Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Conspiracies afoot in the Combox

I had a tin-foil hat theologian leave a long, detailed comment criticizing my post from yesterday regarding how conspiracies can be deterimental to a Christian's spiritual health.

Those who are interested may find my comments useful, so I thought I would bring them from the combox to the frontpage.

Well Nate, I owe you some ice cream. =-)

The comments are in bold; my response follows:

Please allow me to make a few points.
The verse you quoted at the beginning is from Isaiah 8:12 and not 8:14.

(Fred) Thanks for the correction. The post has been amended I appreciate it when dutiful readers point out my mistakes.

You cite this verse because it warns God's people not to fear talk of a conspiracy between the 10 tribes and the Assyrians. This is a warning against sinful fear and the distrust of God. The KJV, God's true word, says "confederacy" instead of conspiracy which is really what this threatened union with the Assyrians was. As you may know, in order to obtain a copyright, modern Bible translators had to change or alter God's word by a certain amount and it is by no small amount either. This is why the word confederacy was altered to conspiracy. But let me get on with the blog topic.

(Fred) A couple of things:

1) Actually, the word for conspiracy or confederacy is qesher which means "treason" or "unlawful alliance." A confederacy is the old English word for conspiracy, so it is inaccurate to argue that a modern version, in this case, the New King James, is changing around the text to hide something.

2) The folks in Israel to whom Isaiah was preaching consider him, along with other pre-exilic prophets like Jeremiah, to be servants of the enemy when they told the people to trust the Lord and not a foreign power. My citation of this passage is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I believe there is some comparison to those individuals, perhaps like yourself, who insist that I have been duped into believing lies regarding conspiracies. This passage is also a good corrective to those individuals I have blogged about in recent months accusing my Church of being infiltrated by church growth philosophy.

1. Though you accurately state that there have been many conspiracies (Manhattan project,etc.), you then seem to broadbrush the "harmful, illegal" conspiracies that occupy the minds of theorists as being "fantasies." You seem to say that there are no "harmful,illegal" conspiracies. Or are you saying that conspiracies acknowledged by the conspirators are true (like d-day or the Manhattan project), but conspiracies denied by the conspirators through the media must be fantasies?

(Fred) I plan to address this point in more detail with my forth coming post, so stay tuned. But for now, yes, I do believe there are harmful conspiracies, but those conspiracies, as harmful as they may be, get found out. That is the main difficulty with any conspiracy: having the conspiracy revealed to everyone else. Conspiracies on a grand scale are impossible to contain to absolute secrecy.

The Watergate scandal was a harmful conspiracy, but the culprits were all found out and a president resigned over it.

Even the D-Day invasion, a conspiracy of massive proportions, was constantly in danger of being found out by the Germans, and in point of fact, the Allies believed the Germans may had known their plans and in order to throw them off, had General Patton stage a "fake" invasion way north of the Normandy beach.

What you wish to suggest is that these harmful conspiracies remain a conspiracy and no one ever finds out the exact truth. Everyone involved refuses to talk or they are rubbed out by the higher ups to keep from talking. It gets to the point that there is so much implausibility with the conspiracy that it becomes fantasy. Other conspiracies have to be thought up to plug the logical holes in original theory, and it continues on and on and on.

Take the moon landing for example. If you sincerely believe it was staged, then you are saying that the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the Apollo program were either faked out or duplicit with the hoax. Moreover, there were two Bible believing Christians astronauts involved with the Apollo program, Jim Irwin being one of them, which means these two men had to violate the ethics of their faith to be involved with the hoax. Furthermore, the Russians were in a race with the US to be the first to land on the moon. The Russians were on the look out for these sort of antics. If it were true the US faked the moon landing, then the Russians would have gleefully said so.

2. You then seem to say that only those whose minds are "darkened in sin" "can be snared by these fantasies" [conspiracies]. You seem to believe that a Bible-believing Christian can't believe them. Both Christians and non-Christians can and do believe in true conspiracies and false conspiracies.

