Christians and Conspiracy Theories

“Just because I’m paranoid,
doesn’t mean they are not after me”

     (AND/OR)

“Just because it’s a conspiracy theory,
doesn’t mean it’s not true”

This article’s focus is deliberately narrow: to explain to myself and perhaps to others how it is that so many politically and theologically conservative Christians entertain so many conspiracy theories. Following are a discussion of what’s so bad about Christians being conspiracy-theory prone, a definition of “conspiracy theory,” a short list of conspiracy-theory candidates, and a two-prong argument to explain the Christian proclivity.

The Christian Label and its Discontents

Several years ago I stopped calling myself a Christian, but not because I stopped believing in Jesus. On the contrary, I love Jesus but was being weighed down by the cultural and historical baggage of Christianity and the label “Christian” (initially a word meaning “little Christ”). More than ever, I’m glad I no longer need defend the indefensible baggage many Christians tote around, one of the largest and most perplexing bags being the one packed with conspiracy theories.

That said, many of my friends do call themselves Christians and in varying degrees tote the conspiracy baggage. Many are untroubled by all this baggage and do an admirable job holding onto their faith in Jesus and being kind to their neighbor. While these Christians may be power lifters, they are doing a great injustice to the gospel with its commitment to truth. Continue reading “Christians and Conspiracy Theories”

Perfect Political Storm

We’ve got God on our side
We’re just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear’s a powerful thing, baby
It’ll turn your heart black you can trust
It’ll take your God filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust
          (Bruce Springsteen, “Devils & Dust”)

Update 1/6/21: the storm has broken. Early this afternoon, the House and the Senate were carrying out their 12th Amendment duty of counting the certified electoral votes. Thousands of protestors had gathered outside the Capitol to protest what President Trump frequently described as a fraudulent election, where he lost both the popular and the electoral vote. Around 2:20 p.m., protestors broke though metal barriers at the foot of the stairs to the Capitol. Police sprayed tear gas. Around 2:30 PM, a large number of protestors, some violent, some carrying weapons, forced their way into the Capitol. “Protesters could be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags” (Associated Press Timeline of events at the Capitol). The building was locked down, but not before one woman was fatally shot by the police. Three other people died from currently unspecified medical emergencies.[§] Congresspeople were eventually escorted out of the building. Around 8:30 p.m. the Senate resumed the electoral vote. Several Republicans withdrew their objections in light of the siege.

(The following was published October 6, 2020)
For the first time, I’m doubting the general welfare of the US after an upcoming presidential election. In the past, the new or renewed president would be uncannily like his or her predecessor or opponent, and I knew there would be segments of our society, usually marked by their low incomes or stature, who would continue to suffer discrimination in various forms.[1] The losers might be bitter and the winners might gloat, but the fabric of society would remain the same for better and worse. Continue reading “Perfect Political Storm”

Ranked Voting (or) Neither Presidential Candidate Gets My Vote

Currently in my country, about half the population lives in fear that President Trump will be re-elected in November (2020). What would surprise the people in my community, (Boulder County), is that about half the US population fears that Donald Trump will not be re-elected.

This post falls outside of these viewpoints and is by no means a declaration that either candidate will do. While many people are concerned about choosing the right person (from the limited choice of two—something the flip of a coin could determine), I’m concerned about the need for a better system for selecting presidential candidates. Continue reading “Ranked Voting (or) Neither Presidential Candidate Gets My Vote”

My Breakfast With Sue

As an unworthy follower of Jesus, I have many brothers and sisters, all over the world. A few days ago, I had breakfast with one such sister, whom I’ll call Sue.

Gallop Cafe, one of my favorite eateries in the Highlands in Denver.

Outside, one of my favorite places to eat, anywhere.

Conversation, always enjoyable with Sue, who converted to Catholicism several years ago, during the crest of the child-abuse allegations in the Boston area, a gutsy move on her part. Catholicism works with her: she takes what is meaningful and doesn’t worry about the rest. Continue reading “My Breakfast With Sue”

It’s Business, Not Personal (a dream)

So…I was assigned a spot in the rear of a jumbo jet airliner from where I would shoot the occupants of two designated seats, one at either side of the plane, several rows ahead of me.

But before explaining that situation, I want to consider the relation between wording and persuasion, asking, How does one separate elegant wording from misleading thinking? If something is pithy, doesn’t it also seem true—whether or not it is?

Throughout my adult life, I’ve shied away from justifying decisions with the convenient disclaimer that it is “business, not personal.” Perhaps in part, I’ve not needed the phrase because I’ve also shied away from business. Lately, however, as the encumbrances of career and property accrue, I find myself using the formula occasionally.

Continue reading “It’s Business, Not Personal (a dream)”