by Bill Crouse
Currently, the whole world seems rife with conspiracy theories.? Some examples: the recent winner of the Nobel prize announced, as she received the award, that Aids was created to rid the world of the Black Race; the recent tsunami in Asia was caused by the Jews and the U.S. setting off a nuclear bomb on the ocean floor; the Iraq War was concocted at the president?s Crawford Ranch to help his oil buddies; the U.S. government is altering the weather by shifting the jet streams in Alaska with secret giant jet fans.? These theories are not just being promoted by the unwashed masses, but often by well-placed, highly-educated men and women.
During the 60’s and 70’s most of the conspiracy theories were held by people on the conservative side of the political spectrum, and most centered around the threat of communism and a one-world government.? Strangely enough, most of the new weird conspiracy theories today are coming from the political left.? Some prominent figures of the left who have advocated a conspiratorial explanation of events are: Paul Krugman, Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Michael Moore, Howard Dean, Eric Alterman, Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, Edward Kennedy, Cynthia McKinney, and many more.
All conspiracy theories, whether they come from the right or the left, have many things in common.
II. Defining Terms
A. A conspiracy is a secret plot to carry out some deed against a rival by a few insiders.? Unless someone from the inside leaks the plans, or the plot is somehow discovered, by definition, conspiracies are not known until after the fact.? Hence they are vulnerable as soon as they are exposed. Two examples of recent conspiracies:
- International communism of the last century was largely seen as s conspiracy since it used subversive strategies to take over countries and institutions.
- More recently the attack on the Twin Trade Towers in New York City by Al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001, was a conspiracy that had been years in planning.
B. There are also biblical examples of conspiracies: See Isa. 14; Rev. 12, and the death of Christ.
C. A conspiracy theory is a perception of a possible conspiracy.? It may be either true or false.? A conspiracy theory remains a theory until it is exposed and proven factual.? In this briefing outline we are not considering small-scale conspiracies such as business rivalries, but grand-scale conspiracies, i.e., those which are politically motivated as government against government, plots to take over the world, etc.
III. A History of Conspiracy Theory
A. The Roots of Conspiracy Theories
The roots of most conspiracy theories extend back to the Crusades and the Knights Templar (some even take it back to the mystery religions).?? Serious conspiracy theory, however, began shortly after the French Revolution.? An overthrow of a tyrannical government by the masses (as in the FR) was unique in world history.? Historians and political scientists were baffled as to what exactly caused it.? Several influential historians attributed it to secret societies.? The main suspects were the Freemasons, the Bavarian Illuminati, and the Knights Templar.? One theory was:? the Masons and the Templars instigated the revolution against the monarchy as revenge for the martyrdom of Jacques de Molay, a Grand Master of the Knights Templar.? Another version had the Bavarian Illuminati as the perpetrators.? In 1790 there was a deluge of articles and pamphlets blaming this secret society for wanting to abolish the monarchy, religion, the family, and private property.
Three of the most influential works giving details of this elaborate plot were: Triumph of Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, by Johann Starck (1741 – 1816), Proofs of a Conspiracy, by John Robison (1739 – 1805), and the massive four volume work: Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, by the French priest, Abbe De Barruel (1741 – 1820).? According to this work, the Illuminati took control of certain French Masonic Lodges and spawned the revolution.? This work by De Barruel became one of the most influential and popular books in Europe, and was translated into many languages, and is still considered the classic work on conspiracy.? According to Pipes …belief in plots became part of mainstream European political life.? Together, Robison, de Barruel, and Starck created a secret society interpretation of history that remains influential and little changed to this day (Conspiracy, p. 72).
The bottom line is this: Most of today?s conspiracy theories, particularly those from the conservative spectrum, believe the secret societies that precipitated the FR continue to control world events today.? However, not long after the FR a belief became widespread that powerful Jews controlled these organizations, and the real conspiracy was Jewish.? In 1807 Napoleon referred to this cabal as The Great Sanhedrin.? A century later, this idea that there was a secret council of Jews controlling everything, surfaced in one of the most infamous books ever published: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
B.?? Proof of a Real Conspiracy
The publishing of The Protocols constitutes one of the most vile conspiracies ever hatched in the history of mankind.? I first came upon this book when I was about 30 years old.? It was contained within another book about end-times prophecy.? I had never heard of it before, but was immediately smitten by how relevant it sounded with our decaying culture, and how imminent the Lord?s return must be.?? It was so interesting that I continued reading far into the night.? By morning I was simply dumbfounded.? Who wrote this book?? I began an inquiry that took several years.? Here?s what I found: The book is about secret meetings of powerful Jewish leaders who plot world conquest.? The plans involve: disrupting traditional families, taking over the educational systems, the media, the banks, mass terror, etc.
Needless to say, this book, which surfaced at the beginning of the 20th Century, was distributed all over Russia by the Czar to prove to his people that the revolution was being instigated by Jews.? The book is a not only a forgery, it was plagiarized from a French pamphlet written in 1864 by Maurice Joly.? His work was a satire, entitled: Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. The dialogues, which never mention anything about Jews, attacked the political ambitions of Napoleon, III.? Later, in 1868, a German anti-semite adapted Joly?s dialogues into a mythical tale of a Jewish plot.? This plagiarism soon found its way into Russia where it eventually evolved into The Protocols.? It was printed for the first time in 1897, but was not made public until a thoroughly re-worked edition by a mystic priest named Sergius Nilus published it in 1905.
