2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
1) Conspiracy Theory - Intro and OverviewConspiracy Theory is more than just the belief in an occasional conspiracy. Simply put, it is a belief system that asserts that world events are being controlled in secret by a group of ultra-powerful puppeteers behind the scenes. While nothing much can be done about this overall conspiracy, at least we can have the satisfaction of being smart enough to have figured it all out.
If viewed as fiction, Conspiracy Theory is compelling and fascinating. If it were just a nightmarish novel meant to be unnerving and just a bit beyond plausible, like Asimov's Foundation, that would be one thing. But Conspiracy Theory projects its fiction onto real-life people, families, groups, and organizations. It purports to actually be true... and this is the problem.
Regurgitated Propaganda, Or Wisdom?
Conspiracy Theories are as old as politics. Hitler was a master at weaving conspiracy tales. Nero concocted one to shift the blame to Christians for the burning of Rome. Those who rejected the resurrection of Messiah came up with a Conspiracy Theory to explain the empty tomb and His many appearances. And so on.
The basic plotlines of modern Conspiracy Theory come from, without much modification, anti-Semitic propaganda manufactured in Germany pre-WW2, with only the slight obfuscation of perhaps substituting "international bankers" for "Jews". If ever there was an unholy root, this is it.
Somehow, these tales inflame the fears and paranoia of people to the extent that, even when the Jewish target is "removed," a residue remains in the human imagination that is happy to attach itself to a more vague target. For it must be admitted that some people get a perverse enjoyment from wallowing in the fear, paranoia, bogus "insight," discontentment, etc. that propaganda like this evokes. The genius of the modern "Christian" versions of Conspiracy Theory is that now we do not have to be openly anti-Semitic to enjoy these effects.
The sources of Conspiracy Theory notions are suspicious--to be generous. But regardless of a dubious historical pedigree, is Conspiracy Theory true or merely a paranoid delusion coupled with an active imagination? Or is it just the human tradition of "ghost stories" taken to a new level of story-telling believability?
These questions must be asked by modern-day Christians since Conspiracy Theory concepts and assumptions are intertwined with modern pop-eschatology end times teaching. This (unfortunately) being the case--and Conspiracy Theory assertions are clearly extra-biblical--we must "test all things" (1Thessalonians 5:21) by doing a thorough "fruit inspection" of these ideas. For we are told to judge a tree by its fruit (Matthew 7:16-20).
Unless we are ready to suggest that paranoid fear, delusion, slander, and hatred are new "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23), we need to go into this with the instinctive spiritual premonition that Conspiracy Theory is likely to fail the test and with the view to let the Holy Spirit lead us to repentance.
Fear Dosage Effects
A well concocted campfire ghost story creates a vivid splash of temporary fear, even though we know that what is being suggested is not really true. Physically, carnival rides such as roller coasters achieve a similar sense of thrilling irrational fear. There is no real danger, the fun of the ride is in the illusion of falling, hitting that wall, or whatever.
As long as we are in charge of the dose of fear, or trust the person who is, suggestive fear can be entertaining as a rite of passage. It isn’t real, after all. If we thought the danger was real, participation would be a different thing entirely.
Concerning the things of this world, Jesus says, “Fear not.” It is not a suggestion, it is a command. He says this about real, present, even mortal dangers.
For Christians, Conspiracy Theory can be rejected simply by this. If adulterous lust is forbidden by Christ (it is) then should Christians indulge in materials or situations that obviously stoke lust? Can we not discern when fear is being stoked? As with lust, such dalliance can be thrilling at first; but to continue in it will ruin your life.
Conspiracy Theory is a perspective and philosophy which encourages what is specifically forbidden by Christ Jesus, and which does not go away after the story or ride is over.
If you only get one point, let it be this. Conspiracy Theory is fear of men. Simple, disloyal fear. Jesus said, “DO NOT fear.”
