Tyrone made comments on his “Miracles and Mayhem” article that referred to the right for homosexuals to marry and how this would affect certain homophobic Christian ministers.
Whilst Tyronehster is used as an example for this article, it would appear that many religious folk share his views.
Professor Zimbardo of the notorious Stanford prison experiment has spent much of his professional life researching the psychology of evil. If one looks at the great crimes against humanity, such as, the inquisitions, the holocaust, communist purges of human life, and closer to home, apartheid, one soon realizes that it took hundreds of thousands of people to accomplish these crimes, surely not all people involved were evil.
Zimbardo reasons that these great evils happen, because of a “system” and not because individuals are evil.
Evil is defined as an individual or group using authority or power to commit crimes against humanity.
Zimbardo has identified seven social processes that grease the slippery slope of evil, making it rather easy for an average person to do evil.
Here are the seven steps:
• Mindlessly taking the first small step( ignorance)
• Dehumanization of Others
• De-individuation of Self (anonymity)
• Diffusion of Personal Responsibility (group, gang)
• Blind Obedience to Authority( Government, General, leader etc.)
• Uncritical conformity to group Norms
• Passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference
Tyrone chose to reply to the following comment on his article.
“Secular society had a long and hard battle to remove the teeth of religion, and its grip on society. That battle continues today. At present we have another anti-gay uproar by fundamental ministers who can lose their marriage officers licenses for refusing to marry gay couples.”
Tyrone’s’ reply: “It's not only 'fundamental' ministers who stand to lose their licences by refusing to marry gay couples. If they are following the teachings of their Faith and their conscience, they MAY NOT marry them. This is not unsympathetic, it's our mandate.
All the talk about the Church interfering with society; here's a wonderful example of the State interfering with the rights of ministers to follow the teachings of Christ and the clear ruling of their church.”
His comment was answered:
Well there's the problem. We have a constitution in our country which makes it a crime to discriminate, race, religion, sexual orientation etc etc. Some churches have decided they can marry gay couples.
Tyrone, you are using the same argument that the slave owners of the south used to defend slavery. Conscience, teachings of faith, mandate from god etc. etc.”
Tyrone replied: “The "The teachings of the Bible are quite clear on homosexuality. The Government has legalised it, let them get married in court, or find a minster who will. But don't complain when a minister who is following the dictates of his religion refuses to do it.”
Let’s look at how Tyronehster is doing on Zimbardo’s slippery slope of evil.
Every rational, good human being agrees that discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, race etc. is a crime against humanity. Tyrone doesn’t seem to know this.
Step 1. Mindlessly taking the first small step. Check
Tyrone believes homosexuality to be a sin. He refers to these gay people as a group, he forgets that these “shells” he brands sinners or immoral are actually people who love and are loved, who have parents and families. He forgets they are people with human rights and writes, “let them get married in court, or find a minster who will.” Step 2. Dehumanization of Others. Check? You decide.
Tyrone writes, “. If they are following the teachings of their Faith and their conscience, they MAY NOT marry them. This is not unsympathetic, it's our mandate.”
Note the, “If they”, the “they MAY NOT marry them”. Earlier on Tyrone writes,” the clear ruling of their church.”
Step 3. De-individuation of Self (anonymity). Check
Tyrone writes, “here's a wonderful example of the State interfering with the rights of ministers to follow the teachings of Christ and the clear ruling of their church.” Note: Not the minister or his personal interpretations are held responsible: Here we diffuse the personal responsibility, note that the “teachings of Christ” and “their church” are responsible, not individuals.
Step 4. • Diffusion of Personal Responsibility. Check
When it comes to authority, Tyrone has the absolute authority of the universe giving instructions, God. It is however noteworthy, that many churches have recognized being gay as a normal human condition and do perform gay marriages. Do they have a different God or bible? Or does each person or groups’ God just happen to have the same biases and prejudices that their respective worshipers do.
Step 5. Blind Obedience to Authority. Check
Tyrone appears to be in total agreement with “his” group however, and claims, “, it's our mandate.”
Step 6. Uncritical conformity to group Norms. Check
Step 7. Passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference. (Tyronehster to decide)
It is interesting that a Christians’ attitude toward homosexuality is determined by their specific perception of God, and of course generally, as to whether an individual believes being gay is nature or nurture. Link: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-10-07-1Agod07_CV_N.htm
Which God do you believe in? Link: http://www.thearda.com/whoisyourgod/thegodtest/
Evidence for homosexuality being genetic seems unlikely for now, however another study does suggest an Epigenetic cause. (See reference). The religious homophobes are screaming for "real" genetic evidence, but they forget that by analogy, cigarette smoking is very strongly associated with the development of lung cancer, but it has never been proven or shown to cause lung cancer by strict scientific criteria.
Homophobic Christian arguments are claimed to be based on scripture, of course old Crusty, (Apostle Paul), had something to say about it, as he did about women being silent in church. It would appear that women being silent in church and the biblical defense of slavery have been put in their rightful place –the historical garbage can. Some churches have seen fit to discard their homophobic views.
Tyrone has the opportunity to be a hero to society and change his church or groups evil behavior. Tyrone can stand up and do the right thing, or he can be remembered just as the old slave owners are, as ignorant evil fools with their bibles in hand, claiming scripture and Christ’s teachings as their mandate from God.
Tyronehster can be one of those spokes in the wheels of evil such as those that stood at the Nuremberg trials and defended themselves with the pathetic excuse that they were only doing what an authority ordered, or Tyrone can be a hero.
Do you think Tyronehster and like-minded people are evil?
Do you think Tyronehster will choose to be a hero, or an evil lackey?
A cool talk by Zimbardo : http://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_on_the_psychology_of_evil.html
Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668167
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