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If you follow my page for some or like it on Facebook, you might have noticed that I am an atheist and I tend to post a lot against religion. Well, these posts against religion not only motivated by a desire to arrive at the truth, or free people from the virus of the mind which prevents them to use their logic and reason fully but because I truly and genuinely feel that the world would be a better place without religion. As you know, religion heavily influences politics and politics has a profound effect on all our lives. So, you might say that religion gives fuel to the bad ideas in politics. But on the other hand, people who are “skilled” in politics know how to use religion properly to reach their goals. So, yes, religion is a big problem and it cannot be fully separated from politics. Still, not everything comes from religion. Politics as its own enterprise should be examined – because even if it is influenced in part by religion it is still directly responsible for the quality of the world we live in.
And it is this quality of our world which I feel is getting worse. Of course, we are talking about small time frames. If we look at the large time frame, the world is getting better by many standards. Still, you might have noticed that the world is changing. Which long-term effects will these changes have, it remains to be seen, but if you are left-oriented, like me, you might have noticed that it’s the time to act.
While religion might be a problem in the world, it is politics and divisions it creates in our world that in my opinion currently might just be the world’s biggest problem. When being on the ‘winning side’ in politics is more important than scientific truth, the consequences for our world might be dire indeed. Don’t believe me? Look at the climate change. Driven by divisions in politics people don’t believe the evidence scientists provide, which means rejecting science for the comfort of thinking you voted for a party that is correct because at this point to accept climate change would mean to accept that your party might have been wrong.
The right wing is on the rise again. Things we might have taken for granted are once again, surprisingly in jeopardy. In the US, Abortion is in danger. In Turkey, Evolution is being evicted from schools. The EU is kind of in trouble. The rise of nationalism over here does not bode well for the future of the EU unless something is done. The British voted to leave. Nationalists are getting into parliaments and are gaining power fueled by the fears of excessive immigration, fake news and identity politics. Whether racism is back again or never truly left is another question to ponder. My feeling is also that the patriarchy is stronger now than it was like ten or fifteen years ago, and if above-mentioned abortion should by any chance be forbidden in the US, rights of women over there will be seriously curtailed. Not only rights but for many women that could mean their very life, because if access to safe and legal abortion disappears, it’s back-alleys and coat hangers again. And not only women in the US are in jeopardy of this happening to them. And as we saw from the example of Trump, the US exports its culture. Soon abortion will be questioned at large all over the world and things we thought have been settled will be questioned once again.
But the terrifying thing is that it currently seems they are winning. Take again the US. Now, I freely admit, I do not follow very intensely what is happening, but it seems even to me there is plenty of evidence that there was a Russian influence in the election, there was collusion, there was what some might even label – and indeed they have – treason. Not even to mention scandals, being inhumane by separating families at the border – and still – Republicans are going strong. People who are right wing oriented still stick by their leader, still think everything is good, still defend every bad decision, sometimes even by getting themselves into contradictory positions. That is the sort of misguided loyalty which cannot be easily persuaded by reason, logic or appeal to decency. That is the loyalty of people who are themselves personally and emotionally invested in their party. If the party loses – they lose. By almost not having their own thoughts, but instead sacrificing any independent thought to the party lines, these people can hardly question their devotion, because that would mean they are questioning themselves as persons. They are too emotionally involved at this point. It would be a wonder if we change their minds through debate at this point. People love to be right and they love to win. So far, they are winning. When you are at that position, it’s hard to see how you can be wrong.
So, what is there to be done?
Sure, minds can change, but the power of confirmation bias is sometimes just too great and trying to change someone’s mind who’s in-too-deep might make them go in even deeper. There’s a real psychology behind changing a person’s mind – you must be gentle enough to try and offer them a way out without making them seem stupid – and currently, it might be too much effort and take too much time to try and change minds of people who are already right wing.
Luckily, there is a huge amount of those people who are undecided or do not vote out of protest or laziness or they have an idea that voting will not change anything or what have you. They are the people we are most likely to reach and considering that the very future of our planet might be at stake, we should try and give our best to reach out to them. Yes, it would be good if we all were to agree on the basic idea where the world should go, but at this point there just isn’t time. We need to be effective. So, if you have people in your life who are undecided who to vote for or whether to vote, try to reach out to them. Each of our tiny actions multiplied many times can make a difference. You are a part of this world and it is irresponsible to say that these things do not concern you. You should be better than that. We all should be better than that.