The moon landing of 1969? It was filmed on a Hollywood soundstageâŠThat building down the roadâthe one with the manufacturing sign out front? It is actually a United Nations-run prison campâŠYou donât really think that NASA has a Mars Lander, do you? Thatâs all done with computer-generated special effectsâŠDid you know the most recent hurricane to hit the coast was engineered by government scientists?
To most, such statements are nothing more than bad jokes. But some peopleâs lives revolve around such ideas.
As technology continues to connect like minds in new and more efficient ways, conspiracy theories are spreading as never before. And they are here to stay. Are they worth exploringâeven âjust a littleâ?
Seeds of Distrust
Conspiracy theories have a long historyâeven in a nation as young as the United States.
âAmerican pamphleteers in the 1790s warned of a plot by atheist, libertine Illuminati and Freemasons to concoct an abortion-inducing tea and âa method for filling a bedchamber with pestilential vapours.â The bestselling book of the 1830s was a racy confession by a repentant nun detailing a scheme by Catholics to undermine Protestant morals. At around the same time, Samuel Morse, better known as the inventor of Morse Code, exposed an Austrian plan to install a Hapsburg prince as emperor of the United Statesâ (The Economist).
Some of the most well-known theories involve the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963, still a topic of debate. Others include:
- The condensed water vapor left behind jet engines are chemtrails, or chemical agents sprayed into the air to purposely affect human beings.
- The HIV virus and crack cocaine were both created by government agencies as genocidal weapons.
- The UN monitors Americans with black helicopters.
- Groups such as the Bilderbergers and Illuminati are re-engineering global systems into a New World Order.
- The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was caused by an Indian-Israeli-American nuclear test.
- Fluoridation of water is part of a plot to control the populationâs behavior.
The global Jewish community secretly controls most of the world, as set forth in the (fraudulent) Protocols of the Elders of Zion document.
- The U.S. military has the remains of extraterrestrials and their space crafts stored at a southwest Air Force base.
Countless others exist, with a new round bursting forth after every high-profile event. For example, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has become a new favorite target, as many distrust official information provided by corporations or governments.
The obsession with conspiracy theories has been compared to an addiction. Once a person has delved deeply into this mindset, recoveryâa return to balanced, sound thinkingâis rare.
What draws a person to these in the first place?
Conspiracy theories are a powerful source of pride and intellectual vanity. The theorist comes to see himself as thinking on a higher plane than the ignorant masses around him. He walks the fringes of society, watching his surroundings with suspicion. No one realizes whatâs going on, he thinks.
If speaking his mind on conspiracies causes others to recoil, he simply dismisses them as âdumb sheepâ who cannot see what he sees. Every episode like this further reaffirms how special this inside information makes him. The supposed inside knowledge he gains makes him feel superiorâone of the elite, enlightened few.
If anyone attempts to point out serious flaws in a theoryâs logic, there is a standard response: âThe conspirators purposely do certain things that appear to counter their goals, just to keep investigators off the trail.â Once this idea is accepted, any factsâwhether or not they appear to fit the supposed covert schemeâreinforce the theoristâs central idea that âthings are not as they seem.â
Fueled by Technology
This thinking has found a new outlet with the Internet. As of this writing, a Google search for âconspiracy theoryâ returns about 78 million results. Websites and online forums (along with television shows) about the subject are multiplying.
One online forum devoted to this subject featured discussions on nearly 120,000 separate topicsâand it is growing. Sample subjects include âEgyptian Statues on Mars?â âDead Celebrities That Are Now Alive,â âMermaid Caught Swimming,â and âStrange Snake Creature with Human Face and Blonde Hair Killed.â
Those who are drawn to this strain of thinking once relied on a scant selection of special-order books, a magazine subscription or two, and their own imaginations to fuel the obsession. Now, these âbirds of a featherâ can cross-pollinate ideas across the world via the Internet.
This results in a large online community of theorists who validate and feed one anotherâs delusions. Meanwhile, in the real world, the theorists become isolated from friends, family and co-workers who will not join them in a fantasy world.
One columnist wrote of this online community: âAfter all, thanks to Google we can find âevidenceâ in support of practically any belief. If you can imagine the conspiracy theory, there is a website out there ardently promoting it, and a clan of fellow believers who share your peculiar obsession with fluoridated drinking water and the New World Order. The end result is that we never have to recant. We can always find another link to âproveâ that the government is trying to âzombifyâ us, or that aliens are going to destroy the earth at midnightâ (Wired).
A common thread of many theories is the idea that âthe governmentâ is responsible for terrible calamities and is generally deceiving its citizens. For example, some believe the United States turned a blind eye to advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacksâor even directly perpetrated themâand now uses doctored videos and media manipulation as part of the cover-up.