From thence it became widely known and was accepted as the truth by most of the intelligentsia of Europe. In the Thirties it was published by the millions in Germany and became one of Hitler?s main propaganda pieces.? In the Middle East today it is also published by the millions in Arabic and was recently made into a TV series in Egypt.? The sad thing is, that until recently, you could still buy this vile, insidious book at Walmart?s website!
Antisemitism has never been as high since WWII.? I believe much of this increase is ultimately based on this satanically inspired book, yet I am totally convinced that the ideas of this book are the foundation for much of the conspiracy theories being promoted in a plethora of books by Christians, even though The Protocols are seldom quoted directly.
For example, to support their theories, many quote from Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, by Nesta H. Webster, first published in 1924.? She was a British fascist and admirer and defender of Hitler?s policies.? For documentation see: Fellow-Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, by Richard Griffith, and A Study of British Fascism, by Robert Benewick.? Her belief was that there is a world-wide Jewish master conspiracy behind historical events.? Some of the writers who endorse her theories or quote extensively from her work are: Ken Klein, Jack Chick, James Wardner, Don McAlvany, Texe Marrs, Marlin Maddox, Chuck Missler, Pat Robertson, Eustace Mullins, Ralph Epperson, Willis Carto, Gary Kah, William Guy Carr, Tim LaHaye, Robert Sessler, Jack Van Impe, etc.? What is ironic, is that many of the above are very pro-Israel.
For more documentation, see the work of the forthright Christian researcher, Richard Abanes,? in his book: Defending the Faith: A Beginner?s Guide to Cults and New Religions. (We are not condemning wholesale the ministries of the above-named, only the fact that they are quoting and building their conspiracy theories on faulty grounds.)
IV. Why the Increase in Conspiracy Theories?
One writer remarked that conspiracies are the new opiate of the masses (Mary Jacobs, writer for the Dallas Morning News).? There are many reasons why multitudes resort to conspiracy theory:
- The Internet.? There are literally hundreds of sites given wholly to explaining world events by a powerful conspiracy (or conspiracies).? See for example: www.savethemales.ca
- There is a new threat to Western Civilization.? Since the collapse of communism the vacuum has been filled by the rapid growth of world-wide Islam, and with mass immigration it has become entrenched in Western Europe and even in many cities of the U.S.
- End times Speculation.? Some Christians from the Protestant Millennial tradition see history winding down and the emergence of a one-world government combined with a one-world religion ultimately ruled by The Antichrist.? Some Christian leaders make predicting events based on their conspiracy theories the focal point of their ministries.? This is not to indict a theological perspective held by many believers.? I believe the proper attitude is to avoid dogmatism, needless speculation, and the temptation to engage in date-setting, or creating a climate of fear.
- The Complexity of the Times.? As the world was made small by travel and instant communication world events loom large and affect all of us.? Epidemics, weather events, wars, catastrophes, political assassinations, and terrorism are seen nightly on TV.? When people live in constant fear, conspiracy theories seem to make the complex and seemingly unexplainable world events more manageable.
- The Distrust of Modern Government.? As the government grows larger and intrudes into every area of our lives it?s easy to attribute this growth and increase in power to conspiracy.? Sometimes it may be warranted.? I am not discounting the possibility of conspiracies to achieve power.? My concern here is seeing everything as one monolithic cabal.
- Postmodernism has been characterized as an utter bankruptcy of reason.? It also assumes that all life is politics.? Whatever party is out of power tends to attribute the achievement (political victory) of their opponent to conspiracies.? This is without a doubt why so many conspiracy theories now find their source on the left of the spectrum.? Despite facts to the contrary, there are still those who believe the current president conspired to steal both elections.? In the PM paradigm truth is not the utmost of importance.
- Hollywood Movies and Contemporary Fiction.? Some recent movies that contribute to endless speculations about conspiracies are: JFK, Conspiracy, Fahrenheit 911, The Skulls,? The Firm, and, The Matrix.? The recent best-selling novel, The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, and his forth-coming book on Masonry are according to his claim, based on the truth.? (For you older readers:? see the book, Captains and Kings, by Taylor Caldwell)
V.? Characteristics of Conspiracy Theories
A. They are often seen as invincible, irresistible, super efficient, and sinister.? A vast super-secret centrally directed, fabulously well-funded conspiracy with tentacles everywhere? a virtually omnipotent and omniscient force.
B. The insiders, those at the top, often employ super technology not known on the street.
C. They have power to control everyone whether they are aware of it or not.? They always win.? Most conspiracists believe both political parties are controlled by the insiders, therefore, whoever wins is their man (or woman).
D. If a belief is widely accepted it is automatically ruled as false, and if any evidence is presented against the theory it is seen as proof positive as to how clever it is.? Only a few really know the truth; those on the inside and those brilliant enough to figure out who is really running things.? Therefore, whatever the establishment spurns as false must be true.? The fact that the Warren Commission concluded that JFK?s death was not a conspiracy makes it certain to be one.
