Why Are American Evangelicals Consumed by Disinformation?

This is a discussion post. I have my thoughts but I thought I’d ask you first. Read the tweets about disinformation and then let’s discuss. Why do American evangelicals fall into rabbit holes of disinformation? How do you explain this issue? 

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

Kofi Annan

The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.

Proverbs 12:6 NLT

Jvacc-640x330

I would like to turn this into a discussion post. Here is the question I want to ask you. Why do American evangelicals buy into disinformation? Why do they trust some person in a Facebook feed that has 947 likes but not their own family, doctor, or close friend? Why are evangelicals susceptible to echo chambers? Read the tweets below and let’s discuss this topic. Instead of doing a post let’s hear some competing thoughts as to why evangelicals are stuck in the rabbit hole of disinformation. 

55 thoughts on “Why Are American Evangelicals Consumed by Disinformation?

  1. Because the have allowed a takeover of evangelicalism by fundamentalists.

    Fundamentalists of on religion have more in common with other fundamentalists in other religions than with the non-fundamentalists in their own religion.

    Hence my theory that all fundsmentalists are really the same religion, with catholic fundamentalists, protestant fundamenralists, islamic fundamentalists, hindu fundamentalists, etc. being more like different denominations of the fundamentalist religion.

    American evangelicalism as it was no longer exists, at least not in many places. And even then, gullibility was one evangelicalism’s weaknesses: I can still remember when even Christianity Today became all excited when Efraìn Rìos Montt in a putsch made himself dictator of Guatemala, because he was “a Christian”. Well, that did not keep him from being one of the more devastating of a murderous bunch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember Christianese AM radio praising and adoring Montt all thru the Reagan/Moral Majority years because not only was he Christian, he was BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN (NOT Romish), God’s Anointed Choice in a Holy Crusade against the COMMUNISTS from Nicaragua. (Cold War politics; Russia backed their pet dictator in Nicaragua, the USA had to back a countering regime in the next country over.)

      Lots of parallels to today’s Trumpism in that Eighties Christianese Media.

      And Fundamentalism is a state of mind that can attach itself to any belief system (not necessarily a religious one) – look at the Fundamentalists in those politicial cults of the 20th, Naziism & Communism.

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  2. I remember the disproven stories coming out of the Columbine shooting that, years later, Evangelicals still believed. And in the 80s, the Satanic Panic stories I used to hear on the 700 Club every day. I believed it because I was a child and thought that everything my Christian elders said, was true. I grew up hearing preachers on TV because my dad watched them: Oral Roberts and the like. Of course, during the scandals in the late 80s, he soured on them for a while. But I thought Pat was legit. The 700 Club did stories on the Proctor and Gamble symbols, so I was afraid to use any of their products. Then one day I told a friend at school about it, and the teacher–who heard me–got everybody’s attention and told us that the stories about P&G were not true. That shocked me and I didn’t know what to make of it. It took several years of college, getting out of that “bubble,” to get out of the influence. But apparently some people never do.

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  3. Back in the 70s, there was plenty of disinformation going around-Watergate wasn’t true, Laetrile cured cancer, the P + G symbol (I remember hearing about that from my Sunday School teacher)-I think we are just more aware now (either to make us wiser or dangerously dumber) because of all the information and misinformation that is available. It used to be “I saw it on TV” made it true, but TV wasn’t 24/7 and full of channels, like the History Channel, that often have more speculation than actual history. Add that to people believe what they want to believe, and you have a recipe for societal disaster.

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    • Something from a Cold War-era book on decision-making under stress (exact subject being “nuclear release” decisions).

      That when in fire-hose-into-a-teacup information overload (like 24/7/365 Social Media), decision making becomes a matter of getting that firehose flow chopped down into something your brain can handle. By Any Means Whatsoever.

      The instinctive reaction is to just hack away at that firehose going full blast into your teacup, blindly chopping out everything (good info AND bad info) just to get it down to a manageable level. This is where “believe what we want to believe” kicks in, as a mental filter for which info is real (and which is “All Fake News”) and which sources are trusted, resulting in chopping out everything except an echo chamber.

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  4. There was a favorite online essay of mine titled “Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Call to Action”, but it seems to have vanished from my search engine. The essay was about how Christians (without any adjectives) were especially prone to Conspiracy crackheadedness, especially when said Grand Unified Conspiracy Theories dovetailed with their Persecution complex and/or End Time Prophecy (Thank You Hal Lindsay…).

