It’s Time to Equate QAnon Disciples to Flat Earth Followers

It’s Time to Equate QAnon Disciples to Flat Earth Followers February 9, 2021

It’s easy to laugh at the bizarre conspiracy theories we hear today. For critical thinkers, the wild connections these theories insinuate are so detached from reality that the logically thinking mind can’t even imagine the thought processes required to believe in them.

QAnon has become a cult. Those who believe its conspiracies theories should be thought of as disciples. / Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

The conspiracy theorists I know have been telling me for years that my mind is probably broken. That my spiritual eyesight has dimmed. That I can no longer interpret the secrets and mysteries of life. That I have lost the ability to understand the esoteric knowledge that can be acquired by believing in conspiracies theories – or any other spiritual or religious belief.

And they’d be right.

Many freethinkers and atheists like myself have worked really hard at freeing their minds of seeing things that are not there, or in discovering clues to mysteries that do not exist. This is because we have retrained our minds to see the world as it is; not as we want it to be. And besides, it’s dangerous to be gullible and detached from reality. When a person can be led to believe anything, they are subject to being controlled by anyone; preachers, gurus, social media influences – and especially anonymous sources like QAnon, who know they can’t be held accountable for the damage the inflict.

Aside from the personal risks in being gullible, there are far more insidious ramifications when large segments of the population believe things which have no basis in reality.

Has the water in the well been poisoned?

Such is the case with the disciples of QAnon. They are victims of a mass delusion. It appears QAnon’s followers will believe anything. In fact, the more secret the source; the more improbable and improvable the information; the more they embrace the delusion.

There’s a lot of talk going around that QAnon is a cult. Some of this talk is finally beginning to emerge from people who have managed to escape the cult.

CULT defined: A cult is a group or movement held together by a shared commitment to a charismatic leader or ideology. It has a belief system that has the answers to all of life’s questions and offers a special solution to be gained only by following the leader’s rules.

Which makes one wonder if the disciples of QAnon are all drinking from the same polluted water source? – Now, this would be an interesting conspiracy worth proving true if we didn’t already know why so many people are inclined to follow cults like QAnon.

It’s due to America’s long-standing tradition regarding religious freedom. Simply put: We tolerate and even grant a tremendous amount of respect to people who believe the wildest things. So much so, that it’s considered politically incorrect for anyone to challenge the dangers of these beliefs.

Bill Maher made a similar assertion in his New Rule segment posted on YouTube last Friday. He added a political twist to it, but his analysis was spot on just the same:

“There’s a lot of talk now in liberal quarters about how Republicans should tell their base who still believe the election was rigged that they need to . . . stop asking the rest of us to respect their mass delusion. And of course, it is mass delusion. But the inconvenient truth here is that if you accord religious faith the kind of exalted respect we do here in America you’ve already lost the argument that massive delusion is bad.” Bill Maher

Maher then made a stark connection between conspiracy theories and biblical beliefs by referencing the book of Revelation. It’s a book filled with improbable prophesies and cartoonish imagery like “seven headed dragons that have the face of men and teeth of lions. … And other stuff you only see when the guy in the park sells you bad mushrooms.” Maher

Mass Delusion

To put all this in context, for the past 244 years we have been granting our citizens the right to believe in anything their religion teaches them. No matter how bizarre, irrational and dangerous those beliefs might be for our society. And by so doing, America has inadvertently created a situation in our culture in which mass delusion was unavoidable.

So, if a person wants to join the Tennis Shoe cult . . . that’s okay.

If a person wants to follow Scientology . . . that’s okay too.

If a person wants to believe (like I once did) that the Pope is the anti-Christ . . . well, that’s fine and dandy as well.

Or, as with QAnon, if a person wants to believe that a secret and powerful group of satanic worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles runs the world and Ex-president Trump is their savior . . . well, no problem.

Except it is a problem. A big problem. An epic problem of mass delusion.

As Maher puts it, the delusion created by QAnon is one that free and rational thinkers don’t have to “respect.”

