A and this Christian response to conspiracy theories
According to Wikipedia: “A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable”. And if that is so, then we who are Christians should avoid conspiracy theories, as being based on lies. But what if it isn’t? What if the conspiracy theory explanation more credible than the official one? Always, defining terms is important!
So I am a conspiracy theorist, according to a number of my peers, even though I am a lot more knowledgeable concerning what is going on in the world at large, a lot of which does not hit the news headlines, as well as Christian doctrine, and more earnest when it comes to practising those doctrines than most Christians and do claim that a key element of my gospel preaching, community activism, watching on the wall (my overriding priority in life) is to fight for truth. The question is then begged: how come the mismatch (between what I and others see) and does it matter much?
Christians are divided as never before when they should be united as never before (so it would seem and also desired), and it isn’t just on those issues that in the past have divided Evangelicals, Liberals and Catholics. What is all too evident is that Christians do not sing from the same hymn sheet. Not that I like to be buttoned holed as to which camp I belong to, but if one were to quiz me based on my own theological understanding, there will be no prizes if one were to conclude I am more in the Evangelical camp, and moreover of an ilk that happens to be more conservatively leaning than many.
Firstly, let us define terms: we should be clear what conspiracy theories are and what they are not. It has been said that the CIA popularized the term “conspiracy theorist” to stop critical thinkers from asking questions, notably concerning the JFK assassination, although some have responded that itself is a conspiracy theory. Often the term “conspiracy theorist” is used in the pejorative sense concerning those who have the temerity to question the official narrative and especially if they subscribe to alternative explanations. There have been many conspiracy theories I have become aware of over my life time, including the claim the JFK assassination was orchestrated by the Deep State, triggered by JFK saying he would dismantle the CIA and bring down the Federal Reserve, with the “big” one that covers many being there is a tiny elite evil cabal wanting to control the world and kill off and enslave the masses.
Those branded as conspiracy theorists often don’t agree on everything. I spoke yesterday with folk who shared my conspiracy ideas on Covid-19 vaccines but they put forward the view that man has never been to the moon, which is not one I share. Then there are the notions that some conspiracy theories are bogus (and having to decide which ones) and that many conspiracy theories are shown months later to be conspiracy facts, for example the debunking of the official narrative behind 9/11 and, indeed, as facts come to light, on the Coronavirus. My intention, however, is not to discuss in detail, even some of the more popular conspiracy theories, many I consider in my various writings and blogs found on my website, but rather formulate a response that is appropriate and, in the light of my “conservative evangelical” views, that is theologically sound, bearing in mind that checking out conspiracy theories can be both a time consuming and major distraction. Anti-conspiracy theory rhetoric is often given extra credence because it is pushed by what some see as an unholy trinity, comprising mainstream media, government and the powerful elites and custodians of knowledge. Sometimes subscribers to conspiracy theories are castigated because they get it wrong or pronounce without checking out all the facts.
Looking at the approach by members of my own conservative leaning evangelical theological stable, I am aware of significant differences and sadly a lot of it panders to Satan’s divide and rule strategy, which is significantly sad because these should be united in confronting and helping to demolish the works of Satan. Some, maybe the majority, of these folk give little or no thought to the matter of conspiracy theory and tend to go with the flow with what their church group believes / practices (or doesn’t) and/or what this aforementioned unholy trinity deems to be how things are or should be. Some, particularly among the leaders (priests, pastors etc.) have brought into this and, moreover (although there are exceptions), castigate and side line, often with pious platitudes and polite patronising, those pesky members of their flock that won’t go along with their pontifications when they are pronounced from the pulpit, especially when they make their dissent known and not shut up.
