The Religion of QAnon

Support more videos like this at!


I’ve mentioned a little bit about QAnon in previous videos without going into much about what it is, and who “Q” is — I’ve only talked about some of the results of their idiocy, like people trying to free supposed child slaves (who don’t exist) in the middle of Arizona.

But since then, a few more things have happened, Q-wise, so let’s get a little bit deeper into it.

QAnon is a poster on 4chan and 8chan who claims to be a top level political agent with confidential information about how Donald Trump is secretly fighting a war on evil Democrats and Hollywood elites who are involved in pedophile sex-trafficking and New World Order-type of things. Q delivers this information in Nostradamus-like code, leaving his growing cabal of followers to desperately try to decipher what it all means.

Over the past few months, the Q posts have started claiming that big information is coming soon, and that soon the entire world will see that he and his followers are right about their absolutely insane conspiracy theory.

I have occasionally checked in on the Reddit outpost for the followers of the conspiracy theory, r/GreatAwakening, and it’s part terrifying, part hilarious, and part baffling. And here’s the thing: it’s also now a religion, with Q set up as the prophet. I say this because reading through the comments there reminds me of studying Christianity, Millennialism, and other belief systems based upon prophecies that just never come true. If you’ll recall, Jesus was crucified and promised to return. These days, most modern Christians tend to think of that as being far in the future, but back in the day, but when Christ died his contemporaries assumed his return would happen within their lifetime. Obviously that didn’t happen, and if humans were perfectly logical beasts then that would have been the end of that right there.

But they’re not, so Christianity is still going strong today. Each time Jesus failed to appear, new scriptures were invented to explain why it hadn’t happened before, and why it would happen this time. The date got pushed further and further back, and eventually mainstream Christians just figured, “Eh, it’ll happen at some point, no big deal.”

The exact same thing is happening with QAnon followers. Obviously the entire thing is completely made-up, but a ridiculous number of people still believe in it, for a variety of reasons. Like most conspiracy theories, it’s appealing because it allows people to believe they know something others don’t know, that they are a part of something good, that the world is in good hands and the leader of our country is actually doing something helpful for people in need. At the same time, the people around them are all pointing out that they’re idiots who believe in an idiot conspiracy made by and propagated by other idiots.

Everytime QAnon promises that the world will soon find out everything, they get a renewed feeling that they’re right, they’re not idiots, and soon everyone will know. Just like the early Christians, in the days following a disappointment, there are those who are confused and feel like giving up. Here’s a post that I saw the other day, after a promised 9/11 reveal failed to happen:

“I think a lot of us are a little down today. We have been trusting the plan every day and red-pilling daily. Now, loved ones think we are insane because we keep saying “it’s happening” and then nothing.”

She then describes how many times they’ve been disappointed before, but then instead of coming to the conclusion of “oh, wait, maybe this means the entire thing is a giant hoax,” she writes, “I pray for patience and pray for protection for Trump. Thank you to all Patriots for the enduring work to make our country and lives a better place for us and our children!”

These people have invested so much of their identity into this hoax that they feel they must keep going. It’s a form of the sunk cost fallacy — the idea that if you’ve invested a lot into something, you can’t just quit. You have to keep going until you feel your investment has been paid back, even if the chances of that happening are slim. It’s how casinos make their money, and it’s how conspiracies like this keep trucking along.

The good news about all this is that this week, Reddit made a good call and decided to ban the QAnon subreddit. I’ve mentioned this before, but the science suggests that this means that these people will mostly disperse. Without a community cheering them on, there’s a better chance that some of them will wake up (so to speak) and realize what a bunch of bunk this all is.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

Related Articles


  1. I may have told this one before but one of the great moments in the 70s was when some psychic predicted a massive tidal wave and the Premier of the State went down to the main pier of the State Capital on the actual day in question along with thousands of people.

    Needless to say the watery Armageddon failed to materialise and a whole bunch of people had their skeptical viewpoint reinforced for great justice.

  2. Yeah, even most /x/ folks seem to know they’re a con.

    Plus, the metaphor doesn’t make sense. Bakers don’t assemble crumbs to make a cake.

    Granted, they’re not the first ones to use bad metaphors. *cough*the entirety of The World is Flat by the only guy even more disconnected from reality than Trumpsters*cough*

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button