Technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people around the world, to learn in a whole new way, and to share the Gospel through engaging and interactive means. Think of what the last year would have been like if we didn’t have the internet! However, it also allows anyone to say anything about any topic – whether or not it’s true.
In fact, in many ways the economy of the internet incentivizes sensationalism, outrage, tribalism, and controversy. And with different sources saying different things, it’s easy to experience fear, anxiety, and anger about any number of issues. So what should you do if the doom and gloom of the internet is weighing on you?
Patrick Madrid offered his advice on this topic when a listener named Rose called-in to The Patrick Madrid Show recently.
Rose told Patrick, “I’m calling about the anxiety I’m experiencing because of things on the web … about the vaccine being the ‘mark of the beast.’ I’m a devout Catholic, I love my faith, and I received the first shot because I need to be taking care of my first grandchild who’s six months old, and my son wants me to be safe. Yet I read these things and I’m torturing myself, honestly.”
Patrick told Rose that she is not the only one negatively affected by media sources that are constantly trying to whip their audience into a frenzy. He knows other people who frequent websites, podcasts, or YouTube channels that traffic in controversy and conspiracies.
“They’re perpetually on edge, perpetually worried, perpetually frantic,” Patrick said. “They need their next fix of that podcast because they feel as though that’s going to reveal more truth to them that only the initiated few, or only the people who listen to that podcast, are familiar with. And it just creates this sense of deep anxiety and fear.”
Patrick acknowledged that for the past year he has raised concerns about technology that determines people’s access and movements based on vaccination status, or any other metric. But he pointed out there is a big difference between caution and conspiracy.
“There are technologies in place now that we can say that something like this could lead to something like that. Those are speculations that I have raised for future possibilities,” Patrick said. “But I think it is harmful and deeply counter-productive to say that if you get this vaccine you’re getting the mark of the beast. Because that’s not true and it’s wrong to tell people that.”
Patrick pointed out that this latest conspiracy theory about the vaccine being the mark of the beast is nothing to worry about and it’s nothing new.
“There was a time when people thought Ronald Reagan was the Antichrist. There was a time when there were people up in arms about the Social Security Card system because they believed firmly that the three sets of numbers were the mark of the beast. There have been people who thought Pope John Paul II was the Antichrist. There were people who thought getting your ZIP code added to your address somehow marked you with the sign of the beast. None of these things are true,” Patrick said.
“My advice, quite frankly, is to just turn that stuff off,” Patrick told Rose. “Turn it off. It’s sensationalism, it’s creating fear and speculation. And when you get to the point where you have to call me to tell me you’re terrified because they’re telling you it’s the mark of the beast but you need to get the immunization so you can take care of your little one – that’s a real problem. My advice is to turn that off. I know it’s a drug, but you’ve got to kick it.”
Listen to the full conversation below: