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The religious origins of Fake News

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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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.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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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.
  • Independent
    Washington
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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.

  • Independent
    Washington
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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"

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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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.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I may start attending church if they have a porn for old male only seniors group!
  • Independent
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    Agitprop has been around probably since man learned to speak. Religion is one variation.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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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.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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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.