Today’s column from Nick Kristof centers on the idea that “[o]ne of the most poisonous divides is the one between intellectual and religious America,” but it’s really more of a catalog of Scary Things Americans Think. For example:
Americans are three times as likely to believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus (83 percent) as in evolution (28 percent).
The first stat isn’t so surprising, but the second… 28 percent!? This really says something about the state of science education in this country. Evolution isn’t just a scientific fact, it’s the unifying principle in biology. Trying to understand biology without evolution would be like trying to understand physics without the concept of energy. 28 percent…
Yet despite the lack of scientific or historical evidence, and despite the doubts of Biblical scholars, America is so pious that not only do 91 percent of Christians say they believe in the Virgin Birth, but so do an astonishing 47 percent of U.S. non-Christians.
I can’t even comprehend this. What possible reason would a non-Christian have to believe in the virgin birth? Even Kristof’s take, “America is so pious…” doesn’t explain it. It’s not pious to believe in the virgin birth if you’re not a Christian. It’s just dumb! Who are these people?
On the other hand, maybe these numbers are the result of creative surveying techniques that put some Christian sects into the non-Christian category.
When he runs out of survey results, Kristof goes to the time-honored journalistic technique of finding the most stunningly wacko website he can and quoting from it. And man, does he find a good one:
“God defeated armies of Philistines and others with confusion. Dimpled and hanging chads may also be because of God’s intervention on those who were voting incorrectly. Why is GW Bush our president? It was God’s choice.”
Perhaps the funniest thing about this is the suggestion that the sorts of miracles God works involve rigging elections. Wouldn’t have been more effective and less shady for God to go on CNN (ok, maybe Fox News) and give Bush his official endorsement? I bet if he did that Bush would have actually won Florida.
But seriously, what the fuck is up with this divine right shit? I thought we jettisonned that idea back in 1776. And Ann Coulter calls us traitors.