Some take the holy high ground and declare “we are not into politics”. While that sounds fine and dandy, if only the practice were consistent. Sometimes, these back up government advice like wear a mask, take the jab, keep indoors and (un)socially distance (which amounts to political acquiescence of the sort one happens to agree with), thus adding to the fear factor of old dears in the church who are already afraid. And no wonder there is often trouble at mill between this and my final group (the conspiracy theorists) who are worried sick that the jab may be a death sentence, the November 3rd US election fraud if not dealt with will continue to wreak havoc, not just in the USA, but the world over, the Great Reset proudly proclaimed by the societal elite is a foreshadow of more tyranny to come and the church is more awoke than awake and lost its prophetic voice. While it has ever been thus that evil doers prevail, to ignore evil doing is the opposite of love thy neighbour. It begs the question – how do we respond in a “Christian” manner?
But before I try to answer this question, let me list some of those “conspiracy theorists” or accused of being such, I gravitate toward:
- Q-Anon (see here)
- Zeitgeist (the film and sequels) (see here)
- Janet Ossebaard (the Fall of the Cabal) (see here)
- The Charlie Ward Show (see here)
- Alex Jones and David Icke (see here)
- Assorted modern day “political” prophets (see here and here)
There is more than enough to keep one going in checking out the above and enough rabbit holes to go down and explore for it to be a full-time occupation. I mention these because they have been my more favoured alternative media sources at this time and the ones I have been checking out (but there are others). Before anyone censors me or play the Fake News or goody Christian card, I would contend mainstream media, including the BBC and the quality British press (and their US equivalent) are even more fake than the these (and the fact they are given the conspiracy theorist tag in not nice way inclines me to think they may be onto something). There is a case for following the example of the sons of Issachar, who had understanding of the times and knew how to respond (1Chronicles 12:32). The strange common factor with many conspiracy theorists is not only their disgust that the bad guys may be winning, but their belief in g(G)od and of the nature of what we are up against, which is satanic, and only God can defeat it, although often that god is not the God of the Bible but more a new age, syncretic mish mash.
My test and weigh caveat naturally applies and not everything I agree with or is wholly correct. The last thing I want to do is lead people down the garden path and avert their gaze away from God. There is a lot that I am not sure about or put in the category it is the more plausible account of what is going on, but I can’t be sure. These I put in my proverbial drawer to revisit at a later time as more corroboration (or even refutation) comes to light. I try to avoid letting rip trying to convince people concerning what I know. Not just pearls and swine and all that but wisdom says there is a time and place. But I can not ignore when I find out that challenges how I see things, even if disturbing, especially when I see people I love being misled by the psychopaths at the top of their hoped for New World Order that are stealing our money, abusing and killing our children, deceiving and ruining the lives of many. But truth matters, for it is after all that which sets us free but so does speaking the truth in love, maintaining peace and seeking Christian unity.
So back to the how do we respond in a “Christian” manner question? A number of thoughts come to mind including the texts that precede and succeed this and the next paragraph. When prophet Isaiah passed on this counsel, his readers were afraid of invasion by the Assyrians and were taken up with the conspiracy theories of his day. But the word was not to go after conspiracy theories but rather that we fear God. We may well get irritated with our asleep Christian brother or sister, or the hireling shepherds that are meant to look after God’s people but aren’t, but that is God’s problem and we need to be at peace. Even so, we are called to watch and pray and do so in such a time as this when there appears to be a lack of watchmen to warn the people. As well as to be true, we are called to be balanced.
I suspect some, including myself, spend more time considering conspiracy theories, which may or may not turn out to be facts, especially of the type we can do little about, than studying the Bible, praying to God and practically loving our neighbour. There is a human propensity to seek out the sensational, especially applicable to those in the class of deplorables. Another one is the tendency to believe what we want and when it suits us. But we do need to keep SANE, be at peace, seek the Lord, live life abundantly and serve others. In the natural, if even a fraction of conspiracy theories were proven true, the consequences are disturbingly monumental. The best we can do is to trust in God and, as prophet Jeremiah reminds us, be blessed as a result. Our calling is to be awake (watch and pray) and to be faithful, doing what prophet Micah told us to do: