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Getting to the Heart of Conspiracy Beliefs

Over the years belief in conspiracy theories have proliferated in America and in many parts of the world. Some of them include:

-The US government deposits $630,000 into an inaccessible, secret bank account for every person born in the USA. Only those who know the correct top-secret codes can access THEIR money.

-Victims of some mass shootings, especially Sandy Hook, were crisis actors paid by the government as part of a secret plot to take away citizen’s guns.

-Jews secretly control governments all over the world and own all the major banks.

In ministering to people, Christians need to look at these weird and irrational beliefs not with condescension, but at what is really behind them. In reviewing conspiracy theories, author J.C. Pan writes that these anxiety-based beliefs flourish when citizens feel politically or economically marginalized:

People end up susceptible to outlandish ideas not because they’re inordinately foolish or ill-intentioned, but because they’re living in times of enormous socioeconomic instability and political discord. Put another way, conspiracy theories… (are a) signal that a democracy is already decaying. Combating them effectively has less to do with sounding the alarm than with taking up a broader fight for economic equality and for robust, democratic social institutions.

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