Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, that is, until it hits too close to home. Until it turns out those responsible for the conspiracy are in our own government.
Now, I'm not talking UFOs, I'm talking about conspiracies in which two or more people in some degree of authority and power conspire to commit a crime and/or further a nefarious agenda.
Unfortunately, Christians (who are supposed to be a people of truth) are no different than the large swaths of Americans who willingly refrain from critical thought about these matters. They reject the possibility of conspiracies without making any attempt to objectively investigate the facts on their own.
Christians are even willing to marginalize those who see value in questioning the official statements of politicians, governments, corporations, and media.
Nothing New Under the Sun
Conspiracies are nothing new. Even Jesus' arrest, trial, and execution was a conspiracy between religious authorities and Judas. But in spite of the existence of conspiracies throughout world history, many Christians claim it's unhealthy to believe in conspiracies. I suppose they think going through life believing lies is the preferred alternative.
I've also never understood the aversion to conspiracies by my Calvinist brothers and sisters (of which I am a card carrying member). On the one hand, adherents to the Doctrines of Grace loudly declare the total depravity of man, yet on the other hand, when these same depraved men of which they speak band together in the form of a government, they somehow become a little less depraved.
It never ceases to amaze me how Calvinists can believe that the totally depraved wretches who make up the human race (and the T in TULIP) are capable of great evil by themselves, but collectively they somehow restrain themselves.
A Sacred Cow
Perhaps it's the nostalgic feelings of all things Americana, our yearnings for days gone by, or just our unhealthy devotion to nationalism (borne from cradle-to-grave propaganda) that prevents us from even entertaining the idea that those leading us could be capable of engaging in conspiracies. And maybe that's why it's so difficult to find any Christian authors (fiction or non-fiction) that will even touch the subject of real conspiracies. Believers and unbelievers alike are all too comfortable with their idol of nationalism to even consider the possibility that evil men and evil women in powerful positions will do anything to keep that power.
An internet search for conspiracies in Christian fiction turns up numerous articles by presumably well meaning individuals warning Christians to have nothing to do with conspiracy theories. It's the Christian's cyberspace equivalent of advising Dorothy to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Often, the argument from these Christian defenders of blind obedience to government is, instead of focusing on conspiracies, we need to focus on Jesus. This is nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to prevent the thoughtful examination of conspiracy theories. It's a false dichotomy as well as a mischaracterization of those who desire to think critically about world events. Few better displays of feigned piety exist than this example of using Scripture to point people away from truth.
And you'd be hard pressed to find many of these same Christians issuing similar warnings to believers about the perils of engaging in the grand distraction of American politics. That's one idol Christians don't want touched, and that's the problem. If it weren't for our obsessive political loyalties blinding us to the larger picture, we'd quickly realize that both the left wing and right wing belong to the same bird.
Perhaps the greater application of condemnation from these Christian sentinels should be reserved for those who are pledging allegiance to a flag instead of pledging allegiance to the Lamb.
The fact that many of you reading this are seething right now, proves that nationalism has become American Christianity's golden calf. It's an idol that is never allowed to be criticized even while it gets drunk on the blood of countless souls sacrificed to it in perpetual wars.
And it's the same idol that's convinced you it's perfectly compatible to say "God Bless America" while it slaughters over 3,000 children a day under the protection of its own laws. This is the epitome of cognitive dissonance, and Christians should be wiser than that.
The Surrendering of Critical Thought
Which brings us to one of the main reasons for the problems we're facing in the Church today: Christians have surrendered critical thought. The great thinkers of the past 2,000 years of Church history are long gone and so is the depth of thought that was once common among them.
Gone are the Christian thinkers who forged forward in the sciences, medicines, art, theology, and higher education. In their place the average Christian in America today is defined by nauseatingly repetitious pop music for their "worship," self-help books of therapeutic deism for their spiritual nourishment, and talking vegetables for the catechization of their children. Much to our shame, Christianity in the 21st Century is a mile wide and an inch deep.
