Followers of Jesus should be cautious to embrace conspiracy theories. Suspicion feeds paranoia and like Phillip Yancey says, “paranoia is faith in reverse.” What our world needs is Christians eager to share Jesus, not what “the Left/Right don’t want you to hear”.
Here are 3 questions to ask as we encounter conspiracy theories online:
Is this a conspiracy theory?
Recognition is half the battle. The dictionary defines conspiracy as a “secret plan by a group to do something unlawful”. Do conspiracies exist? Absolutely. The priests who crucified Jesus bought off the soldiers at his tomb; they spun a false narrative as an attempt to discredit Jesus’ resurrection. (Matthew 28:11-15) Today however, it seems like one person’s news is another person’s conspiracy. We must be on guard against more than a one-stop theory. We have to reject a conspiracy-based view of reality itself, one which relies on constant suspicion, cynicism, and paranoia. Instead, we need to prioritize the reality of Jesus’ kingdom in our own personal lives. Let Jesus define the fight, not a conspiracy narrative.
Why is this conspiracy theory appealing to me?
We should question truth claims and ourselves. Sometimes, what our hearts want to be true seems more powerful than truth itself. (Jeremiah 17:9) For Israel, it was easier to believe Moses was conspiring against them, than it was to accept their low water supply. (Exodus 14:11) Conspiracy theories are attractive soil for seeds of fear, uncertainty, or inaction. Instead, we have to acknowledge conspiracies have the power to shape us. A twenty minute sermon or twenty minute conspiracy video will disciple you into different communities. The sooner we recognize this, the better.
Does sharing this strengthen my public witness?
Proverbs 29:11 reads, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” I can confirm, yes I’ve read a book on the JFK assassination. The questions surrounding his assassination fascinate me, I’ll admit! Yet, we have to be wise in what our lives promote and elevate. Be curious and critical. Explore the presentation of facts. That doesn’t require we publicly air every finding. Christ is paramount. Paul came to Corinth “resolved to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2). For Paul, it was a concious choice to make Jesus and his agenda first and only. We should live lives that reflect his choice for ourselves.