    I can’t find that essay any more, but a search on “christians and conspiracy theories” will bring up a LOT of later essays on the subject. Good luck trying to find one that doesn’t turn into a retread or an Altar Call.

    Here’s one that doesn’t turn into an Altar Call:
    https://cmda.org/christians-and-conspiracy-theories/

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  5. I actually honestly engage; without calling names. So I’m actually no troll.

    Some people such as DB want us to “accept the science” without actually noting that “science” is all over the map. Are vaccinations good? In general. Can they kill you? Well yes, some people have died from them.

    Do I think people need to work it out for themselves what they will do? Because I’m a conservative, that’s exactly what I think; people need to work it out themselves.

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    • The science is not all over the map.

      Just ask the people of Florida.

      The healthcare system cannot take the strain on ICUs. That capacity cannot be expanded easily. Not just about adding beds, ICU staff require additional training, you can’t just throw Doctors and nurses into those roles – not in time to make a difference.

      You. Took. The. Mark.

      So you took a vaccine that could kill you but are now encouraging others to “just get covid”, “just work it out”

      Florida and other states with low vaccine uptake are not “working it out” too well.

      This puts us all at risk should another variant show up.

      At least Wade Burleson has stated he won’t get vaccinated. I don’t understand that but you can’t accuse him of hypocrisy.

      You saved yourself but encourage others not to vaccinate.

      Plus, your past citations and comments have turned this into a race issue.

      Like others of your demographic, you believe the “enemy” is at the gate.

      I wonder how many other evangelicals are spouting the anti vax line while hiding their vaccination cards.

      hmmm griggs has 3 g’s. ggg. Turn it upside down *gasp*

      And it’s 2 less g’s than 5g *gasp*

      Marked, and no rhetoric will save you…

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      • I wonder how many other evangelicals are spouting the anti vax line while hiding their vaccination cards.

        Missouri and Florida report people who went to another county in disguise to get vaxxed in secret. Because there’d be hell to pay if their family, friends, or church ever found out.

        Remember Missouri was the battleground of Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers, of Quantrill and Bloody Bill. i.e. a REAL Civil War where the two sides lived intermixed. The REAL Turner Diaries, 1860-65 edition.

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  6. Your comment in this thread contains a a link to a site reporting on some “anti white” Yale university talk that had nothing to do with with vaccination science or stats.

    It was a ham handed attempt to delegitimize all science.

    CRT is also current evangelical bogeyman so you try to link the vaccination program bogeyman to it.

    You’ve brought up BLM on occasion.

    Plus you’ve stated that the best way to get covid immunity is to get covid, which coming from a vaccinated person, just sounds dumb as a bag of hammers.

    You represent your demographic well…except for taking the mark.

    No late night nurse rededications for you….

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    • Just trust the science Jack – no matter how crazy it is because it’s “science.” Men/women wearing white coats and making pronouncements must be trusted.
      OR
      Look at all the evidence and make the best judgment that you can. That’s what I attempt to do. They’re saying I need another booster shot. I’m weighing the options. The first vaccinations brought me permanent tinnitus in my left ear. I’m not thrilled about that.

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      • How crazy is the science? It’s the same science that harnessed electricity, that saved millions through the concept of germ theory, many forms of cancer are no longer death sentences (which is where mRNA technology came from by the way) and on and on.

        Has it been used for evil, absolutely but so has religion, such is the human condition.

        Have you reported your tinnitus to your health care provider? Have you investigated what it was?

        I developed an autoimmune issue this month, but I also live in an area inundated with smoke. But I had the vaccine last month *gasp*, and I also donated blood, and ate multiple peanut sandwiches. Did Q mention anything about blood donation? I think they put a chip in me. But I digress.

        Who told you about needing a booster? Who’s “they”? Powerline Blog? So far it’s been discussed but not decided. More data is needed.

        This pandemic has been a disrupting event, socially and economically. I get that people are going to be disconcerted.

        But with conspiracy theories? You’ll drive yourself insane looking for ghosts in trees.

        I think you regret taking the vaccine because it now excludes you from your people.

        You betrayed your demographic and took the mark.

        The pit awaits…

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      • I was offered the booster shot thru the Pfizer protocol Jack. Like I noted earlier, you might, if you so choose, end up getting 4 or 5 booster shots or the next couple of years. I’m not sure I want to go there but….

