I have a love/hate relationship with conspiracy theories. The love part is that I am fascinated by the ability that some have to turn almost anything into a conspiracy. There is always some dark agenda just right behind any random bit of news. There are strings that are being pulled behind all world events and only a select few are smart enough to see these strings. The rest of us are just dupes. In my opinion, there is a lot egoism behind conspiracy and fear thinking – I’m smart enough to figure this out, while you are just like all the other sheep (BTW you are more than welcome to call me a sheep – sheep have a very favorable connotation in scripture). I also think conspiracy thinking has a fascinating interplay of all-powerful forces and complete ineptitude. “These people really know all about this event and they are just trying to keep you in the dark” and yet they are so inept that a guy living in his mom’s basement is able to figure out their secret. Like I said I find it intriguing.
The fear part? Well this conspiratorial thinking often becomes the excuse for people to act in the most inhumane manners. This type of thinking works off people’s fears and fear is a powerful motivator to do things that normally nice people would never think of doing. Fear let hateful actions masquerade as loving actions. “I’m only acting like this to protect my family.” For example, apparently some of the Sandy Hook conspiracy people have harassed the parents of some of the kids who were killed in the shooting. What type of heartless nut would pester these heartbroken parents? “Well,” the claim goes, “it isn’t really heartless because the whole event was staged and the parents are just actors.” This would make such harassment as cruel as me telling Clint Eastwood that I know he didn’t really shoot people in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (my favorite movie and one that you should go watch right now). In fact, the people spreading the conspiracies and fear would probably say that confronting lies, and the actions those lies are used to encourage or discourage, is actually a good and loving thing to do. Fear is such a powerful motivator that it takes hate and makes it look like love.
Why am I posting this? Well because I am tired of seeing conspiratorially/fear based thinking on my social media feeds. My feeds aren’t full of such thinking because the majority of my friends don’t go in for that type of stuff. However, I do have a few such “friends” and unfortunately their posts that are based on fear get a lot of attention and therefore end up showing up on my feeds. The good news is that using the Old Testament I believe I have come up with a method that will make the sightings of fear based thinking and action even more infrequent within my news feeds.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 states:
20 But the prophet who dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die.’ 21 You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
When you think about it this was really a pretty good system for preventing false prophecy. You want to say something about the future and think it might draw a little attention? Well you better make sure it is accurate because there is a pretty steep cost to pay if you are wrong. But there isn’t really a cost to pay now for making outlandish predictions or claims. You can say that Oreos have been created to be addicting through a mass North Korean plot to take over Instagram for use as a weapon of mass annoyance, and six months down the road when this is proven wrong nothing will happen to you. Since there are no social ramifications to encouraging mass hysteria there is no real incentive to make sure that what you post is true. Nope, there’s no need to even check snopes.com for a quick debunking, since it costs you and I nothing to be wrong. This wasn`t true for the prophet who had to be worried about being stoned if he/she was wrong.
So stoning is my philosophy now. If you decide to speak prophetic warnings (i.e. “this is what is coming down the pipe, folks”)1 and what you say doesn’t happen then I am going to FIGURATIVELY stone you, i.e. nix you from my social media feeds. So if you say there is a vast right wing conspiracy out there or that the lefties are actively trying to destroy America or that some agency/organization is secretly hiding information from the American public that will harm us all or if you post pretty much anything that Jennie McCarthy has said or linked to THEN you better have some VERY GOOD supporting evidence and it best come true quite soon or I will be nixing you from my feeds. I might even create a nice little graphic to post and let you know that you have been nixed. Maybe something fun that says “You’ve Been Stoned” or something similar. Yeah, that would be fun.
Now this goes just for those that are on the fringe of my relational world. It isn’t for my family and friends that I see/interact with a lot. Y’all may still be nuts but you are either family, and therefore you are my crazies, or you are people that I have actively chosen too associate with, and therefore at the very least I find your craziness fun. Also I’m okay calling out my true friends and family when the craziness gets a little to close to promoting hate and they do the same for me. Of course, I will still probably excuse myself to go to the restroom or get a fresh cup of coffee if you start talking about this junk. If you aren’t in either of the previous two groups (i.e. we don’t have a genetic/familia connection or I haven’t personally spoken or corresponded with you in a long time) then you are fair game. Post your craziness at your own peril … well at least peril from my news feed, because there will be no actual peril for you in your real life. In your real life you can spew all the craziness you want too, because I won’t have to listen to it.
Now I understand that there have at times been actual conspiracies, of which I am very thankful for their discovery. I remember the Watergate Scandal and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. I am thankful that these conspiracies were discovered and called out. I just don’t think the type of people pointing out these conspiracies were/are the same as those that are claiming a lot of the fear based things now. If the website you are linking to believes every conspiracy on the face of the earth, then I think it is safe to assume that their journalism isn’t of the highest quality (yeah I’m talking about you Infowars). If you find and post a genuine conspiracy or fear then I will be on your side. If you post something that ends up not coming true, or usually even close to being true, then you should be prepare to be nixed from my social feed.
I know this will crush you because it is so important that I read your posts. Just get back at me by “stoning” me too. I’m sure I will miss being able to see all you erudite links and posts. It will be tough but I’ll try to manage without them.
So unverified email forwarders and link posters beware. The stonings commence now.
SIDE NOTE – If you found this post via my Facebook feed, congrats you haven’t been stoned … Yet. If you didn’t see this post on my Facebook feed … Well … Uhm … This is awkward … Hey look at that very pretty stone right there.
SIDE SIDE NOTE – You should hold me to this same standard. If I make conspiratorial, fear based, false predictions/statements you should “stone” me too. I will also expect a cute little graphic telling me I have been stoned.
- “future telling” is only one part, and not even the biggest part, of Old Testament prophecy. The MUCH larger part is “forth telling” or in other words, “this is what God has told you in the past that you seems to have forgotten about.” For purposes of this post I am just using the much smaller future aspect of prophecy. [↩]