The worst argument in politics: God

Remember when we were small children, completely ignorant to domestic politics, completely unaware that foreign policy and global politics existed? When we were mere lads and lasses we couldn’t care less about what those men in suits said who kept our fathers’ faces flush to the television screens. Our ignorance to everything political didn’t stop father from loudly taking his position, shouting it at the screen, grumbling it to himself as he sipped his beer. And for those few short years, everything we learned about politics we learned from a single, angry source: Dad.

A devout conservative, my father, it’s surprising that during my first grade mock presidential elections I voted for Dukakis. The rest of the class of six and seven-year-olds voted for Bush (41). Why did they vote for Bush? Did these children know something about Bush’s platform that I didn’t know? Were they fully aware of the issues at stake? No. Quite literally they voted for Bush because “My dad says Doodiekochyhead is an idiot.” Ok, fair enough. Daddy’s always right. Me? I didn’t fare any better. I voted for Dukakis strictly because I was the only person in my class who could accurately pronounce his name. I had a prepubescent superiority complex.

Most of us (the reasonable people) outgrow this tendency to defer back to father when talking about political issues. We form opinions of our own after years of being exposed to generalized issues such as social policy, economics, foreign policy, etc. We begin to align ourselves somewhere on or within the political spectrum. But then again, there are some (many) of us who still defer back to daddy, even if it’s not biological daddy. Behold:

di finch

SOURCE: Comments from this article

I could’ve used almost any political news article from the last two weeks to illustrate this point, but that would’ve been too easy. Just swap out some of the words and the above comment now reads: “As an American I am angry at this socialist crap. Whatever judges decide marriage belongs to straight couples. God said that so that decides it as far as I am concerned.” My point is that this comment could’ve been left anywhere, and it would still be just as intellectually lazy.

Saying “Because god said so” is not an actual answer to anything. It’s no more informed than a child saying “Obama’s a stupid head because my dad says so!” Unfortunately these comments are everywhere, on everything from same-sex marriage to ISIS. There are still people who take positions on political matters based on what their scripture says. They don’t take the time to understand the issue, instead deferring to their religious beliefs. Or even worse, they do understand the issue, but instead do the opposite of what logic tells them to do because their sky daddy says so. “Obama’s a stupid head because god says so.” See how idiotic that sounds?

If you’re going to take a position on something, be informed. If your position is “god says so” then you’ve taken a stupid position. If you actually invest oneself in the issue, you’ll find the issues are far more complicated than a black-and-white deferral to god. Have your own voice because these are issues that affect us all and have nothing to do with your particular brand of theism. Referring back to the comment illustrated in this post, Palestine is incredibly more complicated than what the Abrahamic religious texts say. Saying “God gave the land to the Jews” completely ignores the complexity of this issue.

About Rayan Zehn

I'm a political scientist.
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6 Responses to The worst argument in politics: God

  1. T.S. says:

    Ironically enough. When I was a kid (a very young, ignorant, stupid kid) I said I supported Bush (it pains me to even write that) because my parents hated him and all my friends said he was the right choice.

    Boy did that attitude change.

    I find it amazing that some people try to use bible quotes when trying to win an argument with an atheist. They might as well be pulling from Harry Potter as far as I’m concerned.

    I often say that if you can’t make an argument that doesn’t have any reasoning outside of religious text then you don’t really have an argument (so basically the entire anti-gay marriage argument).

    • charles says:

      “I often say that if you can’t make an argument that doesn’t have any reasoning outside of religious text then you don’t really have an argument (so basically the entire anti-gay marriage argument).”
      That is exactly what I was going to comment. It’s so obvious from the outside. Would they really want everyone else’s religious texts admitted as valid arguments, too?

  2. Barry says:

    While I am religious, if I can’t support a belief by non-religious means, then it’s time to reconsider the belief. Dogma is no way to the truth.

  3. I just watched In God We Trust on the Atheist Channel (on Roku) wherein a woman claims that homosexuality is worse than slavery….because god says so. I try to be patient and understand that we’re all a little illogical and times but it is difficult when you hear someone say something so ridiculously absurd.

  4. Jenny Blank says:


    In a press release on October 24th,
    American Atheists President David Silverman said, “It’s time that we make ourselves known–that we be loud about the fact that we vote and about the issues we care about. If candidates want our votes, they are going to have to pay more attention to us.”
    The President of American Atheists is calling for recognition by “candidates”. Excuse me, which candidates?
    A moment of consideration returns:
    The GOP will be the voice we hear when religion utters its last, dying gasp. The Libertarians will represent only wasted votes until the NRA gives up fully automatic, rocket launching deer rifles. The only possibility left, is the Democratic Party…essentially making all Atheists Democrats by default?
    Slow down, David Silverman! Are you really advising us to jump on the same fucking broke down wagon that’s been running us over for so long…in exchange for some small consideration and a little attention????
    I’d like to consider the bigger picture for a moment first, if you don’t mind, Mr. President.
    Atheism is growing at a phenomenal rate, and we will be in the majority in 20 years or less. With that in mind, I have a few questions:
    What is our responsibility in utilizing the power that our numbers will provide?
    Is it better to use our power to further what is, or use it to change what is?
    Shouldn’t we consider the possibilities of making long overdue changes in our irrevocably broken system?
    Might we have our own party, and our own candidate, instead of handing over control to the same political crooks (in the pocket of big business)…who’ve been systematically fucking us over for the last 50+ years?
    Failure to think ahead now, may very well doom us to follow the model set by religion and poor leadership. Is that what we want?

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