A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

What Is It With Conspiracy Theorists?

After 9/11 we had the Truthers who believed that President George W. Bush knew about the attacks on the World Trade Center and other targets beforehand and did nothing. Not surprisingly, the highest percentage of Truthers were persons who did not share the forty-third president's politics. A Rasmussen poll taken in May of 2007 revealed that 61% of Democrats either believed in or were unsure of GWB's complicity in 9/11. Less than 15% of Republicans believed such.

Then we had the Birthers who believed that President Barack Obama was not an American citizen. Not surprisingly, the highest percentage of Birthers did not share the president's politics. In July of 2009 Politico reported that 58% of Republicans either believed or were not sure that BHO was a citizen of the U.S. while only 7% of Democrats believed such.

Now we are going to have to endure the Deathers who are already weaving conspiracies against all reality that Osama bin Laden is not really dead. How these conspirators will shake out in reference to political loyalties is not yet certain, but I am sure they are some of the same people who think the CIA shot J.F.K. and that the world is actually being controlled by the Trilateral Commission and that the Masons run Washington D.C. and that the Knights Templar have hidden the Holy Grail.

What is it with conspiracy theorists? Ed Brayton writes, "The principle dynamic at work in such a mind is confirmation bias; everything that weighs against their theory is automatically filtered out and explained away, while entirely mundane facts are twisted to make them appear to support that theory even when they don't." In addition, I would say that conspiracy theorists are prone to believe those conspiracies that confirm their own views about politics, government, and corporate America, while rejecting any behind the scenes plots that undermine what they believe.

Of course, Christians should have no interest in such theories; after all the first Christians had to contend with a conspiracy right from the beginning of the movement-- the conspiracy that Jesus' disciples stole his body (Matthew 28:11-15). Unfortunately that won't stop some of our misguided sisters and brothers from believing the irrationally worst when major events take place. They will focus on behind the scenes fantasies instead of thinking how the church can be a suffering presence to those affected by such happenings.

Below are three links on the mentality of conspiracy theorists:


Bruce said...

Ok Allan, out with it! What are you trying to hide! Only a man with something to hide would write such an article!

ho,er simpson said...

or would he?

Daniel said...

OK, so if the 9/11 conspiracists tend to be anti-Bush and the Birthers are anti-Obama, then what are the Deathers arrayed against?

It seems that Obama has some degree of opposition from the Left and the Right. For example, Cindy Sheehan, no friend of the Bush's, is on the Left.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Daniel, my guess is that more "Deathers" will be less amenable to the President Obama's politics, but we shall see.