As a former reporter, I was trained to present both sides to every news story. My opinion didn’t matter. I was only reporting the facts as I interviewed people from different and opposing sources. That was back in the 1980s. I’m glad that I am no longer in the field today because I would have a hard time with the ways things are being reported.
Take for instance the Covid-19 pandemic. In a sense, it has created its own kind of pandemic: the “conspiracy stories pandemic.” I have seen SO many stories circulating on social media, including the “plandemic” YouTube video and the anonymous “Q” source. Many sincere Christians I know believe some of these stories. What are we to think about them?
History has shown that there are plenty of conspiracies out there: Area-51 (UFOs); flat-earth; the Illuminati; chem-trails, and more. And with every conspiracy theory, there is an element of truth to them, which makes them believable.
The trouble today is that there is a lot of false information being circulated, too, and it’s impossible to navigate everything to a reliable source. Anyway, who has the time for that? Even the brightest investigative reporter could not possibly follow the trails down every rabbit hole.
Nonetheless, with access to more information today, we must learn how to navigate what is true and what is improbable.
How to Evaluate Conspiracies
 1. There is a difference to what is possible and what is plausible
A. What is reasonable? Things with sufficient evidence.
- Is the story based on enough evidence to rise to the level of reasonable? Need to do your own research
- Anyone can make a claim, but not all claims are reasonable
- Don’t post things that are only possible – post things that are reasonable
- Give some time to your re-post; do your homework first!
2. What is the motivation? Three main reasons
A. Sex, power and money are the three primary motivators behind conspiracies
- Ask yourself if these stories are benefiting from these three thing
- If these motivators drive us to do bad things, consider the source
3. Successful Conspiracies
A. Smallest possible number of co-conspirators
- It’s easier to keep a secret when the number of people is small (2 or less is easiest)
- Held for a short-time (two weeks is a lot easier to keep a secret than 2 years)
- Excellent communication between co-conspirators
- To pass information between each other without getting caught
- Deep relationships with each other won’t typically ‘rat-out’ the secret
- Relatives are better at keeping secrets than those who are not emotionally connected
B. Small geographic area involved
• A secret within a small town is easier to keep than a global one
4. Only time will tell
- Ultimately, time will tell us if these conspiracies are true or not
- We must be patient (in a culture that does not value the virtue of patience)
5. Trust issues
A. If you don’t trust main-stream media or authority, then you must do the homework yourself
- If you only have ONE source claiming something, be wary—multiple sources claiming the same thing is a better bet
- A little skepticism is not a bad thing; we need to be discerning (prayer helps!)
- Everyone has a bias (even you and me)
- Don’t just look at your side of the story; consider opposite views
As a Christian, we need to be cautious with information. Not only is passing along false information a bad idea, but it hurts your Christian witness. Some people out there in “social media land” don’t have Christian friends. All they know about Christians is what is portrayed in the media. With that in mind, be careful how your media presence portrays what you believe; after all, Christians are the ambassadors of Christ in the world.
What are some good ways you represent Christ in social media? I’d love to hear your comments below. God bless!