What’s Wrong with Conspiracy Theories?
By Michael Peabody
A conspiracy theory hits the same synapses as the Weekly World News or National EnquirerCoast to Coast AMwhile he discusses tunnels under the pyramids and portals to other dimensions. And every year seekers crowd churches to hear the latest interpretations of Scripture that specify how mysterious political events are aligning to bring the world to an end. The problem with the cheap thrill of side show conspiracy theories is that concern about legitimate issues is eventually eroded as the carnival callers “cry wolf” so often that the real wolves can count on a feast.
Conspiracy theories that float around without substantial grounding in truth present several serious drawbacks.
First, conspiracy theories that do not come true affect your credibility.
Conspiracy Theory (1997).
Around the year 2000, the millennial conspiracy nutcases (we call them now) came out and said that the world would end, planes would fall from the sky, and the electrical power grid would crash. Then, following 9/11 George Bush was going to institute marshal law and become dictator for life. Today, the H1N1 vaccine is a mind control drug and amounts to biological warfare.
Second, conspiracy theories can distract you from present responsibilities.
, My Lady, Sylvie and Bruno (1889)
This segues nicely to the third reason I have a problem with conspiracy theories.
Third, conspiracy theories can become the center of your faith.
A while back there was a group of borderline Seventh-day Adventists who decided to spread the gospel by talking about the antichrist. They put up billboards all over the country, reserved space in major newspapers, and otherwise launched massive media campaigns. Most of the ads appeared to be miles of tiny text punctuated by dire warnings and a picture of the purported antichrist.
Book of Martyrsand would regale listeners with stories about extreme torture. Entertaining? Weirdly so. But effective? Yes, in turning people into atheists.
Fourth, conspiracy theories can cause you to create enemies out of people whom you should be befriending and cause you to question the sincere motives of others.
Review and Herald, August 28, 1883.
Weird stories about aliens, Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, or any other group can draw unreasonable and unnatural lines between people. One person I met is fixated on the idea that there will one day be a holy war in America and is planning to run away into the mountains to hide from it all, but is afraid that he will not be able to escape persecution when it comes because the persecutors will have GPS and heat detectors.
Unfortunately, this person has become a virtual hermit who believes he is living a pious lifestyle when in reality he makes Howard Hughes look normal. If he would put some of his tremendous mental horsepower to work helping people with problems that they are facing today, such as poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, and any other ways, he would make a tremendous impact for good. But instead he has twisted the plot around so much that he views any meaningful interaction with the real world as dangerous. Almost everybody is involved in a conspiracy against him, and he believes that most people in the world are formulating plans to do him wrong. The world has pretty much stayed the same but he has become a paranoid freak.
Hiding away on a mountain somewhere is not a call to piety. Conspiracy theories may have their place as mile markers but they should not impede forward progress.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8