How do you respond to conspiracy theorists?


#1

You know, those people who are absolutely convinced that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, or the Knights Templar were devil worshipers, or that the Vatican Secret Archives holds documents that prove the Church is built upon a lie, or that the Jesuits/Freemasonry/Priory of Sion/Opus Dei/some other secretive organization control the Papacy, etc.

There has to be some way to penetrate their thick skulls. Any suggestions?


#2

All I can think of is to counter with a theory you make up as you go along, so they will start to question your logic and then they will possibly feel a little shaken in theirs. I wouldn’t expect one to dump the theory but to feel just a tiny bit less sure deep down. That’s all it ought to take. After that, information will seep into the crack unless the person is totally unable to think rationally, in which case you can’t do anything.


#3

a bit of TULLAMORE DEW works wonders:thumbsup:


#4

Amen to Celtic Crusader! But, seriously, the Holy Spirit is the only One who can penetrate their thick skulls. I would not engage them, but listening to their theories is, anyway, entertaining. But you and I know that there is only one conspiracy. It began in Eden.


#5

I’ve noticed that some seem to have an emotional attachment to their theory, and when they are called on it actually have a negative physical reaction.

Y2K people were like that, I remember. They would get angry if we pooh-pooh’d it.

We have learned to just nod our heads gently, and allow them to have their delusions, the way we would for someone who has a mental illness. I think it allays their anxieties, somehow.


#6

Mostly I just laugh uproariously.

Seriously, if someone wants to believe in UFOs, DaVinci Code, and Secret Societies… there ain’t much that can stop 'em.


#7

First note; no two conspiracy theorists need be alike, anymore than two Christians. Next: we may not win by pure arguement, but we needn’t appear ignorant of the facts either. “Blind faith” is good for many, but some of us should remember that our church gave birth to science and universities. Also the sheep Jesus knew were not like the sheep we know (read Everyday Life In New Testament Times); they’re smarter than any animal, and even seen dancing to music. Next: the latest ruse to hit the internet is Leo Zagami “former Mason” exposing “evil” Jesuits. To expose him, go to masonicinfo.com/zagami.htm


#8

“There is nothing new under the sun”,

I tell them to read St. Augustine and notice how the same groups and factions were telling stories back then (and those stories were a little better than the recent myths). Of course, some of them think that proves their point so I tell them to read MORE history, not just the pop history, pseudo-historical fiction, Starhawk, Xena-Warrior Princess stuff. I’ve read their stuff; now would they like to read some of mine? At that point you can find out if their minds are truly open or if they have been drinking someone’s Koolaid.

Then I might ask, “What is to be gained by this belief?” It seems that much of the Dan Brown-type stuff “helps people feel better about their sexuality”…Every book, film, or conversation seems to get to this point within the first 40 pages or 10 minutes. Watch “What the Bleep” (and read the closing credits closely please so you won’t miss the fact that the main speaker is channelling some old spirit that she has sole legal rights to own and channel…honest!) , any Dead Sea scrolls or Dan Da Vinci Brown program-the topic moves very quickly to the virgin birth or the Jesus was married to Magdalen idea. Dan Berry does this too within the first 40 pages on his Romanov and Fatima books. It sells, I guess.

“You can believe in UFO’s, magick, and science-as-god human DNA interference…but you can’t accept the virgin birth of our Messiah born to the lineage of David according to the Scriptures?”

“If you believe in YOUR conspiracy theory, how do you know that THOSE beliefs are not part of a conspiracy?”

Just a few of my eye-rolling moments.


#9

Has anyone heard of this business with the Illuminati?

I was just informed of this, and it is interesting to me. Is it legit or just another conspiracy?


#10

First of all, I am NOT a conspiracy theorist. However, give a read to “Behind the Lodge Door” available at TAN books. The author is an old time reporter who did his research and traced masonic machinations to destroy the U.S. and the Church in this country. It’s an eye and opening and somewhat frightening read.


#11

Many conspiracy theorists have certain psychological tendicies that makes them more prone to conspiracy. Cynicism, anger, feelings of helplessness, loss, and depression play key roles. You are reponding to a sympton, not the disease.


#12

Thomas Aquinas believed that the more knowledge we gained the more proof of God we would have. The conspiracy theorists have stop short of gaining full knowledge of our Lord and the world. All you have to do is look around you and then explain how all this came about. We have come from a polytheist to monotheist and everything is found in our teachings.

The conspiracy theorists have picked a few things to form a theory but do not look at the total picture, we have to reveal the rest of the story to them.


#13

If there is any hope to counter conspiracy theorists — and that is a big IF, I think it can only be done with logic and reason. Two things come to mind. Popular Mechanics issued a book or article debunking all the inside-job conspiracy theories about 9/11. They showed that from a physics point of view that for example, why planting explosives could not have taken place without someone seeing it, and why the towers did not fall down because of internal explosions. Re: Da Vinci Code conspiracies, there is a well-written book called the Da Vinci Code Hoax which exposes about 100 untruths and distortions. Most of the main conspiracy theories are debunked in article or books. Obsession to conspiracy theories comes largely from ignorance but also from paranoia and a need to sound hysterical to express feelings of inferiority. One can address the first if the conspiracy theorist will listen. One cannot reason with the latter.