2) Working in the DarkThe problem of testing the "theory" at the level of information is stark. Conspiracy Theory is by its very nature impossible to disprove. The revisionist history of Conspiracy Theory is based on "special knowledge" that plays by different rules than normal history, since it is dealing with "secret" history.
It is easy to spin these tales, but how can they be tested for being true? If you attempt to do this and find the notions bogus, are you one of "them?" As the joke goes, "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean the world isn't really out to get me!"
So the "theorists" spin yarns, and nary a soul will contest them. After all, who is well-connected enough politically and economically to say for sure that no long-running international conspiracy exists? Get it? The deck is loaded.
The Conspiratist can go on and on without the need for any real research, except to imagine how it might be in a dark fantasy that will appeal to the paranoia and disenchantment of the intended audience and, in general, fit in with the overall Theory.
But those who do not "buy it" have to try to prove that a nonexistent group didn't have a supposed meeting at such-and-such a place, etc.; or worse still that this or that real group or person has been wholly misunderstood and misquoted. This second case is especially nasty, as many of the real groups and people, whom we would be defending and quoting correctly, have open (i.e., not conspiratorial) agendas we disagree with! It is a perfect trap: to counter the Conspirators' misrepresentation, exaggeration, and fantasy we will end up defending, giving time, attention, emphasis, clarification, press, etc., to ideas we loath!
It is not work to cheer the soul, so few have tried.
So the "theory" evolves and grows and goes on--largely unchecked. It is not possible to comprehensively disprove ALL cases, and only an impossibly long-suffering soul would spend time clarifying the SPECIFIC bad ideas that have been made worse by overstatement, exaggeration, alarmism, and fantasy.
The crowning beauty--or horror--of Conspiracy Theory is that conspiracy is by its very nature secret and thus cannot be proven or disproved.
Of course, the conspiracy buffs claim special "insider" knowledge. Should they be believed?
3) The Theory Meets RealityTo start with, let us acknowledge straight off that there are people and groups of people out there who have plots, plans, and ideas that are secret, bad, even dangerous. The nature of these real conspiracies will be addressed briefly in counterpoint to Conspiracy THEORIES.
That people in power and wealth tend to promote people who agree with them or have some other common bond is no conspiracy, but simple human nature. A president, for example, is EXPECTED to appoint judges who are like-minded to him. Leaders in general form a liking for particular schools, sources of talent, consultants, etc. based on past history of success. If you are building a house, would you not favor a church member or good friend as a contractor, all else being equal, especially if you had received good service from them in the past? This may look like collusion to outsiders, but is simple pragmatic management to those involved. For Conspiracy Theory adherents to suggest that such normal activities prove a "conspiracy" is not good evidence that they are thinking clearly. We all know what a real conspiracy is, do we not?
Real conspiracies work best when small and short lived. They take significant energy and planning and are vulnerable to the light of scrutiny. Every person brought in and every day that passes adds to the risk of an ongoing conspiracy.
Occasionally people really do conspire. For example, our American founding fathers declared independence from England some 200 years ago. But the "conspiracy" in that case was just the means used, not the cause. It was needed momentarily, then dropped as a technique. The real and lasting causes were well known, even by the British. The American Revolution could have been reasonably predicted by traditional sociology and political science. The conspiracy aspect was a temporary sideshow.
Those who aspire to do anything (good or bad) often collude in secret before launching out. Consensus building in private, forming alliances away from public view, and strategic meetings in secret are certainly a "way of the world."
But this is mere conventional thinking, not Conspiracy Theory. Conspiratists believe not merely that an occasional conspiracy exists, but that this is the dominant theme of history, that an "unseen hand" is guiding the world inexorably to the whim of certain supra-rich and/or powerful individuals.
The Clouded Crystal Ball
Conspiracy Theory assertions have a nasty habit of colliding head-on with reality. Its predictive power is poor, dismally so, since it rarely deals with real motives and forces in the world. Real people, including leaders, most often do things out of greed, altruism, self interest, passion, fear, ideals, racial or religious hatred, and the like.
