Cognitive Dissonance: Traditional/Family Values - a misnomer.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Traditional/Family Values - a misnomer.

As I've been watching the Republican debates, and reading articles and blogs about the candidates I have noticed a couple of terms that are being used a lot, "traditional values" and "family values".  What do these terms mean when we examine them in historical and cultural contexts?  Having been a raging, right wing, Tea Party Patriot Republican at one point in time (don't hold it against me now, please) I am familiar with what these terms mean to the candidates, specifically Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann (who has dropped out of the race, thank goodness).  To them "traditional/family values" are labels that mean a "Christian" household, with a married man and woman and 2.4 children.  To them this represents a healthy, moral standard for a "family" and they believe (assuming I'm not totally mistaken, and I'm nearly positive I'm not) that this is the only acceptable possibility.  They base this on the teaching of their respective religions, Santorum being Catholic has a definition which differs slightly from Romney's.  Since Santorum was the motivation for this particular Blog, let's stick with his for now.  Romney is a Mormon and the foundation of his cults ridiculous beliefs should be so obviously ludicrous I shouldn't have to say much about them for most thinking people to know that anyone who can believe that crap is frankly, stupid.  The followers of the cult of Mormonism must be somehow so psychologically damaged that they cannot discern obvious fact from fiction.  I'm already off topic, as frequently happens, please allow me to return to the definition portion of this discussion.

Wikipedia defines Family Values as: "Promotion of 'traditional marriage' and opposition to sex outside of conventional marriage, including pre-marital sex adultery, polygamy, bestiality, and incest.  Support for a roll back of aspects of feminism and support for a traditional role for women in the family.  Opposition to same-sex marriage, support for traditional education and parental involvement in that education, including such things as vouchers for private, non-secular education.  Support for complementarianism opposition to legalization of abortion and support for policies that instead encourage abstinence and adoption support for abstinence education exclusively regarding risks associated with early sexual activity such as teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases while not teaching such topics of sex education as human sexual behavior, safe sex and birth control support for policies that are said to protect children from obscenity and exploitation."  Furthermore, Santorum has said on more than one occasion that he believes that all birth control/contraception should be illegal!  This is a specifically Catholic position, in fact the Pope has told Catholics in countries in Africa that have epidemic levels of AIDS/HIV that if they use condoms, they will go to hell.  - - See full article here. 

In a separate, related Wikipedia article titled "Traditional Values" the first paragraph (and most pertinent paragraph to this discussion) states: "In its own right "traditional values" simply means the values coming from tradition rather than any specific philosopher, moralist, or writer. This means the "traditional values" of non-Western societies may be wildly at variance from any Christian Right notion of Family values. Societies based on traditional values often embrace animism and ancestor worship rather than any Abrahamic religion. Confucianism also tends to place high value on the maintenance of traditional culture and values. It is related to the concept of traditional authority and folk culture." - - See full article here. 

The definition provided by Wikipedia for "family values" does an excellent job of comprehensively outlining exactly what I would have used a a definition myself at one time.  However, to call these values "traditional" is problematic at best.  Santorum and others who subscribe to the idea that these values are traditional have no grasp of history whatsoever and are most likely unable to define anthropology as anything other than a retail store.  This definition of "family values" is based on what is commonly referred to as a "biblical worldview", even though most of these ideas are not found in the bible, or have been taken out of context and skewed to fit the needs of the chauvinists responsible for developing them.   The only society/societies where these ideals would be considered traditional is in western culture(s), specifically western cultures that are/were at one time dominated by one brand or another of the Christian religion.  Some of these ideals are fine, I wouldn't argue for the merits of things like bestiality and incest or argue against parental involvement in education, however the vast majority of these beliefs are antiquated and patently ridiculous.  The anti-feminist positions of these people are offensive and the idea that sex education is "wrong" or "immoral" is backwards and asinine, especially considering that rates of teen pregnancy is significantly higher in the church than in secular society.  The issue of abortion is a touchy subject, but the idea that the government should have any say in what a woman does with her body is contemptible.  As for the issue of same sex marriage, it's high time we (as a society) stop telling people how they can and cannot live their lives and excluding people who genuinely love each other from reaping the same benefits as same sex couples.  Again, especially considering the divorce rate within the church is higher than 60% now, and again higher than average compared to the secular community.  It is obvious that the Christian/Catholic version of "family values" is not only antiquated and preposterous, but an utter failure in regards to protecting their ideal way of life.  The only thing their version of "family values" accomplishes is the further oppression of women, alienating and harming perfectly healthy, loving, gay families, suppressing social progress, suppressing academic/scientific progress through religious education and stigmatizing sex, which is a perfectly natural act which should be enjoyed when engaged in responsibly by consenting individuals, not abhorred and treated as some kind of immoral act.  

The portion of the definition I quoted from the second Wiki article basically drives home one of the points I am trying to make, "traditional/family values" is a misnomer.  There is no such thing as the term is totally relative, they should be called "religious ideals" (because that is exactly what they are) and they should be mocked and marginalized with extreme prejudice.  I say it often, religion is the cause of the vast majority of suffering in the world and has been for centuries.  We know now that Christianity is built on a foundation of lies, the bible has been proven to be false historically, and the supernatural claims made therein which were used to explain phenomena we didn't yet understand such as the origins of life are obviously implausible.  Furthermore, using the bible as a guide for moral living is detestable!  The 10 commandments are laughable as far as the claim that they originated from an all knowing, all powerful being.  Their origins are blatantly human and they are nothing more than common sense.  Other than the narcissistic, repetitive commands not to worship any other god(s) the 10 commandments could have been written by a kindergartner.  By comparison the bible contains far more immoral acts than moral/ethical instructions.  It's pages are rife with things like murder, rape, genocide, infanticide, slavery and a vast array of other blatantly immoral and abhorrent acts.  Anyone who claims that it is the ultimate source of morality either hasn't read it, doesn't understand it, or is a psychopath.  Furthermore, according to several centuries of work done by a fairly large group of scholars we also know that Jesus Christ aka Jesus of Nazareth is also a fictional character.  Given the overwhelming evidence, which is chronicled in numerous books, essays and other similar sources, it is hard to believe that anyone capable of rational thought would still subscribe to any of the nonsensical versions of religion remaining.  It's high time that people stand up for what is ACTUALLY right and did everything in their power to expose the evil, harmful, antiquated tenets of religion, specifically Christianity in all it's forms as it is the greatest threat to the welfare of our country today.  Some people may immediately bristle and say I'm wrong and that Islam is the greatest threat to our nation, and while I agree that Islam is a threat, and is responsible for more damage worldwide in this day and age than Christianity is, the fact remains that Christians can and will tear this country apart from the inside out if we fail to act and allow them to grab the reigns in Washington DC.  As for claims that our country was founded on Christian principles, by Christian men, this claim is also demonstrably false, and I have addressed it at length in a previous blog, so check it out.

It is time religion is put in it's place, the history books!!!

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