Both the Internet and social media are very useful tools—but even useful things can be misused to do harmful things by misguided human beings.
Conspiracy theories and all sorts of useless babblings abound in today’s marketplace of ideas. The Internet and social media, aided by the algorithms designed to multiply exposure to as many users as possible, fuel the spread of endless prattle, drivel, and distraction from truth.
Fact-checking has never been more necessary than it is today when it is foolish to take almost anything at face value, without a healthy dose of skepticism. Liars, cheaters, and schemers are all too ready to separate us from our money, our beliefs, and our ethics through distortion, propaganda, fear, manipulation, and polarization.
Some participate in promoting a conspiracy theory knowingly, simply to trick or prank other people. Others perpetrate a scheme to engineer an advantage over a business competitor or an opposing political party. Perhaps most of us have innocently shared an email or text that sounded plausible, only to find out later that it was a hoax.
Why are conspiracy theories treated as if they are totally factual when they are most often nothing more than speculations? They often spread like wildfire because they contain or consist of sensational, tantalizing, and salacious gossip and are invariably critical, insulting, divisive, and hostile. Truth and integrity are not part of the equation, while lying and deception often are.
Conspiracy theories cover a wide range of topics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines; the deaths of Elvis and Princess Diana; the moon landing, Area 51; secret societies controlling human affairs; and a host of cure-alls and diets with secret ingredients that can only be found in some remote location, just to name a few. Conspiracy theories are also spread about companies and their products, and about governments, their agencies, and elections.
Actual conspiracies can exist, however. History has recorded them. The Bible mentions several actual conspiracies against God’s servants and some kings of Israel and Judah. The New Testament records conspiracies against Jesus Christ and His apostles.
Conspiracies are so often evil, and the Bible warns against participating in anything that is evil, deceptive, or harmful. The Apostle Paul instructed the evangelist Timothy about unhealthy conversation: “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20–21).
In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul said, “Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers…. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer” (2 Timothy 2:14–17). How much faster things spread today!
Conspiracy theories and profane and fruitless discussions are not only time wasters, but also all too often harmful to others and to us. Many conspiracies cannot be proven true or false because there is no real evidence either way. Most conspiracy theories are based on bias, prejudice, ideologies, and partisanship—pointless to pass on or waste time with, especially when Paul exhorted Christians to focus their minds on what is good (Philippians 4:8).
When it comes to conspiracy theories and useless babblings, you can apply the principles of Ephesians 4:14: “We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men.” Then, you will be all the more able to focus on what truly matters most.
Be sure to watch the telecast “The Greatest Conspiracy of All.” Also, be sure to order your free copy of the study guide John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse or read it online right here at Tomorrow’s World!