Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Psychology of This

I honestly don't think that Charlie Johnston's followers believe him.  They can't.  Nobody's that stupid.  Nobody's that gullible.  This is why no matter what evidence people like me present to prove that Charlie is a liar and a fraud, his followers defend him.  This is why when the elections are not suspended, Obama does not convert, the Virgin Mary does not appear in 2017 and all the other things that Charlie claims his angel has "predicted" fail to happen, Charlie's followers won't care.  They'll defend him all the more vehemently from folks like me who point out that this is all simply crazy.

Back when I first started hearing about him, I had two intelligent and devout Catholics from separate parts of the U.S say to me at separate times, "I don't believe Charlie, but I want to!"


Why would anybody want to believe this garbage?

Perhaps what we see in Donald Trump and Michael Voris is part of the answer.  People don't care if demagogues are consistent or honest or anything in particular.  They want to cheer for them.  They want to see them "stick it to the man".  They're mad at mainstream politicians and so they flock to Trump, regardless of his personal integrity as a human being because he feeds and stokes their anger and mollifies their frustration.  They're mad at the bishops, so they subscribe to Voris.  "Here's somebody sticking it to the bishops!" - and the rage porn flows.  The fact that Trump has no core beliefs or that Voris attacks people like Mark Shea and me when we criticize the likes of Fr. Corapi, implying that we're part of a great shadowy conspiracy of "professional Catholics"; or the fact that so much of what Voris is peddling is paranoia of one sort or another - none of that matters.

This is not about truth.

This is about finding a hero - or a villain - who makes you feel good and who gives your less than glamorous Christian existence a little verve and focus.

Those of us who think that the truth will matter to True Believers are fooling ourselves.  This is because this is not about True Belief - it's about anger and frustration finding some sort of false solution.


Anonymous said...

You are outrageous, Mr. O'Brien. I just read your other post where you go on and on about all the poor "working class" people from Bellevue, or wherever it was. Doesn't matter - I get your point perfectly well. Charlie Johnston is not a liar - I am a reader of his blog; that's it. I do not hang on his words, or worship him, follow him, or "hope" that all he says is true exactly as he says it. I don't even know all that he says will happen, etc. as you claim that you do. That is not why I like his writing. I like his writing because he is an astute observer of current and political events from a Catholic perspective, and he is encouraging and hopeful. Those who comment on his sight are intelligent, respectful, and also faithful; he has taken care to form a good community there. You have this totally wrong.

Kevin O'Brien said...

I caught Charlie in three big lies - two about me and one about his "walk across America".

If I do indeed start blogging regularly again, it will be with comments not allowed.

Seeing this Charlie thing up close has really shaken my faith in human nature. Messed up Catholics is one thing; but this goes deeper than that. People are actually more hateful and malicious than I had suspected - and I'm rather cynical to begin with.

Again, this is not about people being stupid or gullible. No one really believes Charlie. They support him for other reasons, and the whole thing is less innocent than I had suspected.

We really need a Savior. Thank God we have one!