This was a Facebook comment from a thread that linked to the quote below. I wanted to keep it here because I think it’s a helpful way to address conspiracy theory hobbyists.
“Do you see how peddling a conspiracy theory is a lot like evangelism? It’s a tragic substitute. A deflection and distraction to what’s really important and what can actually change a person’s life – both Christian lives and non-Christians lives: The gospel of the kingdom.” –Frank ViolaFrank Viola – https://frankviola.org/2020/05/14/shamdemic
He does come on pretty strong selling the books. I think the point is that our attention and contemplation be on Jesus and God’s glory instead of all of the wicked things we theorize that people are doing. The only action I can take on a theory is to spread the theory. That is why it is a counterfeit to evangelism. If I convince you Fauci and the Chinese created this virus to wreck the economy and make millions, what have I gained? If I used that same zeal to convince you of Jesus’ amazing grace and care for you, I have accomplished so much more! Conspiracy theories are puffed up and last a few weeks! The word of the Lord endures forever. Let’s focus on that!
Maybe some of this has to do with disposition too. When I watch the news, I get frustrated because people know more about Fauci or the news celebrity of the week than they do their next door neighbors. “Wuhan invented the virus” doesn’t give me a single action step. I don’t care if I ‘wake up’ to the reality around me, that doesn’t change my actions at all. I live in Indiana. I currently have no dealings with scientists in Wuhan.
American news exists to keep everyone excited and paying attention and often helps craft the stories that we all try to fit these facts into. With some anxiety and rebellion and time on our hands, we can put all kinds of puzzle pieces together and feel like we’ve really accomplished something. I think all we get out of it though is just like the AHA! you get when you realize who the real bad guy is in a movie.
Now what do I do with it? How does the conspiracy of the week guide and change my life? How am I going to exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit in light of the new findings that Bill Gates did this or that? If I spend all of my intellectual and emotional energy on that, do I have any left for the couple that is arguing with each other in the park across from house? What if I saved some of this emotional power and reasoning for them?
I’d say these passions and theories start out harmless enough as an intellectual hobby, but then they turn into a divisive, accusing, slandering lifestyle that does not bless Christ.
1Tim. 1:3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
1Tim. 1:4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.
1Tim. 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Paul is urging love, not speculations. Truth, and not suspicions. If I waste all of my time and skill trying to prove something of little consequence that may or may not be true, what validity will I have proving the love of Christ, which is of GREAT CONSEQUENCE and our lives depend on it being true?
Titus 3:8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
Paul’s language to Titus only gets stronger after this quote. I know that everything people post on Facebook isn’t something they believe in with great passion, but sometimes it is, and it’s hard to tell the difference in print. We can only go off of the caricatures that we are constantly forming about one another (which are probably wrong, right guys? We would talk about much more fun things in person.)
And this last one, I hope we are on the right side of this. Note it doesn’t say to be quiet and let people believe falsehood, but note what it does say to do:
2Tim. 2:22 ¶ So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2Tim. 2:23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
2Tim. 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
2Tim. 2:25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,