RLTV: 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.

th Imam)

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

 

###

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

6 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Most who fall for the bizarre and losely ver­i­fi­able either are of lim­ited think­ing or para­noid, maybe both. I find peo­ple whose lives revolve around a good dark secret are already pre­dis­posed to believ­ing that unver­i­fi­able mys­tery to begin with. Had one fel­low who fears the Swine Flu vac­cine say you “can’t believe what the media tells you” but “I have read about this vac­cine and its scarry” and my ques­tion was, what made the source he read from any more reli­able than the dis­trusted media he denounced? Which media is giv­ing us the truth? Is every source one can track along the wide and twist­ing road of the Inter­net of equal value and how would you know?

  2. Kevin says:

    Most who fall for the bizarre and losely ver­i­fi­able either are of lim­ited think­ing or para­noid, maybe both. I find peo­ple whose lives revolve around a good dark secret are already pre­dis­posed to believ­ing that unver­i­fi­able mys­tery to begin with. Had one fel­low who fears the Swine Flu vac­cine say you “can’t believe what the media tells you” but “I have read about this vac­cine and its scarry” and my ques­tion was, what made the source he read from any more reli­able than the dis­trusted media he denounced? Which media is giv­ing us the truth? Is every source one can track along the wide and twist­ing road of the Inter­net of equal value and how would you know?

  3. sandra says:

    Just to add to your point Kevin, it seems as though some people(I think we have all been guilty of this at some point)search out infor­ma­tion that will sup­port a pre­con­cieved view, in this case con­spir­acy fears, that they have in regards to a cer­tain sub­ject. In addi­tion, like men­tioned by Kevin, how do these indi­vid­u­als ver­ify how reli­able those sources are. I would say they don’t. At the end of the day, some peo­ple seek out information(conspiracy the­o­ries) to help them feel secure in that par­tic­u­lar belief. And we must all be aware of such think­ing because we are all vulnerable.

  4. sandra says:

    Just to add to your point Kevin, it seems as though some people(I think we have all been guilty of this at some point)search out infor­ma­tion that will sup­port a pre­con­cieved view, in this case con­spir­acy fears, that they have in regards to a cer­tain sub­ject. In addi­tion, like men­tioned by Kevin, how do these indi­vid­u­als ver­ify how reli­able those sources are. I would say they don’t. At the end of the day, some peo­ple seek out information(conspiracy the­o­ries) to help them feel secure in that par­tic­u­lar belief. And we must all be aware of such think­ing because we are all vulnerable.

  5. Ole says:

    Years ago I found God’s per­fect anti­dote to con­spir­acy the­o­ries. While two king­doms were lit­er­ally con­spir­ing against the king­dom of Judah, Isa­iah came to king Ahaz with this counsel:

    NAS Isa­iah 8:12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a con­spir­acy!’ In regard to all that this peo­ple call a con­spir­acy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13 “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. 14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary; …

    (KJV trans­la­tors chose the word “con­fed­er­acy”, but the NKJV trans­la­tors agree that “con­spir­acy” is now the best word to trans­late the Hebrew.)

    I believe Isaiah’s coun­sel is still valid. Those who watch for con­spir­a­cies will fall into tragedy, like king Ahaz. (Just look up the story of his life!) Those who fear the LORD will never be put to shame — like Isa­iah, even if he did die a mar­tyr under Manasseh’s reign.

  6. Ole says:

    Years ago I found God’s per­fect anti­dote to con­spir­acy the­o­ries. While two king­doms were lit­er­ally con­spir­ing against the king­dom of Judah, Isa­iah came to king Ahaz with this counsel:

    NAS Isa­iah 8:12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a con­spir­acy!’ In regard to all that this peo­ple call a con­spir­acy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13 “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. 14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary; …

    (KJV trans­la­tors chose the word “con­fed­er­acy”, but the NKJV trans­la­tors agree that “con­spir­acy” is now the best word to trans­late the Hebrew.)

    I believe Isaiah’s coun­sel is still valid. Those who watch for con­spir­a­cies will fall into tragedy, like king Ahaz. (Just look up the story of his life!) Those who fear the LORD will never be put to shame — like Isa­iah, even if he did die a mar­tyr under Manasseh’s reign.

 
 
%d bloggers like this: