Conspiracies and the Church
Dark conspiracies are not excellent and worthy of praise.
I wanted to write something in response to all the public discussions about QAnon and Majorie Taylor Greene. This article origionally appeared in the Longview News Journal.
Public attention has recently been focused on a wide variety of conspiracy theories ranging from the grotesque (cannibalism) to the anti-Semitic (Jews secretly starting fires) to the outright bizarre (lizard people)
Sadly, many of these conspiracy theories have made significant inroads into the church with Christians professing belief in them.
Although the term “conspiracy theory” is relatively new, rumors about government and society are not. The New Testament church was confronted with conspiracies from both the outside and the inside.
From the outside, Christians were accused of being cannibals and secretly starting the fires. (Conspiracy theories are often recycled.) From the inside, the church had to confront a variety of myths including Gnosticism, a belief that salvation was obtained through “secret” knowledge of God. Yet one benefit of the New Testament church struggling with conspiracies is that the Bible offers us guidance for how to deal with them today.
For one, the Bible acknowledges the temptation of conspiracies. “Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.” (Proverbs 18:8, NTL) It is empowering to believe we know something others don’t — it makes us feel superior. And yet conspiracies are corrupting and divisive.
In the book of Titus, Paul writes about “rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others” by spreading “Jewish myths” among the Church. (Titus 1:10 & 1:14, NLT)
Paul counsels Christians to, “be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people.” Moreover he warns them, “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.” (Titus 3:9, NLT) Those causing controversy are to be warned once and then rejected.
Rather than focusing on dark conspiracies, Christians are to focus on what is good. As Paul writes in Philippians, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8, NLT)
An old hymn warns, “O be careful little eyes what you see.” Adults too need to be careful.
Focusing on conspiracies, while alluring and “puffing” us up, hinders our faith and causes divisions. Focusing on what is good, conversely, encourages and edifies us. The internet offers easy access to a wide variety of dark conspiracies, but we as Christians need to be discerning about what we consume with our eyes.