To point out all the failed predictions of Conspiracy Theory would surely fill the internet, since every Conspiratist has his own unique spin on the Theory. As a challenge to the reader--from what you know of it--has Conspiracy Theory ever been right? I’ve heard many failed predictions of elections, that US Christians are soon to be placed into concentration camps, and that Soviet armies are massing at the Mexican border...
Let’s face it, Conspiratists are much better at fanciful reinterpretations of history than predicting what will happen next. But this does not stop them from trying. For the Conspiratist takes great pride in being "in the know."
Of course, when Conspiracy Theory fails to accurately predict world events, this often increases the inability to persuade those who believe in it. "Ah," they say, "It is all a grand plot to lull us further into to thinking THEY aren't really planning the opposite..." and so on. Conspiracy Theory is perversely flexible.
Should Christians be involved in the promulgation of esoteric theories as likely wrong as not and with such a dismal history of accuracy?
4) The Return of the IlluminatiWith wild claims of inside information on international clandestine dealings, the conspiracy buffs end up in an ironic hypocrisy. They believe in an ongoing "Illuminati." The Illuminati were (are?) a group that claimed special knowledge, secret knowledge that set them above the common man. Does such a group exist in today's world? Are there those among us who see themselves as possessing secret knowledge not available to the common man? Ironically, the Conspiracy Theorists themselves are the best candidates to be found. They have "figured it out," and if you do not "see it," then you are just one of the dupes manipulated by the ghost Conspiracy that only the "enlightened ones" know about.
Have you noticed that the most vocal promoters of Conspiracy Theory seem to be uniquely unqualified? It seems, as a rule, they are custodians, bus drivers, clerks, etc.; but here they are on the radio or publishing a leaflet or book as an expert on insider business and political dealings at an international level! This is not to denigrate any profession, but merely to point out that there seems to be a common thread among the most enthusiastic supporters and proponents of Conspiracy Theory--they lack experience and access to the international political and business world, and seem to have careers that allow lots of time to fantasize about how things "really are."
As with professional wrestling, conspiracy theory is an acquired taste which takes some getting used to. At first the fanciful causal claims seem especially divorced from reality, but over time it starts to seem more and more "real" to adherents. For those not into the genre, however, the credulity seems rather ridiculous. Of course, anyone making such a statement is likely to be accused of being a conspirator as well, so for most it seems more prudent to avoid the issue as a human embarrassment too shameful to directly address. The general silence and/or stares of unbelief are thus taken as further circumstantial "evidence."
While we may not often like the way things are, the causal factors rarely include a conspiracy. Are not the real problems we face usually all too open and obvious: workaday problems like greed, self-interest, fear, bigotry, laziness, etc., flagrantly displayed or perhaps thinly veiled at best?
5) The Symbiosis and Risks of AlarmismThere are people and groups in this world who promote "everything under the sun." There is probably even a group out there somewhere who think humans ought to dress up like kangaroos. The question in analyzing any of these groups or ideas should be: is the group in question worth paying attention to? The motives and passions of a vocal minority of goofballs who do not count as "players" in the real world should not alarm or derail us. This is to be expected. But these kooks on the globalization lunatic fringe are the basic fodder for the conspiracy alarmists. The two groups need each other to exist, it appears, as no one else is listening.
Are we to believe that a few "visionaries" who are a little soft in the head about the benefits of a "one world government" are really winning the day? Is not the problematic drift in the world today towards nationalism, isolationalism, balkanization, sectarianism, and fragmentation? Is this not the obvious reason for several wars and conflicts going on in the world right now?
Serious Threat Or Political "Hollywood Squares?"
