Antisemitism and Adventist Participation in the COVID Conspiracy Movement

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theories about the virus have spread online and across social media in what the journal Nature has described as an “ocean of misinformation.” While dangerous to public health, research also suggests that the COVID conspiracy movement is undergirded by antisemitism.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12166
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Yes! Much discussion is needed on the subject of misinformation being propagated within the SDA communities and by ‘fringe’ sites such as F7. I would suggest that is is also about ‘anti-intellectualism’. After all, it is only the more ‘educated’ that speak out against such misinformation and promote the benefits of much in the medical world. A read of the recent comments by one individual from the mentioned site went so far as to call such advanced educated individuals to be following the devil.

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Adventism is founded on EGW’s conspiracy theory that the government, at the behest of the RCC, will shortly begin persecuting people who go to church on Saturday.

On an even grander scale, there is the presupposed fact of a cosmic conspiracy in which Satan is conspiring against god and man.

According to both theories, whatever is secular, scientific or sensory-that is, any information that isn’t obtained through divine revelation-is suspect, as it is assumed Satan’s secret influence has corrupted all other human endeavor.

Given this mindset-if not on the part of a majority of the congregants then openly accepted by the leadership-the notion that the denomination will engage in a meaningful conversation about antisemitism or anti Adventism is a pipe dream as the adherents to each of their own dogmas sees themselves as god’s chosen people-aka “god’s remnant church”-and are overly preoccupied with the constant threat of discrimination and potential plots against them.

IOW, until Adventism renounces EGW, the Jews deny the historicity of the the Torah, the RCC abandons it’s catechism, Islam rejects the Koran, etc., it seems to me that Mr. Brantley’s desired discussion will simply have to wait, or be held elsewhere.

Maybe all parties can reconvene and reconcile after the 2nd Coming in heaven when god will finally say, without any further equivocation, whose writings really were inspired by Satan and which group of readers really is his favorite!?!?

:wink:

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The truth of any matter sits at the end of the path when you “follow the money”.

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It’s always entertaining when SDA’s start pointing out conspiracy theories from everyone else, but not their own conspiracy theories regarding Saturday/Sunday. The whole denomination is built on this.

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Like every viewpoint, conspiracies are in the eye of the beholder; and every “truth of a matter” has a history.

As kids, we were always warned not to succumb to pier pressure, while social acceptance runs on it, even in adulthood.

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We get blamed for everything.

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Phil, thank you for shining a light on this issue. It is regrettable that these voices find platforms in some of our church pulpits.

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Maybe we should look at what is happening to virtually every aspect of our existence. We don’t trust anything or anyone. The internet has become our encyclopedia of everything; which is our first problem. It is always someone else’s fault and every authoritative, credentialed, educated person, administration, or organization is conspiring to mislead us, harm us or take advantage of us. Gee, I wonder who could be behind such a thing…If you were watching Saturday Night Live, I might suggest, “could it be SATAN”.

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I don’t think the SDA church is particularly anti-semitic. We perceive affinity with Jews over Sabbath and our attachment to kosher food (although I doubt most Jews know we exist).

Your points about conspiracy theories in general, however, are salient. I grew up surrounded by theories about New World Order, Illuminati and Jesuits, until an Adventist high school teacher pointed out how prone we are to this nonsense. Even the early church had to be wary of the gnostic appetite for secret knowledge.

A useful remedy for conspiracy theories is to hear suspicion towards my group. For example, when a Chinese official faked a report of an Australian soldier holding a knife to an Afghan child’s throat. Or even just hearing the suspicion from evangelicals that Adventists aren’t real Christians.

I know these claims about my group to be false, so it helps me understand how my group can likewise imagine faults in ‘the other.’

Rather than demonstrate ‘deep state’ the response to Covid-19 showed governments to be overly cautious to initiate strategies to protect public health (exposing incompetence rather than social control), in turn demonstrating how shallow conspiracy theories are.

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“Misinformation” is a term that was abused during the pandemic to lump together anything that didn’t go with the cdc narrative. If you wanted to discredit someone without actually discussing the issues you simply labeled their point of view as misinformation and that was that.

But we saw that some of what was once misinformation turned out to be true or legitimate. The Wuhan lab leak “conspiracy theory” or “misinformation” was finally accepted as plausible by fauci. Those that said lockdowns dont work were proven right in Johns Hopkins study of the effects of the lockdowns. They did almost nothing to stop illnesses or deaths. Those that advocates for keeping schools open were deemed Neanderthals for even suggestion that, yet now we see that children have suffered more than any other group when they were the least at risk.

I’ve listened to the dr. Mentioned in the article and he makes some really important points that weren’t being made by the mainstream media. Did some go overboard? Yes some took opposition to the vaccine to ridiculous levels. But using them as representative of everyone who questioned mandating the vaccine, or school closures, or business lockdowns is a cheap way to not answer for all those “science based” decisions.

