“To the one who delights in the sovereignty of God the clouds not only have a ‘silver lining,’ but they are silver all through; the darkness only serving to offset the light!”
– Arthur W. Pink
Have you heard?
“The One-World Government created COVID-19 in order to cleanse the population!”
What would you do if you saw that headline or statement on social media? What would your reaction be? Would it be to share the post making some comment?
What would you do about this headline?
“Government Uses Pandemic to Close Churches.”
How would that strike you? Would you be quick to share that one? Quick to create a following to protest? Would you post about being fearful? Would you post something like, “These are the end of times! Jesus is coming back any day.” Or in regards to government, “This isn’t Trump vs. Biden. It is Trump vs. Satan!”
If you laughed at these, go on social media. They are everywhere.
Conspiracy theories are all around us. Whether based in facts or not, we all have to admit there is a growing number of these theories today. With that, we have seen an increase in anxiety and worry about the world around us and who we can trust.
When we are faced with an onslaught of conspiracy theories or headlines that cause us to worry, what are we to do? What does the Bible say about Christians and conspiracy theories?
A Problem Defined
As defined by Mariam-Webster, a conspiracy theory is, “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.”
Area 51, the JFK assassination, the moon landing, UFO sightings, the Illuminati and the One-World Government, secret societies, under the table government dealings, and many more things can be considered conspiracy theories.
They usually make great novel ideas, but they most often fill us with fear. That is the main effect of conspiracy theories – fear. When fear clings to us as we read and investigate these theories, we begin to lose trust, isolate ourselves, and try to find snakes under every rock.
Is it healthy for us to live this way? Do we truly enjoy waking up each day thinking about these things? It only robs us of our peace of mind which God has given us (Philippians 4:7).
The problem is not “out there” like we want to think. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they affect us deeply by robbing our peace and stability, and ultimately, our focus on God.
Stop Running for the Hills
When conspiracy theories strike fear in our hearts, what is the first thing we do? We tend to run for the hills, shut our doors, warn others, and bring up the drawbridge.
However, is that biblical?
Psalm 11 reveals a lot of how we should view conspiracy theories.
Read Psalm 11:1-3. We can reword it like this, “Flee to your safe house. The evil in this world is ready to take away your life and your rights. They have their snipers set on you. Don’t you see the world around us? Rule of law and order is falling apart and they sit back and laugh as the world burns for their gain. What can we do?”
Sound familiar? This is generally every reaction to every conspiracy theory. We see evil and we feel a target on our backs. We panic and run for the hills.
What does David say in verse 1? “I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me…” He knew the news of the day. He was aware of what was happening in the world around him. Yet, he questioned the sanity of those who told him to run to the hills. “Why in the world are you telling me this when I trust God for protection?”
Why did he say this? Psalm 11:4-7 answers that question. God is on the the throne. He is ruling. God sees everything that is going on. This is called God’s sovereignty. David founded his whole life on the sovereignty of God. Without it, I believe David would’ve had a hair-raising giant each step of the way. Read each of David’s psalms. Sure, he had his emotions. But, he went back to the point we need to be at: God is in control, and he will take care of the evil in the world.
The Chicken Little Christian
David isn’t the only person who dealt with this. The disciples also had a similar attitude we have when it comes to conspiracy theories.
Acts 1:6-11 tells us the account we tend to miss. Jesus and the disciples have been reunited after his resurrection. Right before he is about to ascend to Heaven, the disciples ask, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” Basically, they were asking about the end of the world or end times matters. Jesus corrects their thinking. He did not want them being concerned with future events; except to know it is going to happen.
Instead, Jesus speaks one of the most famous verses in Scripture: Acts 1:8. But, the context starts in verse 7 (Acts 1:7-8). God only knows when the world is going to end. He is sovereign, and he knows exactly when and what will happen. Our job is to focus on living in the power of the Spirit while being his witness of how God has transformed our lives through his love and grace.
So many Christians today look like this today – Watch this clip
“Run for cover! The sky is falling!” When any whiff of an event or conspiracy theory tickles our inner prophetic mind, we tend to say the world is ending and Jesus is coming back soon. Guess what? This attitude has been around since the French Revolution in 1789, the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, World War I and World War II. This is not to say Jesus is not coming back. He is coming back. However, it is not for us to worry when. We need to be more concerned about being his witnesses. How are we focusing on that when we post about conspiracy theories and end times rumors? Is posting online about the coming of Christ based on COVID-19 really being a witness to how Jesus’ resurrection freed you?
For Such a Time as This
One of my favorite songs by Elvis is “Devil in Disguise.” He sings, “You look like an angel/ Walk like an angel/ Talk like an angel/ But I got wise/ You’re the devil in disguise/ Oh, yes, you are/ The devil in disguise.”
This song perfectly sums up the mindset we have when we focus on conspiracy theories – we begin to see devils in disguise wherever we go. But it doesn’t end there. Once we have “Devil in Disguise” attitude we tend to develop “Suspicious Minds.” (And Christians say we can’t learn anything from Elvis.)
We do not have to have suspicious minds. We can trust God like David illustrates for us in Psalm 11. God is in control. We no longer have to act like Chicken Little and run for the hills. We can rest in his sovereign control. We can truly have a peace that surpasses all understanding, because we have a God who is in control (Philippians 4:7).
Instead of fearing for our lives, we can do what Esther did. She legitimately faced a conspiracy theory: the destruction of her people. Did she go writing on the wall? Did she write to the gossip column? No, she was reminded that God put her in that position for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). Daniel was in the same situation. He was going to be killed for praying (even with a mask on). Yet, what did he do? Did he form a fiery protest? He prayed like he did before (Daniel 6:10). He rested in the fact that God is sovereign and in control. He did not lose sleep with those lions (even if they had a pizza party).
These true-life accounts were written for our encouragement (Romans 15:14). Is God’s purpose for our lives to live in fear of conspiracy theories? Or are we placed on this earth for such a time as this to be his witnesses? How are we fulfilling that calling?
Instead of listening to Elvis and his “Devil in Disguise,” we should listen to Gloria Gayner singing “I Will Survive,” because we know who our God is.
Who controls your life? A conspiracy theory? The rise and fall of our government or constitution? Who really holds your life stable?
God is not the author of fear. His love casts out fear and gives us soul-stabilizing peace. Conspiracy theories work the opposite in our lives.
We can let those headlines and theories go, because we can rest in the hands of a sovereign God. He is our shepherd. He will guide us through the darkness, and he will prepare a table to eat a peaceful meal in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23).
How are we living to show the world our God is truly our shepherd?