Imagine this scenario: A smarmy academic gets up at a "New Age" UN seminar and offers a bromide on the unity of man and "spaceship earth." Now, as a result of this froof-rah, are the various ethnic, religious, and cultural wars being fought around the world going to skid to a sudden stop? Are Islamic militants going to smile and put away their suicide bombs and terrorist plans and recognize Israel's right to exist? What do you think? At an economic level, is the Japanese government going to give up protecting their farming industry, abandon their political power base, and join a global government? Is anyone who matters in these conflicts even listening to this prattle? Besides the conspiracy alarmists (who are taking vigorous notes and paying over careful attention), the audience appears to be only those on a nice paid boondoggle as "ambassadors" to New York. Or perhaps this giddy speech is being loftily set forth at a roundtable "conference" in some other nice vacation city to an attendance roster of political has-beens, wash-ups, wanna-bes--and the paparazzi who clamor after them--with a few serious "kangaroo suit" types thrown in for good measure?
While this is all great fun to watch, let us be sober-minded here. The coming one-world government is not likely to be created by the pathetic attempts of the likes of the UN utopians, or imaginary rich people who long to cut off the trade advantages that are the very branch they are sitting on; but rather in reaction to a global crisis of God's judgment on a world that will be groping in response. In the meantime, the way of the world is much more easily understood without the kaleidoscopic thrills of Conspiracy Theory. And while conspiratists project fantastic evils onto the Rockefellers or the Catholics or the US Congress or the Jews or whomever, real enemies who are hell-bent on destroying us go unnoticed.
The bottom line is that while it may be great fun and fantasy for those of a paranoid bent, Conspiracy Theory is NOT taken seriously by people who run this world, it is useless for predicting or explaining what is going on and why. Only those who do not need to be correct can hold this view for long.
The media has an undeniable liberal and anti-Christian bias. But let us keep in mind that while leaders of our media are responsible for their actions, we are responsible for ours as well. As slanted and distorted as our news is, should WE then resort to rumors and hearsay as an alternative? Is this not jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire? If the issue is truth, then the failure of our media is no excuse for us doing even worse!
And consider that in our world today there are cultures where Christianity is totally censured and/or believers are imprisoned, even put to death for their faith. Our Kingdom is not of this world, and we will never have the "perfect situation" till Messiah comes again, even though we should not cease making every effort to improve all we can while we can. But let us get a sense of perspective here. Are we not being crybabies for complaining overly much about our media compared to what our brethren in other parts of the world are having to endure for His Name's sake? No one is forcing us to "buy" the liberal media "pitch," nor even incline our ears or eyes to it. We can just turn it off or engage it with discernment.
Real and destructive conspiracies exist, and it is good work to espose them. Although much that is called "conspiracy" in modern history could more properly be termed a "cover-up" (being done after the fact), great evil has been plotted--and is even now being plotted--by way of real conspiracy. It is indeed righteous work for Christians to expose and thwart all such, as we have opportunity.
The Credibility Factor
But alas, we are disqualified before we start for this work. We have fallen into the "chicken little syndrome": because of our scandalous excesses of alarmism and intoxication with Conspiracy THEORIES and lack of regard for what is true, if a real and truly dangerous conspiracy were detected would anyone take Christians seriously at that point? Have we not spent our credibility and voice on mere ghosts?
Colossians 4:5 (NAS) Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.This point will be expanded in the last section concerning a message even more important than sounding the alarm of a real conspiracy.
6) Conspiracy Theory versus RevelationThe theory of communism was built on a faulty premise and, thus, was doomed to not work in practice. Christians who believe in the Bible should be able to quickly apprehend that Conspiracy Theory is faulty at its core. Thus we should not be surprised at its failure in practice.
Somebody Forgot To Check Their Scriptures...
Fundamental to Conspiracy Theory is a basic view of the world. This view is defined by its adherents as the "Conspiratorial View" of history. This explanation of the course of history is pitted against the "Linear View" of history (or somesuch). These, we are told, are the only options! (This smacks of Marx's false dichotomy that only two classes existed.) But it is just not true. Dare we mention it, at least one other possible explanation of why things happen is the "Biblical View."
Amos 3:7 (NIV) Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.And Scripture never mentions anything anywhere even approaching the scope of Conspiracy Theory.
