Updated: Sep 22, 2022
Video from Southern Seminary
A Conspiracy Theory is a lie. It breaks the ninth commandment of Do not bear false witness. Now this commandment has very broad implications and effects everything we do in our lives.
A Christian conspiracy theorist bears false witness against his neighbors/fellow citizens etc. because he accuses them of grievous sins, he destroys their good name, and can even incite deadly violence, which we are already starting to see today.
The reality is the conspiracy theorist doesn’t think he or she is lying.” Which is where our churches, moral/theological instruction has failed. To say Do not lie is inadequate.
The Westminster Larger Catechism gives us guidance:
"The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report."
Those obligations if we understand our duty to our neighbor will keep us from being a magnet for the most paranoid accusations. This is how the church addresses conspiracy theories.
So here's our problem. Some of my most trusted Christian friends promote conspiracy theories. They have no first hand knowledge of any facts, they just blindly believe what someone else has said. This is called common sense of facts. People lose their common sense.
So where are you in this dynamic? Do you promote that Trump won the election without facts? Do you see the “slandering” or lying by political opponents but cannot see it in yourself?. Are you observing the 9th commandment? Are you involved in deceitful gossip that can harm people and our nation?
The church, our churches must address this deep fundamental failure of moral and theological instruction about politics. Conspiracy theories represent one of the many symptoms the underlying diseases.