The Conservative Evangelical view of morality turns the entire idea on its head and perverts it. For the rest of the entire world of philosophy and religion, morality entails those precepts by which we act toward others in society. That means that for the rest of humanity, we separate people as “good” or “bad” based on their actions.
But not so for Conservative Evangelicals. For them, a person’s goodness is determined by what they believe, not by how they behave. The Evangelical arbitrarily defines evil as your very human nature and since it’s impossible to not be a human, they are able to claim that you are incapable of moral action. The only way for you to stop being human is to be “born again” and you can only do that through their monopolized institution. Evil, right? That means two people could perform the same act, but it only counts as “good” for the Christian and not the other. A Buddhist and a Christian could both feed the homeless, but it only counts as “good” for the Christian.
I have lived for so long hearing this that it never occurred to me until recently how abusive and horrifying this fucked up idea is. The idea that only Conservative Evangelicals hold the monopoly on being good should be enough to make you overturn Thanksgiving tables and end relationships. This is abusive and frankly, evil.
Let me spell this out how evil this is for you. A father says to his child, “The only way to show me that you love me is by teleporting to the moon.” Since it’s impossible for you to teleport to the moon you will never be able to show your love. So even if you buy him a thoughtful father’s day gift, the father says, “Sorry. That’s not acceptable to me because you didn’t do it out of love for me. And I know you don’t love me because you haven’t teleported to the moon yet.” And then he beats the shit out of you. Now, dad has a cardboard box covered in tinfoil that he calls his Moon Teleporter. Just get in, admit that you have never really loved him, accept that your refusal to believe in Moon Teleportation was unloving, sit in the cardboard box and pretend to go to the moon with him, tell all your friends in all seriousness about Dad’s amazing Moon Teleporter, accept their ridicule and the fact that this will cost you all your friends, and then he will stop beating you and accept your offers of love.
This sick idea is either overtly abusive or the act of a mentally ill person. It could be both. I hold that both are possibilities. It is either an act of control or the result of trauma. A lot of pastors I know were abused and bullied as children.
The idea that a moral act can only be acceptable because of a person’s belief is not only abusive, it sets the Conservative Evangelical up to be conned and abused themselves. And here’s how that happens:
If a person’s “goodness” is determined by their belief and not their behavior, then behavior is more often than not ignored if the con proclaims Jesus in public. After all, we can’t know what it is their heart and it would be unfair to assume what a person actually believes. Right? So, we can only go by what they proclaim in public and if there are tears, and joy, and raised hands, and shouts of prayers, even better, right? And if their actions are horrible, well none of us are good right? Who here is without sin? This is why Evangelicals are more likely to simply ignore horrifying conduct if public proclamations of faith and redemption are made. And every con knows this about Evangelicals. It is why so many cons target them.
A charitable statement would be that Evangelicals are pathetically gullible. A less charitable statement is that they are tribal assholes. Again, both are acceptable arguments to me.
So, if you are ever wondering why Evangelicals overwhelmingly back the political campaign of a literal pimp in Nevada, or overwhelmingly back an absolute reprobate and debauched douchebag charlatan like Donald Trump, this is the answer. For all their bluster and frothing mouths, Conservative Evangelicals care nothing for moral conduct. They just don’t. They only want public proclamations of faith and loyalty to the tribe. That’s it.
Now, why did Conservative Evangelicals overtly and publicly reject Barack Obama’s public confession of faith with red hot hostility but accept Trump’s awkward, tepid, obtuse gestures toward them? Well, not only are Conservative Evangelicals patently uninterested in moral conduct, but they are also racists. But that’s another topic…