Friday, December 21, 2007
Weaving through Conspiracy Theories to Reach the Manger and the Cross
“God rest you merry, gentle-men, Let nothing you dismay, for Jesus Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day; to save us all from Satan’s power when we gone a- stray.”
So goes the first verse of an English Christmas carol. And in just a few days it will be Christmas; the coming of God, as a small baby into human history, that is, the Incarnation, Jesus, fully human, fully God. What a strange time to wake up thinking about conspiracy theories and the evil slanders that some humans insist on telling about others.
We will begin, on the 25th of December, to follow the life of Jesus from the stable manger to the bloody cross and finally to His triumphant resurrection. That is we will follow along the path of salvation history which is the history of a real person who is the Lord of the Church. Jesus Christ is not about some universal ideal nor does he hold concepts that are “universal principles.”
Instead He was and is “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” So what does any of this have to do with conspiracy theories? What does the extreme right or the extreme left have to do with the One who is the way, the One who came to ransom us from our sins?
Several years ago, actually almost twenty, I watched one of the better apologetics groups entangle themselves in conspiracy theories through a book that one of them had written. I was dismayed as I waded through pages that supposedly detailed such Jewish families as the Warburgs, implied that the Federal Reserve was part of an elite conspiracy to take over the world and even explained that Churchill had been manipulated by the “insiders.”
The most offending chapter had this quote in it, “After Christ had cast the money changers out of the temple, they went out into the greater market place of the world and in time captured it. They did this colossal feat through ‘money changing’ in all its aspects. The greatest international banks on the face of the earth now belong to them.” This particular apologetic group took their eyes off of the Incarnate Lord and started fighting battles against imaginary bogymen. In doing so they aligned themselves with sinister evil.
That was the extreme right hurting what had at one time been one of the more prestigious new religion research groups in the country. But the extreme left or progressives can absorb some of the same audacious theories. Just yesterday on a progressive blog a pastor posted, Of the Fed, By the Fed, and For the Fed which provides a link to this movie. America: From Freedom to Fascism, put together by film maker Aaron Russo. I watched this movie last night. Some of the same theories and books used by the above conspiracy theorist were used in the movie.
For instance, the movie states, “In 1913 America was a free country. Then a band of powerful bankers achieved their fathers and great grandfathers’ goals.” The movie maker, Aaron Russo then goes on to show pictures of J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Paul Warburg, explaining that they were able to take, “control of the American government.”
Undoubtedly the movie was posted on the web site because one of the persons who comments there is politically a Libertarian and she recommended it. But my point is, that when one, whether progressive or evangelical, does not lift up Christ Jesus, one may find themselves lifting up unwanted bogymen. The pastor who posted the movie has had a few second thoughts and added a very good link that refutes the movies main premise Comments on Aaron Russo's "Freedom to Fascism" but still the pastor writes this:
“There is a great deal more in this film which I found to be very disturbing. The film does have a paranoid/conspiratorial feel to it. But as the crazy man said: 'Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean they are not after you.'
I think it is worth a watch, regardless of your politics. At the least it will encourage you to research more on your own. Check it out!”
In the safe keeping of Jesus Christ, in union with Him, now in the Advent and Christmas season there is no need for looking at the future through the lens of conspiracy. I wrote in a paper about my first concerns with conspiracies, so many years ago, “The biblical view claims goodness only for God. All men are considered sinners acceptable to God only through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. In the biblical view we are all conspirators against God; His reaction towards us is the standard for a Christian.”
As the third verse of the Christmas carol states:
Fear not, then said the angel, let nothing you affright, this day is born a Savior of virtue, power and might; so frequently to vanquish all the friends of Satan quite: O Tidings of comfort and joy…