Conspiracies have always been there. I’m not sure if it’s real or imagined that they have extra sting in this year of a pandemic, racial unrest, and political turmoil.
The first real recollection of a conspiracy I have goes back to the earliest days of the internet and long before social media. To this day, I remember the conspiracies and rumors that I heard prior to the Bill Clinton presidency of the early 1990s.
I’ll preface what I’m about to say by saying that since my high school days I’ve prided myself on having friendships on both sides of the political aisle. As long as you truly understand your position and why you hold it (something less common than one might think) and can be kind in your discussion, we can be friends … but that’s beside the point.
My specific recollection of the early 1990s — my first recollection of a conspiracy theory, if you will — was that if Bill Clinton were to end up being elected, he was going to “take our guns away.” That’s what some friends on the far right told me. I remember it to this day.
While no NRA member or anything of the like, I do remember wondering if I would have to surrender the .22 rifle my parents had given me to target practice and shoot rabbits.
Of course, that conspiracy theory was mild in comparison to the harmful misinformation we hear now.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the age of internet and social media everywhere, and the conspiracies are no longer what most of us would call amusing.
The harmful conspiracies are so ubiquitous that it’s scary: Vaccines are a trick to track and control you. Masks are the mark of the beast. The virus is a hoax. And/or the coronavirus is no worse than the flu. Bill Gates is behind the virus and in collusion (no pun intended) with George Soros and other New World Order powers.
And on and on they go.
For a Christian, “sharing” (spreading) a conspiracy theory is fanning the flames of sin (Prov 16:28, Prov 12:22, James 3:17, etc.) and giving a hand up to the enemy, plain and simple.
As conspiracy theories spread along with the virus, may we instead speak the truth in love and share the message of Christ with a world that so badly needs him.
Christopher Dixon is chief operating officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo. He is also a Word&Way trustee.