Which commonly believed theories about Christianity have no basis in biblical facts? Let’s examine these ideas—and the most popular conspiracy theories, urban legends, and tall tales—to see which ones fall in the realm of reality and which belong in the same fictional fantasy realm as Elvis sightings. Find out how in this episode of Tomorrow’s World.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Conspiracy theories abound and exactly how many there are is up for grabs. Some conspiracies are recent, others are decades or centuries old.
Lists of popular theories abound on the Internet, though new ones seem to be born every year, especially in recent days. Leaders in government, science, medicine, and the media have discredited themselves through inept and dishonest policies affecting peoples and nations—thus giving rise to skepticism, distrust, and some of the most wildly speculative theories ever conceived. And with social media come speculations on steroids.
On today’s Tomorrow’s World program, we’ll look at some of the most popular conspiracy theories that have ever been told. I’ll also reveal the greatest conspiracy of all—one that is not theory, but fact.
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World, where we give you the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, explain prophecies of the Bible, and bring new insights from the word of God. On today’s program, we’ll look at some of the most popular conspiracy theories along with the greatest conspiracy of all time—one that affects your life.
Some conspiracies involve famous people faking their own death. Other narratives are about how prominent people died, or didn’t die, contrary to the official story. Some are rather laughable, such as:
Elvis is still alive and was seen at…
A gas station, grocery store, or, according to a supermarket tabloid, he was spotted at Graceland, his legendary home, on his 85th birthday, along with a grainy picture.
Other famous death conspiracies involve:
JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald
Martin Luther King
And, would you believe, even:
Where a false story was circulated to explain away the resurrection. We read of it in Matthew 28, beginning in verse 11:
Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day (Matthew 28:11–15).
As with that example, some conspiracies are more than theories. Some have proven to be true beyond Internet blogs and questionable sources. One came to light from a Top Secret document that was made public November 18, 1997:
Operation Northwoods was a plan circulated in the U.S. government in 1962 to stage false flag terrorist attacks inside the U.S. and abroad to provoke “military intervention in Cuba”. The plan called for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other operatives to commit genuine acts of terrorism in U.S. cities and elsewhere. These acts of terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to create public support for a war against that nation, which had recently become communist under Fidel Castro. One part of the Operation Northwoods plan was to “develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.” The document was signed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer and reportedly presented to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962 (“Operation Northwoods,” PublicIntelligence.net, March 9, 2010).
The plan was given to President Kennedy, who had the good sense to turn it down, but the fact that a false flag of this magnitude was considered by high government officials, involving sacrificing the lives of American citizens, is it any wonder that such schemes have contributed to wild speculations? Less than four years after Operation Northwoods came to light, Muslim extremists flew passenger planes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
Some allege that the CIA was complicit, and that the attack was a ruse to create fear so that Americans would give up greater control over their lives. Others believe it was an excuse for President Bush to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussain—finishing the job his father left undone.
Sadly, some conspiracy theories have ruined the lives of those caught up in them. One example is QAnon.
Or as others refer to it: QAnonsense.
Following the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., BBC news explained this phenomenon:
At its heart, QAnon is a wide-ranging, completely unfounded theory that says that President Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media.
QAnon believers have speculated that this fight will lead to a day of reckoning where prominent people such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be arrested and executed (“QAnon: What is it and where did it come from?” BBC.com, January 6, 2021).
This elaborately evolving theory began in October 2017 when an anonymous person, supposedly in the Trump administration, with Department of Energy high level Q security clearance, made a post on the 4chan message board and signed off as “Q.”
The very nature of Q is that it becomes an obsessive game where clues are dropped like breadcrumbs, creating an addiction to find and unravel the next cryptic post. Some estimate that there are millions following Q, and if you meet one of them, you understand how obsessed someone can become to an unproven theory from an anonymous source. Stories abound of ruined relationships as believers become consumed in a fantasy world where anyone who disagrees is shut out and considered the enemy.
