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Why do some Americans believe weird things?

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  • Why do some Americans believe weird things?

    From the country that put humans on the moon, has some of the leading universities in the world, and has been at the forefront of much of the technological development of the past 70 years comes an amusing and interesting article by S Jonathan O'Donnell

    Demons of the deep state: how evangelicals and conspiracy theories combine in Trump’s America

    Are demons active forces in American life and politics? That is what a large number of evangelicals in the US believe and are increasingly vocal about.

    Since the 1980s, growing numbers of evangelicals have given the fight against demons a key role in their spirituality and their politics. Known as “spiritual warfare”, this views demons as central actors in world politics and everyday life. While often seen as fringe, belief in spiritual warfare is common across denominational lines, including among evangelicals close to Donald Trump such as Robert Jeffress and the president’s spiritual advisor, Paula White.

    A key idea in spiritual warfare is that demons don’t only attack people, as in depictions of demonic possession, but also take control of places and institutions, such as journalism, academia, and both municipal and federal bureaucracies. By doing so, demons are framed as advancing social projects that spiritual warriors see as opposing God’s plans. These include advances in reproductive and LGBTQ rights and tolerance for non-Christian religions (especially Islam).

    In a recent article published in the journal Religion, I explore how these ideas about demons combine with the wider Christian nationalism shown to be prevalent among Trump’s support base. Through a survey of conservative evangelical literature, articles, and television and radio broadcasts released between 2016 and 2018, I analyse how their authors used discourses of spiritual warfare to navigate the changing political reality, and Trump’s victory and presidency in particular.

    The evangelicals whose works I analyse vary in their attitudes to Trump, from ardent advocates to reluctant supporters. Yet even the reluctant supporters interpret his presidency in terms of spiritual warfare, framing Trump’s victory as a divine intervention against a demonic status quo.

    Trump’s alleged battle against the “deep state” here adopts cosmic meaning, as not only the US government but undocumented immigrants and Black and LGBTQ people are cast as agents of demonic forces.

    Divine intervention

    The deep state has become a watchword of the Trump era, a term used by his supporters to depict Trump as an outsider fighting a corrupted political system. The deep state is central to the conspiracy movement QAnon, which depicts Trump as at war with a “deep state cabal” of devil-worshipping cannibal paedophiles.

    QAnon has many overlaps with spiritual warfare and its practitioners. It uses similar ideas of religious revival and donning the “armour of God” against unseen foes.

    Not all spiritual warriors engage with QAnon. But even for those that don’t, the deep state has come to represent broader ideas of demonic control, as demons are imagined as a “deeper state” working behind the scenes. Demons become the source of economic and environmental regulations and of social welfare programmes. The deregulatory ambitions that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called Trump’s “deconstruction of the administrative state” become imagined as a project of national exorcism.

    For many spiritual warriors this project began on election night 2016. Trump’s improbable victory stoked narratives of divine intervention. Comparing the red electoral map of Republican victory to “the blood of Jesus” washing away America’s sins, one evangelical framed the election as overthrowing “Jezebel”, a demonic spirit often depicted as behind reproductive and LGBTQ rights.

    Banning abortion is central to conservative evangelical politics. Spiritual warriors often go further, framing support for abortion and same-sex marriage as both causing and caused by demonic control. They portray evil spirits and sinful humans as creating reinforcing systems of beliefs, behaviours and policy agendas. The deep state has become a key representation of these systems.

    This spiritual war against the deep state can be understood as part of post-truth politics. While sometimes seen as a politics which delegitimises truth itself, post-truth can also be understood as a destabilisation of mainstream narratives about society. One that allows new narratives to be pushed.

    In spiritual warfare, this new narrative is one where God is retaking control of the US from demonic forces. One where God’s truth is being reasserted over competing truths, which are reframed as demonic lies. Spiritual warfare here becomes a struggle over competing narratives about what America is, or should be. Dismantling the deep state is part of this struggle. But it is not the only one.

    The demons at work

    Spiritual warfare has also come to frame evangelical reactions to ongoing protests. Demonic opposition to Trump has been positioned by spiritual warriors as being behind events from the 2017 Women’s March to the 2020 protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Stances on immigrants and refugees are also included.

    Conspiratorial claims that both the protests and migrant caravans were funded by the investor/philanthropist George Soros or the deep state close the circle. They cast demonised groups – such as “nasty” women, Black protesters, refugees and undocumented migrants – not just as agents of corrupt deep state forces but avatars of the demonic deeper state behind them.

    Spiritual warriors are often keen to separate the demons they battle from the people they claim to be saving from them. But today such deliverance from evil has been shown to never just be about the spiritual salvation of individuals, if it ever was. It has profound and lasting material consequences for both those individuals and the nation.

