Whenever times are uncertain–when the atmosphere is thick with lies and propaganda–it’s natural to look for certainty. We want truth, clarity and honesty. This makes us fall for conspiracy theories. A conspiracy theory offers us a grid that helps us understand what is going on. It gives us a structure and belief system into which everything fits neatly and we can make sense of the world. A conspiracy theory is a kind of alternative religion.
Our faith should be the thing that gives us a lens through which to view the world. Our faith should provide the framework-the structure into which everything fits and harmonizes and makes sense. Sadly, too many leaders of our Catholic faith have abandoned ship. They have given up with clear teaching and guidance and opted for the rubbery option of the “pastoral solution.” The present Catholic leadership, by their weakness, have contributed to the present situation of uncertainty, change and upheaval.
Conspiracy theories offer a solution. They offer a structure of understanding in difficult times of transition, stress and social unrest such as we are experiencing right now. So what constitutes a conspiracy theory? One of the main components is that it proposes an alternative version of the truth combined with powerful, shadowy figures who are behind the scenes pulling the strings of their puppets in order to usher some nefarious new situation in which they have total power. The other trait of a conspiracy theory is the ability of the believers to “connect the dots” and see patterns that nobody else can see. When this gets to an extreme situation it is sign of insanity. The film Conspiracy Theory and A Beautiful Mind illustrate this behavior.