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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Conspiracy Theories and Armstrongism

Why do many within the Armstrong Churches of God seem to be so susceptible to conspiracy theories? Don't think they are? Check these out:  Mark Armstrong's Weekly Update http://www.intercontinentalcog.org/fridayupdates.php and Bill Watson's Is Anybody Listening? https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50438d1dc4aa994481346f77/t/5a21ac80f9619a40c9b4fe9c/1512156292182/IN_vol_38_no_4%281%29.pdf

Think about it. Conspiracy theorists believe that the truth is hidden - that most folks are deceived about what is really going on in the world, and THIS IS A CENTRAL TENET OF ARMSTRONGISM.

Research into the psychology behind conspiracy theories informs us that they are generated by a lack of trust in institutions and political cynicism - see http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/conspiracy_theory_psychology_people_who_claim_to_know_the_truth_about_jfk.html In that article, we read:  "The common thread between distrust and cynicism, as defined in these experiments, is a perception of bad character. More broadly, it’s a tendency to focus on intention and agency, rather than randomness or causal complexity." Continuing:  "The more you see the world this way—full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence—the more likely you are to accept conspiracy theories of all kinds. Once you buy into the first theory, with its premises of coordination, efficacy, and secrecy, the next seems that much more plausible."

Hence, if one has already bought into the idea that Satan and the Catholic Church have hatched a grand conspiracy to deceive Christianity about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and doctrinal issues, it is easy to believe that other actors have hatched other conspiracies designed to hide the truth about other issues. And this is NOT the kind of suspicion that evokes scientific research and critical thinking. Instead, it seeks information (or to interpret information in a fashion) that reinforces the suspicion!

This is the kind of stuff that turns someone like Donald Trump into a Christian savior and his opponents into maniacal deviants bent on a program of misinformation. If you are prone to this kind of thinking, then climate change can seem like a liberal plot to undercut our free market economy and George Soros can look like he's running the entire show. Nevertheless, for those who are still willing to think for themselves, I think that it is still possible to get back to reality. What do you think?

4 comments:

  1. I haven't read the articles you linked, but I can tell you that if I was ultra rich and powerful, I might easily be inclined to try to persuade others of wealth and power to join with me in addressing various ills (as I perceived them). Yes, I think there would be a conspiracy then, so it would not surprise me if others have done that. Yet, I WOULD be surprised if they filled in Mark Armstrong or Bill Watson on their plans.

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  2. "Research into the psychology behind conspiracy theories informs us that they are generated by a lack of trust in institutions and political cynicism"

    I guess the first betrayal of trust occurs when kids find out that their trusted source is the actual "tooth ferry" distributing the goodies below the pillow and santa clause is actually a person that seemingly can talk to kids in a mall in Australia while realizing you just talked to him in your local mall.

    Distrust of authorities in not the cause of any conspiracy theory it just the healthy way of living.

    What causes belief in conspiracy theory is the betrayal by authority figures sacrificing our wealth and ofspring by openly lying in the security council on weapons of mass destruction, lhing about the economy, not leading in explaining that increase of taxes is absolutely necessary to ensure better roads, social cohesion in a rapidly collapsing united states and de payment of debts incurred.

    Who would believe known liars. If they told one why trust them on anything anymore. Power to the millenials and young generation. Down with the liars who established a complete civilisation on the depletion of the earth.

    nck

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  3. nck, while some skepticism is a healthy thing (for the reasons you mention in your comment), I think that we are talking about the degree with which we indulge in it. After all, even paranoiacs have real enemies, and fiction is sometimes employed to convey deep truths. I really liked your last two statements: "Power to the millennials and young generation. Down with the liars who established a complete civilization on the depletion of the earth." As always, thanks for your contributions here and elsewhere.

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  4. Yes, I find myself having confidence in the millenial generation.
    Just this morning on the radio I heard about management of one of the largest multinationals in the world talking to 12 year olds on a basis of equality to get fresh insights on strategy. And it was not some marketing scheme. They had to report back on results too. One of these some 200.000 kids pledging to take shorter showers in the mornings and after sports to save the environment.

    I see many big corporations seeking adjusted goals for the betterment of all. (this might be a conspiracy, but hey I understand capital flows)

    Despite my often dissenting views often interpreted as extremely close to being an apologist, the above is somewhat of a central theme to my postings which I have repeatedly labelled after the 1939 New York technology fair. "The world of tomorrow."

    nck

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