How Believing Conspiracy Theories Could be Harming Your Faith
Conspiracy theories can be very appealing. Believing them can make us feel as though we are not getting hoodwinked by believing the obvious explanation for something which is purported by the mainstream media.
Especially in today’s political and cultural climate, in which the media is constantly at odds with the President and vice-versa, it’s easy to see how fringe theories and explanations for world events have appeal. They may seem at least as trustworthy as the biased reporting done by many more mainstream news outlets.
However, Christians need to be careful when dealing with conspiracy theories.
In his article titled “The Danger of Christians Entertaining Conspiracy Theories,” Relevant contributor Jon Negroni says Christians are called both to live by faith, but also to exercise discernment and to think critically.
“As Christians, we are called to do two things that on the surface may appear contradictory,” Negroni writes. “We must live by faith on the one hand, but also be skeptical and think critically on the other. Put into better context, the Bible speaks frequently about dealing with skepticism from others about the Gospel. 2 Peter 3:3, for example, points out that ‘mockers will come with their mocking’ and asks, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’”
“In these situations, we’re called to have faith in the Son of God and reject doubt, but too often, we believe this translates to putting more weight into enticing ideas that don’t have real evidence, citing verses that can be twisted to suit a fact-less narrative,” Negroni continues.
Like the Bereans in the Bible whom the Apostle Paul praised for not simply accepting his teaching as fact, but who did their own research, we are also called to have discernment (Acts 17:11).
My point in this article is not to argue for or against any particular conspiracy theories or for or against any particular new sources, but simply to remind us all as followers of Christ not to put too much stock in man-made theories.
Instead, we have a better, more reliable source of truth: God’s Word.
Perhaps you recall the several times in recent years when someone has claimed to know the exact date and time of Christ’s return. This is a perfect example of a conspiracy theory that sounds appealing, but incites more idle curiosity and false expectations than anything. Instead of wasting our time on this theory or that theory, whether it is political, spiritual or otherwise, let’s rest on more solid truth and devote our time to cultivating a genuine love for Christ and for others.
If we focus in this way on the core of the Gospel--abiding in Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to develop fruit in our lives--we will be less likely to be swayed with the trends of a new theory or whatever shocking headline appears on our newsfeed.
As the writer of Ecclesiastes reiterates, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9).
Conspiracy theories and cultural and political trends will come and go, bringing variations of the same thing, simply repackaged, but God and His Word will remain forever (Matthew 24:35), and that is where we should be investing our time and energy.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/_Magnolija_
Publication date: June 30, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com