Moses was certainly not the first religious conservative to hypocritically do the opposite of what he said, but he is probably the best known. After he came down from the mountain with the tablets telling people not to kill, he had 3,000 people killed because they were playing music and having a good time (OK the party pooper said it was for idolatry. Still!)
Moses was probably one of the earliest to demonstrate a psychological illness called Pathological Moral Duality. Moral duality is when someone thinks that his tribe, religion, political philosophy, team, or party, is always right and that the “Others” are always wrong. It becomes pathological when it is no longer sufficient to say that the others are wrong, but they must be demonized and described as evil and no longer fit to live.
Read your Bible/Torah/Koran and they are full of cases where some minor crime like talking back to your parents, or the crime of being raped, is punished by stoning to death. There are numerous instances of “the chosen people” coming upon some hapless village, and the village is given the ultimatum of slavery or death. When they resist, preferring freedom, the “Army of the Lord” massacres every man woman and child, saving only the young virgins who are raped and sold as sex slaves.
These scriptures are held in high regard as “Moral Guides” and anyone that does not follow those religious dictates are considered immoral. Religious folk think that without this spiritual guidance that nonbelievers will run amuck killing robbing and raping at random. The truth is pretty much the opposite, with our prisons overflowing with religious people who have committed all kinds of heinous crimes, but there are only 0.07% of the prison population that are atheists.
How can that be? Jesus himself said that all of that other stuff in the scriptures doesn’t matter much, that the most important thing is that you love others. Almost every religion and culture has some version of this wisdom, often referred to as “the Golden Rule”. That you treat others as you would like them to treat you. To do that you have to walk in the “others” shoes, or imagine yourself in their situation. In other words you have to have empathy for others.
Why is it that the religious conservatives have the hardest time doing that? Three fourths of the violence in the world today, and throughout history, is because religious conservatives of one sect, are at war with religious conservatives of a conflicting sect. They are lacking empathy.
Religious conservatives tend to think in moral absolutes. To them things are either black and evil, or white and good. There are no grey areas of moral relativity. There is little understanding of the root reasons for misbehavior, and yet they demonstrate moral relativity in their intolerance. They say that killing is an absolutely evil thing to do. Unless it is someone that breaks their religious rules or is an “other” that looks, talks, or believes differently than you. Then it is OK to kill them.
Today the Persian religious conservatives in Iran are in a proxy war with the Arabian religious conservatives in Saudi Arabia. Iran, like America, is deeply divided between the religious conservatives represented by the Ayatollah and the Revolutionary Guard. These are the ones that chant “Death to America” support Hezbollah, and want to build bombs and missiles. The majority of the people of Iran are moderates who love Americans, want to modernize, and voted for the moderate President Rouhani, who supports the Iranian nuclear deal which makes it impossible to build a bomb.
In Saudi Arabia Wahhabism is the most radically conservative sect of Islam and although only 0.5% of Muslims are Wahhabi, they have enormous influence because of oil money, and they have spawned ISIS, Al Queda, Boko Haraam, Al Shabaab, Al Nusra, the Taliban and almost all other radical Islamic terrorist groups that believe that any non Wahhabists can be killed. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and the religion says that the innocent, especially “people of the book” which includes Jews and Christians, should be protected. Instead of attacking all Muslims we should only oppose the religious conservatives especially the 0.5% who are Wahhabists who believe in violence.
We should support the moderates in Iran and oppose the religious conservatives in both countries who practice pathological moral dualism and have little empathy for the “others”.
Religious liberals in America, the real Christians, tend to follow the loving tolerant teachings of Christ, who taught that the rich should give away their wealth to help the poor. They practice love, tolerance, and altruism, and most voted for Hillary who has dedicated her life to helping others.
The religious conservatives concentrate more on the dictates of the Old Testament with it’s harsh punishments and prohibitions on gay sex. They hold a Calvanistic belief that, God helps those who help themselves, and rewards the good with riches, and punishes the bad with poverty. They practice pathological moral dualism. For them the vast majority of people in the country who support the right of a woman to make the difficult choice of having an abortion, are not only wrong, they are baby killers. Instead of exhibiting tolerance they have exhibited racism, hatred, and intolerance of others. They are almost entirely lacking in empathy and are incapable of valuing the lives of those who did not vote for their party.
Eighty percent of the Evangelicals, who best represent the Religious conservatives, just voted for a hedonistic serial philanderer and sexual predator, who is a pathological liar. Trump represents the antithesis of the teachings of Jesus. Although the Bible clearly states that the love of money is the root of all evil. Can any good come from Trump and all of his cabinet who loves nothing but money? Trump and his cabinet have more wealth than the poorest third of the nation combined. Does anyone really think they can empathize with, and work for, the vast majority in the middle class?
The Republicans first order of business was an attempt to do away with the ethics watchdogs. Then they tried to make lists of those in the EPA that believe in Climate Change and those who worked for women’s issues and LGBT issues. They resurrected an obscure ruling that allowed them to cut the salaries of individuals they don’t like down to one dollar. Trump’s vindictiveness is legendary.
They plan of eliminating health care first thing, which will remove 20 million people from care and kill about 7,500 people a year. They justify this by saying that 80% of the people think that the Affordable Care Act should be changed, but most of those people think that health care should be improved, not taken away.
Their next goal is to eliminate the clean air act which saves 3,500 lives a year and then eliminate all other rules and regulations intended to prevent pollution and protect people’s health which means that tens of thousands of additional people will die, or be incapacitated by having lead or mercury poisoning. Their policies are are about the worst possible for accelerating climate change which will kill millions.
Republicans started two wars and killed a million people to avenge the deaths of 3,000 people who died when the towers fell, and yet they care little about the hundreds of thousands of lives their policies will kill. Where is the compassion and empathy for others?