When I say the words conspiracy theories, where does your mind go? Maybe to the JFK assassination, the moon landings, or even September 11? We’ve all heard our fair share of people playing guessing games with these events. The question is, how should Christians handle conspiracy theories?
Many relegate the notion of conspiracy theories to what we would sometimes call “fringe audiences.” In the past, that might have been so, but not anymore! With the arrival of the internet, social media, and especially mass media, conspiracy theories are on the rise. As a matter of fact, they’ve grown exponentially!
By now you may be thinking, “So what does this have to do with me as a Christian?” Plenty! Conspiracy theories have the potential to affect you. It’s important to realize that they’ve always been around, particularly with God’s people. Yep, that’s right! Check out the people in Isaiah’s day. Here’s what God Himself said to them through the prophet in Isaiah 8:12 (NLT): “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.”
Maybe at this point, a disclaimer might be in order. I am not here today to tell you what you should believe and what course of action to take. We know that historically they do arise, but here’s the clincher—God is more interested in how you respond. Your mind, your will, and your emotions.
So, if you’re a prepper and halfway into building out your bunker, I’m not telling you to quit prepping! If you hold to conspiracies about JFK’s death, the landing on the moon, September 11, or others, that really doesn’t affect me. Just take care about how they affect you. What does that kind of attitude do to your soul, to your spiritual life? That’s what’s important. I honestly don’t care what you believe about them!
I’m being a little facetious! However, let’s look at this subject. The term conspiracy theory is defined as a hypothesized theory against an individual or a group of people. Once again, whether they are valid is not my point. I am here to give you some guidance on what to do with your heart and mind when they come your way.
The Scriptures teach us that believing a conspiracy can have serious repercussions. Of course, many are the challenges that could be investigated in this article, but I’d like to look at one in particular. The repercussions of fear and dread.
The Debilitating Power of Dread
Dread is an interesting word. It’s used many ways in the English language. For example, many times we use it socially—like saying, “I dread going to this party.” It often describes a state of emotional torture or anxiety about future events or happenings. Especially when the unknown is present. I believe it is a favorite tool that the devil loves to use on each one of us. Someone has said, “Dread is one of the scalpels of fear the devil uses to kill us by 10,000 paper cuts.”
Medically speaking, doctors now know that dread not only affects your mind, but it also wreaks havoc with your physical health. Essentially, it releases fight or flight chemicals into your brain and bloodstream. The result is a body that is inundated with chemicals that affect it in unhealthy ways.
Doctors have also discovered that a host of other chemicals are also released into the bloodstream when we are under stress. In 2008, research from the University of Michigan proved that while in a state of dread, the chemical dopamine is released into the bloodstream. Ironically, it is released in the pleasure centers of your brain. That in and of itself causes addictive behaviors.
You might be thinking, “Okay Pastor Jon, I’m not reading this to get a medical report!” That is not the point I’m trying to get across! I’m just saying that maybe we should think twice before allowing ourselves to get into fear and dread on a regular basis. Maybe now we can begin to understand why God instructs us over and over to “fear not.”
If this is true, and it is, what would be my appropriate response? The next verse tells us loud and clear: “Make the Lord of heaven’s armies holy in your life. He is the One you should fear. He is the One who should make you tremble.” (Isaiah 8:13 NLT)
Fear God—and nothing else!
The Antidote for Dread… Become Deliberate
I hate to tell you, but I’ve discovered there will always be something looming just ahead that falls into the category of “the unknown.” Most of you reading this can say, “Amen!” What are we to do when we find ourselves feeling or sensing the familiar emotion of dread?
Do you remember the story of Elisha and his servant when they were surrounded by their enemies at Samaria? It’s found in the book of II Kings and reads: “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.”
Elisha’s comeback was simple and to the point:
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (II Kings 6:15-16 NIV)
It’s not always easy to do, but keep in mind that it takes intentionality on your part to overcome when dread comes knocking!
Have you inadvertently allowed your thinking to be confused concerning the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world? If you have, you must learn to separate the two. God is bigger than any conspiracy you face. He’s much more powerful than anything you dread!
The prophet Isaiah said, “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear.” (Isaiah 8:13 KJV) The word sanctify is the Hebrew word qadas, pronounced kah-dash. It means to consecrate, to dedicate, to set apart. You’ve got to be intentional to overcome!
Conspiracy Can Never Separate You from God
When we find ourselves dealing with conspiracy issues, it’s important that we learn to inquire within. Ask yourself questions like, “How is this impacting me today?” Or maybe, “How will it impact me tomorrow?” Most importantly, “How will this impact me in eternity?”
David sets the example of how to respond when he was faced with a conspiracy by his own son, Absalom. Although the situation looked bleak, he stayed positive. In Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV), he says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
When we fear the Lord, we literally have nothing to be afraid of.
In closing, while on earth, Jesus Himself faced some of the most conspiracy-laden situations ever known to mankind. Think about it—the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees were constantly conspiring together to kill Him. King Herod decided to “buddy up” politically with the Pharisees. That was unheard of! And Judas Iscariot? What about the conspiracy he concocted with the Sanhedrin? Together they agreed, “We’ll betray Jesus with a kiss.” Wow! Think your conspiracy situation is tough? Think again!
So, let me ask you… what’s your battle plan? Never forget, Satan is the great conspirator. Unfortunately, we all face his scheming plans at one point or another. How will you handle it? Be deliberate, be intentional! “If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us?” (Romans 8:31b TPT)