Fights the Enemy
Dean Van Druff: Articles
"A CALL TO REPENTANCE.
Move Away from Conspiracy Theories" by Dean Van Druff
1) Conspiracy Theory - Intro and Overview Conspiracy Theory is more than just the belief in an occasional conspiracy. Simply put, it is a belief system that asserts that world events are being controlled in secret by a group of ultra-powerful puppeteers behind the scenes. While nothing much can be done about this overall conspiracy, at least we can have the satisfaction of being smart enough to have figured it all out.
If viewed as fiction, Conspiracy Theory is compelling and fascinating. If it were just a nightmarish novel meant to be unnerving and just a bit beyond plausible, like Asimov's Foundation, that would be one thing. But Conspiracy Theory projects its fiction onto real-life people, families, groups, and organizations. It purports to actually be true... and this is the problem.
If The Root Is Unholy...
Conspiracy Theories are as old as politics. Hitler was a master at weaving conspiracy tales. Nero concocted one to shift the blame to Christians for the burning of Rome...And so on.
The modern day mythology of conspiracy was brought into popular view by the self-styled Democratic candidate Lyndon LaRouche and his followers in the late 1970s. (You may remember the guys in the airports, right next to the Moonies.) The LaRouchites would pass out "Executive Intelligence Reports" (EIRs) that purported to inform us plebeians what was "really going on" and why we should thus support Lyndon.
Ironically, the hobbyhorse of an outcast Democrat has now made the shift from airport "kook" fundraising to mainstream commentators and talk show hosts on radio, both conservative and Christian.
Regurgitated Propaganda, Or Wisdom?
The basic plotlines of Conspiracy Theory have a striking resemblance to anti-Semitic propaganda manufactured in Germany pre-WW2, with only the slight obfuscation of substituting "international bankers" for "Jews." Indeed, many in the Militia and Patriot movements have no illusions about this and have an open anti -Semitic message.
Lyndon LaRouche, and later a few credulous Christian prophecy teachers, brought these ideas into widespread exposure by omitting the original--and more obvious--anti-Semitic ravings and by weaving them together into a compelling whole. Before this, John Birch Society members often promoted them.
Somehow, these tales inflame the fears and paranoia of people to the extent that, even when the Jewish target is "removed," a residue remains in the human imagination that is happy to attach itself to a more vague target. For it must be admitted that some people get a perverse enjoyment from wallowing in such "snits" of paranoia, bogus "insight," fear, discontentment, etc. that propaganda like this evokes. The genius of the modern "Christian" versions of Conspiracy Theory is that now we do not have to be openly anti-Semitic to enjoy these effects.
With the common bond of being "upset" and discontent in general, the modern co-belligerents of Conspiracy Theory are an odd group indeed. Nowhere is the absurdity of this more stark and ironic than among Jewish Christians who espouse it.
The sources of Conspiracy Theory notions are suspicious--to be generous. But regardless of a dubious historical pedigree, is Conspiracy Theory true or merely a paranoid delusion coupled with an active imagination? Or is it just the human tradition of "ghost stories" taken to a new level of story-telling believability?
2) Working in the Dark The problem of testing the "theory" at the level of information is stark. Conspiracy Theory is by its very nature impossible to disprove. The revisionist history of Conspiracy Theory is based on "special knowledge" that plays by different rules than normal history, since it is dealing with "secret" history.
It is easy to spin these tales, but how can they be tested for being true? If you attempt to do this and find the notions bogus, are you one of "them?" As the joke goes, "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean the world isn't really out to get me!"
So the "theorists" spin yarns, and nary a soul will contest them. After all, who is well-connected enough politically and economically to say for sure that no long-running international conspiracy exists? Get it? The deck is loaded.
The Conspiratist can go on and on without the need for any real research, except to imagine how it might be in a dark fantasy that will appeal to the paranoia and disenchantment of the intended audience and, in general, fit in with the overall Theory.
