“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone” the Bible says in the book of Philippians. “Don’t be anxious about anything.”
That would seem to be a pretty good guideline for people who believe the Bible carries the commands of God because the promise of following this passage is that a peace from heaven – a peace beyond understanding – will guard our minds from being deceived and needing to worry about crazy things (there’s enough normal things to worry about, right?)
Unfortunately there’s another verse that says “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Could it be the age of “itching ears” is here, as conspiracy theories seem to be more the norm in the Christian community than a rarity?
Don’t believe me? Here’s what “Christian vigilance” has told us in my lifetime:
- Henry Kissinger is the anti-Christ as evidenced by his ability to bring a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel
- Bar Codes are proof that we all soon will be wearing the mark of the beast
- A book published in 1983 was called ’83 reasons Jesus is coming in 1983,’ another was published called ’88 reasons Jesus is coming in 1988′ and so on
- Ronald Wilson Reagan had six letters in each of his names… hmm…
- Proctor and Gamble had a “666” hidden in their logo
- Rock music was sent by Satan to take our children (we actually smashed records and cassettes in our church service)
- If we play our rock music backwards there are Satanic messages in it through ‘backwards masking’
- The name of the rock band KISS stood for “Kings In Satan’s Service”
- If we read a numbered sequence of letters in the Bible we will find “Omega Code” secret messages that would make Nostradamus jealous
- Aids was sent by god to curse homosexuals
- Katrina was punishment for a sinful city (despite the fact that the hurricane complete missed Bourbon Street and mainly hit the areas of New Orleans inhabited by the very poor)
- 9/11 was punishment for a sinful nation that allows gay marriage
- Vladimir Putin is a leader to be admired for his anti-homosexual stances
- The Russian invasion of Afghanistan was the start of Gog and Magog going to war against Israel, and Armageddon was just around the corner
- The EU having ten countries was proof that the Whore of Babylon was rising up and Armageddon was just around the corner (the EU now has 28 member nations, not counting the UK)
- The UN was evidence of a coming one-world government and Armageddon was just around the corner
- President Obama was muslim
- Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton ran a pedophilia ring out of a pizza restaurant (a man ran his truck through the door of the restaurant to ‘save the children Hilary had hidden in the basement’ – the restaurant didn’t have a basement)
- COVID-19 stands for Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease 2019
The point is, we have believed some crazy things in the Christian world and our track record for accuracy isn’t good.
I want to encourage Christians to be careful of where we’re getting our ‘facts’ and beware of Christian leaders who encourage their people to go to outlets like Breitbart, OANN, Epoch Times, The Washington Times, QAnon, or any other outlet that claims to have ‘insider knowledge’ which is being ‘suppressed’ by other outlets.
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Humanity has a natural desire to be “in the know” and to be part of a community. Often the two go together. I can join a “secret club” if I agree to beliefs of this club, particularly the things others don’t know or are “unable to understand.”
Add in a culture in our churches that already believes in a mysterious God and supernatural occurrences (which I believe, as well) and mix in a belief that religious oppression is inevitably coming from a world getting evermore evil (which I’m less inclined to believe) and gravitating to grandiose conspiracies becomes an even greater temptation.
Jesus was often beckoned by the religious people to enter the bitter cultural arguments of the day. The scourge of sin and the treachery of Jewish people collecting Roman taxes were the hot topics. Jesus refused to get distracted from his purpose by these vain discussions. We should follow his lead.
Remember the Philippians passage at the start of this blog? As it continues in the Bible, it says this: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… and the God of peace will be with you.”
Isn’t gathering in community around pursuing things that are lovely and peaceful a more attractive pursuit than believing itchy-eared stories about vaccine conspiracies and contrails?
Our message is an awesome one – of a creator of humanity passionately desiring to tell people they’re good and not bad. Of a God pursuing people to bring a relationship of peace and hope into their lives. Isn’t that the message we should be digging into and sharing with the world? If we do, perhaps we can avoid being swept into the next big Christian conspiracy belief and instead draw people to the love of God and our community.