I have found that the motivation behind nearly every decision or action justified by religion is actually social, political, or economic first. If you give someone a Bible or Qu'ran, they're not going to become a fanatic on contact, and the vast majority of people raised into religious beliefs do not become extremists either. To a person whose life is not adversely affected by those other factors, a religious text is just a book of old stories. However, to a person who is worried about their future, their children, their jobs, their health, or their very lives, a religious text becomes both a source of comfort and a weapon for lashing out.
...people who are more open to terrorist recruitment and radicalization tend to:
Feel angry, alienated or disenfranchised.
Believe that their current political involvement does not give them the power to effect real change.
Identify with perceived victims of the social injustice they are fighting.
Feel the need to take action rather than just talking about the problem.
Believe that engaging in violence against the state is not immoral.
Have friends or family sympathetic to the cause.
Believe that joining a movement offers social and psychological rewards such as adventure, camaraderie and a heightened sense of identity.
These are the same reasons people believe in conspiracy theories, or vote for authoritarian leaders. If you're someone living through times of economic uncertainty, and have suffered due to factors beyond your control, then the world seems to make very little sense. Conspiracy theories, like creationism and other religious narratives, provide an explanation for how the world works in a way that's structured, predictable, and easy to understand. They provide comfort to the people who believe them. Most importantly, they provide a clearly identified common enemy to rally against and blame for all of one's problems; whether that enemy is the government, members of other religions (including nonbelievers), or the other political party or side (liberals vs. conservatives). People throughout history have gravitated towards authoritarians because those leaders offer a sense of security, stability, and pride through unity.
Here's a breakdown of how religious people voted:
Of particular interest is how, among different Christian groups, there were strong divisions along racial/ethnic lines. So it's fair to say that white evangelicals heavily favored Trump, but the same is not true for groups like Hispanic Catholics or black Christians.
Edited by Frozenwolf150, 30 January 2017 - 03:52 PM.