But those who do not "buy it" have to try to prove that a nonexistent group didn't have a supposed meeting at such-and-such a place, etc.; or worse still that this or that real group or person has been wholly misunderstood and misquoted. This second case is especially nasty, as many of the real groups and people, whom we would be defending and quoting correctly, have open (i.e., not conspiratorial) agendas we disagree with! It is a perfect trap: to counter the Conspirators' misrepresentation, exaggeration, and fantasy we will end up defending, giving time, attention, emphasis, clarification, press, etc., to ideas we loath!
It is not work to cheer the soul, so few have tried.
So the "theory" evolves and grows and goes on--largely unchecked. It is not possible to comprehensively disprove ALL cases, and only an impossibly long-suffering soul would spend time clarifying the SPECIFIC bad ideas that have been made worse by overstatement, exaggeration, alarmism, and fantasy.
The crowning beauty--or horror--of Conspiracy Theory is that conspiracy is by its very nature secret and thus cannot be proven or disproved.
Of course, the conspiracy buffs claim special "insider" knowledge. Should they be believed?
That people in power and wealth tend to promote people who agree with them or have some other common bond is no conspiracy, but simple human nature. A president, for example, is EXPECTED to appoint judges who are like-minded to him. Leaders in general form a liking for particular schools, sources of talent, consultants, etc. based on past history of success. If you are building a house, would you not favor a church member or good friend as a contractor, all else being equal, especially if you had received good service from them in the past? This may look like collusion to outsiders, but is simple pragmatic management to those involved. For Conspiracy Theory adherents to suggest that such normal activities prove a "conspiracy" is not good evidence that they are thinking clearly. We all know what a real conspiracy is, do we not?
Real conspiracies work best when small and short lived. They take significant energy and planning and are vulnerable to the light of scrutiny. Every person brought in and every day that passes adds to the risk of an ongoing conspiracy.
Occasionally people really do conspire. For example, our American founding fathers declared independence from England some 200 years ago. But the "conspiracy" in that case was just the means used, not the cause. It was needed momentarily, then dropped as a technique. The real and lasting causes were well known, even by the British. The American Revolution could have been reasonably predicted by traditional sociology and political science. The conspiracy aspect was a temporary sideshow.
Those who aspire to do anything (good or bad) often collude in secret before launching out. Consensus building in private, forming alliances away from public view, and strategic meetings in secret are certainly a "way of the world."
But this is mere conventional thinking, not Conspiracy Theory. Conspiratists believe not merely that an occasional conspiracy exists, but that this is the dominant theme of history, that an "unseen hand" is guiding the world inexorably to the whim of certain supra-rich and/or powerful individuals.
The Clouded Crystal Ball
Conspiracy Theory assertions have a nasty habit of colliding head-on with reality. Its predictive power is poor, dismally so, since it rarely deals with real motives and forces in the world. Real people, including leaders, most often do things out of greed, altruism, self interest, passion, fear, ideals, racial or religious hatred, and the like.
To point out all the failed predictions of Conspiracy Theory would surely fill the internet, since every Conspiratist has his own unique spin on the Theory. As a challenge to the reader--from what you know of it--has Conspiracy Theory ever been right? I cannot think of a single case: an election, Russia taking us over, predictions of economic collapse, Christians being placed into concentration camps, Soviet armies massing at the Mexican border, gold values going up, the UN becoming more than a venting place and whipping boy, etc. Can you?
Conspiratists seem much better at fanciful reinterpretations of history than predicting what will happen next. But this does not stop them from trying. For the Conspiratist takes great pride in being "in the know."
4) The Return of the Illuminati With wild claims of inside information on international clandestine dealings, the conspiracy buffs end up in an ironic hypocrisy. They believe in an ongoing "Illuminati." The Illuminati were (are?) a group that claimed special knowledge, secret knowledge that set them above the common man. Does such a group exist in today's world? Are there those among us who see themselves as possessing secret knowledge not available to the common man? Ironically, the Conspiracy Theorists themselves are the best candidates to be found. They have "figured it out," and if you do not "see it," then you are just one of the dupes manipulated by the ghost Conspiracy that only the "enlightened ones" know about.
While we may not often like the way things are, the causal factors rarely include a conspiracy. Are not the real problems we face usually all too open and obvious: workaday problems like greed, self-interest, fear, bigotry, laziness, etc., flagrantly displayed or perhaps thinly veiled at best?
