Peter Chow: Is God The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory?

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Faith is a firm and devout belief in something you know ain’t so.
– Mark Twain

Mark Twain was very clever, which is why he will be quoted for centuries to come, as opposed to, say, King Louis the XVI who was not and is thus, largely forgotten.

The most memorable (and last) thing Louie ever said was “Holy Crap, that blade looks sharp”.

Twain’s essential point in the quote above is that people often believe things, not only in the absence of compelling evidence, but actually in the face of all available evidence.

In many contexts, people choose (and it is a choice) to believe things that are not only lacking evidence, but are strange, bizarre, and nonsensical.

For centuries people were prosecuted for rejecting the prevailing belief that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the sun and all of the other planets and stars revolved around us.

Even today, some people fervently believe that alien life forms have travelled millions of light years, only to stealthily draw circles in our corn fields and then sneak away.

It’s a good thing we grow corn.

Otherwise, it would have been a wasted trip.

In the modern world, millions of people buy into conspiracy theories that don’t withstand the slightest scrutiny.

Still, they won’t be dissuaded.

Just log onto Twitter or Facebook and you’ll see how Joe Biden is a robot, sent by the ghost of the late Hugo Chavez to impose Communism on America.

Let’s just say the evidence for this proposition is…scant.

Trust me, I’ve checked.

Hillary Clinton was running a child-sex ring out of the basement of a pizza shop that has no basement. (That’s how diabolical she is!).

And, it goes without saying, that Bill Gates is secretly (but in a way that Aunt Hazel knows about) injecting microchips into our arms with the COVID Vaccine.

Apparently he wants to follow each of us around so he knows where we are, although our cell phones already track us 24/7.

I was vaccinated in May, so Bill now knows about each of my visits to the Hair Club for Men.

I hope he’s happy.

The research makes it clear that we are not all equally likely to believe this sort of thing.

In fact, it seems that the more religious we are, the more susceptible we are to conspiracy theories.

In the case of Evangelical Christians, the Venn Diagram is particularly striking.

But of course, this makes sense.

These people base much of their lives and their self images on the intensity of their beliefs.

And what they believe is obviously lacking much objective evidence.

I’m not saying you can’t make a case for the existence of some Higher Power.

You can argue that the complexity and integration of the universe is compelling confirmation of a Higher Power.

But even if the existence of a Higher Power, a God-like being,  could be proven, the existence of a SPECIFIC GOD, named Jesus, or Allah, or Buddha, or Bhagavan or Elohim, etc., is really lacking any objective evidence at all.

All of the world’s major religions are pretty much based on some validating book or scripture, which tells the story of the deity involved.

Religious people believe that their particular scripture is self-proving.

But it’s not.

Whenever I’ve argued with a devout believer, their argument always comes down to this:

ME: How do you know Jesus is Divine?

THEM: Because it says so in the Bible.

ME: How do you know the Bible is true?

THEM: Because the Bible says so.

In terms of all logical constructs, this circular argument is not  good logic.

If you think it is, try substituting any book for the Bible  –  the Koran, the Torah, the Vedes, the Book of Mormon, Scientology’s “sacred scripture” of L. Ron Hubbard  –  and see if you would still find the argument convincing.

Religious people however are willing to put all of this aside in order to gain the benefits of belief, such as comfort, moral validation, guidance, and yes, a feeling of belonging to something and of feeling superior to those who don’t believe.

Believing is very powerful.

When you are a believer, anyone who disagrees with you isn’t just disagreeing with you, they are disagreeing with an all-powerful God.

And of course, God always happens to share all of the believers’ opinions.

God is thought of as liberal by some, or as conservative by others, but God seems to track almost 100% with the positions of the believer.

Did you ever hear a religious person say “I am for X.  But sadly, God is against it.  It’s a real dilemma for me.”

No, God always agrees with the believer and always shares their views on everything from abortion, to taxes, to NAFTA, to LGBTQ rights, to doing an election audit of Arizona or their hatred of Hillary Clinton.

 

Given the high benefits of belief and the relatively low cost, it is not surprising that believers would extend their propensity towards belief to arenas beyond the religious.

