CONSPIRACY THEORIES, PART III
So where do we see conspiracy thinking in theology?
Well, it seems Christians are prone to conspiracy theories just like anyone else. Maybe it’s because Christianity has always been the shepherd boy standing against the giants of unbelief. Unfortunately, conspiracy thinking often causes us to use up all our smooth stones on our brothers.
Conspiracy theories have sold enough Christian books and fuelled enough Christian periodicals to make them big business.
Here are some examples of the forms conspiracy thinking takes in theology:
Revisionist history – What history books are you finding in Fundamentalist colleges today? Check it out sometime. A lot of them are obscure or self-published textbooks or just course syllabi with no textbook at all.
If a theory cannot be built using the historical data available in the broader Christian and academic scene (albeit countering and differing with the various biases and interpretations), then it’s probably little more than a conspiracy theory in a suit and tie.
Demonising – When it comes to theology, there’s no one we like to dislike more than those who have wrong theology (which of course is defined as anyone who disagrees with us). But when someone tries too hard to make you dislike those you dislike more than you already dislike them, you may be dealing with conspiracy thinking.
For instance, the Roman Catholic Church has enough crimes which can be legitimately attributed to it without accusing it of founding Islam and organising the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Conspiracy thinking attempts to demonise people instead of just warning about their error.
Simplistic thinking – Every good Fundamentalist knows that Egypt stands for bad things in theology, so it’s a given that nothing good could come out of Egypt. It’s quite simple really—or is it?
Egypt was actually a place of refuge for Jacob and his family during famine and even for Jesus Christ Himself in his early years. Further, tradition suggests that at least two of the Lord’s twelve disciples ministered in Egypt before their death.
But it seems so simple to just say “well, that piece of theological evidence comes from Egypt so it must be corrupt” and end the discussion with that. But wrestling with complexity is part of growing up.
Simplistic explanations are the stuff of conspiracy thinking. Our goal must be to explain complexity as simply as possible. Simple is good. Simplistic is bad.
There are quite a few conspiracy theories in current Fundamentalist theology. Of course as we pointed out in the first post, some of them could be correct. But if there’s any correlation to their secular counterparts—well, let’s just say I don’t subscribe to the ufoevidence.org weekly newsletter.