From time to time, I cross paths with people who believe in a Grand Conspiracy of All Evil. They sincerely believe that a network of sinister organizations is behind everything wrong with society today, from the assassination of President Kennedy to the latest viral epidemic in Africa or South America.
Candidates for members of this conspiracy include (but are not limited to) the following: the Illuminati, the Masonic Lodge, the Roman Catholic Church, the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Girl Scouts of America, Donald Trump, Jews, Communists, Hollywood, big business (or some select corporations), Mormons, Satanists, the liberal media, certain federal agencies (particularly the CIA), and organized crime. Often selections from the list include pairings that are unlikely bedfellows—Jews and Communists, for example. (Jewish people did not fare well under the Soviet government.)The response to any suggestion that two such groups would never work together is that the two groups only pretend to be enemies; they want to throw the rest of us off the scent of their cooperation in the service of evil.
A few powerful people are thought to make all the decisions that guide the modern world. Elections are a fraud; they only produce predetermined results of the powerful ones. News and entertainment exist only to distract people from the truth, or perhaps even to brainwash people into believing lies. Those in power want the citizens of the world to be oblivious to their existence, and they want the few who discover their existence to be too frightened to resist them. They want a world of sheep, people blindly following one another without asking questions, without searching for truth, and without challenging the way things are being done.
In much fantasy literature, a group of good characters must gather to resist and overthrow a powerful evil foe. The good guys generally win after great struggle and mighty adventures. Often their victory is assured by the nature of evil—the bad guys are too selfish and chaotic to work together, so the cooperation of the good characters is stronger than the massed but ineffective evil. I believe there is truth in this theme. I believe that evil conspiracies are unlikely, if not impossible, because those who are evil will be too selfish to share their power and their wealth with peers.
Powerful people want more power, but they fight other powerful people to get it. Corporations, including the news industry and the entertainment industries, want to make money, so they offer the public what the public appears to want. Each group of people that gathers with a common interest pursues that interest, whether it is religious, charitable, educational, or political. They do not lie to the public about their interest, though, because they want to draw more people into their group.
One current issue which concerns many people is the trend of Satanist groups to demand the right to place statues depicting their beliefs alongside other artwork on public property that reflects a Christian view. If the Capitol grounds or courthouse has a manger scene at Christmas or a monument containing the Ten Commandments, the Satanist group wants equal representation. While I understand why this trend concerns people, I cannot consider it part of a conspiracy. Those who call themselves Satanists do not take their religion seriously. Like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Church of the Sub-Genius, Satanists practice a parody religion. Their intention is not to claim supernatural power; their intention is to bother people who take religion seriously.
Since the 1970s, groups of young people have dabbled in the occult without taking it seriously. Although a few continued to study ancient pagan teachings, the majority merely played at being partners with evil. They conducted secret ceremonies to frighten their parents and their neighbors, and they were delighted when local authorities took note of their actions and feared what they were doing. Books and movies—all works of fiction—enhanced their reputation. The truth is that they have no magical power. They consider what they are doing to be a joke, and they are increasingly amused when other people take them seriously.
The government of the United States endorses no religion. Many places in the United States have allowed religious displays on government property because those displays represented the beliefs of most citizens in that area. Other groups have sought and received permission to have their symbols added to the religious displays. Now, groups that mock and scorn religion are demanding equal representation. In my opinion, the best response would be to follow the intent of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and remove all religious displays from government property. In response to this action, every church and every Christian should show signs of their faith on their own property. When the city of Zion, Illinois, painted over the cross on its water tower, hundreds of Christians began displaying the cross on their homes. The loss of one cross led to the appearance of many crosses.
Satanists mock religion; they do not practice it seriously. I consider religion a very serious matter. Satanists do not regard evil as powerful. I do regard evil as powerful, but I see evil in greed, selfishness, cold-heartedness, envy, hatred, and crime. A statue that portrays Satan may be ugly and disturbing, but it is not the tool or symbol of some vast evil conspiracy. It is nothing more than a macabre joke. Rather than fighting the joke—which only reinforces the point of the joke—Christians can best respond to such mockery with kindness, compassion, helpfulness to others, and respect for others. When we succeed in a vast conspiracy to imitate Jesus, we can be sure that we will prevail against the enemies of Jesus. After all, Jesus has already won the war against evil. We are secure in his victory, today and always. J.