Monday, May 09, 2005

Topic of the Week - The Christian Right and Their Brain

I watched a news segment on CNN Sunday morning studying the brains of teenagers in relation to their driving habits. How teenagers tend to be more aggressive and take more risks while driving an automobile based on their brains not yet fully developed in that the synapse(s) in their brains have not completely connected in order to discern between reality and fantasy. The teens were unable to see how their risky behavior could affect the outcome....they were unable to see the "big picture" in their driving habits. Based on my experience, I would like to suggest there is a correlation to the average teenager's brain and a brain of a Christian Right individual.

This may sound like I am ridiculing The Christian Right - I am not. I am simply relating my experience on how The Christian Right's brain tends to work. Based on my observations, my weekly discussions and my weekly email exchanges between a number of conservatives and Christian Right individuals, I have seen and heard a pattern of behavior that supports my claim that The Christian Right's brain is not yet fully developed....let me explain further.

Our brains connect billions of synapses throughout childhood, adolescence and throughout the teen years in developing your thought process, your intellect, your belief system, etc. These experiences throughout these formative years form your reactions/actions to stress, your reactions/actions to emotional issues, your reactions/actions to how you parent, your reactions/actions to how you believe...all resulting in your value system and how your brain reacts and acts on specific issues.

When the media and political experts define the difference between conservatives/progressives and Christian Rights & other Christians/religious belief systems as value differences on issues specific to the differences in the contrast to belief systems, this is accurate. Based on these differences in values and beliefs, one can understand the polarization between the two sides. However, the media and political experts do not take it one step further and analyze the differences in how each group uses their their brains are formed in relation to their values and belief systems.

My experience leads me to the following conclusions on the brain(s) of The Christian Right:

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to focus on pieces of an issue, many times one piece of an issue when forming their opinion or beliefs as opposed to focusing on all pieces of an issue. An example? Review the postings from April 10th and April 17th on the 'Culture of Life' the Christian Right focuses primarily (only?) on two pieces, abortion and euthanasia, and tend to ignore or block-out other pieces of the 'Culture of Life' respective to the death penalty, loss of life because of war and stem cell research.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to focus, and continues to focus and support their stance no matter how the outcome of the action may have dire consequences. An example? The Christian Right continue to steadfastly support the Bush administration for invading Iraq, and The Christian Right is unable to acknowledge how this invasion is hurting our economy ($200 billion+ in costs), hurting our stature in the world, hurting (actually killing) our soldiers and Iraqi citizens, hurting our fight against terrorism in that the Iraq invasion has mobilized and created a fervor across the Islam culture in fighting against the U.S., etc. The Christian Right only see the invasion as a "good" thing and again, they will not acknowledge the "bad" things related to it.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to have a foundation of fear that controls their belief system. An example? I could give you many examples on this one. But note how The Christian Right is petrified that homosexuals may couple and define their partnerships as marriage. What primary issue has mobilized and organized The Christian Right more than any other issue? The civil liberty mission of homosexuals. And if one evaluates the actions of The Christian Right, one would see a fear-based mentality to most, if not all of their beliefs and stance on specific issues.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to exclude other values and beliefs...they cannot accept other religions and belief systems as valid. Their "faith" rules their behavior and tends to put aside validity of other religious or spiritual belief systems and/or other beliefs and values on specific issues associated to our public policies.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to be of a "pack" mentality. Just as animals hunt in packs and teenagers tend to formulate packs to have an identity, The Christian Right tends to "hunt" in packs and take no prisoners. They also tend to form their identity as part of their group, usually church group, rather than have an identity of their own. Diversity? Most tend to stay, pray and entertain in their third and fourth ring suburban and rural areas and put "walls" up to other cultures, race and beliefs.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to be of a victim mentality. Just as teenagers tend to cry they are victims when caught violating rules within their homes and within their communities, The Christian Right continually claims they are victims of government oppression when it comes to our entertainment media, our public policies, etc.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to focus on what is only best for themselves. What is ironic is that they tend to claim they are more benevolent, humanists, experience contrasts this claim. An example? When the Tsunami hit Southeast Asia, in general, progressives gave to charitable organizations coming to aid of the victims more than conservatives and The Christian Right.

- The brain of a Christian Right tends to exalt themselves above others based on their beliefs they are God's Chosen Ones. This can take form in their nationalism and patriotic claims and takes form in their Evangelism. I could go on and on and state numerous examples just on this specific part of The Christian Right brain...

The Christian Right tends to see the world in black & white, right & wrong...and their brains tend to only see their opinions and beliefs as right. They are unable to see the "gray" in life...the complexities that are involved in the many issues we face respective to both our domestic and foreign policies. You may want to be aware of the differences in brains when speaking with, observing or challenging The Christian Right - it may help (or not).