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  7. If you actually developed an auto-immune issue recently Jack, I’m truly sorry. When I recognized the tinnitus I contact Pfizer immediately and the place where the testing takes place. So Pfizer knows. It’s in their records. They keep up with all their “guinea pigs” wanting to know if we have experienced Covid since the shots. So far I haven’t but there’s a good chance I will, sadly.

    At least 95 % of my friends/family are vaccinated – just like me. Probably my anti-bodies are fading away since it’s been awhile since I had my last shot.

    BUT, I’m not going to “hunker down” as they say in Athens, GA. because of Covid. I don’t want to live in fear.

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    • It turns out I had a non specific viral infection.

      This is why we have health care professionals. I trust my doctor.

      The guinea pig phase was done long before the vaccines were approved. mRNA technology has been in trials for about a decade.

      Again context. This is the most massive worldwide vaccination campaign in history.

      Other medications have a pool of thousands, this is in the millions. Larger than any clinical trial could ever be. So yes, you will find reactions that could never have been anticipated.

      Who is telling you that your antibodies are fading? There’s no data on that. Stop reading powerline Blog.

      You’re quite a dichotomy. You got vaccinated. Your circle is vaccinated. But you encourage vaccine hesitancy.

      Maybe you are jerking the chain to get a reaction.

      I don’t know what’s going on in Athens GA but in our province, the masks are now optional. We have more than 70% vaccine uptake. Average less than 30 new cases a day. All unvaccinated.

      It works.

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  8. “We need a lot of humility.” — Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, of University of California San Francisco, discussing the many unknowns surrounding whether one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine provides sufficient protection for the previously infected.

    https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/what-we-heard/93841?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2021-08-02&eun=g1791595d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Headlines%20Top%20Cat%20HeC%20%202021-08-02&utm_term=NL_Daily_DHE_dual-gmail-definition
    *
    I think Monica Gandhi is correct.

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  9. What all these Powerline blog and people like Seneca fail to consider is that correlation does not mean causation. But then same thing was pointed out to those said vaccines caused autism, EMF from power transmission lines cause cancer, and so on. In the case of vaccines causing autism, it was later proven that the that researcher who argued that later cooked the books and completely ignored the principles of statistics (like confidence intervals) to do so.

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    • Read the article. Vaccine hesitancy has decreased most among those with high school education and stayed consistent with more educated people.

      If more educated people had a high uptake to begin with then that demographic may be as good as it gets.

      You see what you want to see.

      Typical evangelical.

      Liked by 1 person

      • With the aroma of a runup to Holy Nincompoop Syndrome, where the more stupid and ignorant you are, the more Godly you must be.

        You Do NOT show any smarts or brains around Evangelicals if you know what’s good for you.

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      • That’s right.

        Too bad you took the mark.

        Think of all those ICU nurses you’ll never have the opportunity to evangelize…

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      • Though it IS hard to recite the Four Spiritual Laws when you have a ventilator tube down your throat.

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    • Vaccination won’t stop you from getting the delta variant, and there’s the potential to spread.

      But vaccination will almost guarantee that you won’t choke to death on a ventilator.

      This alone makes it worth the price of admission.

      Our healthcare system needs the break so that those valuable ICU beds can be used for those who really need it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • EXACTLY.

        Any COVID vaccination means that the chances of hospitalization, or needing an ICU bed, or death are almost zero. And it does offer _some_ protection against the delta variant (some better than others).

        But I guess so-called “Christian” selfish anti-vaxxers are taking ICU beds and resources from people severely injured in accidents and the like. Some rabbi from Nazareth they supposedly believe and follow said something about “Loving your neighbors as yourself.”

        Why do you think so many people want nothing to do with Christianity? From the behavior and attitudes of the Christians, they see that the whole thing is a crock of shit. And yet these Christian dare to lecture everybody else on morals, ethics, sin, and so on. Their narcissism, hypocrisy, anti-intellectualism, paranoia, and hubris no know bounds.

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    • Actually, mein Marked Freund, your wording was worse.

      “I don’t think these people would be considered Evangelicals”

      Your kind would never “consider” “these people”

      By the way, the Peoples Liberation Army has revoked the invitation to the Saskatoon invasion base. You’ve been blacklisted one might say (dryly, of course).

      Kiss is pretty disappointed too. Joe Biden wasn’t a big fan to begin with.

      Father Satan on the other hand was quite pleased, he thinks you’re the perfect playmate for a little mustached pal of his….

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    • Definitely not WHITE Evangelicals.

      White Evangelical and Black Evangelical cultures are very different.
      Which is why you need to specify which color of Evangelical.

      Like

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