And conspiracy theories are the perfect receptacle for the easy belief of the believer.

In fact, conspiracy theories are perfectly aligned with what believers already accept.

And that is because most major organized religions are themselves conspiracy theories.

QAnon is a conspiracy theory that the FBI has deemed a domestic terrorist threat.

Its believers believe that a shadowy international child-trafficking ring — run by Satan-worshipping Democrats (especially Hillary and Bill Clinton), Hollywood elites, lizard-humanoids… and Tom Hanks — sexually abuse and torture kids in order to extract a psychedelic, youth-rejuvenating chemical from their victims’ pituitary glands.

The tenets of QAnon are specific:  that Trump is the Chosen One, sent to finally destroy this ring of Satanic pedophiles long protected by access to elite positions of authority, and that the mysterious, anonymous, eponymous “Q” will provide the clues to lead followers to the truth.

Of note, QAnon believers have not partnered up with any international organizations that actually work to prevent child trafficking.

QAnon was prominent in the January 6 Capitol insurrection and has been linked to death threats against LGBTQ politicians and a 2016 shooting at Comet Ping Pong, a gay-owned pizzaria in Washington, D.C., that was supposedly a center for the pedophile ring.

A solid QAnon fortress has been the Evangelical community.

One prominent theory,  posited by Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska, is that modern strains of Christian Evangelicalism which “run on dopey apocalypse-mongering” do not entirely satisfy all worshippers—and so they go on to find community and salvation in other groups, such as QAnon.

Evangelical Christians comprise a large segment of the Republican party and their influence in the larger conservative movement has led to culture wars around abortion, LGBTQ rights, gun rights, immigration and racial equality, for starters.

Recently they’ve supported and piggy-backed off the QAnon conspiracy theorists to demonise politicians they deem too liberal.

The idea that a secret cabal of satanic cannibalistic pedophiles rules the world easily gains traction amongst those that sincerely believe not only in an imaginary friend, but also an imaginary enemy.

The beliefs of QAnon fit right in with the American Taliban’s views of reality.

You can’t say it’s weird that Q’s believe Trump is coming back to round up all non-Qs if you believe Jesus is coming back to doom all non-believers.

It’s strange to laugh at QAnon for alleging mind-control vaccines while over half of all Americans believe in possession by evil demons.

Regardless of religious identity, levels of belief about demonic possession top 50%, except for Jews, who theologically reject the idea of a sentient Satan.

Born-again Christians are the most likely to believe in demonic possession, with 72% saying that it is real.

QAnon says there is a coming Storm (the slogan of the Texas Republican Party is, “We Are The Storm”) or great awakening during which everyone will share the realization that QAnon’s theory was accurate the whole time….the pedophile rings, the pandemic, and the deep state are all  part of a cosmic battle between God and Satan.

Evangelical Christians believe in “The Second Coming” where everyone will realize the Bible was accurate the whole time.

Among white Evangelical Christians in the United States, 68%  believe that Jesus Christ will return to Earth by the year 2050, according to a 2018 Pew Research survey.

Can we mock the Q’s idea that a group of Satan-worshiping elites run a child sex ring and eat babies, while Christians believe that Satan is real and his followers sacrifice babies?


“Born again” Christians, Protestants, and Catholics are most likely to believe that Satan exists (86%, 70%, and 66%) and demon possession is possible (72%, 59%, and 59%)

What is the rational ground for laughing at Q’s charges that a cabal of top Democrats and entertainers are seeking to control us, and then calmly stating that the Rothschilds and Jewish globalists control us?

Is the idea of Lizard People walking amongst us in disguise really any weirder than believing that angels walk amongst us in disguise?

95% of Evangelical Christians and 94% of those who attend weekly religious services of any sort say they believe in angels, that in times of turmoil, life-threatening situations or even death, God will send them if He desires and if we seek their intercession.

Think about it.

In both religion and conspiracies there is a villain.

Whether it’s Anthony Fauci or Satan doesn’t really matter conceptually.

And this Satanic figure is pure evil, with nothing redeeming about them.

