_Editor’s note: I recommend that all of you read the article to which I am responding. Jane Smiley, a liberal, makes some outrageous claims attacking conservatives and Christians alike claiming ignorance to be the driving force behind all who believe such things._
According to Slate author Jane Smiley, Republicans “cultivate and exploit ignorance.” Really? I am _not_ ignorant about the issues and I don’t believe the 59 million people that voted for Bush are, either. In my own defense, I’ve read about most of the major issues in this election and I agree with most of Bush’s major agendas philosophically, not because he’s a Republican. I think it’s unfair to accuse 59 million people of ignorance because they disagree with you, and even more impossible to prove such an argument.
Her historical justification in the article doesn’t follow through, either. She broadly lumps the conservatives of the present together with conservatives of the past who, if looked at carefully, have many, many different social views. The “conservatives” of a century ago included many slave-owners and when she discusses the ignorance of conservatives he’s saying the past beliefs of “ignorance” are a precursor to the current ignorance.
Oh, and here’s another taste of what she has to say:
bq. Here is how ignorance works: First, they put the fear of God into youï¿½if you don’t believe in the literal word of the Bible, you will burn in hell. Of course, the literal word of the Bible is tremendously contradictory, and so you must abdicate all critical thinking, and accept a simple but logical system of belief that is dangerous to question. A corollary to this point is that they make sure you understand that Satan resides in the toils and snares of complex thought and so it is best not try it.
Okay, Jake, Cora, Jesse, anybody else out there reading and fired up yet? Throw your best disagreements or inflammatory statements in the comments.
First of all, the Bible is not contradictory. Yes, over the past few thousand years, a few minor translation problems arise and we’ve lost the meaning of a couple Hebrew and Greek words. Oddly, however, these are minor errors and do not alter the overall content — the meaning and message — of the Bible. As far as contradictions themselves, I would challenge Jane to find ONE of any significance. She did not offer any in her article.
Secondly, it is ludicrous to claim that critical thinking must be avoided to believe in the Bible. I know numerous amounts of people who are highly critical in their manner of thinking who know the content of the Bible and believe it. Many great apologists in the last two-thousand years, including the apostle Paul, have argued their positions and beliefs quite logically, and many modern apologists also bring in historical, archeological, and other evidence to back their faith-driven beliefs. If you want one example, I recommend reading The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.
She goes on to make claims that conservatives desire this ignorance so they can “do anything they [want].” She also, bluntly, says Christians have designed hell as a place for those who they “envy and resent” to go. Based on statements such as these, I wonder what kind of interaction, if any, she’s had with Christians. I also highly doubt if she’s ever read the Bible herself to see what exactly it says. If she did, she’d realize it hardly mandates a person doing whatever they want and it condemns envy and resent. Unfortunately, however, I would not be surprised if she is misinterpreting a cultural manifestation (perhaps Southern) as an example of what Christianity is supposed to be. As with all cultures, that of the South has its flaws and cannot be expected to represent all the truth and teachings of the Bible.
Further lies and other grandiose generalizations lump conservatives, Christians, and residents of red states together as ignorant, cheating, misleading, nonsensical, soul-selling individuals.
Now, for the few liberal readers of my site, I have a question. Do you agree with these kinds of statements? Do you realize Jane Smiley and others who hold similar beliefs back the Democratic Party and influence many of their beliefs, social, and international agendas?
I found this article rather appauling in its verbal brutality and unveiled despise if not hatred towards conservatives and Christians. She titled the article “[w]hy Americans Hate Democrats.” I would like to ask, “Why does Jane Smiley hate everyone who disagrees with her so much?” Her closing statement in the article: “Whatever their short-term appeal, they are borne of hubris and hatred, and will destroy their purveyors in the end.” Oddly, given the tone of her words, it appears she would desire almost the same fate for her opposition.