[S]peaking generally; although some individuals might change their opinions most will not because not all devout people are motivated by the desire to follow Christ’s (or some other deity’s) commands to help other people.
The purpose of organized religion seems to be to teach obedience, not goodness. Because deities do not interact with our physical world, all clergy must persuade others that they are and/or were in communication with their god(s). Without authority it is difficult to persuade others that you are right and they are wrong, that they have the right to command and you must obey. Therefore one of the essential features of organized religion is teaching the followers to give up their own autonomy and give the power over their minds and lives to their leaders, who know and obey God’s laws. Religions define the godly as those who obey God’s laws and the wicked as those who disobey God.
Therefore the godly are motivated to please and obey God, not necessarily do good, which in this case means helping the poor and hungry. Of course many religions (and Jesus specifically) command their followers to help the poor but those who do not want to help others for personal and/or political reasons can easily convince themselves that they are disobeying God or his words by helping others, thereby excusing themselves from their own laws.
Rick Warren, a multi-millionaire megachurch pastor, said:
Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There’s over 2,000 verses in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there’s a fundamental question on the meaning of “fairness.” Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.The Bible does not support freedom of religion; there is one way and one way only to God, and that is belief and obedience to the laws it lays down. The pope also does not support freedom of religion for the same reason. And most people who depend on religion for a purpose and guidebook to follow in life and on a religious organization for emotional, financial, and social support will not change their minds and reject the teachings of their tribe when confronted by irrefutable evidence.
The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth. When you subsidize people, you create the dependency. You rob them of dignity. The primary purpose of government is to keep the peace, protect the citizens, provide opportunity. And when we start getting into all kinds of other things, I think we invite greater control. And I’m fundamentally about freedom. You know the first freedom in America is actually the freedom of religion. It’s not the second, third, fourth or fifth.
Refuting their religious/political dogma is considered a personal threat, an attack on everything they believe in, most especially to the concept of obedience to authority. It’s not necessarily that the Republicans would love to see small children working at looms again; Republicans want everyone to obey their authority and and their authority tells them to remove any regulation on authority. The reality of exploitation, disease and hunger are easily dismissed because obedience, not goodness, is the goal.
And if children are exploited, well, humans are sinners, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it except insist on obedience to authority even more stridently.Those who are forced to obey will try to force others to obey. Many will derive a great deal of comfort in having a defined place, purpose and group and react violently towards anyone who wants to take that away from them. They would rather live a lie than live with uncertainty, fear and doubt. But lies must be all-encompassing to work; the doubt that always lives deep under the surface of a lie must be kept out at all costs--costs paid by others, of course.
Conservatives will not admit that they scapegoat African-Americans, blaming them for the problems created or perpetuated by their leaders. They will say they are good people; they obey God, unlike certain other people who just happen to have inferior genes. Conservatism is inherently racist because conservative leaders need an enemy to deflect blame for their actions and a hierarchy of power that preserves their personal privilege. Authoritarian religious organizations are inherently anti-women for the same reason. Authoritarianism is the process by which the powerful exploit the powerless, whether in a family, church, society, or government. To destroy racism, sexism, and capitalistic exploitation, you have to destroy authoritarianism.