(Fred) No. If you read carefully what I wrote, I said that I expected minds darkened in sin to be easy prey for belief in conspiracy theories. Sinners are always looking for some way to excuse away reality so as not to have to deal with God and their guilt before him. They don't think rationally according to God's truth, but act according to their sin nature, which is opposed to God. My shock is that Christians, who ought to know better, are tricked into believing conspiracy theories. The sinners has something of an excuse - they're sinners. Believers have no excuse.

3. You say it grieves your heart to see people who name Christ as advocating conspiracy. Why, if what they advocate is the truth? Again, you assume all "negative" conspiracies are false.

(Fred) But the so-called "truth" these believers advocate are foolish things. There was no moon landing? The government orchestrated 9-11?

4. You say, "before the internet, there were pastors and Bible teachers who preached about massive conspiracies that were going to usher in the anti-christ, or establish the new age, or force people to get a barcode, or the UN rounding up Christians and locking them in concentration camps." Then you call those Christians who promoted those theories as "cranks" and "KJV onlyists." All those "cranks" as you call them were speaking the truth. There is a vast conspiracy afoot to usher in antichrist as well as to usher in a new age--people will be forced to use something like the mark (the technology is already here), and Christians will go to concentration camps. Then you further insult these Christians by stating that they have "paranoid delusions" and are in need of "tin foil hats."

(Fred) Yes, that is what I did. My desire is that the followers of these conspiracy theories will come to their senses, repent of this mindset, and experience the true joy of their relationship with Christ. It is not to be found in being consumed and advocating conspiracy theories.

I don't have much time, so let me answer your remaining points with some one liners:

With number 5, you make my point for me. (You'll have to see the original comment under this post)

With number 6. Again, what relevance is the JFK assassination to Christian morality and a biblical worldview? How is saying that Oswald acted alone a denial of the truth? You equate having some knowledge about secular conspiracy theories with being a spirit filled believer.

Would you be willing to learn and proclaim a truth if it resulted in you losing your job, your friends, your church fellowship, or even your life?

(Fred) Yes. In fact I have had this happen in my life early on in my Christian walk.

Or are your job, friends, and church membership more important to you than learning and proclaiming truth?

(Fred) No, but the truth in mind here is not who killed JFK or 9-11 conspiracies, but more serious, real world truths like the person and work of Jesus and the authority of scripture. Biblical theology has no relevance to believing the moon landings were hoaxed.

Are you controlled by what others think and feel about you?

(Fred) Yes. Because I want to model Christ for others. If a person visits with me and does not walk away with an understanding that I love God, I believe I have done the Christian faith a disservice. Pestering the person to believe my pet conspiracy theory does not witness Christ to an unbeliever.

If you are, then you can't be a witness for Christ.

(Fred) Why?

Can you take a stand for the truth that goes against your your church elders?

(Fred) Seeing that my Church elders and I agree on the core tenets of the Christian faith, this question is irrelevant to me.

Would you proclaim an unpopular truth at the risk of being called divisive and hateful by your so-called brethren?

(Fred) Yes, and I have done it in the past. BUT, a couple of warnings:

1) Make sure it is the truth of scripture for which you are being divisive. Not who hoaxed the moon landing, or who brought down the WTC, or who shot JFK.

2) Secondly, make sure it is the truth of scripture that is being divisive and not your attitude.

It is one thing if the so-called brethren believe you are homophobic because you believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin and thus they refuse to have fellowship with you.

It is quite another if you have fallen into believing the elders of your local church are allowing church growth philosophy to rule the congregation, because you happen to believe small discipleship groups indicates a Hegelian-Marxist philosophy has taken root. If the elders disagree with you and believe you haven't convincingly demonstrated your claims, and so conclude you are adhering to a view of church growth that is unique and there is no evidence of this methodology having any negative impact on the church, then it may be wise for you to do one of two things:

a) obey the scriptures and submit to your elders' conclusions in the matter,

or b), quietly move on to another church where you believe they hold to your convictions in this matter. That means you don't stand outside on the sidewalk in front of the Church and protest or cause further division by speaking sinfully against the pastors.




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