The Conspiracy That Some Evangelicals are Embracing: Q Anon and a Solid Read in The Atlantic Magazine About this Dangerous Belief System

The Atlantic Magazine published an article that is a look at the Q Anon conspiracy theory. This theory has some traction among some white evangelicals and shows how bankrupt and lost they are. This post is about the Atlantic Magazine article and the history and how it evolved and the cognitive dissonance that  many use to keep it going. This blog rejects conspiracy theories but I am adding this post to the archives. 

“If you were an adherent, no one would be able to tell. You would look like any other American. You could be a mother, picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate. You could be the young man in headphones across the street. You could be a bookkeeper, a dentist, a grandmother icing cupcakes in her kitchen. You may well have an affiliation with an evangelical church. But you are hard to identify just from the way you look—which is good, because someday soon dark forces may try to track you down. You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world. You see plague and pestilence sweeping the planet, and understand that they are part of the plan. You know that a clash between good and evil cannot be avoided, and you yearn for the Great Awakening that is coming. And so you must be on guard at all times. You must shield your ears from the scorn of the ignorant. You must find those who are like you. And you must be prepared to fight.

You know all this because you believe in Q.”

Atlantic Magazine introduction 

After a shooting people stand and support Comet Ping Pong

Shortly before the November 2016 election a new conspiracy popped up on the internet and was embraced by the alt-right and fake news websites. It claimed that high level members of the Democratic Party were engaged in running a child sex ring in a series of restaurants around the United States. In the Washington, D.C. area the claim was that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex abuse operation in the basement of a well known family establishment called Comet Ping Pong. Edgar Welch, is an avowed Christian,  who was into John Eldredge (known for writing books like “Wild at Heart”) and who did a missionary trip to Haiti with the Baptist Men’s Association.  Welch drove up from North Carolina to Washington, D.C.  On December 4, 2016 armed with an AR-15 he burst into Comet Ping Pong and fired a gunshot into the floor.  He was there to save the children who were sex slaves in the basement. He surrendered to police and while he learned there is no basement he couldn’t dismiss the face that he fell victim to a conspiracy theory that had been debunked. After this happened in the Washington, D.C. area I was horrified at the thought that a gunman would storm a pizza restaurant and fire a weapon. A few days after the incident I went to Comet Ping Pong and supported the restaurant. This blog purchased two pizzas two go and left a larger than normal tip. I told the staff that I support them and that concerned citizens like myself will help the place bounce back. 

Out of Pizzagate came another conspiracy theory that a number of conservative evangelicals would embrace. For me this shows how morally bankrupt many evangelicals are today. Before I proceed this conspiracy theory is garbage. After Pizzagate those who pushed it claimed that there was a deep state theory against President Trump and his supporters. The theory began on 4Chan  by someone using the symbol of Q. This person claimed that a group of people have access to highly classified government information involving the Trump Administration and its opponents in the United States. Q has falsely accused many Hollywood actors, Demcratic politicians or engaging in an international child sex trafficking ring. Q also claimed that the Russian assistance to Trump’s campaign is fake news and that Trump went along to get Robert Mueller to support him. Mueller was to expose the pedophilia ring and stop a coup from Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and George Soros. One item I want to stress is that the FBI classified the Q Anon group as a domestic terrorist threat. And this blog supports the FBI taking that action. 

Support at Comet Ping Pong

This conspiracy theory which is popular among some evangelicals was looked at in depth at The Atlantic Magazine. When I say in-depth this article looked at the history of the conspiracy, the problems and how it operates. The article as I read it also showed the cognitive dissonance that those into Q Anon employ just to keep it going. I will have two sections below and I will encourage you to read the Atlantic Magazine article. Also before I proceed since the George Soros conspiracy theory came up this blog explained why its anti-Semtic in, “The George Soros Conspiracy Theory Which Some Evangelical Christians Are Pushing is Blatant Anti-Semitism.”

“The power of the internet was understood early on, but the full nature of that power—its ability to shatter any semblance of shared reality, undermining civil society and democratic governance in the process—was not. The internet also enabled unknown individuals to reach masses of people, at a scale Marshall McLuhan never dreamed of. The warping of shared reality leads a man with an AR-15 rifle to invade a pizza shop. It brings online forums into being where people colorfully imagine the assassination of a former secretary of state. It offers the promise of a Great Awakening, in which the elites will be routed and the truth will be revealed. It causes chat sites to come alive with commentary speculating that the coronavirus pandemic may be the moment QAnon has been waiting for. None of this could have been imagined as recently as the turn of the century.QAnon is emblematic of modern America’s susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and its enthusiasm for them. But it is also already much more than a loose collection of conspiracy-minded chat-room inhabitants. It is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.
Many people were reluctant to speak with me about QAnon as I reported this story. The movement’s adherents have sometimes proved willing to take matters into their own hands. Last year, the FBI classified QAnon as a domestic-terror threat in an internal memo. The memo took note of a California man arrested in 2018 with bomb-making materials. According to the FBI, he had planned to attack the Illinois capitol to “make Americans aware of ‘Pizzagate’ and the New World Order (NWO) who were dismantling society.” The memo also took note of a QAnon follower in Nevada who was arrested in 2018 after blocking traffic on the Hoover Dam in an armored truck. The man, heavily armed, was demanding the release of the inspector general’s report on Hillary Clinton’s emails. The FBI memo warned that conspiracy theories stoke the threat of extremist violence, especially when individuals “claiming to act as ‘researchers’ or ‘investigators’ single out people, businesses, or groups which they falsely accuse of being involved in the imagined scheme.”QAnon adherents are feared for ferociously attacking skeptics online and for inciting physical violence. On a now-defunct Reddit board dedicated to QAnon, commenters took delight in describing Clinton’s potential fate. One person wrote: “I’m surprised no one has assassinated her yet honestly.” Another: “The buzzards rip her rotting corpse to shreds.” A third: “I want to see her blood pouring down the gutters!”

