James Meehan - Christians Responding to Conspiracy Theories
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James Meehan: Welcome to this week's episode of "Culture Makers". I am joined with the one and only, the wise, the wonderful Jasmine Reynolds.
Jasmine Reynolds: Thanks.
James Meehan: Because we don't have a laugh track or a clap track.
Jasmine Reynolds: Can you put one in though? You can probably put one in right?
James Meehan: Today we're talking about things...
Jasmine Reynolds: I'll do my own.
James Meehan: Conspiracy theories, Afghanistan. Stay tuned because hopefully we'll be able to edumacate you on the things.
Jasmine Reynolds: Yes, yes.
James Meehan: Question number one.
Jasmine Reynolds: Sure.
James Meehan: Jasmine, I know that you're a big fan of TikTok conspiracy theories.
Jasmine Reynolds: I am a fan.
James Meehan: What is your favorite conspiracy theory and why?
Jasmine Reynolds: Okay, my favorite conspiracy theory as of yet is the one about the birds not being real birds.
James Meehan: Okay.
Jasmine Reynolds: But instead birds that are spies.
James Meehan: And when you say that they're spies you mean like spies for the imperial order of birds? They're spies for...
Jasmine Reynolds: Yes. No, no!
James Meehan: Other countries. They're spies of our own.
Jasmine Reynolds: No, no. That we as in the US...
James Meehan: Aliens.
Jasmine Reynolds: Has created birds so that birds can go listen in on conversations, use their eyes as like cameras. And when they go and rest on like...
James Meehan: Power lines.
Jasmine Reynolds: The power lines that they're actually just recharging like a phone. They're just recharging so they can continue to fly around and spy on everybody.
James Meehan: Okay, first of all, that's messed up though because birds have been resting on power lines recharging for years before we got those phone chargers where you set 'em on 'em.
Jasmine Reynolds: We just figured it out though.
James Meehan: Here's my problem with this conspiracy theory.
Jasmine Reynolds: Okay, why?
— Problem number one, I thought, you know, what people will tell you is that birds are descended from dinosaurs. Now, some people are getting upset in the chat right now because I'm talking about dinosaurs and, you know, there's all sorts of theories and opinions about dinosaurs.
— Yeah, yeah, yeah.
— So then what are dinosaurs? Were dinosaurs like the tanks? Like, you know, mobile tanks, they shoot things. Do you know what a tank is?
— No, can you explain it to me?
— Gosh, you are so wonderful and wise, Jasmine Reynolds. So here's the deal.
— That's so much sarcasm.
— Yeah, yeah, uh-huh. So all things TikTok conspiracy theories. This is just one of the many conspiracy theories that are out there, and the reality is is ever since people have tried to connect dots and tell stories, conspiracy theories have been a thing. Because as human beings, some psychologists have called us meaning making machines where in everything we do we try to find the meaning in things. Now, I would say the reason why we try to find the meaning is because we were created by a creator who created everything with meaning. Now, the problem becomes when we start connecting dots that shouldn't be connected.
— Yeah, hm.
— I'm not quite convinced of the whole birds being government spies conspiracy theory.
— Mm-hmm, sure, sure, sure.
— I'm also not convinced of the flat Earth theory. Some of you getting upset right now because you're hardcore flat Earthers. That's okay, I've got friends who are flat Earthers.
— Yeah, same.
— You're still welcome at our church. You're still welcome in the family of God even if, you're know, you're wrong.
— Well, what's interesting though about you saying that is I think that's so true and so accurate is the fact that like, we create this through line of like, things that we see, know, and have heard and try throughout the course of either just our world's history or our history to try and create this through line, but it's important as far as what the through line is consistent with if that makes sense.
— No, it totally makes sense. And this is why we have to take some time to actually ask the question, is this true? The problem though is that we now live in a world where people don't agree with what the definition of truth is to where now there are all sorts of different opinions.
— That's so good, yeah.
— About what truth is.
— Yeah, yes, oh my gosh, yes. And sorry, it brings me back to conversations that I have had though of just like, there's a difference between your opinion and you what you feel.
— Come on, yeah.
— And truth.
— And just because your opinion or whatever it is that you feel is leading you to something doesn't mean that that's actually the truth.
— And it's so important for us to be able to distinguish what's our feeling and what's actually legitimately the truth.
— Right, and the thing is, is like, your feelings are valid.
— Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
— Your opinion is your opinion because from your perspective it seems like that's the way things are.
