Movies of this type have produced wryly humorous lines such as “It's not paranoia If they really are out to get you,” but many people view the threat of conspiracies aimed at the control of society as not at all humorous and all too real.
For some, conspiracy lurks behind every movement of the stock market, every government announcement, every corporate merger. The threat of conspiracy affects not only how they see the world, but also how they live in it. In some cases, fear of conspiracy leads to everything from not using credit cards to not drinking tap water.
Even some Christians fall prey to worry over conspiracies based on things people think they see going on in the world, but ironically the apostle Paul indicated quite clearly that there really is a conspiracy against humans that cannot be seen and which is far greater than the real or imagined conspiracies of governments and mega-corporations: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
But whether we think of physical or spiritual conspiracies, the Bible makes it clear that these are not things we should fear. The prophet Isaiah stated this emphatically: “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread” (Isaiah 8:12-13).
Isaiah’s words are interesting on two levels. He certainly does not deny the existence of conspiracies, but he clearly suggests that people see more conspiracies than actually exist. More importantly, Isaiah stresses that it is not some shadowy “they” we should fear, but the One who is far greater than any human power. The prophet’s words were reinforced by Jesus himself in saying: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
So the Bible does not deny the existence of conspiracies in the world in which we live, and certainly not within the world we do not see, but it categorically directs us not to waste our lives in fear of such things. This is not to say that we should ignore evidence of conspiracy and corruption, or that we should not fulfill our social duty of fighting it where it may be fought, but Christianity does preclude apprehension that affects our lives or fear that begins to form our behavior.
For the believer, even the worst of hidden conspiracies need not be feared because every power, seen or unseen, is ultimately subject to the One who guides history and who promises his servants protection according to his will. Living by that understanding is an important part of how we see God – that he is the only “unseen power” that matters. To freely paraphrase Isaiah, it is more important to maintain a truly reverent respect for God than to worry about the tap water.