Qanon, the latest apocalyptic cult

Qanon is an apocalyptic cult whose desire is to execute political opponents, which they believe will result in a safe, peaceful and orderly world. Apocalyptic cults have sprung up throughout history in times of national stress. The world is so bad and the forces of evil so secret and nefarious, that the only solution is to kill off some of humanity in order to save humanity.

That may sound crazy when stated so bluntly, but think-the world does have some bad people doing bad things and many are in positions of authority. The simplistic solution is to kill these bad people and the good people remaining will live in heaven on earth. As Stalin said, “Death solves all problems. No man, no problem.” Stalin tried, he tried hard, but after millions of deaths, the problems remained and heaven did not descend onto Soviet Russia.

Those involved in this killing activity are heroic, their lives have great meaning, they are the chosen few. This spirit lurks behind the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Zoroastrian-as well as atheistic versions of the Apocalypse, so it is apparently a deep part of human nature. A savior will come and destroy the evil in one fell swoop. Qanon’s designated savior has been Donald Trump. Germany’s designated savior was Adolph Hitler. Watch out for designated saviors.

But ‘the people’ must support them or they go nowhere. Why do people support them? Why did Applewhite’s (Heaven’s Gate) followers support him-to the point of castration and suicide? Why did Jim Jones’ (People’s Temple) follow him to the point of death?

What if you thought 1) The world sucks 2) A designated group (Jews, Capitalists, Democrats) is responsible for the world’s sucking. A man comes along who promises wonderful things (freedom, prosperity, eternal life, revenge) if only you obey him. Never doubt, keep the faith!

Making fun of their worldview is easy, but only cements it in their heads. Mockery is a sign to them that they are right, part of a chosen and persecuted minority. A more helpful approach would be to ask why they were so stressed in the first place. What is wrong? What steps can be taken to right those wrongs? That is complex, and requires thought and effort. Humans willing to expend that thought and effort would be the real heroes.

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