In general, The Bible neither denies real human conspiracies nor suggests that they are a major factor in history. Scripture puts conspiracies where they belong: as an occasional and hard to maintain sideshow.
2 Samuel 15:12 (NIV) ... And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing.But never in the Bible are we encouraged to imagine that conspiracy is the grand explanation of history or the overarching issue of causality in human affairs. In fact, just the opposite is commanded.
Acts 23:12 (NIV) The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
Isaiah 8:12-13 (NIV) "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread."The lesson seems to be that there are certain times that the temptation to blame what is happening on conspiracy or alliances should be distinctly avoided, by direct command of the Lord.
Beyond skewering the fundamental thesis of the "Conspiratorial View" (unless we are willing to accuse God of "missing it"), Scripture makes it plain that if we are near the "end of the age," which Christian Conspiracy Theory generally asserts, it is then in particular that we are clearly admonished NOT to be deceived into thinking that conspiracy is behind it. Anyone familiar with prophetic Scripture knows that God is very keen on letting us know that He is behind the events surrounding the first and second coming of Christ.
Psalms 2:1-2 (KJV) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed....Why indeed? A good question, eh? (Acts 4:28, Ps 2:4) Some answer this according to "the Gospel of Conspiracy Theory": that this is due to a human conspiracy. Some claim "ministries" spreading this distracting paranoia. But God, while lambasting many a real conspiracy throughout history, says it is not so. The following is representative of dozens of end-times passages:
Ezekiel 38:1-2,8 (NIV) "Son of man, prophesy... and say: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog,... I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.... "God apparently thinks it important for us to know at the End of the Age that He is doing this, and it is of no human invention or scheme. Even if some have plans....
Psalms 33:10 (NIV) The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.Is it not amazing that Scripture completely misses what Conspiracy Theory made popular? Boy did God blow this one! If He only knew what was "really going on." If He were only more "informed!"
So it is God versus the conspiracy buffs. Tough one, eh?
Who ya gonna believe nowadays?
Isaiah 8:12 (NIV) "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it."
7) "Conspiracy" in the Heavenlies?The only grand "conspiracy" spoken of in Scripture is a SPIRITUAL one led by Satan. And it is no secret: it has been REVEALED to those with ears to hear. Thus, it is no "conspiracy" to Christians, but an open war against the gospel of Christ and His life in the kingdom of God on this earth.
Our Lord Jesus has defeated the enemy of our souls at the cross. While we have yet to see the fullness of this victory play out in time, we will. The ultimate defeat of Satan is as sure as the Word of God. For our enemy's time is short.
Are we showing discernment and good judgment by recognizing who the real enemy is and where we are being attacked spiritually? What is history really about, and what battle is really going on in God's world? Is eternal judgment real? What, then, should our approach and overarching strategy to life be? How, then, should we live? If we are members of the "Kingdom of God", just what should we be focusing on? Are we looking up, or down--and getting that all wrong? How would Jesus rate our sense of apprehending the reality of things? Are we wiser then He? Wiser than all of the holy prophets of old?
Are we shooting our guns off into the air of Conspiracy Theory... while a real enemy stands behind us? Even among us?
8) We Didn't Lose, They Cheated!This section may be the most difficult for Conspiratist oriented Christians to accept, but may well be the explanation to the perverted attraction of Conspiracy Theories in the church, and why we think we need them.
Clearly and obviously, there are those who oppose what we Christians hold dear and actively promote what we think of as wicked. It should be noted that this battle is principally fought, lost, and won in an open battle in our culture, not via conspiratorial plotting.
Where we as Christians have lost ground or failed completely is in acquiescence or lack of resolve, rather than being unable to "break the code" of some back-room conspiratorial plot. The fight was not generally in secret, but in the open, and we did not even show up.
