Uncommon Sense

December 26, 2019

Projection and the Inverted Golden Rule

Filed under: Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:15 am
Tags: , , , ,

In an article in Mother Jones I found the following two tidbits. The first was with regard to a survey made by a couple of political scientists:

“[Among] white evangelical Protestants, we found that 60 percent believed that atheists would not allow them First Amendment rights and liberties. More specifically, we asked whether they believed atheists would prevent them from being able to ‘hold rallies, teach, speak freely, and run for public office.’ Similarly, 58 percent believed ‘Democrats in Congress’ would not allow them to exercise these liberties if they were in power.”

and their conjecture . . .

“Their fear comes from an inverted golden rule: Expect from others what you would do unto them.”

The “Inverted Golden Rule,” nice tag that, is what psychologist call “projection.” We tend to project onto others, as an attempt to understand them, the same thoughts and attitudes that we ourselves possess.

Because these evangelicals have blocked atheists from holding public office, railed against the free speech of atheists and made attempts to restrict that, and come from a long line of the religious back to when atheism could get you burned at the stake, they feel that if atheists have power we will “do unto them what was done onto us.” That we have shown no proclivity to do this doesn’t block these thoughts. Their “fears” are real . . . to them.

The social process to make societal outliers more mainstream is long and slow. Look at how long American blacks have sought to be accepted by American white society. Gays have had a much faster arc but they are not full accepted either. We atheists are quite far behind those processes.

This would be less frustrating if the prejudices being projected don’t contradict the teaching of their patron god, but it is what it is.

Time will tell.

Unfortunately the Inverted Golden Rule acts almost instantaneously. And these attitudes are fact proof. Mr. Obama’s first term, not that long ago, was a case in which Democrats controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress. Were the civil liberties of Christians targeted in any way? No? I guess Mr. Obama was too busy taking people’s guns away to attend to that agenda item.













  1. Almost like how Christians created a whole mythology on the dangers of witches – when it was them doing the burning and the torturing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by The Pink Agendist — December 26, 2019 @ 10:35 am | Reply

    • How dare they do as we did! Incomprehensible!

      I wish we had a better sense that we are projecting all of the time. A little curious and wonder would do us all a lot of good.

      On Thu, Dec 26, 2019 at 10:35 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 26, 2019 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  2. That is so true. Projecting.. Sometimes I have to admire the Chinese government though for nipping religion, putting in their own priests and requiring reincarnation permits for new Lamas, keeping delusion to its rightful minimums.


    Comment by jim- — December 26, 2019 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  3. I had not heard that. But I think that religion is far too useful to a state, especially a totalitarian sate, to be done away with. Keeping it on a short leash, yes, elimination, no.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Steve Ruis — December 26, 2019 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  4. inverted golden rule… Brilliant, and brilliantly true.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by john zande — December 26, 2019 @ 11:38 am | Reply

    • Yeah, I’m going to keep using it. Maybe it will become a movement!

      On Thu, Dec 26, 2019 at 11:38 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 26, 2019 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  5. That is a reasonable expectation. I see no problem with it. Christians for the most part see themselves as part of a struggle to eradicate every other belief system(whether with or without the adherents). Why not expect the same directed at themselves from others? Islam is exactly the same way for the same reason.

    Even if there is no (or little) ill intent against them, Christians need to see it for their worldview to make sense. The New Testament makes it sound like Christians must be persecuted and shunned, so they look for self-justification by clinging to anything that looks like persecution. I have seen Christians look happy when they hear of some incident that looks like Christians are being persecuted(or actually are). Christians feel justified in eliminating all other religions or atheists, because as one of their leaders put it, “error has no rights”. When Christians persecute, they do so out of love, when unbelievers persecute Christians, they do so out of hatred of the obvious truth of Christianity. That is the old argument going back to Augustine.

    In my experience, Christians often see atheists as being communists. That is what I heard quite a bit. Communist atheistic regimes actually did persecute or at least limit Christianity.


    Comment by K — December 26, 2019 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  6. And few have ever met or personally known an atheist, much less talked to one. I need to ponder this. Interesting. I doubt if atheists will have such power in the west for quite some time.


    Comment by Bill — December 27, 2019 @ 10:21 am | Reply

    • If none of us wants to attack Christians in such a way, whether we have the power to do so or not is irrelevant. The problem is with their thinking.

      On Fri, Dec 27, 2019 at 10:21 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 27, 2019 @ 10:38 am | Reply

      • Just recently, I talked to a Christian I know about why they think that the government is always “attacking Christianity”. They told me that is because “they don’t want people to believe the Bible, so they will go to hell.” Somehow, the people in “the government” are all against Christianity, which is news to me. Some Christians extend this conspiracy to biology, geology, archaeology, and history as well, because all of those damage Christian doctrine. My grandmother told me when I was a child that atheists are Satan’s minions that want everyone to go to hell. Why anyone would want that, I don’t know, presumably just out of pure spiteful evilness. That is the source of their projection and paranoia, in my view.

        In the paranoid view of Christians, a deity called Satan rules everything, and the only way to get out is to believe what they are selling. It is a mindset that can lead to bottomless paranoia. Even your own senses and mind can be controlled, so you can’t even regard those, just believe. Atheists ought to argue against Satan more than Jesus or Yahweh. Can you recall any atheist focusing their argument on Satan, and trying to refute his existence? I can’t, but I think that hits closer to home for many Christians. I remember reading some excerpts of 17th century English religious writings, and one of them said something like “no Satan, no God” as a response to Christian sects(England had tons of them) that deemphasized the literal existence of Satan. Reading their church fathers and apologists, Satan this, Devil that, is half of their explanation for anything. Why does Christianity look like a ripoff and hodge-podge of older religions? “Satan did it” was their explanation. Why do Christians disagree with other Christians? Satan founded all the other churches, that was a serious argument from early on until recent times. In the 18th-19th centuries, “Satan put the fossils there” was a serious argument back in England, not just something laughable coming from American evangelicals. Earlier this year I had a tract left at my door all about how Satan rules the world(except for the Jehovah’s Witnesses). I don’t know how many times I have heard them(preachers or not) go on about Satan. He is behind virtually everything, if you ask them. Satan is also a great impetus for their drive to proselytize.


        Comment by K — December 28, 2019 @ 1:24 am | Reply

        • Re “In the paranoid view of Christians, a deity called Satan rules everything, and the only way to get out is to believe what they are selling.” Hello? Who created Satan? Who could “uncreate” Satan with the merest thought? Who has not done that?

          Since clearly “God” wants Satan to do what he is doing then this is surely part of God’s plan, no?


          Comment by Steve Ruis — December 28, 2019 @ 11:35 am | Reply

        • And the most ridiculous part of all this is … satan does not exist. Never has … never will. Like so many other things in Christianity, someone along the way decided a certain scripture meant a certain something … and away they went.


          Comment by Nan — December 28, 2019 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

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