You may disagree with my experience on The Christian Right brain. If you agree or disagree, post your comments below.


At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with EVERYTHING you said on the Christian right brain! and the reason one cannot have a dialogue with them on anything is that are convinced that they are absolutely right, they have nothing more to learn. You are WRONG! they are RIGHT! and my experience has been that they beat you up verbally, they are so MEAN! I just can't get over the meanness, they are so UNCHRISTIAN, they do not DO UNTO OTHERS. . . . .THEY DO NOT LOVE THEIR NEIGHBORS, etc. PWB you completely captured how I have experienced the Christian Right.

At 5:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, a bit strong, a bit bias, a bit sterol-typical wouldn’t you say? I mean, to make such a statement as you did, “…Based on my experience, I would like to suggest there is a correlation to the average teenager's brain and a brain of a Christian Right individual.?

I thoroughly read all that you stated which brought you to your conclusions on the brain(s) of The Christian Right. I mean really, how could one make such a preposterous series of statements?

I mean think about it…its like making blanket statements such as:

If you are Italian you’re thought to be connected.

If you are black you’re thought to be athletic.

If you are Jewish you’re thought to be money-wise.

If you are Arabic you’re thought to be terrorist.

If you are Native America you’re thought to still have a grudge against us settlers.

If you are an RV driver you’re thought wear polyester.

If you are a Witness you’re thought of as an Avon person, until one open’s up their door.

If you are Pakistani you’re thought to have taken my IT job away.

If you are Kenyan, the chances are you may have AIDS.

If you are Irish you’re thought to be a big-big drinker.

If you are a Wal-Mart shopper you’re thought to be less than affluent.

If you are a NYC taxi driver you are definitely a foreigner.

If you are an information telephone operator, you can’t speak English.

If you are The Christian Right you tend to have an average teenager’s brain…what, what am I saying?

Hey, give me a moment to think this through…”if you are The Christian Right you tend to have an average teenager’s brain” Hum, perhaps not that preposterous after all.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Crywolf said...

Try to exchange the Christian Right with for instance Socialist, and the belief system with Communism. What you have described here are generic aspects of the human nature, and I bet you yourself could be placed into all of these categories with the proper change of denotations.

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing I love about PWB is that the more he says about the Christian Right, the more he shows how little he actually knows about what kind of people Christians really are. The article you posted is so far off in so many areas that it could make one's head spin. So much in fact that I would bet that nearly everything you stated that you know about Christians through your personal experiences isn't through experience at all. By all of your way off characterizations about Christians, it's so obvious that you are merely posting an article based on your opinion of a people you hardly know rather than from personal experience or even fact !! Hey PWB, try to really and I'm mean really get to know some good genuine Christians and find out just how good of a people they really are and then re-read your own article and you'll probably have a change of heart. If you get to be friends with some Christians and someday you find yourself in a pinch, don't be surprised if they pray for your circumstance. That's probably more than any of your left wing croonies would do for you.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger PWB said...

Anonymous - what you don't realize is I know the difference between Christians and Christian Rights - there is a big difference. I won't explain it to you but you may want to look into a bit more before you put Christians and Christian Rights in the same category of people.

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey PWB, I'm the one who doesn't know the difference ?? Answer me this.
How can you tell the difference between a Christian and one of your so-called "Christian Rights" when you demonstrated so well in your article that you don't even know what "in-depth" Christianity is all about. You are pretty good at scratching the surface of what Christianity is all about, but I'm afraid my friend that's where your knowledge stops. If you truly knew about Christianity as much as you pretend to, you definitly wouldn't be saying the things you're saying or making the accusations and assumptiouns you are !!! Maybe you could enlighten me a little on an area that I'm sure you're more of an expert in and that would be the difference between a "secularist" and a "leftist secularist". If you could address that request for me, being an expert in the area, you'd have my full attention........One last thing, thanks for not taking the time to explain to me what the difference is between a Christian and your Christian Rights are in YOUR OPINION because it's obvious that I wouldn't agree with you anyway.

At 5:13 AM, Blogger PWB said...

Anonymous - without giving you my resume, I have had over 16 years working for one of the leading, largest Christian publications and over 35 years practicing and then studying Christianity. By no means am I an expert but I have a sense of what I am talkign about. Why don't you enlighten me/us on your in-depth view of Christianity when it comes to acceptance/tolerance of gays, other religions and not attempting to meld church & state in our country...therein lies the foundation of a Christian Right. You?


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