Not so long ago, I wrote this article about Christians avoiding conspiracy theories. The ultimate problem with conspiracy theories is that they deal in half-truths and false information that, before long, end up being outright lies and untruths. Those who spread them may not always intentionally mean to mislead, but that is ultimately what they end up doing, spreading what is ultimately untrue.
In light of that, and some of the events we saw unfolding yesterday, here is what the Bible has to say about that:
11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honour as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.Isaiah 8:11-13
You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.Exodus 23:1
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.Proverbs 26:24-28
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,Proverbs 6:12-19
goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals[c] with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.Luke 16:10
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peaceZechariah 8:16
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.Romans 13:1-7
Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor.1 Peter 2:17
Given what happened yesterday in the US Capitol, we would do well to reflect on these things. How many of these things are on display? How many of them have been on display?
The Bible has plenty to say about the spread of lies and untruth. It has a significant amount to say about conspiracy theory. Christians should be very wary before retweeting, sharing and posting things for which we have little to no evidence. You can find any opinion you like on the internet if you look for it.
Most the Republicans have conceded defeat. Trump himself has been recorded pressuring people to ‘find’ certain votes that simply do not exist. Some have insisted there is ‘good evidence’ of fraud. Some Christian friends have insisted there is ‘good evidence’ of conspiracy and fraud in the US elections. But, as yet, nobody has produced any such evidence. Few seem willing to back down from a position that rolls on merely because it is the one they want to be true.
Most conspiracy theory runs on the same lines. It presses on because it plays on a confirmation bias that simply wants it to be true. In the end, things don’t become true because we want them to be or we believe them enough. Only the most arrogant would insist that they have special insight, that nobody else has, despite no training in a directly relevant field. The Bible would have plenty to say about overstating what we know, over-egging our qualifications and the arrogance of claiming to know without relevant training what those with it insist is not the case. Some of what it thinks about that are listed in the quotes above.