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PostPopulism, Trumpism, and Religion (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 08/18/19 5:39 am)
John Eipper commented on my post of August 16th: "Perhaps the fundamental question is not whether populism is taking over much of the world, but rather why, and why now?"
My virtually ignored book God for Atheists and Scientists is basically a call for more science and less organized religion. For me an important lesson after publishing the book is that people crave fantasy and superstition; they want to believe and have faith in whatever religion they fell into for whatever reason. Most of us don't want to take the need for personal responsibility, the need for knowledge and reasoning seriously. The world is just too complicated.
Regarding populism, looking up to a political leader based on belief without seriously examining the evidence about her background, personality, the details for accomplishing her platform promises is just another form of organized religion. Just look at the latest example: Trump. Does it matter to the various supporter groups, even the super religious, that Trump has shown no morals, consorts with scumbags and members of organized crime, has no respect for the rule of law, lies continuously and seems to be proud of it, is a raving racist, xenophobic, seems to have no education whatsoever and creates reality out of thin air, etc.? How can one explain such an incredible phenomenon as the leader of America the Great?
To me the explanation is simple. After decades of corrupt politicians, a significant share of the American people got desperate and decided to follow someone with flare, regardless of reason. They chose a potential messiah to have faith in, come hell or high water. They will not change their minds until it hurts them personally and it will be too late. To complicate things, the American people don't seem to have viable alternative national leaders. Trump presently is winning by default regardless of the enormous damage he is and will be causing to America and the world.
JE comments: I've heard the "flawed instrument" argument from a number of my Evangelical friends. It goes like this: Yes, Trump is amoral and even reprehensible, but God often chooses the most unexpected people to do His work. In particular, he (Trump, not God) will put a stop to the greatest Evil afflicting America today: abortion.
Trumpism is certainly a cult of personality, but can we call it a religion? Doesn't the Flawed Messenger trope at least elevate Trump to the level of prophet?