The Left’s Most Intractable Problem

The Washington Times reports on an ABC poll that was released on Sunday:

God’s creation of the Earth, Noah and the flood, Moses at the Red Sea: These pivotal stories from the Old Testament still resonate deeply with most Americans, who take the accounts literally rather than as a symbolic lesson.
An ABC News poll released Sunday found that 61 percent of Americans believe the account of creation in the Bible’s book of Genesis is “literally true” rather than a story meant as a “lesson.”
Sixty percent believe in the story of Noah’s ark and a global flood, while 64 percent agree that Moses parted the Red Sea to save fleeing Jews from their Egyptian captors.
The poll found that 75 percent of Protestants believed in the story of creation, 79 percent in the Red Sea account and 73 percent in Noah and the ark. Among evangelical Protestants, those figures were 87 percent, 91 percent and 87 percent, respectively. Among Catholics, they were 51 percent, 50 percent and 44 percent.

As everyone knows, religion is now the great fault line of American politics, with religious people tending to be conservative, and non-religious people tending to be liberal. It is unclear to me why, exactly, the left has such tin ear with respect to people of faith. It is by no means impossible to couch liberalism in Judeo-Christian language; on the contrary, that is exactly what the leadership of nearly every mainstream denomination does. But for some reason, this approach has failed to register with the rank and file.
Modern leftism has always been anti-religious at its core. The three great intellectual movements of the nineteenth century, founded by Marx, Darwin and Freud, were all rebellions against the European religious tradition. Marx sought to secularize history, Darwin to secularize biology, and Freud to secularize human nature. All three movements pretended to be scientific, but in reality were pseudo-science. Hostility to religion was their essence and their motivation.
This heritage lives on, I think, in the contemporary liberal tradition, and helps to explain why the stubborn religiosity of Americans is bad news for liberals.
UPDATE: Liberal blogger and UCLA professor Mark Kleiman offers a left-wing perspective on these poll data:

This should come as no surprise to students of American culture, but I submit that it is, in a larger sense, truly astounding and frightening…The fact that a very clear majority of the citizens believe palpable nonsense — or, perhaps, think it appropriate to pretend to pollsters that they believe palpable nonsense — is a major problem not only for the actual Democrats, but for any possible party devoted to respecting the difference between truth and error.

Yes, there you have it–a reminder of why I like liberals so much. It has to do, I think with their arrogance.

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