5) The Symbiosis and Risks of Alarmism
The coming one-world government is not likely to be created by the pathetic attempts of the likes of the UN utopians, or imaginary rich people who long to cut off the trade advantages that are the very branch they are sitting on; but rather in reaction to a global crisis of God's judgment on a world that will be groping in response. In the meantime, the way of the world is much more easily understood without the kaleidoscopic thrills of Conspiracy Theory. And while conspiratists project fantastic evils onto the Rockefellers or the Catholics or the US Congress or the Jews or whomever, real enemies who are hell-bent on destroying us go unnoticed.
The bottom line is that while it may be great fun and fantasy for those of a paranoid bent, Conspiracy Theory is NOT taken seriously by people who run this world, it is useless for predicting or explaining what is going on and why. Only those who do not need to be correct can hold this view for long.
The media has an undeniable liberal and anti-Christian bias. But let us keep in mind that while leaders of our media are responsible for their actions, we are responsible for ours as well. As slanted and distorted as our news is, should WE then resort to rumors and hearsay as an alternative? Is this not jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire? If the issue is truth, then the failure of our media is no excuse for us doing even worse!
6) Conspiracy Theory versus Revelation The theory of communism was built on a faulty premise and, thus, was doomed to not work in practice. They who believe in the Bible should be able to quickly apprehend that Conspiracy Theory is faulty at its core. Thus we should not be surprised at its failure in practice.
Somebody Forgot To Check Their Scriptures...
Fundamental to Conspiracy Theory is a basic view of the world. This view is defined by its adherents as the "Conspiratorial View" of history. This explanation of the course of history is pitted against the "Linear View" of history (or somesuch). These, we are told, are the only options! (This smacks of Marx's false dichotomy that only two classes existed.) But it is just not true. Dare we mention it, at least one other possible explanation of why things happen is the "Biblical View."
Amos 3:7 (NIV) Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
And Scripture never mentions anything anywhere even approaching the scope of Conspiracy Theory.
In general, The Bible neither denies real human conspiracies nor suggests that they are a major factor in history. Scripture puts conspiracies where they belong: as an occasional and hard to maintain sideshow.
2 Samuel 15:12 (NIV) ... And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing.
But never in the Bible are we encouraged to imagine that conspiracy is the grand explanation of history or the overarching issue of causality in human affairs. In fact, just the opposite is commanded.
Isaiah 8:12-13 (NIV) "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread."
The lesson seems to be that there are certain times that the temptation to blame what is happening on conspiracy or alliances should be distinctly avoided...
Psalms 2:1-2 (KJV) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed....
Ezekiel 38:1-2,8 (NIV) "Son of man, prophesy... and say: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog,... I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.... "
God apparently thinks it important for us to know at the End of the Age that He is doing this, and it is of no human invention or scheme. Even if some have plans....
Psalms 33:10 (NIV) The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
Is it not amazing that Scripture completely misses what Conspiracy Theory made popular? Boy did God blow this one! If He only knew what was "really going on." If He were only more "informed!"
So it is God versus the conspiracy buffs. Tough one, eh?
Who ya gonna believe nowadays?
Isaiah 8:12 (NIV) "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it."
7) "Conspiracy" in the Heavenlies?
At a mere human level, Conspiratists have pontificated at length about Masonic cabals bent on ruining the very economy which they supposedly constructed, while completely missing Militant Islam's open agenda calling for civilization's death and destruction. Radical Muslim clerics scream "Death to America" in US Mosques and Universities and on the Internet, and openly plot to bring the US and then the world under Islamic rule, and not one Conspiratist takes them seriously before they actually strike a blow. Even non-Conspiratists missed the threat due to religious political correctness. (While a particular terrorist "cell" is a closely guarded military secret, Islamism's worldwide goals for Israel, the US, and modern civilization have been published and broadcast and ranted about for many decades. Yet even with all the funds and weapons and virulent hatred for us, it seemed politically dangerous to point out that Islamists had declared open war against us.) My goodness, even at the level of the here and now, we humans seem to have a propensity to dramatically miss the point of where the real threat is coming from. Are we not doing even worse in the spiritual by missing the nature of the war that we are in with such dalliances as Conspiracy Theory--in direct violation to scriptural revelation and emphasis?
