Find a way to remember this time. It’s historically unusual. In the span of five short years, we’ve witnessed the beginning of a brand new religious movement, its meteoric rise to national prominence, and its abrupt flame-out. Of course, I’m talking about the conspiracy theory called QAnon.
Despite some protest to the contrary, QAnon is an undeniably religious phenomenon. Embarrassingly, its ranks were swelled with Evangelical Christians, who would never knowingly adopt a different faith, but then did.
The “Q-a-nonsense” had all the hallmarks of a pseudo-Christian cult, minus the religious trappings and ceremonies.
It had an unbiblical epistemology, or theory of knowledge. Q was the dispenser of secret knowledge, which no adherent could get from simply reading Scripture.
It taught an unbiblical meta-narrative, or over-arching story, that was meant to explain how the world works. It had every evil thing ever done by evil men connected and controlled by a dark cabal of satanic child-molesters, with the hope that righteousness (led by Donald J. Trump) was about to win the day.
It had an unbiblical system of ethics, in which all you ever need to do to make it to the eventual paradise, is sit back and pursue cryptic information from your computer.
It had an unbiblical eschatology, or theory of the end times, which held that the cosmic forces of good (whether you call that the God of the Bible, or something else) had chosen Donald Trump to bring on an apocalyptic event called the Storm. In the Storm, all the bad guys would be arrested; the cabal (or, “swamp”) would be completely exposed; and, evil itself would be eliminated from the world, ushering in great prosperity.
Some Q folks even believed Trump was the Second Coming. He himself re-tweeted one adherent calling him the new King of Israel. Another prominent one called him “the Master of Masters,” which is the same as Lord of Lords.
So, yes, it was always a rival religion.
I am a libertarian politically, so, though I’m no fan of the new administration, I do thank God that we ought to be able to sit back and agree that Q was never anything more than a false prophet, too cowardly to share his real name. He’s left a swath of devastation behind him, in the form of a multitude of disappointed people who had their Bibles, said they believed them, and then proved they hadn’t read them.
Pundits debate whether the GOP will even survive the whole Q debacle. If it doesn’t, then, for my money, it’s good riddance.
Those who claim Christ should do better, though. Christian maturity is shown in our ability to rightly evaluate the world around us in terms of the word of God (Hebrews 5:14). Christian Q followers manifestly failed to do this, and now the watching world will not soon forget the lengths they went to for the sake of justifying their new Messiah. They have publicly proven their lack of discernment and unwillingness to apply God’s moral standards to leading members of their own team, for the sake of political power. This is what it looks like when salt loses its savor.
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