Last week while discussing the new member of Congress who believes bizarre, outlandish conspiracy theories like lasers from space operated by Jews were used to start wildfires in Northern California, a Facebook friend made this comment in response to one of my posts. The original post discussed the responsibility Evangelicals have for the rise of Trump nationalism.
“Q Anon and Evangelicalism is very simply truth vs. lies”.
I could not disagree more.
Evangelicalism is a movement, a conglomeration of anti-establishment Christians, fundamentalist believers, biblical literalists, prosperity driven charismatics and a host of others claiming Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. The Evangelical label encompasses a very, very large number of people under a very diverse tent. At the heart of the movement you will find individuals as varied in their ability to discern truth from error as you would anywhere. The concept that Evangelicalism is truth while Qanon theories are lies is, in my opinion, the greatest of all tells.
Evangelicalism in 2021 is rampant with liars. It is rampant with malignant narcissists. Evangelical males are some of the most prolific engagers in pornography and users of prostitutes in this country. Within the ranks of Evangelicals are some of the most manipulative and cunning people in this country. The number of Evangelical homes loaded with guns and ammunition is astonishing. Evangelicals spend their money on things just like anyone else and many declare their favored status with God as evidenced by the neighborhood they live in, the cars that they drive, the trips they take and a host of things other than the condition of their hearts. Evangelicals are in love with power from the top down as a result of position rather than because knowing and believing anything true has given them a following. I wish I were being overly dramatic. I am not.
Evangelical Christians as a whole honestly believed that when Donald Trump prayed aloud to receive Christ with Dr. James Dobson in 2016, they could abandon reason and support him to govern our country. Reduced to a weak Kool Aid of theology, Dr. Dobson was convinced that the Almighty, Supreme Being had entered the heart of Donald Trump and as a result would be able to miraculously guide our country to some sort of heaven on earth. Abortion would be stopped. Immigrants would be stopped. Muslims would be stopped. LGBTQ people would be stopped. Women would be put in their place and most of all the Supreme Court would become controlled by the righteous. You know, the kind, like Clarence Thomas whose wife was part of the capitol insurrection on January 6th. All very “godly” acts of faith, no?
My experiences with faith are full of mystery, serendipity and awe. God is the ground of my being and my love for Jesus Christ is sincere. The life he lived gives me an incredible beacon of light to guide my own by. I personally find it possible that he was divine and rose from the dead but at the very least it is not something I cannot actually prove. Those who claim to have evidence are doing so because they want there to be evidence. The evidence of Christ in me is a mystical, spiritual experience that makes my life better. It is not in biblical literalism, church attendance, dogma or law designed to define that life for me. I got here, to this place of my own grounded spiritual life because I challenge things and ask questions all of the time. I suppose it goes back to growing up in a family that moved six times while I was 8-13. Arriving at someone else’s doorstep, another teachers’s classroom or in a new town over and over during one’s formative years made my survival dependent upon making observations and asking questions.
In summary, Q anon has nothing on modern day Evangelical faith. Just as there are sincere people duped by the lies spread by Q and others eager for a following, Evangelicalism is full of people who have no idea how to discern truth from error anymore. It is full of dogma and law, factions and splinters of religion using the name of Christ for the ticket into the dysfunctional hall of mirrors they pretend is ultimate truth. The movement itself has provided fertile soil for Q’s theories to be planted in, to take root and to flourish in to the degree that we now have once sane grounded CHRISTIAN people claiming that Bill Gates is putting a tracking device into the Covid 19 vaccines. These same Evangelical people are willing to go without a vaccine during a worldwide pandemic because they are believing a lie. In many places Evangelical faith and Q Anon have married each other and it’s that simple.