Why Evangelicals are Partial to Conspiracy Theories

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have been more embarrassed for my Evangelical brothers and sisters. I’m referring specifically to those who refuse to get vaccinated or wear masks, believe conspiracy theories about the CDC, Anthony Fauci, and Bill Gates, and that the last presidential election was stolen. I’ve addressed some of these incredulous beliefs in other posts.

I’m no stranger to Evangelical naïveté and gullibility. I was an elder in a church where many in the congregation had been convinced the key to their health could be found in an examination of their excrement by a naturopath, who was a member of the church. People were securing their scat in ziplocks for him to examine…seriously. I remember asking the pastor, “So tell me this again. They did what?” 

Then there was Y2K. Five years before 1-1-2000, there was some credibility in the alarm. Fortunately, by the time the problem became public, companies had already begun the necessary remediation. However, people in my church became convinced Y2K would be the end of society as we knew it. They bought generators and stock piles of food and water. Recognizing there was indeed a problem, but rejecting the incredible and conspiratorial, I bought stock in Cisco, a leader in Y2K remediation. My doomsday brothers and sisters who believed the crazy prognosticators, got stuck with generators they never used and food they never ate. My wife and I got stuck with a nice profit from the sale of our stock.

So, why are Evangelicals so partial to the extreme and the incredible? There is one primary reason, and it is that they rightly believe in the resurrection, yet the world tells them they are naive and gullible to do so. Evangelicals, however, make the mistake of thinking there is virtue intrinsically in believing the incredible. They wrongly think the more incredulous the belief—whether it be “stolen” elections, Bill Gates led conspiracies, or witch doctor COVID cures—the more spiritual they are. There is also an element of pride in believing one has special knowledge of which the world is ignorant. Short and simple, believing the incredible makes Evangelicals feel spiritual and special. 

Christians, however, are called to lead the world. They are called to be the light of the world, but if that light leads people to a preoccupation with their poo, or to embrace the latest doomsday prognostication, or pandemic conspiracy theory, the world will only be less likely to embrace the one true incredible event that can change lives and has changed the world . GS

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