Let’s Be Careful What We Call a Conspiracy
Let’s Be Careful What We Call a Conspiracy
We all want answers about the COVID-19 pandemic. We wonder what caused it, why it’s happening, and who might be to blame?
At the same time, we don’t have a lot of trust in government leaders, the public health experts, and the mainstream media. So we question the response, whether it’s an overreaction, or whether all of this is too little too late.
These factors make us easy prey for anyone who might want to manipulate us. And that’s what happened this week, as the “Plandemic” documentary came on the scene, promising to explain the “hidden agenda” behind the pandemic. The film sowed doubt, spread conspiracy theories, and offered different yet untested opinions about “what’s really going on.” The filmmakers had in no way earned the right to be heard, but the production was slick and got our attention nonetheless.
In these uncertain times, it’s vital that Christians, of all people, remain vigilant and discerning. Just because someone questions the narrative of the mainstream media—we still need to scrutinize their message. Christians ought to be impartial judges, testing everything, holding fast to what is good, and staying far from all evil. We ought to apply the same rigorous standards of truth to the pundits and conspiracy theorists that we apply to the mainstream media.
The 26-minute “Plandemic” bombshell made the rounds online, and particularly among Christian circles. Many people were saying, “Interesting perspective,” and asking each other, “What do you think?”
Since you asked, I think Plandemic is a sensationalistic bit of storytelling, a string of conspiracy theories woven together by filmmaker Mikki Willis who gives the perspective of a single source, Dr. Judy Mikovits. Willis introduces Dr. Mikovits as an expert to be trusted by the viewer, and her detractors as villains, “the minions of ‘Big Pharma’ [who] waged war on Dr. Mikovits,” perpetuating a “plague of corruption” and driven by motives of envy and greed.
Willis did not treat the facts of Dr. Mikovits’ professional discrediting with impartiality or press her for answers. Instead, using mood music, lighting, soothing narration, and good editing, Willis creates an experience to lead the viewer to a predetermined conclusion. If you love stories of conspiracy and intrigue, Plandemic is great entertainment.
According to Dr. Mikovits, none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci and his billionaire cronies planned the coronavirus pandemic to profit from vaccine patents.
I mentioned the Plandemic video to my brother, a journalist who works for ProPublica, and asked him to consider jotting down a few principles of sound investigative journalism. He wrote an article about it, which I highly recommend.
We ought to apply standards of journalistic integrity to the creators of Plandemic, as well as the mainstream media. That’s impartial and righteous, which is how we are called to act as Christians, reflecting the righteousness of our God.
With the forgoing as a rather long introduction, I’d like to come to my point in writing. First, I want to commend some biblical principles of impartiality to aid us as Christians in the judgments we make. Second, I want to return to this matter of conspiracy and identify where it really is.
Striving for Impartial Judgment
When it comes to investigating and getting to the truth of a matter, as they say, the devil is in the details. That means righteousness is in the details as well.
- We need to operate from a Christian worldview, which acknowledges the supremacy of Holy Scripture as the verbal, plenary inspiration of God, without error, absolutely authoritative, totally sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
- We need to practice making judgments in the fear of the Lord, without prejudice, bias, or favoritism (Lev. 19:15).
- We need to recognize the presence of bias (e.g., liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican) and mitigate against it. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9).
- We need to get the facts straight, all of them, not just the facts that fit our suspicions and inclinations. We should fact-check everything.
- We need to recognize that “the one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Prov. 18:17). We should practice cross-examination and never rely on an unchallenged, one-sided narrative. We need to get the other side of the story, and tell it with integrity.
- We should hold our judgments in confidence and humility, because truth is more important than being right. This means we pursue total transparency, whenever possible, and encourage independent verification of our sources (e.g., providing names, credentials, citations).
The principles of journalistic integrity my brother explained in his article reflect those biblical truths, even if those principles are practiced inconsistently in his profession. Where these principles ought never to be ignored is in the church of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, however, perhaps because we hold such strong socio-political views, we can sometimes forget our transcendent duty to impartiality and diligence in making judgments. Which is why we must redouble our efforts to show integrity in making impartial and thorough judgments in practical church ministry, for example: elders investigating charges against other elders (1 Tim. 5:19-21); counselors understanding issues before they give counsel (Prov. 18:13); investigating guilt and innocence in church discipline (Matt. 18:15-17).
All Christians must be impartial and thorough in making judgments (Matt. 7:1-5), since “the spiritual person judges all things” (1 Cor. 2:15). Paul says,
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (1 Cor. 6:2-3)
Since God has decided to involve us in such weighty matters, it’s time to grow up and practice good judgment now, because we are called to be sober-minded, spiritually-discerning Christians.
Identifying the Source of Conspiracy
How many of the opinions floating around today are going to stand the test of time? Of all the attempted conspiracies, how many will succeed, how many will last?
If Dr. Fauci really has duped the entire world, planning a pandemic to enrich himself and his billionaire friends, and if Dr. Mikovits, Mikki Willis, and a few whistleblowers have truly discovered what no one else has been able to see or discern—time will tell. Any nefarious plans hatched by “Big Pharma,” “Big Tech,” and the “Deep State” will ultimately come to nothing (Ps. 62:9), and all will answer to a holy God.
When it comes to identifying conspiracies, the devil is not in the details; he is in the air. Paul tells us, “the prince of the power of the air” is “the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Human beings are not the issue; it’s not the powerful on earth we are to regard, for God laughs at their futile attempts to conspire against His sovereign will (cf. Ps. 2:1-4). Rather, God says,
Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary … (Isa. 8:12).
When people feel small and powerless, there is a great temptation to doubt leaders, to distrust popular narratives, and to become distracted by tales of conspiracy and intrigue. But we are instructed to “fear the LORD and the king” (Prov. 24:21), and not to “associate with those who are given to change” (i.e., revolution, rebellion). We are warned in the next verse, “for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?”
That’s not to say there isn’t a great conspiracy afoot, because there is—the devil conspiring with his demons to distract and deceive men, to turn them away from the LORD of hosts. We need to rise above the scuttlebutt, not get caught up in this world’s anxieties, and redeem the time because the days are evil, making the most of every opportunity to preach the gospel to the lost.
Instead of suspecting, accusing, and resisting those in government charged with navigating through this crisis, we need to sympathize with the difficulty of the task, be as supportive as possible (within the bounds of righteousness), and live as productive Christians. Paul charges us as Christians “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thess. 4:11-12).
Further, we are to take an active interest in loving our neighbors, by praying for them (1 Tim. 2:1-4):
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
We are to “sanctify Christ as Lord in [our] hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks [us] to give an account for the hope that is in [us], yet with gentleness and reverence; [keeping] a good conscience so that in the thing in which [we] are slandered, those who revile [our] good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Pet. 3:15-16).
So, Christian, let’s be careful what we call a conspiracy. Let’s not elevate the futile machinations of mankind too highly in our minds. Instead, let’s identify the real conspiracy, namely, to keep mankind enslaved to sin and death, let’s identify the devil as its author, and then let’s fight the demonic conspiracy by preaching the gospel and living according to its blessed truths.