Ever since the Illuminati assassinated JFK to pave the way for international bankers to allow Satan to promote Muslims like Barack Obama into positions of power, the One World Government has been gearing up to set the Antichrist into place and to require digital chips to be implanted in our hands in order to buy and sell anything, including bottled fluoridated tap water for those who will be brainwashed into following the Roman Catholic mystery religion and claiming there’s global warming when really all they want is to take our guns and our traditional light bulbs.
No, really. It’s true. Just ask those guys in your church, the ones who say they know.
PARANOID CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Okay, that bit of playfulness aside, let me start by saying that yes, there are conspiracies. The world is filled with people, some of them powerful, who gather in secret to attempt to make clandestine plans. Some of them really are trying to figure out how to take your guns. Others really are trying to make it harder for you to vote if you’re poor and black. Conspiracies have long been real, and are evidenced throughout Scripture in examples like secret attempts to kill the Apostle Paul and secret movements to promote Absalom over David.
But Paranoid Conspiracy Theories (PCTs) are another thing altogether. They promote delusion, are driven by fear, and, from a Biblical point of view, ring thoroughly unchristian in nature.
Conspiracies are simply secret plans being entertained or attempted by a group. PCTs, on the other hand, are elaborate suppositional systems that leverage delusions of persecution and exaggerated self-importance to cast suspicion upon every authority or person of power and wealth. A conspiracy can be disproved by new information (“Look, McDonalds is posting calories on their menu now; I guess they aren’t secretly trying to make America obese.”) A PCT, though, can never be disproved. Every bit of disconfirming evidence is turned around to become part of the very theory it has contradicted. (“Who says a giant dwarf star isn’t headed right at the Earth? NASA astronomers? Well, of course they would say that … they’re part of the cover up! I trust amateur YouTube videos with bad spelling a thousand times more!”)
What disturbs me lately is the number of Christians I encounter who buy into conspiracy theories circulating through the global secular chat stream. With the ease of a Haitian hoodoo practitioner adapting Catholicism to his existing magic system, Christian conspiracy theorists are embracing worldly paranoia and molding it to fit pre-existing ideas about Christian apocalypse. Many of the End Times catastrophists among us hunt down, savor, and promote even the most outlandish ideas bouncing around among the unsaved.
Why do I view paranoid conspiracy theories as unchristian? I’m glad you asked. [Actually, I’m glad you let me make it seem like you asked, since I was conspiring within my own mind to make that feel as if it were the next question you’d pose.] I’ll avoid getting overly detailed and try to present six succinct reasons I believe PCTs are against the will of the Lord.
And please be aware: Someone, somewhere, really did just say to himself: “How many reasons did she say she’d give? Six? Six? Six?! Aha!”
And I’m not joking.
REASON ONE: Paranoid Conspiracy Theories are Gnostic
From the founding of Christianity, heretic groups were eager to claim special knowledge of the path to salvation and hidden insights into the mind of God. For such types, universally accessible information about the Lord was a simplistic thing. Everyone can be saved? The minds of little children can believe? Rubbish! The Lord must be pursued through special understandings, secret words, and difficult layers of emanations that infinitely attempt to approach the sublime divine!
Secret pathways to God are an appalling idea to Christians. However, the Christian conspiracy theorist follows a line of reasoning disturbingly similar to that of the Gnostic. First, a secret is learned, usually from a fellow conspiracy buff. The Christian thrills at the new knowledge, fascinated that he’s gotten an insight that most others don’t have. He then practices telling the secret insight to others. Many reject his idea, and that rejection saddens him, making him fear for the future of those who can’t grasp the special knowledge. The Christian conspiracy theorist even starts to become hostile toward those who reject his insight. The fools! It is so clear! They’re in mortal danger, and refuse to see it. In fact, they probably won't escape the trickery of the times to come, and will be lost, the poor, damned souls …
And so is born a modern day Gnosticism. The reality, though, is that our Lord is not one who has us deal in secret plans. The very meaning of “apocalypse” is “unveiling” -- the revealing of things previously hidden. God, we are told in Amos 3:7, does absolutely nothing major without revealing it through His prophets, and no conspiracy of man … no hidden global force of imagined Illuminati, no Trilateral Commission or presumed Masonic Rites leading to the world's end … are going to go unmentioned in His word and undefeated by His purposes. All things hidden are revealed to His children, and we are not caught unaware.
Only those harboring excessive, delusional self-importance think we’re in the dark.
REASON TWO: Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Exalt Satan
Those who talk on and on about secret conspiracies and demonic forces at work behind government agencies are, frankly, doing Satan’s work for him. Satan has one chief weapon: the lie. In a world where humans are being reborn into spiritual awakening and made new creatures in Christ every day, Satan can only push the illusion that he has extraordinary power to manipulate even the elect, if that were possible. His tool for sustaining that illusion is the Christian paranoid conspiracy theorist.