I live in California and our churches were mandated to close, I really believe this violated the constitution but if you opposed closing churches you were accused of conspiracy theories and misinformation.

When the mainstream media doesn’t fully vet the overreaching policies implemented by the government they feed into conspiracies. The policies implemented were so far reaching that they should have been questioned much more that’s they were and labeling everyone in the same boat as misinformation just because they have an alternate view…which many were proven correct isn’t helpful.

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Aggregations of nutcases and lunatics like Fulcrum7’s audience are best ignored. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the contributors are posting stuff there as satire and laughing at their audience who eats it up like it’s truth.

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Coupled with this mindset is the pernicious fetishization of “persecution”. To these people, if one agrees with their nuttiness, they are reinforced in their beliefs. If one disagrees with or opposes their nuttiness it’s proof that the conspiracy runs even deeper, and that persecution is just around the corner. They get off on holding extreme opinions with which no one else agrees as proof of them holding the secret knowledge.

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Run the old “guilt by association trip” on me and call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but it seems to me that uninformation is as much a threat as misinformation.

There is plenty of evidence that the vaccine doesn’t work…oh no, that’s right, no there isn’t because the CDC stopped reporting “break through” COVID cases. (NY State Data implies the average is over 17%.)

Just as no one made a big deal about the fact that more than half of the people being hospitalized with COVID as of November ‘23 had been at least partially or fully vaccinated.

Or that they now admit that there is “some risk” of stroke for people over 65 who received the vaccine while leaving us uninformed about the actual odds.

For my part, I would rather be mis- or over-informed that utterly uninformed.

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There was/is also plenty of evidence that the vaccine does work. And there’s plenty of evidence that like with just about anything, people’s bodies are different. Peanut butter is a healthy daily staple for me. Peanut butter would be dangerous or even fatal to my nephew. It would be silly to ban peanut butter, and even sillier to make a double dose of peanut butter mandatory for all.

Vaccines may be beneficial and efficacious to the majority, but harmful to some. Covid may be asymptomatic to some, a mild irritant to others and dangerous or fatal to a few. In cases like this, where we know that we don’t know, let each be convinced in his own mind without daemonising those who don’t share our opinion.

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You keep kosher? Really?

Please review the link below. Do you follow these rules? I’d be surprised as I’ve never met an Adventist who keeps kosher:

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I think we may finally agree on something :joy: there was also an article this week in Washington post by Dr. Wen where she admits that hospitalizations and deaths are likely overstated. Because they were counting deaths “with” COVID as deaths “from” COVID. Something that has been brought up many times by “conspiracy theorists” but had never been addressed by cdc or mainstream media.

One hospital estimated that 90% of hospitalizations were for incidental COVID infections and not because the patient was admitted for COVID treatment. In other words we don’t know the true number of hospitalizations or deaths because a heart attack victim with COVID was lumped in with a COVID caused death!

I believe COVID is real, I believe many have died from it, I believe we should have taken it seriously, i belive the vaccine was a good idea for many people. But if you didn’t 100% support forced vaccination for all ages or even dared to question the numbers a year ago you were labeled a tinfoil hat wearing wacko. And that’s what we need to address, questioning is important and you can’t just dismiss real concerns by calling them misinformation

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The whole denominational reason for being is built on an eschatological conspiracy theory built upon poor handling of biblical apocalyptic. So is evangelical dispensationalism that is looking for a one world government headed by the coming anti Christ. Adventism makes strange bedfellows with the ones it constantly criticizes.

Frank

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My wife asked what I think is a good question.

What happened to the common flu?

A google search leads to the “scientific” response which says that we think the measures taken to fight COVID-social distancing. face masks, hand wringing…I mean hand washing-virtually eliminated influenza.

A more cynical approach-which I say is due, in part, to having been raised in a cult where iconoclasticism towards all authorities except EGW’s absolutist version of Christianity is inculcated from birth-says that a compelling case can be made that anyone who contracted the flu during the pandemic was diagnosed with a milder form of COVID.

Unlikely?

Perhaps.

But then again maybe made slightly less so in light of the fact that hospitals were paid more for COVID cases than the less sensational illnesses.

I agree though, (surprisingly?!?!) that COVID was real and a problem.

But I’m also of the opinion that the response to the threat was similarly problematic, if not exponentially more so.

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No, I don’t keep kosher, but many if us imagine that we do. Just as tithing is not Christian (yet we baptise it as such), so keeping OT/Jewish food laws (avoiding pork, seafood etc.) is also not Christian, yet is routine among SDA members who eat meat.

My point is that these self-imposed dietary restrictions build a sense of affinity with Jewish people, even if the basis for that diet and the depth of that affinity are dubious.

Likewise, our form of Sabbath keeping has been scoffed at by my Jewish colleagues. Which makes sense, as we keep Sabbath as Christians, not as Jews.

I have noted over the years that I hear anti-semitic comments from non-Adventist friends much more frequently than from church members and have mused at why this is the case.