Religion and Bigotry is their a link ?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by GlorytoGod, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    I love Pema Chodron.

    She's somebody who doesn't know a thing.

    And is all the wiser for her ignorance.
     
  2. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Well it does seem that she understood the reality of cave life far better than most. But someone has to have experienced a bit of the reality of being in the cave in order to recognize its unnecessary effects. It is obvious then why you believe her to be ignorant.
     
  3. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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  4. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    Is it obvious?

    Can you guess why?
     
  5. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

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    There you go trying to sell us on your cognitive dissonance research again. :)

    Cognitive dissonance is discomfort we feel when they're forced to deal with new information that doesn't fit in with our existing beliefs. It probably explains why people who are disadvantaged by an existing political system/ideology will nevertheless support it to the end. They avoid cognitive dissonance by remaining ideologically committed... no matter what.

    The need for order and need to avoid ambiguity and uncertainty are habitual ways to process information that resemble personality traits. There is also a tendency to regulate self-esteem by identifying with ideology. Ideological legitimacy can be a basis for self-acceptance.

    Anyone who defines themselves in terms of their world view will defend that view as though they are defending their own personal dignity. We talked about that before in connection with Buddhist notion of "attachment to doctrine." It seems cognitive science is finally catching up with Buddhism. The graphic on page 368 is helpful. It shows how people cope with uncertainty and environmental threats:
    http://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/jost.glaser.political-conservatism-as-motivated-social-cog.pdf
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    It might be helpful to note their criteria for political conservatism:
    Analyzing political conservatism as motivated social cognition integrates theories of personality (authoritarianism, dogmatism–intolerance of ambiguity), epistemic and existential needs (for closure, regulatory focus, terror management), and ideological rationalization (social dominance, system justification).

    A meta-analysis (88 samples, 12 countries, 22,818 cases) confirms that several psychological variables predict political conservatism: death anxiety (weighted mean r .50); system instability (.47); dogmatism–intolerance of ambiguity (.34); openness to experience (–.32); uncertainty tolerance (–.27); needs for order, structure, and closure (.26); integrative complexity (–.20); fear of threat and loss (.18); and self-esteem (–.09). The core ideology of conservatism stresses resistance to change and justification of inequality and is motivated by needs that vary situationally and dispositionally to manage uncertainty and threat.​
    A quick glance of the criteria will show that many of the traits listed can be found within many political ideologies that choose to use labels other than conservatism, or might be lacking in ideologies that choose to use the label conservative. (Such as American ideologies that choose to preserve (conserve) the US Constitution, which is really based upon liberal ideological concepts. However, I will admit that this might fall under the system justification category.)

    Now, the question is: do some people follow their political ideology like a religion? I would venture to say that a great many do.
     
  7. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    I'm religiously liberal... an evangelizer of progressive values.
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Might account for the grandstanding we saw earlier in this thread? ;)

    {classified as "ideological rationalization (social dominance, system justification)" in the study Netti-Netti posted.}

    <edit> Oops, my apologies, citizenzen. I didn't see much grandstanding on your part.--sg
     
  9. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

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    Btw, overall these correlations are rather weak. I thought the graphic was an interesting way of representing the processes that are supposedly involved.

    One other thing: it is always the case that statistics based on groups obscure individual differences. It is NEVER the case that an individual person fits a group profile in every way. This is why psychological testing is limited in value: it involves comparing the person to a norm that may be misleading to begin with.
     
  10. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    Well, then you just didn't look close enough.
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    That's the beauty of ambiguity: now you see it, now you don't.
     
  12. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't really concerned about that. I was more concerned about process variables, which I think are fairly universal - found among people regardless of political orientation. (I was still riffing on the Pema Chodron quote).

    Yes, it might.

    I think people will defend their world view in an almost religious way to maintain psychological equilibrium in the face of ambiguities and direct challenges to their beliefs.

    The Buddhists would say that this is an expression of attachment to existence in the form of attachment to doctrine. The person identities so strongly with their worldview that they think they are giving themselves permanence through ideological justification. It's basically defending the self against psychological threats. I suspect Buddhists would say it's just silly to defend the self because there is no self to defend. What Pema Chodron calls "hookability" is just illusion - the person has been taken in by their own fears, biases, and defensiveness.
     
  13. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Which takes us back to Dhammapada 1:1-6...
     
  14. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

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    In Buddhism, "Identity View" is at the top of the list of fetters ("clinging-khandhas"). It is attachment to the idea of being a self. "Identity view" is a specific kind of attachment and it is a source of distress:
    Grasping onto the “I”, which is a cause of suffering, increases because of the delusion with regard to the self. http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch9.htm​
    Identity view is identifying with one's mental formations (pañcakkhandha) or "fabrications." These would include ideas and beliefs I may have picked up in the course of a lifetime that I now believe are "me."

    Insecurities arise in connection with a very temporary causal chain that gives rise to the idea of self. It shouldn't take much insight to realize that it's all very flimsy and barely hanging together. The insecurities are probably a natural part of dukkha.

    There are different responses to the situation. One response is to try to protect the mental formations (pañcakkhandha) or "fabrications" by eliminating all threats to it. Terms like doctrinal defensiveness or cognitive rigidity comes to mind. But the response would also have an emotional component that includes anxiety and hostility. These emotions have motivational consequences in terms of mobilizing active attempts to diminish or destroy all threats to the jerry rigged self system.

    The situation is self-perpetuating because the person then thinks (1) that they are a hodgepodge of ideas and views and also (2) that they are the blind defensive process of protecting the hodgepodge they identify with. The analogy is someone who has been impersonating somebody else thinking they have become the person they've been impersonating and then aggressively trying to defend this notion in the face of any and all information that challenges the preferred belief. I would expect it would lead to a paranoid world view.

    Originally the Buddha noted these bad mental habits in relation to metaphysical beliefs. MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta
    I think the notions of being "bound by the fetter of views" applies to all kinds of ideas, including social, political and religious ideology. People with pronounced bigotry are likely to have fixed and rigid and highly defended views in various areas.

    I think you'll turn up lots more detail if you search on terms like sakkāya-ditthi or "attachment to self." But looking at defensiveness or rigidity and paranoia in connection with bigotry might be interesting.
     

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