Consertavism in Religious Thought a Basic Analysis

“Those who say that religion and politics don’t mix, know neither” – Mahatma Gandhi

In July, “The Atlantic” published an analysis of religion and social ideology which identified the Mormons as the most conservative religious group in America. Last November’s turnover of the Gay Marriage initiative in California received major funding from Mormon socio political interests. Mormons overwhelmingly line up on the conservative side on most social issues, and are heavily affiliated with the Republican Party.

The Atlantic article had an interesting graph, which identified religions and their place on the scale from “liberal” to “conservative”. Evangelical and mainline Protestants were the second most conservative. Catholic, Orthodox and unaffiliated Jews were in the middle of the scale, and Black Protestants, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are at the “liberal” end of the spectrum.

In defining the nexus of psychology and religion, the authors of the book “The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach” , note that religious perception, cognition, behavior and motivation have impacts on all aspects of life. The book takes an empirical, scientific approach to the psychology of religion as it determines or influences a person’s dealings with the real world and with life in general.

The most profound effect of religious belief on politics is hinted at in a study of Jewish Children in Israel. Their understandings of the purpose of our existences differed based on their religious structure: Orthodox vs Secular. Those who had strong beliefs in a divine mandate for the roles and existence of people, were more likely to perceive people, regardless of their race, color, or creed to be here for a reason mandated by God. They were far less capable of believing that people could change categories: a Jew could become an Arab, or the rich become the poor, because of the strong belief in the divine mandate that people and things remain stable.

The belief in the existence and stability of God’s mandates appears to be the foundation of conservative thought, which becomes the framework of thought about all aspects of life. The poor exist for a purpose and will remain poor. Some people, animals and things have no reason for existence. The rich exist for a purpose and will remain rich. Abortions are murder. Stem cell therapy is Frankenscience. The righteous must rule. Homosexuality is an abomination and must not be tolerated. Gun ownership is a right that must never be taken away.

To the devout religious person, these are examples of how religious thought leads to conservative political beliefs based on God’s mandates, which must remain fixed and stable.

The Atlantic Monthly “The Mormons: The Most Conservative Religious Group In America”

The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach by Bernard Spilka

Epiphenom: “How Religion Generates Social Conservatism”