Nor, should we, because lives are at stake. Case in point: the conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a hoax has been responsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of American lives already. Another example. The delusion that the elections were rigged is – and will continue to be – a serious threat to our democracy.

There will never be a time in America where we should overthrow religious freedom. But this is certainly the time to dispense with political correctness and challenge the lunacy of conspiracies. And perhaps in time, when the QAnon theories have been proven wrong, it’s followers will have as much respect and influence in our world as the Flat Earth believers.

Scott Stahlecker is a former minister and now writes for Thinkadelics about the joys and benefits of living as a freethinker. He is the author of several books, as well as the previous owner of several hospice agencies. You can read more about the author here.

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12 responses to “It’s Time to Equate QAnon Disciples to Flat Earth Followers”

  1. One difference is that flat-earthers don’t tend to be violent, vicious terrorists…whereas QAnon is full of that type.

    But otherwise, yeah. Believe in really stupid things and unwilling to think logically.

    I read something about how so many Republicans and/or conservatives require an Orwellian “two-minute hate”, which their puppetmasters trigger by mentioning certain words (“Obama”, “election”, “Soros”, etc.). The point is to trigger rage that makes the triggered even less balanced and reasonable.

  2. I am shocked anyone thought the Pope was the anti-Christ. My family went to church regularly, but my sect never talked about any other sect. We were pretty mild. I never believed any of it, but it was nothing like the whackadoo fundagelical stuff.

  3. Yes they do and they have a very elaborate theological justification for it. For one thing, the pope has a Latin name that equates to the number 666. And also, they feel that the pope was responsible for changing the Sabbath to Sunday worship. As I recall, the antichrist is thought to be a person that’s going to be in a high position within the church, but also a person or institution that manipulates the 10 Commandments to its advantage. I could go into more details but that’s it in a nutshell.

  4. That’s interesting. I’ve been working on a blog that actually mirrors that thought.Which has something to do with the strategy of demonizing people, which in turn leads to delegitimizing what people have to say.

    Which presents a strange way of trying to get people to understand the truth. We can present people with all the facts we want, but maybe just trying to get them to stop hating people would be the most effective strategy.

  5. The Flat Earthers are a step less unreasonable.
    If you look around your immediate area, the curvature of the earth isn’t obvious. You have to do careful measurements over a modest distance or look over long distances to clue in to the curvature.
    Eg: the 1st people to realize the earth is round traveled substantial distances north/south & observed that different stars are observable.

    In those days you needed to trust the travelers to be telling the truth about their observations. These days you can make a long distance phone/zoom/skype call & ask someone you trust who is a long way east or west if the sun is above the horizon.

  6. Quite the hilarious, myopic, opinion blog.
    Clearly you oppose critical thinking, and the questioning of anything. That sounds like a guaranteed recipe for ignorance.

  7. “Unreasonable” might be an understatement. Rewatching the footage of the Trump’s insurrectionist crowd, which I suspect many of are also followers of QAnon, shows precisely how for more unreasonable they are than Flat Earthers.

    You talking about the curvature of the earth made me think of all the people who migrated in the past by sailing the oceans. Once they were familiar with how the stars dropped or rose with the horizon as they journeyed would have been their clue that the earth was round. Obviously these early sailors were much brighter than today’s Flat Earth believers.

  8. Si. I was a SDA. Studied religion and worked as an associate pastor for them.

    Vicarius Filii Dei = 666

    But they are also big on keeping the Saturday Sabbath. Don’t have one of my Bible’s nearby, but SDA’s also believe the anti-Christ dovetails into teachings about “the mark of the beast” in Revelation. The church teaches that the mark of the beast has something to do with a “mark” that will force them to have to “buy and sell” on the Sabbath. But don’t quote me on those details … it’s been a while since I told people they were going to hell for not keeping the Sabbath.

  9. Vicarius Filii Dei was the title of one pope; Peter, the Rock, the Vicar of the Son of God.

    The Saturday Sabbath is Jewish (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown); the Friday Sabbath is Muslim.

