The Bilderburg Group, Bill Gates, the Clintons, and the Deep State are in cahoots. They orchestrated the coronavirus pandemic in order to cower the world population and coerce everyone into accepting a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT!
I clutch my pearls. Breathlessly pound away at my keyboard and SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!
I’m a Christian and I’m consistently disconcerted by the number of conspiracy theories I see on a daily basis in my social media feeds. These articles, videos, and podcasts are shared by people who hold to theological convictions pretty closely aligned with my own. So I’m trying to take a step back and ask the question, as many Christians claim a worldview that attests to God’s sovereign control over history and world events, why the breathless sharing and existential dread right now?
I think for many of us who hold to Christian beliefs, it comes down to two issues: certainty and control. Often, our training in our churches and theological institutions is very black and white (and I would agree that there are some issues which are that simple) but this leaves us ill-prepared to address the nuances and complexities of everyday life and especially everyday life in a pandemic. Because we crave certainty, there’s a part of us the needs an answer for everything. COVID-19? That’s got to be a part of getting everyone to take the mark of the beast. Vaccines? Never getting one because the government is just training us to accept its coercive control. Every uncertainty HAS TO HAVE AN ANSWER and when that answer is not forthcoming or doesn’t fit into our predefined political and theological boxes, we sometimes gravitate toward conspiracy.
The second thing this gives us is an illusion of control. Because we have certainty that everyone is out to get us, we can now control our lives. I don’t have to wear a mask. I don’t have to get a vaccine. I don’t need to trust those COVID-19 death numbers. I have the REAL TRUTH! Because I have the real truth I can then be in control of my life and act accordingly. Everyone else? Y’all just lemmings. We crave certainty and control and sometimes our desire for those things leads us down a dangerous path of intertwining theology with conspiracy theory. The end result is falsehood driven by religious fervor.
Jesus provides a summary statement of what it means to be one his followers: love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Not eat your neighbor, Alex Jones. If you are a Christian, as I am, I want to encourage you to work especially hard to love God with your mind right now. Use the God-given gift of your intellect to think critically through the things you are reading. Think about if you are only seeking out information that reinforces your biases or are you also trying to consider alternate perspectives. You do not have perfect knowledge. I do not have perfect knowledge. Christians should be among the most humble and careful when it comes to spreading things across the internet.
Finally, part of loving your neighbor in the age of the internet is by not spreading falsehood. Not only does it damage the reputation of the Christian community, it damages your ability to love your neighbor well if you become known as one who peddles in conspiracies. Think about it, there may come a time when you want to share something of legitimate importance but no one outside your echo chamber will pay any attention to it because you’ve become known as a breathless sharer of conspiracies.
Jesus did not command his followers to seek the truth in YouTube videos and InfoWars blog posts. No, he commanded his followers to seek the truth in him. Don’t spread conspiracy. Spread truth. Spread Jesus. And don’t eat your neighbor.