#14

This is a difficult problem because these people are often so CONVINCED of their silly position that they simply stick their fingers in their ears and refuse to allow any response. You often cannot get past the uproarious laugh.

That said, when a JW came up with “Constantine was the Pope who created the Catholic Church” AS I laughed uproariously, I gasped: "No way on God’s green earth was Constantine EVER the Pope! For Pete’s sake, he wasn’t even BAPTIZED until he was on his deathbed!

In most cases there is no real dialogue; all you can do is aim the right arrow and see if it hits the target.


#15

This all boils down to modern thought and skepticism. People aren’t raised to respect authority, and are therefore individualistic, and question external authority being imposed on them. Conspiracy theories are formed as a hypothesis to explain why a particular authority has the power/money/wealth/influence that it currently does.

In my opinion, there are certain establishments that we should be skeptical of. For example, in the past 50 years, we have seen an erosion of our civil liberties and freedoms. Meanwhile money and wealth has been redistributed and concentrated in the hands of a few elites. This causes me to be skeptical of our representatives in the US government.

However, there are certain establishments that are trustworthy and proven. Their testimony is reliable, and we need not be skeptical of them. In the case of the Catholic Church, God himself guarantees that the gates of hell will never prevail, and I trust Him. Because of this, when conspiracies against the Church come up, I give the Church the “benefit of the doubt”. I also usually follow up with some research into the claims.

Because the Church is such a visible organization and has a lot of history behind it, it is easy for skeptics and critics to formulate conspiracy theories of the Church based oh half-truths and “itching ears”. Since the Church claims to be endowed with divine authority, the only rational things to do are either fully embrace it as a gift from God, or to abhor it and fight it with all their will–there can be no middle ground.

Therefore, people who believe in these conspiracies are really just skeptical of the authority the Church claims it has. The best thing to do is show these people the scriptural, historical, and philosophical basis for this authority. Depending on the persons background and disposition, you could focus more one one of these aspects than the others. I tend to use more of a scriptural basis for my protestant friends, and a historical and logical approach for the non-religious people I know.

Hope this helps shed some light on it! It’s merely my own experience, but hopefully it has some value to it! God bless!

-erbo


#16

I have a friend who is convinced that all the trouble in the world stems from a giant, secret Jewish plot. The problem talking to him is that he uses logic to connect dots(which only he sees) and holds his position even when I say, “show me the proof.” It hadn’t occurred to me until reading this thread of the psychological side of people who come up with conspiracy theories. The other problem is that SOME conspiracy theories have elements of truth in them.


#17

You can pick and choose to prove anything you want. You can pick things right out of the bible and prove any theory to include conspiracy theories. Like you said some people like the doom and gloom or good versus evil. Everything comes back to knowledge, the more you know the more you can prove the existence of God.


#18

I don’t believe that the Jesuit order is a secret society. I do however think that Satan has his emissaries, just as God has His, within all religious institutions including the RCC. These individuals are working behind the scenes to bring about the Kingdom of Satan, while believers in the one true God are trying to build God’s Kingdom.

Some people claim to have evidence that Satan’s worshipers exist in the clergy and even the Vatican itself and are part of the plan to destroy the RCC. One theory is that a RB pope (referred to by conspiracy theorists as the Black Pope - same name as the head of the Jesuit order) will be elected soon who will be the false prophet of the New Age Messiah (Antichrist).

I don’t know if this will actually happen but if we look at history the Jewish leaders of the day when Jesus Christ walked the earth, were corrupt and Christ said then as I believe He says to us today “do what they say but not what they do”.

We need to pray for and use our discernment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to separate truth from lies and do not follow men blindly but only God through Jesus.


#19

I will disagree with you on your point that everything comes back to knowledge. Knowledge is not as important as wisdom. There is a clear difference between the two. I can have knowledge of quantum physics or how to perform triple bypass surgery or make a steam engine. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” 1 Cor. 1:25

Seems to come to my mind. Knowledge is meaningless to God unless burnt in the fire of experience. You have to walk the path of Christ in order to know God. No one can prove God’s existence scientifically. If this was true then faith would be meaningless. God is not looking for scholars but obedient followers.


#20

With respect to the Black Pope myth…

One… the black pope is just the Jesuit Order Leader… nothing more… Because he wears all black (i believe). People turned it into something evil i guess because it has the word black in it…

however… with respect to a black pope (evil version) being elected as Pope… Impossible…

the Holy Spirit is what elects a Pope, not a popular vote… this would mean the HS got it wrong… something that is impossible

In CHrist


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.