Conspiracy Theories in the Light of the Bible

Man with Aluminium hat

02-01-2021

"Conspiracy theories" and "conspiracy theorists" are two words that one hears more and more often in the media and in private conversations in recent years. What do the terms originally mean, what do people mean by them today, how do they work, and what does the Bible say about them?

Original meaning

The term "conspiracy" originally refers to a clandestine association of several persons or parties who jointly plan and carry out an enterprise directed against someone or something. Other synonyms are plot, intrigue, Cavaliers.

A "conspiracy theory" is logically the presumption or assumption that such a conspiracy is taking place (joining together, planning, carrying out). This conjecture may be vague, intuitive or based on evidence - which does not yet allow any conclusion as to its truthfulness: Vague or intuitive conjectures can be true in reality, and individual factual indications can be misinterpreted and lead to a false assumption. The more factually correct, verifiable evidence there is, the greater the probability that the conspiracy theory depicts an actual conspiracy.

A "conspiracy theorist" is someone who puts forward or advocates a conspiracy theory, i.e. assumes that there is a conspiracy going on.

The term "conspiracy practice" (as opposed to "theory") is used extremely rarely.

What is meant by "conspiracy theory" today?

A term that was originally value-neutral becomes loaded with secondary meanings (connotations) over time, depending on the context in which it is used.

Example: If the term "conspiracy theory" is frequently mentioned, for example, in a list with "right-wing extremists, Reich citizens and covid deniers", then our brain establishes a neural connection between these terms; the terms rub off on each other, so to speak, and the colour sticks without us being aware of it.

This brain mechanism serves as an orientation ("I've heard that before in such and such a context, so it might make sense to react the same way as I did then"), but it does not always create a true reflection of reality, I should be aware of that.

The secondary meanings can also arise at the level of feelings. Also with you?

Little self-test

Do a self-test: How does "conspiracy theorist" sound to you?

  • Ridiculous?
  • Unworldly?
  • Annoying?
  • Dangerous?
  • Like a crank?
  • Tin foil hat?
  • Don't listen?

Can´t you but grin or laugh when you read the following sentence:

"The earth is flat"?

Congratulations, you have just met your own connotations (secondary meanings and emotional values)!

Is that bad? Not if you are aware of it.

If you're not aware of it, then you're remembering and evaluating instead of just objectively perceiving what's there. And o yes, that is problematic, because then my own, personal capacity for perception and thus my power of judgement is limited, I have to rely on the judgement of others.

A Stimulus Word as a Barrier

If a word is so strongly charged with secondary meanings and emotional values, it tends to provoke a stereotypic response, e.g. prevent you from going further, from listening, reading, researching, thinking, evaluating and classifying yourself. It takes on the effect of a barrier.

This works excellently with the stimulus word "conspiracy theory".
Laugh, shut down. A learned reflex.

Just pay attention to it.

With Jehovah's Witnesses, it is the word "apostate" or "apostasy" that acts like an electric fence and makes one shy away from further information intake. You close yourself off from your own perception, your own reflection and evaluation and trust the conditioning you have received from someone else, and this happens unconsciously and in a split second.

Of course, after examining the facts, you can say: that seems improbable to me, I reject that, etc.. But that is something completely different from the stimulus word reflex, which stereotypically always triggers the same reactions.

Don´t believe everything you think.

What does the Bible say about conspiracies?

The word "conspiracy theory" is not in the Bible, but we do find historical accounts of conspiracies:

Queen Jezebel and her husband Ahab blackmailed the city elders with a letter to falsely accuse and execute Naboth in order to usurp his beautiful vineyard. (1 Kings 21, verses 1-16) The classic pattern: secret conspiracy, planning against Naboth, execution.

This conspiracy was uncovered by Almighty God himself, who informed his prophet Elijah of it and instructed him to announce his punishment to the king and queen. (Verse 17 ff.)

King David committed adultery with the wife of his soldier Uriah and (also with a letter, like Jezebel and Ahab) instigated a plot to have the unsuspecting Uriah deliberately meet his death in the front line of battle. Again, a prophet of God exposed the deadly plot, namely Nathan. (2 Samuel chapter 11)

... and about conspiracy theories?

A conspiracy theory was put forward by the king of Syria after he had unsuccessfully set a trap for the king of Israel at least three times:

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"And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel? (2 Kings 6:11 ESV)

He suspected spies in his own ranks; yet again it was Almighty God who overheard the plots of the Syrian king and communicated them to His prophet Elisha, who in turn warned the king of Israel and thwarted the plot of the Syrian king.

One thing we see from these three examples:
Genuine conspiracies are an open book before God,
and He has revealed them to His "ground staff" in all three cases.

Other examples of conspiracies in the Bible include:

  • Haman's plot to wipe out the Jew Mordecai and all the Jewish people (Esther chapters 3 to 7),
  • The plot of the 120 governors in Babylon to bring Daniel into the lion's den (Daniel chapter 6),
  • The plot of the Jews to ambush and kill the Apostle Paul (Acts 23:12-15).

The Greatest Conspiracy so Far

The secret conspiracy of the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, the high priest and Judas Iscariot, with the Roman governor and his soldiers as executing organs, aimed at the execution of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God's own Son.

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„Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread was two days later. And the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to seize him by cunning and kill him“ (Mark 14:1 NWT)

Secret alliance, planning, implementation.

Remarkable how these parties managed to influence public opinion within a few hours so that it turned into the complete opposite:

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„And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.“ (Mark 11 Verse 8-10 KJV)

„Pilate said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!(John 19:14b, 15a ESV)

In this case, too, the whole plan was open before God, and God's Son Himself informed His disciples of it in advance, but they did not yet understand it.

This, by the way, is a principle of God:

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„For the Lord YHWH does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.“ (Amos 3:7)

I wonder if he still does the same today? Communicating his own "secret plans" as well as exposing the conspiracies of his opponents?

The Greatest Conspiracy of All Time

The historical conspiracy against the man Jesus Christ is indicated in Psalm 2:

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„The kings of the earth take their stand against the Lord YHWH. The rulers of the earth gather together against his anointed [Messiah].“ (Psalm 2:2)

King Herodes Antipas

But there is more to this text! For the crucifixion conspiracy in the 1st century did not involve "the kings of the world", but only one king, namely Herod. The Roman emperor was only informed about it afterwards (> see the historical report "Acta Pilati").

So Psalm 2 must be about a much bigger conspiracy involving a great many, if not all, kings and rulers of the world. Psalm 2 continues:

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"[God says:] As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

[And this King says:] I will tell of the decree: The Lord YHWH said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."

(Psalm 2:6-9)

These statements clearly refer to the end times. The end times are our immediate future. So one can logically deduce that in our time this world-wide conspiracy of "kings and rulers" is taking place, which is foreseen in Psalm 2 and will only be ended by our Lord Yahusha (Jesus).