By now, chances are you’ve heard some conspiracy theories connected to COVID-19. Some people have proposed that the virus was intentionally developed but let loose on the world accidentally. Others say it was intentional. Some have questioned whether COVID-19 is even real. Some say the sickness is a result of 5G radiation. Some day that the testing is inaccurate, far less people have the actual virus than we think, and the death tolls are inflated. Others say that far more people have the virus than we think, and the death tolls are underreported.
The sheer number of theories, and the way they contradict one another, should make us hesitant to hitch our wagon too quickly to any of these counter-narratives.
But there’s more going on here. As Christians, how should we be thinking of and approaching conspiracy theories in general?
I’ll admit that, in the past, I was a sucker for a good conspiracy theory. It didn’t take much to convince me that the government and the mainstream media were hiding the truth from us, and that we were all victims of subterfuge on a global scale.
My attitude changed when I began to study the Bible more intentionally and was confronted with its teaching about Satan. Consider passages like 1 John 5:19: “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
Or Ephesians 2:1-3: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
The world system is being run by Satan. If someone doesn’t know Jesus, then they are marching to Satan’s drum, whether they know it or not. And this understanding makes conspiracy theories completely irrelevant.
Here’s why: people are following Satan and doing what he wants whether he’s using secret societies or not. Whether someone is a globalist or an anti-globalist, a part of the mainstream or the independent media, a deep state elite or a grassroots freedom fighter, a communist or a capitalist— if they have not been rescued by Jesus, they are lying in the power of the evil one and following his will.
For us as Christians, this means that we can’t get caught up with the conspiracy theories which enthral others. The theories may be true, or they might not be, but at the end of the day, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12), and we have the work of the Kingdom of Jesus to be busy with.
Furthermore, whether these conspiracy theories are true or not should have absolutely no impact on our obedience to Titus 3:1-2: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
That passage does not say, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, unless some guy on YouTube convinces them that the government is covering something up. Be obedient, until it threatens your comfort level. Speak evil of no one, and show perfect courtesy to everyone, except for that group which the conspiracy theorists are blaming all of the world’s problems on. Avoid quarrelling, unless you’re sharing inflammatory material online. Be gentle, unless you’re posting on Facebook.”
If COVID-19 is one big global conspiracy, it would not make a shred of difference for how God’s people should be acting and communicating in this time. As citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus, our marching orders are clear. This pandemic situation is not a time to get caught up in conspiracy theories, but a season to invest ourselves in the cause of Christ, using our interactions with others to reflect Him well and bear witness to the Truth which sets us free (John 8:31).