Furthermore, they are all-powerful, able to control legions of others and able to pull the levers of power behind the scenes to bring horrific things upon us, such as mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and vaccine passports.

But fear not!!!

There is an even more powerful being who supports everything we do.

And he is all-knowing, all-seeing, and most of all, never, ever wrong.

It could be Jehovah, it could be the Chosen One, Trump.

But the idea is the same.

In this clash of good (those who agree with me) and evil (those who don’t), there is a well-known cast of characters.

There are saints (Mike Lindell, Steve Miller) and there are sinners (Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden).

There are heretics (Never-Trumper Republicans, Mitt Romney, John Kasich) and traitors (Liz Cheney, Mike Pence, Adam Kinzinger).

The God-figure is angered by disloyalty.

It is the greatest sin.

And of course, there is a promise of universal redemption.

God will return to earth after the tribulations and rule for 1,000 years (seems short for God, but what do I know?) or, he will prove the election was stolen and be triumphantly reinstated to his rightful throne.

 

Another parallel between religious and conspiratorial belief is the near impossibility of talking the believer out of “the Truth”.

Understanding that belief in certain conspiracies such as stop-the-steal, or vaccines-turn-you-into-a-eunuch, is not logical, but theological, will help us understand how to, or whether to, try to convince our neighbours and family members of…well…anything.

It will also tell us what actions can be achieved by persuasion, and what life-saving behaviours need to be mandated.

Though conspiracy theories lack certain features of organized religions, conspiracy theories are quasi-religious representations, in that their contents, forms, and functions parallel those found in beliefs supported by institutionalized religions.

Arguments regarding secular conspiracy theories suggest ways to defend agnosticism with respect to God, from arguments that agnosticism is not a logically stable position and that it ultimately collapses into atheism.

Such attacks on religious agnosticism fail to appreciate the conspiratorial features of God’s alleged role in the universe.

Is the complexity and integration of the universe and the complexity of life on Earth compelling confirmation of a Higher Power?

Maybe.

We can’t know and likely never will be able to know.

Agnostic (from Ancient Greek –  (a-) ‘without’, and (gnōsis) ‘knowledge’)

Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, the divine, or the supernatural is not known or knowable with any certainty, that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist.

 

Is there a “Personal God”?

No.

As Albert Einstein said, “the idea of a Personal God who concerns himself with and intervenes in the fates and actions of human beings, a Personal God who determines what is moral and punishes those who go astray. is a childlike one.”

 

Was Jesus Christ the physical human embodiment of God on Earth?

Not likely.

 

Is God The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory??

23 COMMENTS

  1. With all due respect Mr. Chow..I have to say you produced quite a cute & most certainly entertaining article. But at the same time, it’s filled with the same old sad, unimpressive, and boring repeats of age-old arguments for atheism (with a cute conspiracy twist on it). One must ask, why? what makes you so irritated by others’ faith? There are probably close to a billion people now who would fall under the “evangelical” banner (just charismatic/Pentecostals are like 600million) with actual testimonies of their changed lives, people who follow Christ because they experienced changed lives because of Him. And yet somehow you are smarter to know that they are delusional? That’s either arrogance and pride or almost God-like ability in itself 🙂 A couple of things to note here: 1. Speaking for the Christians here in Sault, I think we all wholeheartedly welcome you to visit our churches to come and find if what you write is true. In spite of your words, we care for you and warmly welcome you. Secondly, we would love you to meet us who have been changed by the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, meet people (from our city) who were addicted to hard drugs for 20-30 years and tried everything that the medical world and government programs offer and the only thing that worked was Jesus. Meet people whose marriages were falling apart, those that were in hopeless situations but today live happily, healed, restored lives. we are more than happy to help you to meet these people if you are seriously interested in the truth. See the difference is that He still changes lives, and yes here in our city.
    2. I certainly
    do hope that publishing this kind of article also means that in the name of equality the next article you’re going to write is about God and stories of how he still changes lives. right?

