We have probably all heard conspiracy theories related to the present global health crisis. Here are a few alleged schemes I have run across:
- COVID-19 is caused by 5G technology.
- The coronavirus was developed in a lab either by the Chinese Communist Party or by the U.S. Military.
- Big Pharma developed COVID-19 and took out patents so they can make billions selling the vaccine.
- Genetically modified crops caused the coronavirus.
- Anthony Faucci is part of the Deep State working to ruin the economy in order to change election laws.
- The coronavirus is God’s punishment – either God’s punishment against Jews, or God’s punishment because of homosexuals.
- The coronavirus scare is a politically motivated hoax designed to:
- a) make the President look bad.
- b) put an end to the Public-School system.
- c) allow for wide-spread mail-in voting in order to sway the upcoming election.
- d) make Bill Gates even richer by forcing people to buy more computers and tablets.
- e) all of the above.
- COVID-19 does not exist.
How should Christians respond to rumors such as these? Here are some suggestions:
1) REJECT THE ‘SPIRIT OF FEAR’
Conspiracy theories prey on people’s fears by insinuating that the world is secretly governed by dark, malevolent powers. But the Bible declares that our world is under the sovereign control of a wise and loving God. This, of course, does not mean there are no dangers and tragedies in life. But the Bible tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7). God calls us to live as men and women of faith, who face life’s challenges with the confidence that our loving Father watches over us all the time. Jesus specifically instructed his followers not to be alarmed at the news of “wars and rumors of wars” or of natural catastrophes (Mark 13:7-8). We are to live by faith. We are not to walk in fear.
2) REMEMBER THAT LYING IS A SIN.
To pass on information we do not know to be true is a form of lying. Conspiracy theories thrive on unverifiable hypotheses, unsubstantiated rumors, and insinuations about other people’s hidden motives. There is no way to prove the veracity of such claims. To spread these theories is, therefore, deceptive. It leads us to engage in slander. The Bible says, “Do not go about spreading slander among your people,” and lists slander as a sin we must abandon if we want to follow Jesus (Lev. 19:16; Col. 3:8).
3) KEEP YOUR FOCUS ON GOD.
Conspiracy theories distract us from what is important in life. They divert our attention toward endless political debates, frantic speculation, and fruitless culture wars. Caught up in such matters we might easily forget why we were put on this earth – “to glorify God and enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism). Christians are called to share the gospel, to love our neighbors, and to honor the Lord with our lives. We were never called to debate the merits of hydroxychloroquine.
4) BE GENTLE TOWARD THE GULLIBLE
Those given toward credulity in the face of conspiracy theories are prone toward the sins of fearfulness and slander. But those who are better informed, who are more likely to scoff at such theories, are tempted by an even deadlier sin – the sin of pride. Before you snicker at the crazy rants of your silly uncle, remember that you, too, are frail and prone to error. Be gentle toward the gullible. Humbly instruct them when appropriate, but always treat others with love. Romans 15:1 says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”