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The religious origins of Fake News

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    Christopher Douglas, Religion Dispatches, February 23, 2017: The Religious Origins of Fake News and “Alternative Facts”

    Christopher Douglas explores the origin of Fake News and Alternative Facts back to the Christian Fundamentalists. As he notes, Donald Trump garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election, higher than Mitt Romney, John McCain, and even the born-again George W. Bush. And it is really perplexing if you consider religiosity alone. Donald Trump doesn't seem any more religious than me...or Dutch. However, there is a correlation between Fundamentalist's beliefs in the scriptures and their propensity to create or believe Fake News...they're minds have been conditioned to believe Fake News.

    "Christian fundamentalist Bible colleges and universities, publishers and bookstores, newspapers and magazines, radio and then television shows, museums and campus ministries, together formed a set of institutions that resisted elite, secular expert knowledge. Recognizing the power of expertise’s infrastructure, Christian fundamentalists created this counter-infrastructure to cultivate and curate its alternative forms of knowledge. This alternative knowledge—the forerunner of today’s alternative facts— took the form of creationism and an alternative Bible scholarship demonstrating the Bible’s inerrancy and traditional authorship."

    "It is conservative voters who are measurably more credulous to fake news sites. The origin story of that credulity in fundamentalism holds a similar imbalance."

    You can read more of Douglas's article at the above link. We need to remember that when we argue fake news stories with these fundamentalists, we may as well be arguing religion. They believe what they want to believe. You cannot change their minds. All you can do is hope that your kind outnumbers them at the polls on election day, because the one thing they definitely have more than liberals is passion. They vote in huge numbers.

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    Single question to a single guy to prove religious fallacy about sexual preference . I would ask Jerry Falwell that if homosexuality is a choice what guys tempt him the most to have sex with. I believe people are born with a sexuality be it gay or straight. Born that way.
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    Fundamentalism in any religion = cult.
    Fundamentalism = cancer of both the mind and soul.

    I don't know much about evangelicals, but it does appear to fit the definition of a fundamentalist cult, which happens to be mainstream. Most cults lack the popularity to be accepted.

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    Side story. Years ago I worked with evangelical guy. Overall nice person, but extremely opinionated about religion\politics. We got along primarily because I was tolerant, and a bit entertained, by his viewpoints.

    He confessed he liked watching porn. This caused him a great deal of internal conflict. So he read, reread, the bible 2-3 times and came to the conclusion that bible supported men watching porn and doing all kinds of sexual activities with women outside of marriage, but women could not. Women were to be pure and faithful to their husbands, and fulfill the sexual desires\fantasies of their husbands (one of his was watching women peeing while standing up).

    I made a small effort to point out some the contradictions there were in his conclusion, but he always quoted some cryptic bible verse that justified his conclusions. I quickly stopped; no point in trying to explain that 1+1 is not equal to 7, when the counter arguement is a bible quote that says something like "One and One is to create, beyond the seventh day"

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    I read Frank Schaeffer's book, Crazy for God, a few years ago. It was an eye opener on the Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists. It is hard to stereotype either because both have degrees of acceptance in the scriptures with fundamentalists, as the name implies, the most restrictive. However, as Jared has noted in another thread, the Bible itself is full of inconsistencies, which is the reason for so many branches and denominations of Christianity...thousands of them.

    In my conversations with Christians of various denominations, most all have 100 percent certitude in their convictions that their particular brand of Christianity was the right one. They couldn't tell me why...they just knew it to be true. Ditto for Islam and Judaism and Hinduism and others. They all have inconsistencies and for good reason. Their scriptures were written thousands of years ago by humans at different periods of time.

    Anyway, back to your evangelical guy addicted to porn. I read polls where evangelicals watch porn just about as much as non-Christians. So maybe as your friend said, the Bible to him supported his addictions and that's why so many evanhelicals have no problem with it.. The Bible also has a lot of bad stuff on how women should be treated, and be submissive to their husbands.

    I can understand how conflicted they might be if they take a literal interpretation of the Bible to be true. Those are also the ones who are easy prey to Fake News.

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    I may start attending church if they have a porn for old male only seniors group!
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    Agitprop has been around probably since man learned to speak. Religion is one variation.
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    lonely bird -- yes we tend to forget the past, but as you point out, agitprop, or political theater, has always been a part of mankind's evolution of society. Greek and Roman theater had an influence on the public 2,000 years or more ago. Shakespeare is one who perfected it in the 16th century.

    The worst culprits are those that are religiously driven...church's putting out Fake News on videos to indoctrinate their flock. Focus on the Family is one example.

