fundamentally against individuality – the bedrock of liberalism – and why conservatives continually assert that the US is a Christian nation – if they say it enough, eventually, people will believe it and blur that America was founded on the individual as the unit of consequence, not the group conformity demanded by religion.
Well, technically, against individuality for other people, they like to think of themselves as important individuals because of their group identity and conformity to their herd of people, you know, patriotism is good for us, but not other nations, since that means that they are against us if they are for themselves.
Which is why conservatives are willing to tolerate minorities as long as minorities maintain the status quo – which is why religious conservatives have resisted every social change and are unwilling to stop resisting social change until it has passed out of living memory. This explains why women voting is a non-issue but interracial marriage retains a degree of resistance and why gay marriage is a tinderbox for a bonfire on par with abortion. Some wounds and social slights run multi-generationally when the resistance to change is strong enough.
Understanding what conservatives believe are the basis for morals and what the morals are, helps to understand what motivates their actions and behaviours, without having to be empathetic or sharing towards those morals.
For example, I have never understood why conservatives have to demonize atheists as immoral, when atheism has nothing to do with morality, from within atheism. Atheism is merely the rejection of claims for religion.
But to religious people who believe that morals are divine, atheism is the rejection of morality – they simply do not accept that there is any other basis for morals than religion – no matter what immorality is done in the name of religion or by religious people. All immorality can and will be forgiven, if you repent or accept the karmic backlash. The greatest immoral act is not causing harm to people, but rejecting their god given morality, from which everything they are flows – if their god isn’t real, then the morality isn’t real and they aren’t special and worse, death is the end of them. No reward or punishment for how they lived their lives, so no reason to refrain from doing what they want to do – which is why they cannot comprehend atheists as being moral and making moral determinations and distinctions.
They literally cannot think morally for themselves as long as they believe in their god.
Which is why atheists, despite being a minority, are of far greater concern than believers of other religions. At least the people believe in a god, even if it’s the wrong one as long as people understand that humans are not to determine their own purpose, meaning and value, in other words, act upon free will, then it’s all god, er good. The believers of any religion, are not, to the believer, making it up themselves.
Yet, irony metre explodes, religion – all religions – are made up, by men to consolidate their wealth and power, to enforce conformity to group norms, to define who’s in and who’s out of the group – and people who are unwilling or unable to think and work moral matters out on their own, rejoice in the group membership who does the moral heavy thinking for them.
Believers tend to believe that atheists are arrogant to think that they as individuals can determine their own morality and ethics. That by doing so, that atheists are treading on god’s territory and acting as if they are gods. Which, if you define morality as being divine, then yes, atheists are gods unto themselves and do not need others to explain good and evil, for we can recognize it all on our own. We have the knowledge, which Christian believers do not want to have because that knowledge is original sin, to understand between good and evil.
To understand the difference and to choose, is to put away the childish thinking and become an adult, a god among lesser grownups who are unable to make these distinctions. Which is why, liberals base morals on harm reduction and fairness and conservatives base morals on purity, authority, loyalty first and fairness and harm secondarily. Conservative need more and simpler rules – determining fairness and reducing harm means you have to consider a wider range of factors than the simpler If then of purity, authority and loyalty and resort to the more complex fairness and harm reduction as a last one.
Instead, Christian believers are a clock orange – following rules laid out by their deity and explained by priests who are self-sacrificingly soiled by being the keeper of the knowledge of good and evil – another reason why it’s not a big deal when they inevitably and knowingly give into evil, being continually exposed to it as they are, they are only fleshy humans after all, lesser than angels and lesser than god – while believers merely follow orders and refrain from what they are told to refrain from doing and repenting as ordered and appropriate when they can’t because they are sinful by nature and expected to fail. It’s the quality of the repentance and re-dedication to conformity that matters – and those unwilling to conform, well, to hell with them later and shun them now or send them on their way and let god sort them out.
It’s the ultimate catch 22 – the ultimate conspiracy theory for which the absence of proof is the proof – for, as Douglas Adams revealed, proof denies faith, and without faith, god is nothing. Only, there’s no babblefish giveaway to make god poof out of existence in a puff of logic, because it is the absence of logic that permits people to have faith.
And atheists, view religious conservatives as arrogant for thinking that if anything like a god existed, that such a god would be at all interested in creatures such as humans and who or what we do with our genitals. But both sides are arrogant for rejecting without understanding the opposite side to the limited extent that understanding the underlying morals are needed for there to be dialog.
One need not refute every religious claim to reject religion, religion is patently false on the face of it and the details are really neither here nor there or at all meaningful – all religions have the same evidence: none whatsoever.
But atheists needs to understand why believers believe, because believers do not have the capacity to change from believers to non-believers until they are capable of moral thought and understanding individually and on their own – this is why they reject atheism, because it is a rejection and not at all a replacement for religion.
And people do not generally change unless they are tricked, forced or bribed – and atheism does none of those things – atheism, quite literally, offers nothing.
Believers cannot convert atheists because atheists are able to make moral distinctions and largely reject the basis upon which religious morals are founded in: purity/sanctity, authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty.
Atheists are morally motivated by fairness/reciprocity and harm/care; which form only a secondary role for believer’s morals. These are very personal basis for morals and believers who already do not trust themselves to make distinctions, will not embrace a personal basis as it is too fragile, too variable, too dependent on circumstances.
It is only when the other basis of morals is eroded by experience or reduced in importance by exposure to humanity’s diversity and the believer accepts that we are all humans, no better or worse than any other and that the outward characteristics that set us apart are mere window dressing and not any measure of any of us as people.
It is somewhat curious then, that religions, which include the concepts of treating others like ourselves, brotherly love and we are all brothers (it’s written by men, it’s part of the problem), tend to reserve the good conduct for members of the group, and allow otherwise good people to treat outsiders to the group as inferior, immoral and undeserving.
So trick to changing the world to a common moral framework is not conforming individuals to any particular dominant group – but in conforming groups to each other so that there are no outsiders by human design.