The Enemy Within
Perhaps part of the appeal of blaming things on conspiracies is that it assuages our own lack of concern and engagement in the public arena. Sure, we lost, but "Hey, they cheated!" Oddly enough, though, when we show up we do quite well, just as God promised. But when we fail to even try, we are tempted to accuse our opponents of "foul play" instead of reflecting objectively on the fact that we caved in, did not care, did not try, etc.
Where this gets nasty is where it becomes more than just a temporary meditation to relieve our consciences, and gets blown into a full-tilt philosophy. And this is what Conspiracy Theory is. "They" are pulling back-room strings with an unseen hand that makes it futile to even try. Why, we might even play into "their" hands, "they" are so clever. The only thing to do is to hunker down and protect our friends and family against the inevitable siege, or by laying so low that nobody takes notice of us, retreating further from being salt and light in our culture. None of the options coming from this fatalistic view are very good, frankly, and when the results in our society get inevitably worse, we go right back to blaming "them" instead of ourselves. And so it goes.
James 4:17 (NIV) Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
Our spiritual enemy is winning a terrific battle against us if he can short circuit our zeal and eliminate our influence via the fatalism of Conspiracy Theories. Rather that being salt and light in spreading the Gospel of peace, we hide our lamps under a table so that "they" will not notice us. We bury our treasure in a bunker mentality of merely holding our own against the unassailable power of evil. With our consciences satisfied that the enemy is somehow cheating, we throw down our swords before the fight even starts.
The utility of Conspiracy Theory thus comes into focus. It shifts blame. It is a sophisticated excuse machine. This is how Hitler used it; this is how Nero used it; this is how we are using it. Has there even been a Conspiracy Theory concocted short of this purpose?
What could be a more obvious ploy by our spiritual enemy to thwart the life of Christ in us?
The tragic thing is that this attack comes not from without, but principally from within the church. And our itching ears and guilty consciences cannot seem to get enough of it.
Have we fallen so far from being "conquerors in Christ" that we need a systematic philosophy of paranoia? Is the life of Christ in us content to lay curled in fetal position in the corner reading another Conspiracy Theory book? Are we content to be losers quaking in the fear of men--in direct disobedience to our Lord?
9) Slandering Our EnemiesLeviticus 19:16 (NIV) "Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord."Instead of realizing the pragmatic, even convicting reasons why we have failed in so many ways to effect our culture, we accuse our enemies of cheating via conspiracy. The motive for this was discussed previously.
Exodus 23:1 (NIV) "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness."
Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.The Scripture describes a "gossip" as one who connives and dreams up a "twist" that is compelling and winsome. There is a perverted sweetness to this deception that is the principal lure of committing this sin. "Yeah, THAT is it! So and so is doing such and such." The more divorced from the truth this is, the more outlandish the slander, the better...
Matthew 15:19 (NIV) "For out of the heart come evil thoughts... false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'...."Like all sin, slander and gossip can be fun in the moment. But like all sin, there is a price to be paid later. The price here is in defamation of character to the real-life people and organizations, and in self-delusion and inability to discern the truth for those who continue in it.
Proverbs 18:8 (NAS) The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles....
1 Peter 2:1 (NIV) Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.We are told in some detail by God how to think and deal with rulers and government in Scripture. And consider that these Scriptures were written during a time when leaders and government were much worse than now.
Ephesians 4:31 (NIV) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Titus 3:1-2 (NIV) Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to SLANDER no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility towards all men.Do the wild accusations and projected phobias and fears of Conspiracy Theory pass this test? You be the judge.
The bottom line is that "Christian" Conspiracy Theory makes about as much sense as "Christian Racism." Both are forbidden in Scripture.
1 Peter 2:17 (NIV) Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king.
10) Making Idols of Mere MenConspiracy Theory practitioners are miles away from "honoring the king," or showing "proper respect" for leaders. To fill this natural void, there is a backlash into worship and fear of imaginary leaders instead.
The Gods Must Be Crazy...