    By imagining demons behind social welfare, economic and environmental regulations, or legal protections for marginalised groups, spiritual warriors frame the dismantling of these systems as ridding the US of demons. More than this, they frame the people and groups they see as benefiting from those systems as agents of evil incarnate. Only after such people are removed can there be a national rebirth.


    The "Trump Prophecy" video clip is well worth watching. Who believes this nonsense? It is straight out of the twelfth century?

    https://theconversation.com/demons-o...america-144898
    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

  • #2
    Kevin_lol.gif

    Linking Q to evangelicals now? What a pathetic waste of electrons...
    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    Stephen R. Donaldson

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
      From the country that put humans on the moon, has some of the leading universities in the world, and has been at the forefront of much of the technological development of the past 70 years comes an amusing and interesting article by S Jonathan O'Donnell

      Demons of the deep state: how evangelicals and conspiracy theories combine in Trump’s America

      Are demons active forces in American life and politics? That is what a large number of evangelicals in the US believe and are increasingly vocal about.

      Since the 1980s, growing numbers of evangelicals have given the fight against demons a key role in their spirituality and their politics. Known as “spiritual warfare”, this views demons as central actors in world politics and everyday life. While often seen as fringe, belief in spiritual warfare is common across denominational lines, including among evangelicals close to Donald Trump such as Robert Jeffress and the president’s spiritual advisor, Paula White.

      A key idea in spiritual warfare is that demons don’t only attack people, as in depictions of demonic possession, but also take control of places and institutions, such as journalism, academia, and both municipal and federal bureaucracies. By doing so, demons are framed as advancing social projects that spiritual warriors see as opposing God’s plans. These include advances in reproductive and LGBTQ rights and tolerance for non-Christian religions (especially Islam).

      In a recent article published in the journal Religion, I explore how these ideas about demons combine with the wider Christian nationalism shown to be prevalent among Trump’s support base. Through a survey of conservative evangelical literature, articles, and television and radio broadcasts released between 2016 and 2018, I analyse how their authors used discourses of spiritual warfare to navigate the changing political reality, and Trump’s victory and presidency in particular.

      The evangelicals whose works I analyse vary in their attitudes to Trump, from ardent advocates to reluctant supporters. Yet even the reluctant supporters interpret his presidency in terms of spiritual warfare, framing Trump’s victory as a divine intervention against a demonic status quo.

      Trump’s alleged battle against the “deep state” here adopts cosmic meaning, as not only the US government but undocumented immigrants and Black and LGBTQ people are cast as agents of demonic forces.

      Divine intervention

      The deep state has become a watchword of the Trump era, a term used by his supporters to depict Trump as an outsider fighting a corrupted political system. The deep state is central to the conspiracy movement QAnon, which depicts Trump as at war with a “deep state cabal” of devil-worshipping cannibal paedophiles.

      QAnon has many overlaps with spiritual warfare and its practitioners. It uses similar ideas of religious revival and donning the “armour of God” against unseen foes.

      Not all spiritual warriors engage with QAnon. But even for those that don’t, the deep state has come to represent broader ideas of demonic control, as demons are imagined as a “deeper state” working behind the scenes. Demons become the source of economic and environmental regulations and of social welfare programmes. The deregulatory ambitions that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called Trump’s “deconstruction of the administrative state” become imagined as a project of national exorcism.

      For many spiritual warriors this project began on election night 2016. Trump’s improbable victory stoked narratives of divine intervention. Comparing the red electoral map of Republican victory to “the blood of Jesus” washing away America’s sins, one evangelical framed the election as overthrowing “Jezebel”, a demonic spirit often depicted as behind reproductive and LGBTQ rights.

      Banning abortion is central to conservative evangelical politics. Spiritual warriors often go further, framing support for abortion and same-sex marriage as both causing and caused by demonic control. They portray evil spirits and sinful humans as creating reinforcing systems of beliefs, behaviours and policy agendas. The deep state has become a key representation of these systems.

      This spiritual war against the deep state can be understood as part of post-truth politics. While sometimes seen as a politics which delegitimises truth itself, post-truth can also be understood as a destabilisation of mainstream narratives about society. One that allows new narratives to be pushed.

      In spiritual warfare, this new narrative is one where God is retaking control of the US from demonic forces. One where God’s truth is being reasserted over competing truths, which are reframed as demonic lies. Spiritual warfare here becomes a struggle over competing narratives about what America is, or should be. Dismantling the deep state is part of this struggle. But it is not the only one.

      The demons at work

      Spiritual warfare has also come to frame evangelical reactions to ongoing protests. Demonic opposition to Trump has been positioned by spiritual warriors as being behind events from the 2017 Women’s March to the 2020 protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Stances on immigrants and refugees are also included.

      Conspiratorial claims that both the protests and migrant caravans were funded by the investor/philanthropist George Soros or the deep state close the circle. They cast demonised groups – such as “nasty” women, Black protesters, refugees and undocumented migrants – not just as agents of corrupt deep state forces but avatars of the demonic deeper state behind them.