It's no wonder the average Christian has no interest in the conspiratorial activities of their elected officials. Making your way through the evidence of conspiracies is hard work. If American Christians won't devote much time and effort to the care of their eternal souls, they're surely not going to take the time to investigate what's really happening behind the scenes of their beloved government. For crying out loud, we grumble when the sermon goes over half an hour and we get a headache when the pastor uses big words like imputation and propitiation (consider yourself blessed if your pastor still uses those words).
So it comes as no surprise that when critical thinking is required in regards to the machinations of our government, we mentally check out and reach for the television remote instead.
A few years ago a professing Christian told me that if such and such conspiracy was true, what difference would it make? He argued from the standpoint that we couldn't do anything about it, so why bother even talking about it. With that kind of logic, I stand amazed at why he even gets out of bed in the morning.
Another popular excuse for refusing to examine conspiracies is the argument of incredulity. It goes like this: No matter what evidence you present, I will not accept it because I can't believe my country would ever do that. Thus, because I cannot fathom that my country would do that, then it cannot be true.
Don't be fooled. The same career politicians who start wars for profit and who continue to support the "legally" barbaric dismemberment of over 60 million children since 1973, would not stop the orchestration of a conspiracy if it means they can make money and retain power.
Not long ago someone tried to stop some of the insanity. In 1961, military leaders proposed a plan to attack American citizens on American soil and blame it on Fidel Castro as a pretext to go to war with Cuba, but the president at the time, John F. Kennedy, said no.
This military proposal (known as Operation Northwoods) from over 50 years ago proves what our leaders are capable of, and it neuters any argument that my government would never do such a thing. Any government that's willing to kill its own citizens to falsify a justification to go to war is a government capable of great evils and is a government that knows no bounds.
The evidence for conspiracies is out there but, like a jumbled jigsaw puzzle, you have to exert effort into assembling the pieces to make sense of it all. Sadly, we now live in an age where most people, Christians included, no longer care about the truth and aren't willing to apply the necessary effort toward putting the pieces together to better understand the truth.
Judging the veracity of what our government tells us is something we should all be doing, and we are derelict in our civic duties as citizens of this great nation if we sit passively while great crimes and atrocities are committed under our noses by the very people we elect.
We can no longer rely on reporters to ask probing questions, because they simply won't do it anymore (Operation Mockingbird changed that journalistic concept forever). Instead, our media outlets just regurgitate the government's press releases. Copy and paste is how news is reported today.
What a refreshing change it would be if Christians would return to being a people committed to truth in all arenas. How great it would be if Christians rose up to tackle the uncomfortable areas of life with an honesty not found anywhere else, providing answers not found anywhere else.
And when it comes to consumers of Christian literature, just imagine the impact that could be made if readers refused to buy any more Amish romances, end times rapture adventures, or the worn out trope of angels vs. demons, and in their places we demanded thoughtful, speculative art that arouses thinking and contemplation in its readers.
It's true that Christians should never get involved in the affairs of this world to such an extent that it is detrimental to their own salvation, but if political minded Christians spent more time uncloaking conspiracies in their government rather than trying to get the next Republican-in-name-only elected, perhaps we'd see a positive change in the affairs of our country. But that would require us to take the red pill and face reality.
If the pastors and politicians refuse to be the necessary spark, then maybe it's up to those in the arts. And what better place to begin than with authors? And what more compelling story prompt than a governmental conspiracy? After all, everyone loves a good conspiracy theory.
"Condemnation before investigation is the height of arrogance."
- Source Unknown
For over twenty years J.L. Pattison has made his living in various investigative fields, including private investigation, assets protection, and criminal investigations. He is the author of two short speculative fiction ebooks, The Visitor and Alibi Interrupted, both of which are also available together in a two-story paperback collection entitled, Saving Kennedy. He's lived in California, Nevada, and Florida, and is married with an amazing brood of children that keeps him young.
Find J.L. Pattison online at https://pattisonblog.com