It used to be that leaders promoted a facade of divinity and idolatry--erecting idols of themselves, demanding worship, and the like--and they still do so in some parts of the world. Though this is rare in public life in the US, the reflex seems so ingrained in us that we must create make-believe "conspiracy leaders" to worship when social conventions change and we see our public or elected leaders so obviously groping. "It must be an act to lull us. They really are in control. They really are gods!" Nowadays, "we the people" prop up the idols. Certain carnal instincts die hard. But these Conspiracy Theory idols, like all others, will be toppled and shattered.
Why Dilbert Is Funny
At a local and experiential level, we all know the problems of position and responsibility. The higher the position, the more impossible to process all the information, to take everything into account, to please everyone, etc. That is why it is nice to dream of being in charge, but harder to sleep when you are.
There is hardly a profession where human limitations are more stark than in leadership. This is why "manager jokes" strike a chord in us. These barbs point out the hopeless situation most managers are in, diffusing with humor our exasperation at their inability to "get it," listen, solve ALL the problems, or whatever.
Our ability to laugh at these jokes demonstrates that--at least intuitively--we know the "problem" that our leaders face with their limitations as humans. This being the case, we are enjoined to pray for them and show them proper respect for the responsibilities they bear.
But for the Conspiratist, who can see this drama first-hand at their own job, city counsel, etc., there is a different set of rules for world leaders. These are a different breed, somehow. To listen to the Conspiracy buffs, it becomes clear that you must believe that certain people or groups possess superhuman powers of intelligence, time management, persuasion, influence, stealth, etc. These "puppeteers" have powers that would make Superman look like a weakling.
Up close, we see people for what they really are. At a distance, they must be gods!
This is clearly idolatry, and a rather ridiculous type at that. And again, we must be honest and admit that idol-making is great fun, and so is the reveling around the constructed image. But this makes God especially mad.
1 Corinthians 10:14 (Wey) Therefore, my dear friends, avoid all connection with the worship of idols.The mythology of creating imaginary superhumans that act as objects to terrify our imaginations and excuse our failures is not something that a Christian should have any part of.
Luke 12:4-5 (Wey) "But to you who are my friends I say, Be not afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do nothing further. I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who after killing has power to throw into Gehenna. Yes, I say to you, fear him."It might be countered that Conspiracy Theory believers are not gripped with the fear of real or imaginary human leaders, but demonic spirits--even Satan--who animate these people. But this is even worse! Instead of fearing God or honoring the temporal king, we now find ourselves emotionally and spiritually prostrated before demons and Satan, trembling for them!
Isaiah 57:11 (NKJ) "And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?"Shall we dance around the golden calf of Conspiracy Theory and its constructors, or attend to the Word of the Lord and His Kingdom among us?
Matthew 6:33 (KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness...Resonating to Conspiracy Theories is a clear indication that we are carnally minded, and not even to the "real world" (which would be bad enough) but to an idolatrous fantasy world of delusion and paranoia.
Luke 17:20-21 (NAS) "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."Brothers and sisters, let us repent. Let us turn our minds from these dark meditations to the Word of God, and begin now to work and pray in accordance with His eternal and permanent kingdom.
Philippians 3:20 (NAS) For our citizenship is in heaven...
Which kingdom do our private thoughts and feelings reveal we are vested in?
11) Ideas Have ConsequencesThere were pervasive rumors running rampant before WW2 concerning the Jews. One of note was that Jews were purportedly using Gentile blood in the making of the Passover Matzos. These and other rumors were so outlandish and ignorant that they did not seem worthy of serious response. They were so ridiculous and divorced from reality that no one bothered to dispute them. So they became "common knowledge."
2 Peter 2:12 (NKJ) But these... speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption.We often wonder what went so wrong in Germany that an entire segment of the population (many professing to be Christians!) would willfully and enthusiastically participate in the day to day executions of the holocaust. We are not going to suggest here that the ONLY reason this happened were the rumors, gossip, and slander running rampant in Germany unchecked for decades beforehand, but certainly these were a major factor in creating the climate that would allow, and even justify, the mayhem and shame that resulted.