    • Atheist: Believes absolutely in no higher power (however this definition has shifted somewhat to mean that they are agnostic as below, but that in practical terms a higher power is irrelevant);

      Agnostic: Not sure in the existence of a higher power but open to the possibility

      Deist: Believes in a god but not one which has been revealed and is only observable in nature generally not from supernatural observances or revelation;

      Theist: Believes in a higher power embodied as a person

      Religious: Someone with a more firm set of beliefs and frameworks around said higher power.

      I would call myself a Born Again Agnostic – but I suspect I was actually born this way.

      I had 10 years perfect attendance at Westminster Presbyterian Church, but I suppose I asked too many questions and never could internalise the faith others could.

      I don’t consider myself an Atheist.

      I don’t believe in a Personal God who concerns himself with and intervenes in the fates and actions of human beings, who determines what is moral and punishes those who go astray.

      I don’t think that human reason is capable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist.

      The complexities of the universe, of science, just the complexities of the human body are compelling suggestions of a Higher Power

      I am open to the possibility of a Higher Power as manifested in the laws of science and nature, the laws of physics and chemistry, the flow of the universe, love, humanity and music and the arts.

    • The rock-solid faith of True-Believers doesn’t irritate me at all.

      In fact, sometimes I am tempted to almost envy the certainty of the faithful.

      But then, I ask myself, why should I envy someone who deliberately handicaps their intellectual capacity, innate curiosity and self-determination in order to enslave themselves to an impossible, improvable and anti-intellectual fairy tale?

      No, I am saddened by people whose self awareness and moral compass is so unformed they need to augment their reality with by conforming to group-think that has been used to limit human ingenuity and progress for centuries.

  2. Unless you have experienced God’s power, you will never fully understand. Those who have, know, not just “believe” that there is a “higher power”, regardless of what your teachings or beliefs call that power.

  3. My favorite quote from mark Twain is, “if you don’t read the newspaper you will be uninformed, if you read the newspaper you will be misinformed.” Debating wether God exists or not, is a fool’s argument, it’s impossible to prove any side of the debate. Some people choose to believe that God exists, others prefer to believe that God doesn’t exist.

          • Are you talking about the Soviet Union when it slaughtered 20 million Christians, they believed religion was the opioid for the masses, and then we had Hitler who hated Jews, Christians and Jehovah’s alike, and had them slaughtered. Is that what you mean by tempered?

          • No. I mean Canada where Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrianissts, Shintoists, Wiccans and adherents of the gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster amongst others, are all free to believe and worship as they believe in the privacy of their own homes and places of worship. Secular society is independent of all of these and does not favour one over any of the others.

          • By the way Canada is considered a secular nation so by your logic you would be ok with the genocide of all those people you just mentioned because according to you it’s ok to slaughtered people of religion in a secular country.

          • You’re the one talking about slaughter Roger, not me. I’m the one saying let all people believe what they want to believe but don’t force one flavour of belief on society above all others.

            By the way, I’m not a Pastafarrian. Dudeism is more my speed.

          • Roger if you want a theocracy, Afghanistan might be a good choice for residency. I in no way said I was in favour of slaughter of anybody. What started as a reasonable discussion has descended unto a sea of obstinacy.

            Looking back at the thread, I realize you may have misunderstood my first post.

            The word “tempered” does not mean what you think it means. I use it in the sense steel can be tempered to strengthen it. Simply put, my argument is that by ensuring secular (i.e civic or non-religious components of) society is free from religious influence helps ensure all are free to practice the religion of their choice, not the one imposed by the state.

            You raise the concept of slaughter. The crusades, jihad, the inquisition all resulted in the slaughter off non-believers in the name of religion. No one has ever been slaughtered in the name of agnostacism.

  4. I skimmed this just long enough to read “Q-Anon mind control vaccines” and realized that Peter Chow is, like many liberals, simply tilting at windmills and shadowboxing with imagined enemies, and not addressing anything grounded in reality.

    You can safely ignore anything Peter has to say, he’s Twitter-tier woke nutso.

  5. Peter. I also believe that those that tend toward conspiracy theories want to believe that something is controlling the universe. The idea that it is simply RANDOM makes them afraid. That dovetails nicely with the belief in a god.

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