That’s why stocks tanked. It’s so obvious. Why didn’t I see that before!? God ruined the economy to make a point! God will fix it, too – when he’s good and ready and people truly deserve it, of course.
The Baylor Religious Survey results are out for viewing (PDF) and going by findings as reported by blogger Dan Merica at CNN, a full 20% of Americans believe God’s behind the economic woes facing the country. Paul Froese, co-author of the study, is quoted and explains how religious beliefs became so tied into the “conservative economic worldview” that’s touted by Republicans.
This coupling of belief systems began in the 1980’s said Froese, when the Republican Party began to court values voters who selected their candidates based primarily on social issues. Over time, the value voters began to go along with the economic teachings of Republican leaders of the time.
“Those kinds of voters who are driven by their faith tend to think that there are these ultimate truths out there and that everything else is wrong,” said Froese. “If you find a part of a leader you are in agreement with on these faith statements, then their discussion on the economy must also be right.”
Isn’t that kooky logic? Going by that route, if you trust your auto-mechanic’s word when he says he knows precisely what’s wrong with your car, then you can absolutely trust his opinion on whether or not you should have that surgery or get divorced. Being perceived as an expert in one thing doesn’t automatically make you expert at everything else.
There was a bit in my sociology/ethics courses somewhere that picked up on this kind of behaviour. Something about misplaced trust, maybe. Initially I think we were talking about television advertisements where there’s a guy in a lab coat holding a stethoscope while plugging some new drug. The audience should know without needing to be told that the person on the screen is going to be an actor playing a doctor, but they’ll still add a disclaimer admitting that, usually somewhere at the bottom of the screen in little white writing that vanishes in mere seconds. Other examples that came up at the time were celebrity endorsements. What makes them experts on the products they’ve been paid to appear beside on television and magazines? They aren’t. They’re just recognizable and known names, faces or physiques. If people can believe Donald Trump is an expert on steaks (has he ever owned or butchered his own cow?) then there’s no real limit to what the mind can bend itself into believing. Like God taking an active interest in our monetary futures.
I’m not equipped to offer suggestions on the topic of economic woes, so you won’t see any here. I don’t tend to follow politics or history either, so I don’t know what side of the economic debates are more likely right in terms of what will fix the damage. I think it’s fair to say leaving it all up to God sounds like a bad idea, though. There’s no real proof there is one, let alone one who cares about the economy.