When I spoke with Clinton recently about QAnon, she said, “I just get under their skin unlike anybody else … If I didn’t have Secret Service protection going through my mail, finding weird stuff, tracking the threats against me—which are still very high—I would be worried.” She has come to realize that the invented reality in which conspiracy theorists place her is not some bizarre parallel universe but actually one that shapes our own. Referring to internet trolling operations, Clinton said, “I don’t think until relatively recently most people understood how well organized they were, and how many different components of their strategy they have put in place.”

And then the closing about the religious aspect of Q Anon. 

WATCHKEEPERS for the End of Days can easily find signs of impending doom—in comets and earthquakes, in wars and pandemics. It has always been this way. In 1831, a Baptist preacher in rural New York named William Miller began to publicly share his prediction that the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent. Eventually he settled on a date: October 22, 1844. When the sun came up on October 23, his followers, known as the Millerites, were crushed. The episode would come to be known as the Great Disappointment. But they did not give up. The Millerites became the Adventists, who in turn became the Seventh-day Adventists, who now have a worldwide membership of more than 20 million. “These people in the QAnon community—I feel like they are as deeply delusional, as deeply invested in their beliefs, as the Millerites were,” Travis View, one of the hosts of a podcast called QAnon Anonymous, which subjects QAnon to acerbic analysis, told me. “That makes me pretty confident that this is not something that is going to go away with the end of the Trump presidency.”

QAnon carries on a tradition of apocalyptic thinking that has spanned thousands of years. It offers a polemic to empower those who feel adrift. In his classic 1957 book, The Pursuit of the Millennium, the historian Norman Cohn examined the emergence of apocalyptic thinking over many centuries. He found one common condition: This way of thinking consistently emerged in regions where rapid social and economic change was taking place—and at periods of time when displays of spectacular wealth were highly visible but unavailable to most people. This was true in Europe during the Crusades in the 11th century, and during the Black Death in the 14th century, and in the Rhine Valley in the 16th century, and in William Miller’s New York in the 19th century. It is true in America in the 21st century.

The Seventh-day Adventists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are thriving religious movements indigenous to America. Do not be surprised if QAnon becomes another. It already has more adherents by far than either of those two denominations had in the first decades of their existence. People are expressing their faith through devoted study of Q drops as installments of a foundational text, through the development of Q-worshipping groups, and through sweeping expressions of gratitude for what Q has brought to their lives. Does it matter that we do not know who Q is? The divine is always a mystery. Does it matter that basic aspects of Q’s teachings cannot be confirmed? The basic tenets of Christianity cannot be confirmed. Among the people of QAnon, faith remains absolute. True believers describe a feeling of rebirth, an irreversible arousal to existential knowledge. They are certain that a Great Awakening is coming. They’ll wait as long as they must for deliverance.

Trust the plan. Enjoy the show. Nothing can stop what is coming.

You can read the entire Atlantic Magazine article by Adrienne LaFrance in, “The Prophecies of Q: American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase.”

4 thoughts on “The Conspiracy That Some Evangelicals are Embracing: Q Anon and a Solid Read in The Atlantic Magazine About this Dangerous Belief System

  1. Free-associating he name “Q”…
    1) Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s resident Mad Trickster God.
    2) The theorized lost source document for three of the Gospels.
    I think both word-associations can apply.

    To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.

    With all the accompanying baggage. Fundamentalism, “More Q Anon Than Thou” one-upmanship, Litmus Tests to KNOW who’s Truly SAVED (all cycling back to “ME, NOT THEE!”).

    A Cult does not need to be based on a religion per se. Two famous widespread cults of the last century (Naziism and Communism) were based on apocalyptic politics.

    And a Cult does not need to have a single leader at the top. In my personal experience in an end-of-the-world Cult, there was no actual “leader” except maybe Hal Lindsay in absentia through his written Word (Late Great Planet Earth). Groupthink did the rest. (The analogy to Q Anon is obvious.)


  2. As I posted in another thread:
    Once a Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is established, THERE IS NO WAY TO SHAKE IT. NO WAY TO CONVINCE ITS ADHERENTS OTHERWISE.

    * Any evidence against The Conspiracy is Disinformation planted by The Conspiracy. (And you sheeple are too stupid to see it.)
    * Lack of evidence for The Conspiracy is PROOF The Conspiracy is so Vast and Powerful They Can Silence Anybody. (Except ME, of course. I’m Speshul.)
    * Anyone who doubts or argues against the existence of The Conspiracy has PROVEN themselves to be part of The Conspiracy. (“If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent A Bigger Conspiracy.” – Kooks Magazine)

    Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

    Add to that the Lure of the Inner Ring, the Speshul Sekrit Knowledge (“Occult Gnosis” in Koine Greek) that WE and only WE Alone KNOW, the Inner Ring of Illuminati…

    Gnostic = Koine Greek for “He Who KNOWS Things”.


  3. Pingback: Ed Stezter is Correct About Evangelicals Buying into Conspiracy Theories. Plus How Survivors of Harvest Bible Chapel Who Traffic Conspiracy Theories Can Empower James MacDonald | Wondering Eagle

  4. Pingback: The Gospel According to Q. Does Senior Pastor Gary Peterson of Rock Urban Church in Grandville, Michigan Believe That Democrats Conspired to Murder George Floyd? Plus Gary Peterson’s Troubled Past | Wondering Eagle

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