Are we shooting our guns off into the air of Conspiracy Theory... while a real enemy stands behind us? Even among us?
8) We Didn't Lose, They Cheated!
The Enemy Within
Perhaps part of the appeal of blaming things on conspiracies is that it assuages our own lack of concern and engagement in the public arena. Sure, we lost, but "Hey, they cheated!" Oddly enough, though, when we show up we do quite well, just as God promised. But when we fail to even try, we are tempted to accuse our opponents of "foul play" instead of reflecting objectively on the fact that we caved in, did not care, did not try, etc.
Our spiritual enemy is winning a terrific battle against us if he can short circuit our zeal and eliminate our influence via the fatalism of Conspiracy Theories…With our consciences satisfied that the enemy is somehow cheating, we throw down our swords before the fight even starts.
The utility of Conspiracy Theory thus comes into focus. It shifts blame. It is a sophisticated excuse machine. This is how Hitler used it; this is how Nero used it; this is how we are using it. Has there even been a Conspiracy Theory concocted short of this purpose?
9) Slandering Our Enemies
Leviticus 19:16 (NIV) "Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord."
Exodus 23:1 (NIV) "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness."
Instead of realizing the pragmatic, even convicting reasons why we have failed in so many ways to effect our culture, we accuse our enemies of cheating via conspiracy. The motive for this was discussed previously.
Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.
Proverbs 18:8 (NAS) The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles....
Like all sin, slander and gossip can be fun in the moment. But like all sin, there is a price to be paid later. The price here is in defamation of character to the real-life people and organizations, and in self-delusion and inability to discern the truth for those who continue in it.
10) Making Idols of Mere Men
Why Dilbert Is Funny
At a local and experiential level, we all know the problems of position and responsibility. The higher the position, the more impossible to process all the information, to take everything into account, to please everyone, etc. That is why it is nice to dream of being in charge, but harder to sleep when you are.
But for the Conspiratist, who can see this drama first-hand at their own job, city counsel, etc., there is a different set of rules for world leaders. These are a different breed, somehow. To listen to the Conspiracy buffs, it becomes clear that you must believe that certain people or groups possess superhuman powers of intelligence, time management, persuasion, influence, stealth, etc. These "puppeteers" have powers that would make Superman look like a weakling.
Up close, we see people for what they really are. At a distance, they must be gods!
This is clearly idolatry, and a rather ridiculous type at that. And again, we must be honest and admit that idol-making is great fun, and so is the reveling around the constructed image.
It might be countered that Conspiracy Theory believers are not gripped with the fear of real or imaginary human leaders, but demonic spirits--even Satan--who animate these people. But this is even worse! Instead of fearing God or honoring the temporal king, we now find ourselves emotionally and spiritually prostrated before demons and Satan, trembling for them!
Isaiah 57:11 (NKJ) "And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?"
Brothers and sisters, let us repent. Let us turn our minds from these dark meditations to the Word of God, and begin now to work and pray in accordance with His eternal and permanent kingdom.
Which kingdom do our private thoughts and feelings reveal we are vested in?
11) Ideas Have Consequences There were pervasive rumors running rampant before WW2 concerning the Jews. One of note was that Jews were purportedly using Gentile blood in the making of the Passover Matzos. These and other rumors were so outlandish and ignorant that they did not seem worthy of serious response. They were so ridiculous and divorced from reality that no one bothered to dispute them. So they became "common knowledge."
We often wonder what went so wrong in Germany that an entire segment of the population (many professing to be Christians!) would willfully and enthusiastically participate in the day to day executions of the holocaust. We are not going to suggest here that the ONLY reason this happened were the rumors, gossip, and slander running rampant in Germany unchecked for decades beforehand, but certainly these were a major factor in creating the climate that would allow, and even justify, the mayhem and shame that resulted.
We, of course, are much superior to the Germans, and immune to the effects of outrageous stories and lies coursing through our minds for decades, unchallenged.
The one thing we learn from history, it appears, is that we can never learn from history.
