Conspiracy theories seem to be all around us these days. If you have a Facebook account you will know exactly what I am talking about. From the plausible to the ridiculous, here are some of the fairly recent ones that come to mind:-
First people were saying that Nelson Mandela was dead (several months before he died), then we had to deal with the “nag van die lang messe” (night of the long knives) prophecies which basically said that when Madiba passed away all the whites in South Africa were going to be attacked. This was a big one that was around for years and it seems like everyone had made plans (just in case), there was places of safety to travel to, escape routes and all sorts of things arranged in case of emergency. The most recent one I heard of was that the Government was going to start taking money straight out of our bank accounts because so many people are refusing to pay their e-Toll bills. Then there were regular and predictable global ones going around as always regarding the Communists, the Masons, climate change and the Illuminati. I wish I could say that it stopped there but Christians often seem to get caught up in these things as well. We had the Four Blood Moons thing and then the Know Your Enemy and the Real roots of the Emergent Church documentaries as well. Plus the ongoing conspiracies associated with the Pope and Jesuits and on and on it goes (Is it just me or do conspiracies and eschatology always seem to be a connected?).
And it is because the church seems to be so inundated with these things (the secular as well as the Christian conspiracies) that I felt a need to explore what the bible has to say on the topic.
I get it
As with a lot of the things that I post on here, I am afraid that many of my friends will not be too pleased with my perspective. Because so many of them love this sort of stuff I run the risk of offending one or some of them. So let me start by saying this. I get it. I really do. I understand the quest for truth. I understand that there really are people and groups out there, who plot, plan, scheme and cover up things. There are people who do harmful things in secret for money and for power. I get that the bible tells us to “love truth” (Zechariah 8:19). I get the desire to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). But to simply leave it there would be to miss the bigger picture and so I hope that you will consider the following texts as well.
I already quoted Ephesians 5:11. I remember it well from those “They sold their souls for Rock n Roll” DVDs that Good Fight Ministries brought out several years back. But look at what it says when you read verse 12 as well:-
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. Ephesians 5:11-12
Here are several other verse that we could consider:-
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.... - Psalms 2:1-2
Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:16
Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. - Exodus 23:1
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. - Proverbs 18:8
For out of the heart come evil thoughts... false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'.... - Matthew 15:19
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. - 1 Peter 2:1
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. - Titus 3:1-2
If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. – Galatians 5:15
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. - 1 Timothy 6:20-21
...Love your enemies...bless those who curse you... – Luke 6:26-27 The Greek word translated as “bless” is “eulogia”, the same word we get the English word eulogy from, it literally means to speak well of someone.
Conspiracy theories by their very nature are shaky in that you are dealing with supposedly secret knowledge. Facts are often little more than speculation or half truths delivered from a sole and/or questionable source. The truth bringers often have an agenda and are not afraid to present only what fits in with their ideas. Once again, I do not deny that there are genuine conspiracies out there; we just need to consider that we do not always have the whole story and should be cautious about how quick we are to throw accusations at people, especially when it is not even to their faces but in the form of gossip, video sharing, sermons etc.
The heart behind conspiracy messages
The reason that conspiracy theories thrive is because they breed fear in the listener. The quest for knowledge (outside of Christ) often leads to pride as the enlightened hearer gains this hidden knowledge, the need to share just how enlightened he is often leads to an unchecked tongue, and slander often leads to hatred of persons and people groups who are now considered the enemy.
Conspiracy related predictions have a poor track record and often those who fly the flag for them end up looking silly. But worse than that, when Christians do it it is God who ultimately gets scoffed at by the world.
A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. - Proverbs 14:15
If conspiracies have generated fear in you, take comfort in these verses:-
The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. - Psalms 33:10
Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both the body and the soul in Gehenna. – Matthew 10:28
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed.” (But) He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. (Psalm 2:2, 4).
We should not to be so concerned with conspiracy theories. Scripture says that God will deal with them. At the very least they are a distraction that causes us to take our eyes off of Jesus. At worst we become partakers in gossip, meaningless conversation, discord, factions and false accusations. Rather than running after these things, pursue Christ and share Him.
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. - Isaiah 8:12-13