Back in 2017, I wrote an article entitled “Christians Repent (Yes, Repent) of Spreading Conspiracy Theories and Fake News— It’s Bearing False Witness.” While at that time I spoke of another in the centuries-old habit of spreading unproven conspiracies, the point I made then needs to be made again now.
Too many Christians believe “all is fair” in some wars and, in that article, I warned against breaking the eighth commandment in Exodus 20:16 about bearing false witness. We aren’t to be driven by fear or anger, but by a desire for “speaking the truth in love” as Paul said in Ephesians 4:15.
Spreading unproven speculation is bearing false witness and I still believe we need to repent when we have borne such witness. We need to spend more time in God’s Word and less time being influenced by social media trolls and clickbait.
Unless you believe President Trump, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the media, and the scientific community are all in league together (a real leap of faith), you are just embarrassing yourself when you spread Coronavirus conspiracies. These vast conspiracies would mean that President Trump, himself, knew this was a bioweapon, is part of the plan to end religious liberty, plans to use a potential vaccine as some mark of the beast, and somehow 5G is part of it all. (Yes, that’s all out there, one web search away— and in far too many Christian social media feeds.)
As Austin Jones tweeted, “Last week my Facebook feed was full of people posting crazy Covid conspiracy theories, followed by posts about evidence for the resurrection. I don’t think they realize the message they are actually sending.” Indeed.
Jesus last earthly words in Acts 1:8 promised us that we would receive the Spirit’s power and we would bear witness to Jesus. You don’t need the power of the Holy Spirit to be undiscerning, and you aren’t bearing witness to the saving work of our Lord by spreading conspiracies.
I’m grateful that many, many pastors and church leaders and their churches have used this unusual time not to spread conspiracy theories but to proclaim Christ, not to feed their fears but to serve their community.
Just after the publication of the blog, John Roberts from FoxNews—a mainstream and legitimate news division—asked president Trump about the connection to a lab in China. That question, and the stories that followed, does not really change my point—the conspiracy was that it was created in a lab as a bioweapon. Thus, if a natural virus was being studied in a lab and accidentially escaped, the point still stands.
As FoxNews reported, “The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus—a naturally occurring strain that was being studied there—was bat-to-human and that ‘patient zero’ worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan” (Italics added).
In full disclosure, I did not expect the lab to be a point of contention, so that was a surprise to me. I am glad to say is now appropriately being investigated. Per my article, you can’t keep a conspiracy among all those parties. Someone will ask the question— thus, this is now being investigated. So, can we agree that the 5G cell towers, vaccines, bioweapons, and others ARE NOT a conspiracy? Probably not everyone will see that, but most can. And, my point here still remains. And I’ve edited the article to make that point clearer.
So, contrary to the conspiracy, this was not created in a lab as a weapon. The FoxNews story specifically says that is not the case, saying (their words) “not as a bioweapon.” The conspiracy theories are focused on lab creation, bioweapons, 5G, vaccines, and much more. And when Christians share those conspiracies, it hurts our witness.