Few of them have anything to do with how you live your life and even if true, which most are not, what can you do about it? But, before the break I said we’ll explore the greatest conspiracy of all time—right from the pages of the Bible. But let me first remind you of how skeptical we have become. Many are convinced the U.S. government is not being truthful about a number of current and historical events. For example:
It is alleged that the Moon Landing was faked, an alien spacecraft crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, and contrails are really chemtrails. And, then there is The HAARP project.
HAARP, an acronym for High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a real U.S. government program. The only question is the alleged interpretation of its purpose.
Its official website states:
The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere (“About HAARP,” University of Alaska, Fairbanks, HAARP.gi.alaska.edu).
Researchers say they hope to learn about the ionosphere to enhance our communication and navigation technology. But a committed group of conspiracy theorists have long claimed HAARP is used to cause natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and even tsunamis. And others believe HAARP is used for mind control purposes.
Wise king Solomon wrote,
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us (Ecclesiastes 1:9–10).
No, conspiracy theories are not new, but the Internet, social media, and photo doctoring techniques put them on steroids.
But do you realize that there are commonly believed theories about Christ that have no basis in biblical fact? For example, many claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that the Church has hidden the evidence for centuries.
Made popular by the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and the Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code, this conspiracy theory has been around a long time. Some claim that this supposed marriage produced a lineage of children that were eventually brought to France. In 2012, Harvard historian Karen King claimed to have found an ancient, second-century writing in which Jesus supposedly calls Mary “My wife.” But four years later, she conceded that she had been duped by a forgery.
Still, the theory persists, as conspiracy theorists claim Mary Magdalene’s role in the early Church has been hidden and suppressed to maintain the power structure of the male “patriarchy.”
Of course the Bible says no such thing, but this is an example of how little understanding, and how little faith individuals have in the one and only authoritative source of the life of Jesus. Books can be exciting. Movies can be thrilling. But neither secular books nor movies should guide us on this important subject. As blasphemous as this theory is, and the conspiracy about the disciples stealing the body of Jesus, there is an even more important one—the greatest conspiracy of all.
True first century followers of Christ took the truth seriously. For them, it was no game, no social club, but a way of life. The questions must be asked: Is the Christianity of today the same as that of the first century? Is it “Original Christianity,” or a shallow counterfeit? Here’s the answer from mainline Protestant scholar, Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, in his book The Story of the Christian Church. In the chapter that he titled, “The Age of Shadows” he wrote:
For fifty years after St. Paul’s life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul” (Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, 1970, p. 33).
Now what were those changes that he refers to? How significant were they? Were they minor cosmetic changes or changes in frontline doctrines? Hurlbut lists a few of the many that took place during the shadowy time and the centuries that followed.
The services of worship increased in splendor, but were less spiritual and hearty than those of former times. The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with change of name and of worship. About 405 A.D. images of saints and martyrs began to appear in the churches, at first as memorials, then in succession revered, adored, and worshiped. The adoration of the Virgin Mary was substituted for the worship of Venus and Diana; the Lord’s Supper became a sacrifice in place of a memorial; and the elder evolved from a preacher into a priest. (Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, 1918, p. 79).
Hurlbut is one of many mainline scholars and historians who admit that the Christian church of today is not the same as that of Jesus, His apostles, and His first-century followers. Original Christianity was corrupted by one, grand conspiracy. One common narrative is that Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and made Christianity the religion of Europe and much of the world. But how converted was Constantine, and what kind of Christianity did he bring to the world? Historian Paul Johnson observes the following in this regard:
[T]here is some doubt about the magnitude of Constantine’s change of ideas.… He himself appears to have been a sun-worshipper, one of a number of late-pagan cults which had observances in common with the Christians. Thus the followers of Isis adored a madonna nursing her holy child; the cult of Attis and Cybele celebrated a day of blood and fasting, followed by the Hilaria resurrection-feast, a day of joy, on 25 March; the elitist Mithraics, many of whom were senior army officers, ate a sacred meal. Constantine was almost certainly a Mithraic, and his triumphal arch, built after his ‘conversion’, testifies to the Sun-god, or ‘unconquered sun.’ Many Christians did not make a clear distinction between this sun-cult and their own. They referred to Christ ‘driving his chariot across the sky’; they held their services on Sunday, knelt towards the East and had their nativity-feast on 25 December, the birthday of the sun at the winter solstice. During the later pagan revival under the Emperor Julian many Christians found it easy to apostatize because of this confusion; the Bishop of Troy told Julian he had always prayed secretly to the sun. Constantine never abandoned sun-worship and kept the sun on his coins. He made Sunday into a day of rest (A History of Christianity, 1976, pp. 67–68).