    As a Methodist in an uneventful mainline church, I never got any of the fringe indoctrination. When I went to college and had 3 born-again Southern Baptist roommates and was surrounded by Campus Crusade for Christ and Inter-Varsity, then I learned about some of the fringier, goofier beliefs.

    A few years after that, I spent a year in a company that was mostly staffed by Evangelical Presbyterians and they had all kinds of mental health issues–including believing that dollar bills (not $5, not $10, not $20) were the Mark of the Beast.

  10. I used to keep the Sabbath from sunset Friday night until sunset Saturday. I will let you in on a little secret. Taking 24 hours of each week to shut down and detach from all worldly activities was wonderful at the time. It try my best to do something similar on Sundays. Doing things like spending time with the family, hiking, and playing music.

    I’m always happy to hear when people like you had a “mild” Christian upbringing. Or, perhaps like yourself, the were smart enough not to take Christianity to its extremes.

    You should have asked those Presbyterians to give you their $1.00 bills. I’d have no problem getting the Mark of the Beast if I ran across similarly minded people.

  11. I agree 100% that taking time to completely shuck off responsibilities and connect with family and friends is wonderful!

    I’ve also read of it being taken to extremes (e.g. no turning on lights on the Sabbath so you have to leave them on for 24 hours, no turning on the stove for the Sabbath so you eat peanut-butter sandwiches, etc.)

    So…I don’t remember a time when I believed anything I heard in church. On the other hand–as far as I can remember, anyway–nothing upsetting was ever said. It was all the “Jesus-loves-you-so-try-to-follow-the-Golden-Rule” stuff. Church was where you’d go to be bored for an hour, the spiritual equivalent of a trip to the dentist. I’m positive we never discussed anything like Young Earth Creation. I remember once drawing in pictures of dinosaurs on the Ark in Sunday School and the teacher saying they were there in spirit because they had all died out long before the Ark was built. One summer at a picnic we had a Real! Live! Magician! come and perform tricks for the kids simply for entertainment. One Sunday School they had a guy who was an extra in a movie talk about fake bullets and fake blood in westerns, which the teacher then tied into…something religious that I stopped listening to once the interesting bits were no longer the topic.

    Heh, about those $1 bills, if only I’d had your good counsel then! I was mostly amused that they believed the things they did. And all the passive-aggressive threats of needing more bible study when they disagreed with each other–and they were ALWAYS fighting about something.

    Those people were kooky, but not physically violent. I’ve been tuning into the impeachment trial and WOW! I must say what I’ve seen and heard has been shocking. Plenty more people could have died on that day and it’s only the incompetence of Trump’s followers and the evangelicals that kept it from being even more of a slaughter.

  12. I’ve been watching a bit of the trail myself, but just the highlights I can get on YouTube. I remember being shocked, way back when Trump was in about his 2nd year, about how members of the GOP would just turn a blind eye to anything Trump would say or do. It was their lack of courage and how they could rationalize anything. A child could easily watch the proceedings and the video evidence produced by the Dems that clearly shows that Trump is fully responsible for inciting this riot and insurrection. What stuns me is how low the GOP members in Congress and the House will go. Any member of the GOP the votes to acquit Trump does not desire to hold their honorable positions as the defenders of the constitution.

    It sounds like you were born with a great B.S. detector. 🙂 I grew up Lutheran. Like you I wasn’t too fanatical about the church, the Lutheran’s aren’t that fanatical type. I switched to being and SDA at about 20. Got really involved and ending up getting my degree to work in the ministry. I had my doubts all through undergraduate school, but still gave it a try. It wasn’t long after getting a nice paying pastorship that I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t be true to myself, nor did I want to keep getting paid to say things I no longer believed.

    There’s a tremendous amount of freedom when people break away from religion. You may have noticed, but a lot of what I write about and how I write on this blog is geared towards helping people become freethinkers. But I try and do it in a way that doesn’t bash religion or make fun of believers like so many freethinking websites do. I think it’s important to provide solutions and answers.

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