12) Credulity and Witness
Proverbs 14:15 (NIV) A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
I) Did you know that as a residue of the miracle of the creation of woman that man has one less rib than woman as an eternal reminder? This Christian legend still persists in sermons, homilies, and wedding ceremonies, despite the fact that it is not true. Men have the same number of ribs as women.
II) The FCC has received over 30 million pieces of mail protesting a petition supposedly authored by Madalyn Murray O'Hare to remove all Christian broadcasting from the airways. The embarrassing thing is... that no such petition or issue exists. But this does not stop copies of pamphlets and counterpetitions from circulating and being promoted. Try as the FCC might, the rumor cannot be quelled. The FCC even has a "religious petition" disclaimer option when you call the computerized switchboard and, now, a posting on the FCC website (see link section at end of article).
III) In the early 80s, the periodic alignment of the planets was going to torque the earth, causing earthquakes, tidal waves, etc. Have the pastors and teachers who promoted this bogus theory apologized or repented? The fact that those who made an industry of this error are still revered as established prophecy "experts" among us, showing no sign of repentance, circumspection, or humility, is perhaps the greatest scandal of this unfortunate episode.
IV) A rumor keeps recurring every few years that executives at certain large corporations have appeared on TV talk shows admitting to being Satanists. This slander ends up having a commercial motive and has led to several lawsuits. While the source of this particular rumor has been traced (and prosecuted, see link section for more on this) to certain Amway distributors, many of these also claim to be Christians, and it must be admitted that this slander has overflowed into many non-Amway Christian minds and mouths as well.
V) In the mid 80s, a new threat emerged in the "ten nation" European Economic Community (EEC), now termed the European Union (EU). This was portrayed as everything from a trade-war juggernaut to a fulfillment of prophecy. Despite all the hype, the economic progress after a decade has been modest, to put it generously. It actually started with six member nations and, eventually, passed through ten; when the eleventh and twelfth nations joined, it did not stop the interpretation of the EU as the nefarious "ten horn" alliance prophesied in Scripture. Luckily, the USA started with thirteen, not having to pass through the dreaded number ten, or we might also have been identified with Daniel 7 and Revelation 17. Unfortunately for the EU the stigma of this "teaching" absurdly persists. In the minds of some evangelical Christians, the EU sort of got "stuck" at ten, even though they now have fifteen member states.
VI) Another recurrent Christian legend is that of the "beast" computer in Brussels (or wherever). This first surfaced in the late 1970s, where the idea was to track every person in the entire world as a fulfillment of the 666 prophecy. We can now assess this from the cooler position of hindsight. Consider that the educational computers used in modern elementary schools NOW would run circles around the best computer technology available back THEN, in speed, memory, reliability, and disc storage. Imagine running the world from the paltry PC that your kid learns his math on! It was no less absurd back in the 1970s to people who knew better. But to point this out made you either not "in the know" or part of the "conspiracy."
VII) At a restaurant a few years back where we were splitting the check, $20 bills were confiscated and the plastic "security strips" (to thwart counterfeiting) woven in vertically (just under the U of the United States of...) were wiggled loose and pulled out from the top by a well-meaning minister present. When asked why this defacing of currency was necessary, he replied, "These strips allow the government to track how much money we have--and our movements--via satellite. By removing them, we can foil their plan."
VIII) The latest and most persistent Christian rumor, and the subject of this article, is that an overwhelming, worldwide, international conspiracy exists--manipulating nearly everything that we see-- which is spearheaded variously by the Bilderbergers, the DuPonts, the Rockefellers, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, black helicopters, and the ever popular "Illuminati." This dark fantasy is called "Conspiracy Theory," and has become the darling of Christians. [Proverbs 14:16] A WISE MAN FEARETH, AND DEPARTETH FROM EVIL: BUT THE FOOL RAGETH, AND IS CONFIDENT. [Proverbs 14:27] THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS A FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, TO DEPART FROM THE SNARES OF DEATH. [Proverbs 16:6] BY MERCY AND TRUTH INIQUITY IS PURGED: AND BY THE FEAR OF THE LORD MEN DEPART FROM EVIL.
"Answers to Conspiracy FAQ"
by Dean Van Druff
Brit-Am Fights the Enemy
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