Here’s a to-be-expected reaction to the mass shooting in El Paso yesterday. The governor of Texas states “The problem is not guns, it’s hearts without God.” People like the governor who propose this view—and you’ll hear it all day long if you switch on Fox—are not phased in the least by the fact that Sweden, which is 50%-85% agnostic and atheist, has a homicide rate four to five times lower than ours. In fact, you’ll see an array of European counties with high rates of atheism and agnosticism have homicide rates four to six times lower than that in the US. Conversely, some countries with higher percentages of religious than the US (like Brazil) have higher homicide rates. But facts be damned! Our Republican politicians will be highlighting it and news media will again be reporting it as if it had some value. It’s a part of the US mass delusion—treated as a rational explanation.
This governor, by the way, is not some fringe figure but the leader of the second most populous state in the United States. He’s also just one of multiple Republican “leaders” we’ll hear today who is doing the same thing. And this is just one of many issues about which the governor and those like him are contributing to mass delusion. We see similar Republican talking points on climate change. The news will report non-scientific views on this view too as if they deserve merit because they are widespread. Widespread views for which there is no good evidence don’t deserve equal coverage with ideas for which there is factual support. The US media will nonetheless pretend they do and fuel the flames of ignorance. Mass delusion in these cases is cultivated by disingenuous politicians and mass media.