The Gullibility of Faith-Based Communities

The Gullibility of Faith-Based Communities May 20, 2022
Photo by Boys in Bristol Photography on Pexels
One of the first things I realized in my deconstruction was how gullible faith-based communities are. I understand there are certain ones that are more susceptible, but it is a common dilemma.
When our faith begins with fear of what we cannot explain, then we tend to see a demon around every corner. Currently, this is expressed through vilifying our political opponents, no matter what side we’re on, and the fascination with pedophile rings. The examples from the past are two numerous to delineate.
None of the hysteria around pedophile rings has been verified. There is no pizza parlor. There is no proof of adrenochrome. And, just imagine rationally how many children it would take to support what some people feel is true.
Think about the last time a child was abducted in a large city. Remember how much of a big deal that was. Do we know anybody personally in all of our circles of friends that has had a child abducted and that is still missing?
Since the beginning of time, part of religion has been to imagine an adversary. There were characters created, like the Satan, to explain our irrational fears. They are always based on a small sliver of reality, but then they exaggerate just like our imaginations tend to do. When these myths are exonerated, religious people often ignore the evidence and continue with the toxic belief.
It is hard to explain how much relief I have, since my deconstruction, from spending the majority of my time managing my fears. Evangelical Christians and well meaning progressives may accuse me of burying my head in the sand. But, when I do the actual research, I realize much of what I fear has been manufactured by people who benefit from it.
The easiest way to sell something, whether it be insurance or religion, is to instill a fear in the customer. Much of my deconstruction was asking the question, “Is that really true?” I realized early on in my deconstruction journey that well meaning Christian friends were forwarding me fear-based emails and posts that had no basis at all in truth.
It has been said that there are about 360 references in the Bible warning against fear. The supposition is that there is one for every day, a constant reminder that fear is not our friend, and in most cases, it is the enemy.
Just to be clear. Fear is not usually warning us of the enemy–often, fear is the enemy!
It is certainly good to be aware and occasionally to even be afraid. But when fear is the starting point for all of our decision making, we are building on the wrong foundation.
If our religion is based on truth, then shouldn’t truth (and not conspiracy) be the starting point for all our concerns?
Fear allows the salesman to control our emotions and our buying decisions. What we “buy into” is closely related to what we fear.
I invite you to join me on this reality-based journey.
Be where you are, be who you are,
Karl Forehand

Order Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authentic

Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and The Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!

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