If you suggest to a Christian PCT that Satan, albeit a prince of the air in this world still, might not be the all-powerful omni-force their paranoia suggests, you will receive hearty, wide-eyed push back. You will be reminded that Satan runs this Earth. You will be chided for claiming that his power is less than global. In fact, your very faith will be questioned, and you will be invited to become a better Christian by accepting the truth of Satan’s awesome power.
You see the implications of that way of thinking, I know. It's a scenario where confessing the devil's power becomes more important than confessing God's. The Christian PCT will consider those who don't believe him to be lesser Christians, ones in danger for not wanting to learn more and more about the devil’s might.
REASON THREE: Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Diminish God
Well, not really. Nothing diminishes our Lord. But PCTs can wear away at our own hearts’ understanding of the sovereignty of our God. I’ll make this crisp and clear: Even if every single Christian paranoid conspiracy theory were absolutely true, no matter how ridiculous an idea it might be (e.g., UFO sightings interpreted as demonic forces in spaceships flown by our lizard-people overlords), God’s plan for the end of time would not be altered one bit. If it happens, God has accommodated it in His plan.
Theorize conspiracies all you wish, but do not act as if these things are surprises to God or to His children. “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples,” says Psalm 33:10. Perhaps we, His children, will be temporarily surprised by what the nations do, but we certainly won’t be impressed by them the way a Christian PCT wants us to be.
Try this the next time a Christian PCT wants you to be impressed by a tale of some One World Religion rearing its head. Say: “Maybe, maybe not, but I know God is sovereign, so I’ll keep my mind focused on Him.” The Christian PCT probably won’t contradict that, but you’ll see in his eyes and hear in his next words his desire that you buy in a little bit more, and maybe show just a little bit of fear and revulsion. You're hearing an ear-tickling secret, after all.
REASON FOUR: Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Demean the Brethren
Isaiah 52:5 laments how God is dishonored among the Gentiles because of the misbehavior of the people of God. With Christian PCTs embracing the conspiracies of the world, believers are likewise at risk of demeaning the honor due God, and we risk being demeaned ourselves because of how some among us embrace the fear and paranoia Satan inspires.
Consider Harold Camping and his recent declarations of the Rapture. Consider any number of Christian preachers, catastrophists all, who tied the Mayan 2012 calendar to the divine revelation of Scripture, hinting that December 21, 2012 might be the beginning of the end because an ancient carving by those who had never heard of Yahweh did a great job calculating the rotation of the galaxy.
Think, too, of how little the world can tell the difference between a Heaven’s Gate cult predicting the end and a Hal Lindsey Late Great Planet Earth declaration that 1989 was about it, folks, and Jesus would be returning right around then. Every preacher who says “New World Order” in a sermon; every teacher who ties the word “Illuminati” to his exegesis of the Revelation; every pastor who speaks of “American Christian persecution by government forces” is making us look foolish, and demeaning the message of the Gospel that should really be at the center of our passions.
REASON FIVE: Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Drain the Believer
So many times, I have seen Christian brothers with brilliant minds that have been trapped into counting the weeks of Daniel, guessing the nuances and identity of the seven headed, ten horned dragon, tracking the supposed activities of a New World Order secret elite and their Denver Airport construction plans and their ability to draw the attacks on the World Trade Center right into the back of a twenty dollar bill. These were men … and they usually are men, not women (who have their own challenges and foibles in the Kingdom) … who have been given the gift of powerful minds, and who have been sidetracked by the temptations of modern Gnosticism. The Kingdom is being robbed of how they could serve and love the Lord their God with all their mind.
The enemy has sidetracked them. Their thoughts have been taken captive by the fears and delusions of the world. They should, instead, be “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” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
To draw attention to false powers attributed to Satan becomes the Christian PCT's hobby, his drive, and his obsession. The energy it demands can only take away from personal growth in the Lord, and from the sharing of the Gospel of Christ.
REASON SIX: PCTs are Satan’s Own Conspiracy
Yes, there is a conspiracy, and obviously I've been revealing it to you throughout this post: Satan is using his lies to poison some among us with his fabrications, tales of his power and vain imaginings of his might. He is recruiting those attracted by such tales to make himself and his evil, not God and love and goodness, our focus as a body.
“The words of a talebearer,” says Proverbs 18:8, “are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Many paranoid conspiracies are demonstrably false, no better than lies. The rest are unsupported imaginings that can neither be proved nor falsified, because they exist only in the realm of paranoia.
And that’s exactly the kind of situation Satan relishes. It puts us in fear of his tales and makes us forget the might of the One who bought us.
Isaiah said it best (8:12-13), so I’ll let his words be the last ones here this month:
“Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a 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.”