For 100 years, well-meaning Christian fundamentalists like those I grew up with have taught their children that scientists, teachers, and college professors are misleading them about evolution and the age of the Earth.
For decades they’ve sowed distrust in psychological science, deterred people from seeking mental health care, argued that alcoholism isn’t a disease, insisted there’s no biological basis for same-sex attraction, devalued higher education, attacked universities as godless bastions of anti-religious sentiment, and denied climate change.
At the same time they’ve promoted a dark, fearful worldview that includes the imminent rise of an evil ruler who will deceive all the nations on Earth (except maybe Israel, God’s chosen nation-state along with the US), set up a “one world government,” force everyone to take a demonic “mark of the beast,” and plunge humanity into an unprecedented bloodbath culminating in a cataclysmic “battle of Armageddon” so horrific that blood will run several feet deep.
This, they sincerely believe, is predicted in the Bible, whose authors wrote with us and our time in history (the “last days”) specifically in mind. And they’ve been manipulated for decades by fear-mongering men bent on wielding political power.
There’s always a bogey man threatening US Christianity, be it Communism, desegregation, radical Islam, Obamacare, immigrants of color, sharia law, transgender rights, George Soros, Democratic socialism, or gay marriage; and there’s always a political figure (Nixon, Goldwater, Reagan, etc.) who supposedly shares their convictions and offers protection from the latest satanic plot to trample their rights and extinguish the last embers of their (apparently) exceedingly fragile religion.
Some of you wonder how anyone in their right mind could believe this. You’d be surprised. Many are smart, educated, high-functioning members of society who simply believe what they, like me, were taught from childhood.
To my point: the COVID denialism, conspiracy theory nonsense, and anti-science disinformation running rampant in these religious circles shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is the deadly fruit of what’s been sown for 100 years. I’m not against religion; I’m a person of faith myself. But I am absolutely opposed to the destructive fundamentalism that brought us the past five years and made this pandemic far worse than it had to be. This religious system is oppressive and profoundly broken. If you’re caught up in this system and its dark worldview you don’t have to stay trapped inside. I escaped. You can, too.