    Today agitprop has evolved from the TV medium into social networking. And with so much fake news on the internet, it is difficult to dig out the truth. In the end, I have to rely on the New York Times and a few other publications to get the real truth. If you do a key word search on Google you'll often find page after page of crap copied without attribution from one website to the other.

    Alex Jones makes video clips of it on InfoWars. It sells. Trump quotes Alex Jones as his source of information. Scary.

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    The problem is that "evangelicals" are as you described and "herd" which is totally indoctrinated . As an example take the "clan" which went to Guyana and killed themselves because the "priest" told them so. I've never been in an country where "religion" is so fanatic as well hypocritical. "Facts" never count as well as an excuse they always point to "God's will" even if you get cancer etc. Don't forget the "power" from the "pulpit" they tell the crowd how they should "vote" as well.

    Yes an dangerous "indoctrinated" mostly conservative bunch of people, who can't think for themselves because of an "thick human written book" which blocks their brain.

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    A video titled "the church of Trump" turned up on Al Jazeera this morning. Although the video is 25 minutes long, it is worth watching in its entirely.

    About 10 minutes in, the Fault Lines organization interviewed a Tennessee hardware store owner. It only takes a few seconds to realize that this guy is totally nuts. The video points out, incidentally, that Tennessee has the highest percentage of evangelicals in the country. The video also mentions the existence of Project Blitz, which is a program designed to help the religious right folks spread their message to legislatures across the country.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/faultlines/2018/10/church-trump-181029110950123.html

    At the risk of being vulgar, the phrase that came to mind after watching the video was "holy f**k!"

    If your memory is good, you may remember that Tennessee (which forbade the teaching of evolution in public schools) was the site of the "monkey trial" in 1925. Further proof of the state's wackiness can be found in the opening paragraphs of the article listed below:

    http://tohell-andback.blogspot.com/2012/04/i-want-to-hold-your-hand.html

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    Dutch:

    You mentioned the deaths in Guyana in your last post (2/26/17). The guy responsible for that was Jim Jones. 918 of his followers died in that incident, and 304 of them were children. The massacre was the origin of the phrase "drinking the Kool-aid"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Jones

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    Guy, Tennessee as well Kentucky are the nutty "bible" States; ask McConnell. Too bad that quite a few senators from there are part of this government. Actually Trump should built a wall around those States and throw away the key.
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    pr Wrote: I may start attending church if they have a porn for old male only seniors group!
    I think WVA has a Seniors Sex Without Partners Group.
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    You will go blind looking at nude pictures.
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    Yesterday I had a civil conversation with a deeply religious Trump supporter in his 80s, a Vietnam veteran. I had known the guy for years as we frequently met up on our walks on the trail system near our homes. I would say something like "nice day" and he would answer with "praise the lord". Others on the trail have nicknamed him "the preacher". We sometimes stopped and engaged in small talk, but never politics until yesterday when we were discussing our respective injuries (I have fallen twice on the trail) and health care for seniors.

    Anyway, the discussion evolved into presidential candidates, and he revealed that he was an avid Trump/Pence supporter, in fact, calling Trump the best president ever. I, of course, had to let him know that I disagreed saying I hated how he had divided the country with his hate speech. He pushed back at me saying that it is the liberal media that has divided the country. He said he watched Fox News and the Drudge Report and considers the New York Times fake news. "I wouldn't believe one thing that is printed in that newspaper".

    I asked him if he supports the wall, and he said "absolutely. ..we need to keep the thousands of terrorists out of our country and only a wall can do that."

    I countered with the fact that zero terrorists had crossed our southern border, and he asked if I had learned that crap from the New York Times. I said yes but the statistics come from the Homeland Security's own breakdown of numbers. He called it more "fake news", but I insisted that he look it up. He said he would.

    Anyway, he also added that it was the liberal media's fault that we pulled out of Vietnam. He said we would have won that war if it wasn't for the liberal media influencing public opinion.

    He went on to talk about the "lack of morality" in this country, and that's another reason he supports Trump and Pence so strongly. "Trump speaks the truth about morality."

    Okay, I just let it go and continued on my walk. The conversation was never heated...entirely civil. I'm sure I will see him again in the near future as most all of us morning hikers are confined to the southern facing slopes where the snow has melted.

    I share this story, however, as just one example of how the religious zealots in our society have adopted Trump and Pence as their "patron saints". If in future meet ups on the trail, I will be happy to engage him again if he so chooses. In a way he is typical of many similar religious people I have encountered in knocking on doors at election time. I have zero expectations of changing anyone's minds, but out of curiosity I don't mind having these conversations as it gives me a better perspective into the minds of one demographic of American society.