We, of course, are much superior to the Germans, and immune to the effects of outrageous stories and lies coursing through our minds for decades, unchallenged.
The one thing we learn from history, it appears, is that we can never learn from history.
12) Credulity and WitnessProverbs 14:15 (NIV) A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.A casual survey of rumors coursing through the Christian community over the last few decades is not encouraging evidence that we are "testing all things." Perhaps this overview will jog a few memories?
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV) Test everything. Hold on to the good.
I) Did you know that as a residue of the miracle of the creation of woman that man has one less rib than woman as an eternal reminder? This Christian legend still persists in sermons, homilies, and wedding ceremonies, despite the fact that it is not true. Men have the same number of ribs as women.
II) The FCC has received over 30 million pieces of mail protesting a petition supposedly authored by Madalyn Murray O'Hare to remove all Christian broadcasting from the airways. The embarrassing thing is... that no such petition or issue exists. But this does not stop copies of pamphlets and counterpetitions from circulating and being promoted. Try as the FCC might, the rumor cannot be quelled. The FCC even has a "religious petition" disclaimer option when you call the computerized switchboard and, now, a posting on the FCC website (see link section at end of article).
III) In the early 80s, the periodic alignment of the planets was going to torque the earth, causing earthquakes, tidal waves, etc. Have the pastors and teachers who promoted this bogus theory apologized or repented? The fact that those who made an industry of this error are still revered as established prophecy "experts" among us, showing no sign of repentance, circumspection, or humility, is perhaps the greatest scandal of this unfortunate episode.
IV) A rumor keeps recurring every few years that executives at certain large corporations have appeared on TV talk shows admitting to being Satanists. This slander ends up having a commercial motive and has led to several lawsuits. While the source of this particular rumor has been traced (and prosecuted, see link section for more on this) to certain Amway distributors, many of these also claim to be Christians, and it must be admitted that this slander has overflowed into many non-Amway Christian minds and mouths as well.
V) In the mid 80s, a new threat emerged in the "ten nation" European Economic Community (EEC), now termed the European Union (EU). This was portrayed as everything from a trade-war juggernaut to a fulfillment of prophecy. It actually started with six member nations and, eventually, passed through ten; when the eleventh and twelfth nations joined, it did not stop the interpretation of the EU as the nefarious "ten horn" alliance prophesied in Scripture. (Luckily, the USA started with thirteen, not having to pass through the dreaded number ten, or we might also have been identified with Daniel 7 and Revelation 17.) Again, the teachers who promote/promoted this error show no signs of remorse or humility, but are now well established as prophecy "experts" in the body of Christ.
VI) At a restaurant a few years back where we were splitting the check, $20 bills were confiscated and the plastic "security strips" (to thwart counterfeiting) woven in vertically (just under the U of the United States of...) were wiggled loose and pulled out from the top by a well-meaning minister present. When asked why this defacing of currency was necessary, he replied, "These strips allow the government to track how much money we have--and our movements--via satellite. By removing them, we can foil their plan."
VII) The latest and most persistent Christian rumor, and the subject of this article, is that an overwhelming, worldwide, international conspiracy exists--manipulating nearly everything that we see--which is spearheaded variously by the Bilderbergers, the DuPonts, the Rockefellers, a Jewish cabal, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, black helicopters, and the ever popular "Illuminati." This dark fantasy is called "Conspiracy Theory," and has become the darling of Christians.
VIII) Did you know that Jesus Christ came, died, and rose again on the third day, according to the Scripture? Yes, this important truth comes to you from the same people that brought you the above.
Romans 2:24 (NIV) As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
2 Corinthians 5:20 (KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ...
1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJ) But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak...
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NIV) So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 (Wey) Guard the truths entrusted to you, shunning irreligious and frivolous talk, and controversy with what is falsely called 'knowledge'; of which some have spoken boastfully in connection with the true faith, and have erred.
Lamentations 3:40 (NIV) Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.
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