This approach plays to an aspect of human nature that the apostle Peter wrote of nearly two millennia ago, describing those who âdespise governmentâ (II Pet. 2:10). Increasingly, the average citizen has less respect for law or authority of any kind.
Extreme examples are found in some conspiracy theorists who see themselves as above any and all lawââsovereign citizens,â as they call themselves. But this reveals the hypocrisy of many conspiracy buffs. The majority of Western governments now provide more benefits and services for their citizens than at any other time in history: medical coverage, food aid, unemployment benefits, welfare, defense, travel infrastructure, food subsidies, fuel subsidies, stimulus packages, the list goes on. How many theorists refuse the generosity of the governments they rail against?
In the years after the Worldwide Church of God apostasy and prior to the 1999 establishment of The Restored Church of God, some with the conspiracy mindset migrated into the splinter groupsâwith disastrous results.
Their heads full of paranoid delusions, they saw shadows around every corner, forgetting that âUnto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pureâŠâ (Titus 1:15).
With time, their bizarre ideas spread to others, finding an easy landing among the âweak things of the worldâ (I Cor. 1:27). Certain ones became convinced that the Churchâs mission must now include warning the world of a sinister New World Order.
In some cases, as the addiction spread and came into the open, whole congregations were nearly wiped out. During that time, we witnessed a tragic example of the following verse coming to life: âFor there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceiversâŠwhose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole housesâŠâ (Titus 1:10-11).
These membersâ learned distrust of and opposition to the governmentâwhich violates Godâs clear instruction to, âHonor the king [and others in positions of authority]â (I Pet. 2:17)âaffected their feelings toward the ministry. When a minister attempted to bring them back onto the path toward eternal life, some recoiled and accused him of being a covert Jesuit or Freemason!
And for some, the disbelief and skeptical mindset was next turned toward the Bible itself, leading them to reject its divine inspiration. They let themselves be spiritually slain by this toxic thinking pattern!
Can You Know?
Make no mistake: there are conspiracies on planet Earth. Anyone with basic knowledge of human nature understands that some groups are perfectly willing to commit covert crimes to gain advantage, power or wealth.
However, the idea of well-known international organizations, with widely varied and often conflicting interests, somehow working together behind the scenes over decadesâalways conspiring, but never quite achieving their secret goalsâbecomes silly when examined in the light of reason. This is perhaps most true with theories that involve groups such as the United Nations, which have bureaucracies that make meeting even their publicly stated goals difficult, never mind covert agendas.
Is there any way to know what is true?
There are ultimately three positions one can hold on these theories: First, they are all trueâwhich is definitely not the case! Even if they were reality, there would be nothing you could do about them. Second, they are all false, and obviously should not demand your time and energy. Third, they are a mixture of both, and there is no way to know which is which. If this is the case, then what is the point of delving into them?
One terrible result of these ideas is that untold hours of human energy and attention, which theorists might otherwise have put toward productive endsâfor example, using the tools of Christian growth!âvanish in a cloud of smoke.
The Real Conspiracies
Despite most conspiracy theories being wild speculation and fiction, there is a real conspiracy that is underway. Satan, the ultimate conspirator, plots constantly, using his fallen angels and certain human agents.
His first conspiracy was against God Himself. Of course, nothing can be kept secret from an all-knowing God, and Satanâs plot to overthrow his Creator inevitably failed.
The next plot was against the first humans, Adam and Eve. This plot succeededâour first parents were fooled into choosing the way of death. But this was only a temporary victory.
Next, Satan tried as hard as he could to prevent Jesus Christ from redeeming humanity, paying the price for our sins. He failed!
Shortly afterward, he successfully hijacked what was called âChristianityâ in the time of the Roman Empire, launching a counterfeit that is with us to this day.
But now, in the end time, with Godâs final Work taking shape, Satanâs last-ditch goal is to âtake outâ those who are qualifying to replace him and his demons in ruling over Earth!
Satan probes each of us, looking for weakness: Lust? Temper? Self-will? Vanity? Since we all have vanity in us (Psa. 39:6), he may tempt us to see if the mental drug of conspiracy theories will scratch an itch to feel special and superior. And, as mentioned, once a person is hooked, full recovery is nearly impossible.
Brethren, determine to stay far away from this unbalanced, un-Christian, destructive mindset. Focus on seeking Godâs kingdom. Recognize that there is more than enough evil to âsigh and cryâ over (Ezek. 9:4)âand to resistâright out in the open.
Do not let Satan inject the conspiracy drug into you!