      Spiritual warriors are often keen to separate the demons they battle from the people they claim to be saving from them. But today such deliverance from evil has been shown to never just be about the spiritual salvation of individuals, if it ever was. It has profound and lasting material consequences for both those individuals and the nation.

      By imagining demons behind social welfare, economic and environmental regulations, or legal protections for marginalised groups, spiritual warriors frame the dismantling of these systems as ridding the US of demons. More than this, they frame the people and groups they see as benefiting from those systems as agents of evil incarnate. Only after such people are removed can there be a national rebirth.


      The "Trump Prophecy" video clip is well worth watching. Who believes this nonsense? It is straight out of the twelfth century?

      https://theconversation.com/demons-o...america-144898
      There are people all over the world. Bigfoot, UFO's, Koch Brothers, Hitler Lived, etc. Your article doesn't even give us an idea what the "large number" of evangelicals is...

      This just seems to be more of you engaging in your prejudices

      Comment


      • #4
        Attacking Americans again, how unoriginal...
        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
          Linking Q to evangelicals now? What a pathetic waste of electrons...
          Reading for comprehension:

          "QAnon has many overlaps with spiritual warfare and its practitioners. It uses similar ideas of religious revival and donning the “armour of God” against unseen foes." [my emphasis]



          Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
          There are people all over the world. Bigfoot, UFO's, Koch Brothers, Hitler Lived, etc. Your article doesn't even give us an idea what the "large number" of evangelicals is...

          This just seems to be more of you engaging in your prejudices
          Yet of those examples you gave three hail from the USA. By the way, are the Koch Brothers a fantasy/conspiracy theory like Bigfoot and UFOs?
          "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by seer View Post
            Attacking Americans again, how unoriginal...
            Only weird Americans and those who rely on the comforts of unreason.
            "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
              Only weird Americans and those who rely on the comforts of unreason.
              Well I would say that the majority of Christians, here and in the rest of the world, believe in some degree of demonic influence. And...

              Germany's spiritual crisis: why many are turning to witchcraft

              Pagan hotbeds

              Belief in magic, spiritism (nowadays called "channelling"), shamanism and other New Age beliefs has supplanted Christianity in many areas, particularly in what used to be Communist East Germany where a Stalinist regime actively discouraged church-going.

              Cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne have become hotbeds of pagan practises.

              "There are now scores of covens throughout Germany, with at least one in every major city," says a 44-year-old witch named Maddalina, who is high priestess of a coven in Berlin.

              "The number has quadrupled since German unification 15 years ago," she says. Maddalina insists she practises "beneficent white magic" known as Wicca.

              https://wwrn.org/articles/19301/
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                Reading for comprehension:

                "QAnon has many overlaps with spiritual warfare and its practitioners. It uses similar ideas of religious revival and donning the “armour of God” against unseen foes." [my emphasis]
                Like I said. Waste of electrons. Unsubscribing.
                That's what
                - She

                Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                Stephen R. Donaldson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seer View Post
                  Well I would say that the majority of Christians, here and in the rest of the world, believe in some degree of demonic influence.
                  Why and on what basis?

                  Originally posted by seer View Post
                  Germany's spiritual crisis: why many are turning to witchcraft
                  Wicca is a far more tolerant belief/religion than your version of Christianity. I have a lot of time for Wiccans. Two deities, male and female principle, strong respect for the natural world, pacific, and tolerant.

                  According to Prof. Ron Hutton [an acknowledged expert on modern paganism] Wicca is the only religion Britain ever gave to the modern world.
                  "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                    Why do some Americans believe weird things?
                    Gee, an anti-American thread from HA. What a surprise.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                      Gee, an anti-American thread from HA. What a surprise.
                      No, this is a thread about those Americans who believe in the comforts of unreason. N.B the word "some" in the title.
                      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                        No, this is a thread about those Americans who believe in the comforts of unreason. N.B the word "some" in the title.
                        So if I created a negative thread every day about "some" Germans, it wouldn't be an indication of anti-German sentiment?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                          Why and on what basis?
                          The teachings of Christ and the New Testament in general. We are Christian after all...

                          Wicca is a far more tolerant belief/religion than your version of Christianity. I have a lot of time for Wiccans. Two deities, male and female principle, strong respect for the natural world, pacific, and tolerant.
                          It wasn't just Wicca, it was also magic, channelling, shamanism etc... The point is all peoples have beliefs that are out of the ordinary. Your country included. So why pick on the US again?
                          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                            So if I created a negative thread every day about "some" Germans, it wouldn't be an indication of anti-German sentiment?
                            Better yet, talk about "some blacks" see how far that gets you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                              No, this is a thread about those Americans who believe in the comforts of unreason. N.B the word "some" in the title.
                              What is "unreason?"
                              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                              Comment

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