The record of history shows original Christianity of the first century was very different from that of today, but does this matter as long as we worship Jesus? How does the Bible answer this question? And how does it describe first century Christianity?
That modern professing Christianity has been supplanted is not in dispute. The real questions are: Who did it? And, what should you do about it? The answers to both are found in the Bible. Let’s answer the first question: Who is behind this conspiracy? Speaking of the time yet ahead, we read in Revelation 12 and verse 9 that there is a great deceiver:
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9).
In Ephesians 2, verse 2, we learn how he deceives the world—by broadcasting attitudes and moods through the air.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1–2).
Satan does not direct the course of this world alone. He uses human beings who themselves are most often deceived. And that deception is not in moral values alone, but in Christianity itself. There are many warnings in the New Testament against a Satanic false Christianity—more than I have time to fully cover in this program. One passage shows the Apostle Paul soundly correcting the church at Corinth over their careless acceptance of doctrines contrary to the truth—2 Corinthians 11, verse 4:
For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! (2 Corinthians 11:4).
Paul then went on to explain the source of the problem and he minced no words in doing so. He would not be viewed as politically correct today. Notice it in verses 13–15:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:13–15).
Yes, there was a conspiracy to transform Christianity into something very different from that of Jesus and his early followers. Jesus’ half-brother Jude, writing in the first century, admonished those of his day that they needed to strive to preserve the truth which was already delivered to them. And by doing so, he put a nail in the coffin of the idea that true Christianity should evolve over time. Notice in Jude verse 3:
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
Jude went on to show one of the major tenets of this conspiracy—that grace does away with the law of God. Here it is in verse 4:
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).
Jesus warned against following men who claim to represent Him, men who say Jesus is the Christ, but deceive the people in the process. The first sign Jesus gave when asked by His disciples about the sign of His coming, was false Christianity.
Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name [That is, representing Him], saying, “I [That is, Jesus] am the Christ,” and will deceive many (Matthew 24:4–5).
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17,
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17).
So what do people do? They think exactly what He said not to think—that the law of God is done away. No wonder Jesus asks,
But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).
The highly respected philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard, sums it up with brutal clarity:
The Christianity of the New Testament simply does not exist…. what has to be done is to throw light upon a criminal offense against Christianity, prolonged through centuries, perpetrated by millions (more or less guiltily), whereby they have cunningly, under the guise of perfecting Christianity, sought little by little to cheat God out of Christianity, and have succeeded in making Christianity exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament (Kierkegaard, Walter Lowrie trans. Attack Upon “Christendom”, 1946, pp. 32–33).
So what are you, dear friends, going to do? Will you follow the traditions of men, as they have been handed down to you? That’s the easy course. Or are you courageous enough to turn back to original Christianity?
Thank you for watching! If you found this video helpful, and want to learn more about how Paul, Peter, and other first century leaders of the Church worshiped God differently than Christians today, order your free copy of “Restoring Original Christianity.” All you need to do is click the link in the description, as it is completely free. And remember to subscribe to our channel so you can continue to learn the plain truth from the pages of the Bible. See you next time.
If Jesus of Nazareth were to return to the earth today, would He recognize the religion that is using His name? Not at all! Mankind has twisted Jesus Christ’s teachings so that the religion bearing His name has practically no relationship to what He and the Apostles actually lived and believed.
Can you find a Church that strives to live by the original teachings of Christianity? Can you prove for yourself what God’s Truth really is? This booklet will give you the all-important answers to those questions!