A Harvard professor and public intellectual said that Evangelical Christianity was to blame for the movement against the lockdown over the coronavirus, and social media did not respond warmly.
Steven Pinker posted a tweet in support of the thesis being put forth in an opinion piece in the Washington Post criticizing the Evangelical Christian worldview for the lockdown protests.
"Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier. Exhibit A: What's really behind Republicans wanting a swift reopening? Evangelicals," he tweeted.
Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would ma… https://t.co/AAzTl98jZR— Steven Pinker (@Steven Pinker)1590068265.0
The article written by Gary Abernathy argued that the anti-lockdown protests were animated by more than simply the partisan support for President Donald Trump, but that the focus on the afterlife made Christians care less about the virus.
Christian fundamentalism is often fatalistic. As far as many evangelicals are concerned, life passes quickly, suffering is temporary and worrying solves nothing. That's not a view that comports well with long stretches of earthly time spent waiting out business closures or stay-at-home orders. It should be no surprise that a person's deepest beliefs about the world influence how they measure the risks they're willing to take.
Abernathy concluded, "when ruminating over why there are millions of people who don't seem to panic over a global pandemic or other life-threatening event, critics should remember that, right or wrong, it often involves a belief in something even bigger than people named Trump, Hannity or Limbaugh."
Among those incensed at the description Pinker used against Christians was Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish.
"So if I believe that my actions don't merely matter here on earth but in eternity, my actions are somehow devalued? Also, please explain why my synagogue shut down BEFORE any governmental orders to do so if we don't care about actual life. Ridiculous on its face," responded Shapiro.
Others fired back at Pinker for his dismissive accusation.
"Religious people live longer on average, report higher happiness and have more children. But Pinker believes in SCIENCE!" responded Michael Brendan Dougherty of National Review.
"More proof of why godless Psyches are destroying the planet.. you cats ARE the malignancy who have been trying to turn us into 'brains' instead of spiritual beings for centuries .. your gifts to man are ETC, drugs, lobotomy and lock up.. I'll take my chances with God," replied actress Kirstie Alley.
"Christopher Hitchens once described this pompous Harvard pedant as 'educated beyond his intelligence.' Pinker here proves Hitchens right. People want to get back to their jobs, their friends, their life but Pinker insists their real motive is 'belief in an afterlife,'" said Dinesh D'Souza.
"Word of advice: If something makes logical sense to you but doesn't play out in reality then the problem is in your head," responded Catholic comedian Jeremy McLellan.
Here's more about the coronavirus lockdown:
Dr. Fauci: We certainly support cautious reopening www.youtube.com