E. Conspiracy theories are often presented with staggering amounts of documentation and charts.? The sheer amount of facts and data are supposed to convince you of its truthfulness.? Often there is incestuous quoting.? Imagine a conference of conspiracy theorists all quoting each other.
VI. The Psychology of Conspiracy Theorists
A. There is inordinate paranoia about government cover ups and secret operations.? Nothing is as is seems.? The official explanation is never the truth.? And of course, sometimes there are government cover-ups, but we need real whistle-blowers to know the truth.
B. A conspiracist sees all of life as explainable by conspiracy, i.e., the conspiracy theory of history.? Today this describes a large population of the Middle East, and multitudes in old Europe and the U.S.
C. Those who don?t believe in their elaborate conspiracies are considered dupes, the gullible hoi polloi.
D. Ironically, those who make a career out of writing and lecturing about how they discovered the machinations of a conspiracy are somewhat elitists themselves, and manipulate audiences by peddling fear.? Interestingly enough we only need to look at the recent Y2K scare for an example.? Many of these same people were also conspiracy theorists.
E. With the use of ad hoc hypothesis it is almost impossible to reason with them.? In other words, for every objection one raises, they have an instant answer.? There is never a possibility for falsification.
F. They engage in endless revision of history.? One of the most troubling examples is those who deny the holocaust.
VII. Types of Conspiracies and Secret Societies
As noted above, the grandaddy of all conspiracy theories is the Masonic-Jewish cabal that began after the French revolution.? There are always subsidiaries, e.g., communism was just a tool of the international monopoly capitalists, and, likewise, the World Council of Churches and the United Nations.? Other entities controlled by the insiders at the top are such secret and semi-secret organizations as: Skull and Bones, the CIA, the Trilateral Commission, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers, the Pilgrim Society, the Jesuits, the Federal Reserve Bank, the major media networks, Hollywood, etc.? There are, of course variants of conspiracy theory, but I think I?ve covered most of them.
Also, we might add that some of the organizations mentioned above are indeed conspiratorial.? Their members are elitists, they maintain a tight secrecy and they are for world government.? What I object to, is that they are a monolithic, or a master conspiracy.? The Bilderbergers and the Council of Foreign Relations are two good examples.? Their members are a group of powerful men and women and they would love even more power.? I sincerely believe that the United Nations was founded with the express purpose, that in time, it would lead to world government.? As Casey Stengel said: You can look it up!? (See the original U. N Charter)
VIII. The Fruit of Conspiracy Theories are not Positive
A. The one single component that keeps conspiracy theories alive and thriving is fear.? This inordinate fear often leads to racism, bigotry, withdrawal from the culture, and in extreme cases, scape-goating of the worse kind, which can, as we are well aware, lead to genocide.
B. Conspiracy theories can wreak havoc in a local church.? I?ve heard of tragic examples.? The John Todd saga comes to mind.? This man claimed he (along with the Rothchilds) was one of nine men who ruled the world.? He was a spell-binding speaker and was booked solid for about one year, speaking in churches all over the country.? He was a fraud, and was wanted in several states for various crimes!? See also the Mike Warnke story and his book:? The Satan Seller, another tall tale.
C. Unproven conspiracy theories can lead to witch-hunts.? One of the nastiest blots in the early history of the church in New England was the Salem witch-hunts.
D. Conspiracy theories often result in simplistic reductionism and a fundamental lack of faith and trust in the sovereignty and power of God.? We don?t have to live in fear.
E. A person who is deeply involved in conspiracy theories and secret societies tends to be suspicious and trusting of no one.? They have fallen into a deep persuasion of an imminent takeover.? This is totally out of character as to the way the Bible describes the Body of Christ should be.
F. As predictors they have a poor record.? This is an understatement.? I have a whole shelf of books that make explicit predictions about the Antichrist, the collapse of the economy, and various Armageddon scenarios.? Remember: 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in ?88?? For an excellent survey of this literature by two Moody professors, see: Doomsday Delusions: What?s Wrong With Predictions About the End of the World.
We would never deny that conspiracies exist; they are as old as mankind and sometimes they oppress masses of humanity as in Soviet communism.? We daily see freedoms eroded.? Politicians do plot, but a conspiracy is not always necessary to explain the advance of evil.? As we are confronted with numerous conspiracy theories critical analysis is necessary, not lone-wolf exegesis.
Barkun, Michael.? A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America.
Bronner, Stephen Eric.? A Rumor About The Jews.
Camp, Gregory. Selling Fear.
Couglin, Paul T.? Secret Plots, & Hidden Agendas. Recommended as a first read.
Hofstadter, Richard.? The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays.
Pipes, Daniel.? Conspiracy. This is the most scholarly and authoritative.
Pipes, Daniel.? The Hidden Hand.
Wilgus, Neal.? The Illuminoids- Secret Societies and Political Paranoia.
On the web see: www.conspiracy-net.com A list of over 1000 conspiracies!
For Christ and His Kingdom