“The apocalyptic internet movement QAnon is gaining followers by the thousands, and churches are slow to respond”

"Many Christians have sunk so deeply into Q that it fills a lot of their conversations and most of their time online. Cult expert Steve Hassan said he is swamped with thousands of emails from family members concerned about their loved ones who are suddenly deep into QAnon." - WORLD

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Jeff Howell's picture

never ends. Deceptions, deceit, false flags everywhere. Ongoing spiritual warfare keeps taking on new looks. We must not be ignorant of our true enemy's schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). I personally have felt a bit like 2 Cor. 4:8 lately: perplexed, but not despairing, except there have been times where I must be truthful about even some despair. Is that true for anyone else? 

So, we must keep girding up the minds, be sober, and be steadfast. I preach to me, and hope to encourage you.

Jeff

Bert Perry's picture

....of the old John Birch Society, which claimed without much evidence that there was a conspiracy of the same type.  So one "nice" thing we can say about "Qanon" is that they're being environmentally responsible and recycling old, bad ideas....

(I'm not doing very well at being nice today, sorry!)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

I know a few that have bought into COVID conspiracies but have yet to meet a Q believer.

Darrell Post's picture

Wait a minute, I thought Q was the supposed source material Matthew and Mark pulled from?

M. Osborne's picture

I am dimly aware that there's some fringe group called QAnon peddling conspiracy theories. I am not aware that anyone in our church has fallen for it. We do discover periodically just what kind of aberrant beliefs our people are harboring despite the preaching they regularly hear. But in our congregation, if someone is going to go beyond a pale, it tends to be the left pale. We've had a person re-post supportive memes for homosexuality, and when asked about it, gets upset: "I don't support homosexuality; I just don't like it when rejecting parents push their gay children towards suicide." (Our response: "Why don't you craft your own message that disapproves of both homosexuality and ungodly responses to homosexuality?") We've found out that an 80-or-90+ year old woman was supportive of abortion (although she backed down and changed her mind; this the same person who was uncomfortable to hear th  pastor say that alcohol in moderation isn't a sin). We also have regular contact with people infected with prosperity theology and name-it-claim-it / positive thinking drivel.

There are so many errors we have to deal with, I'm glad we haven't had to deal with QAnon yet. It feels like Wack-a-Mole. Not to mention: cultic beliefs (and the mindset that goes with them) and conspiracy theories can be exhausting to argue with. You're simply not arguing within the same parameters. As Chesterton said, a mind so infected needs air, not arguments.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Darrell Post's picture

"They know what the backstory is that caused them to distrust the medical, political, or media establishments"

For many years now I have had a healthy distrust of politicians and the news media, but the earth is round, the moon landings were real, Elvis is dead, the plane hit the pentagon, the illuminati doesn't run the world from the Masters golf tournament, and Walt Disney wasn't frozen. 

Bert Perry's picture

I read from a reliable source (the Weekly World News, I believe) that Elvis was alive and being inconspicuous while driving a red Ferrari in Kalamazoo.  Cue Weird Al's song "Midnight Star".   

:^)

Seriously, it can be really impressive what people will believe when they're of a mind to believe it.  My Mayo pathologist friend/daughter's father in law has been told by a patient (when he was working with living patients of course) that he'd had both lungs removed.  Another patient told him that her ovaries had grown back after a hysterectomy.  Lesson he learned; sometimes you just do your best and don't argue with stupid people.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

M. Osborne's picture

Funny childhood memory: walking into a department store, I heard music that I thought I recognized, and I asked, "Dad, is that Elvis?" My dad acted startled and looked all around, "Where?!?!" (He was joking.)

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

josh p's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

Wait a minute, I thought Q was the supposed source material Matthew and Mark pulled from?

Wrong conspiracy. Jk, jk

dgszweda's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

"They know what the backstory is that caused them to distrust the medical, political, or media establishments"

For many years now I have had a healthy distrust of politicians and the news media, but the earth is round, the moon landings were real, Elvis is dead, the plane hit the pentagon, the illuminati doesn't run the world from the Masters golf tournament, and Walt Disney wasn't frozen. 

That is good that you have a balance, but I can guarantee you not everyone else feels this way.  I have been tracking this for some while and even within our church and it is a bit scary to find that it is more prevelant than we give thought to.  I can guarantee you that there is one or more anti-vaxxers in your church, and QAnon plays into the same thought process.  The problem is that in the past we have been able to combat this with sound teaching.  The internet though has created an entire community where these individuals can further expand.  There is a reason why the flat-earth movement is rapidly growing.  If flat earthers are growing, you can be assured that this is starting to gain a foothill in many if not most churches.

Mark_Smith's picture

How many Christians really believe QAnon? I think "many" is a stretch. How about "some"?

Talking to a UC grad who left SoCal for northern Idaho to avoid Y2K is like going to a UFO convention...

Bert Perry's picture

One thing that makes QAnon hard to deal with is that bad ideas often have differing pedigrees.  For example, is the "requirement" many feel to do "courtship" from Bill Gothard, Vision Forum/Doug Philipps, Josh Harris, or others?  We fundagelicals, perhaps more than other people, do a great job recycling ideas....too often bad ones!

That noted, I've never had trouble finding conspiracy theories at church.  You'll find the Bircher, the closet  Aryan Nations supporter, the Confederate sympathizer, the person spouting off prophecy who's sleeping with his girlfriend, the denier of the canonicity of Paul's writings, the vaccine activist, and a lot more if you put your ear to the ground. QAnon goes through a few different groups of people, and all of a sudden, you're hearing about their ideas when the speaker doesn't even know where they came from.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

How many Christians really believe QAnon? I think "many" is a stretch. How about "some"?

Talking to a UC grad who left SoCal for northern Idaho to avoid Y2K is like going to a UFO convention...

QAnon is a conspiracy theory that feeds off of the sentiments or theories already prevalant in our churches.  You now have politicians, mega churches and the President himself espousing word for word these ideas, some are even running on this exact term in their platforms.  While many may not be aware of QAnon as a defined term, there are most likely more than you would be aware.  This is where you see it creeping into the church:

  • Inordinate focus on pedophilia
  • Distrust in the media
  • Distrust in science
  • Anti-vaccine proponents
  • Belief that there is a deep state and that Trump is working to root this out

These are all frameworks for QAnon.  Looking at these, you can probably readily identify people within your congregation or even yourself who hold to varying degrees of these.  Where QAnon seeps in, is how individuals consume social media or websites that align to the ideas above.  Because QAnon aligns to these, people will begin to gravitate to an article on a site that relates to the above, they then read other articles, see ones that have very official and supportive aspects to it and they begin to get more ingrained on what the site espouses, all the while not realizing what they are getting sucked into.

Trust me, it is way more prevalant than you would think.

Mark_Smith's picture

With all due respect I think you are mixing together a bunch of things and calling them the same.

Distrust in media is != QAnon.

Distrust in science != QAnon (or else 7/8 of the Christians I know are QAnon adepts)

Being antivaccine was around way before QAnon

 

Your suggestion is similar to the problem with BLM. The official organization is Marxist, pure, and simple. But most people who use the phrase mean they want black people to get better treatment, etc. Unfortunately, they use the phrase Black Lives Matter which is the same as the name of the Marxist organization. Then, there is confusion about the agendas of the two camps. Same thing here. There is QAnon, then are people who have beliefs that parallel in some way QAnon's claims (many of which were borrowed from ideas already existing).