— But all of our perspectives are limited. There's this beautiful proverb. I think it's 28:17, but I always get it mixed up, it might not be, where it says every story seems right until you hear the other side. That when we look at something from our perspective we only get a piece of the picture and then when we look at it from the other side, oftentimes we have a more complete understanding of what's really true. So what does it mean for something to be true? It means for something to be consistent with reality. So if I have two fingers here and two fingers here, I put them together, I now have four fingers. So to say that two plus two equals four is true because that is consistent with reality. For me to say that, you know, birds are government spies, if that were consistent with reality, then it would be true, but if it's not then it's not. Now, I actually can't prove it without any question or doubt.
— I don't have enough clearance for that either.
— I don't have the government clearance required. But what we have to do is we have to make the best judgment, the best decision based on the evidence that we have.
— Yeah, mm-hmm.
— And it seems like if the government wanted to spy on people, instead of creating these flying drones that are disguised as birds, they could just use our phones.
— Yeah, yeah, mm-hmm.
— Or the computer or the internet or satellites.
— Or like actual drones that they've actually created. It seems like there are way more effective things to do.
— That's fair, yeah.
— And the thing about this that's so important for us as Christians is that, yeah, a lot of times conspiracy theories are just fun.
— They're just entertaining.
— Yeah, like this bird one.
— Right, like the bird one. It's fun, it's entertaining, but as followers of Jesus we are called to be people of truth because Jesus is the Word made flesh.
— He's the wisdom, the Word, the creative power, the truth of God in human form. And as His followers, we are called to reflect His truth into every aspect of this world. That's what it means to be people of God. We're to be the light of the world, to go into the dark places and bring the light and truth of God to those places. And when we get so caught up in all of these different crazy conspiracy theories that we forget what's actually real, then we're gonna lose sight of what's most important.
— That's so good. That feels like a really good transition to Afghanistan.
— Come on, let's talk about what's really important.
— So you've probably seen or heard all of the stories, the images, the videos of what's going on in Afghanistan right now. And I really, really, really, really, really want us to be people who don't fall into the same traps of so many other people which is to point fingers and cast blame. It was this politician's fault, this politician's fault, whoever it is, that I don't think is actually very fruitful or life giving. I think as followers of Jesus we need to take the posture of mourning with those who mourn, grieving with those who grieve, and praying for God to move in situations that maybe we here on the other side of the planet don't actually have the ability to move it.
— Yeah, so I actually have something that I want to share when you talk about things that we can do on this side of the world because not all of us are going to have access to do things or contribute or whatever, but what we can do, especially as Christians, first line of defense and the first line of offense is prayer, right?
— And so I have a few things that I want to share with you guys about, what are some of the things that we can be praying for. And so if you want to write this down or if you want to rewind it and then write it down, do whatever you need to.
— What we'll do is we'll go ahead and post this. We'll pin this as a comment, too so that way you can copy it.
— Yeah, awesome. Well, the first thing that we can do is obviously pray for the situation, right?
— We have seen probably too many videos or pictures where our hearts are breaking with those who are on the other side of the world who are scared. And so of course pray for the situation. Pray for military members and families because there are still people who are there trying to help who, their family members may be here or in the UK or wherever that are also scared.
— Right, for sure.
— Because they don't know what's going on with their loved ones. The third thing that you can pray for are women and children. Now, if you don't know a lot of the history about it, women's rights, children's rights of even being able to go to school and things like that have been stripped away in the past. And there are a lot of women who are really scared whose dreams have died because they don't know what's going to happen. The next thing you can pray for is the Church. The Church in Afghanistan. The fact that there are believers who are, most of them may be seeing their last days right now. And they are going forth, continuing to pursue and fulfill the great commission of telling others about the one true God.
— Come on.
— And so let's pray for the Church that is in Afghanistan. You can pray for the teams and for the people that are either using the YouVersion Bible app or attending live church online who may be hearing the truth for the very first time.
— Come on, absolutely.
— When we talked about truth, they're hearing the truth for the very first time and to be praying for these two teams to be able to continue to go into Afghanistan so that we can do what it is that we do.
— By just sharing the Gospel.
— Come on.
— And the last is going to be a hard one, at least it was the hardest one for me if I'm going to be really honest with you. I did not want to pray for this group of people because they make me very angry, like very angry. But the last group that we can pray for is the Taliban because when we remember that God has created all people.
— He is not specific in who it is that He loves or He doesn't love.
— Come on.
— Because He loves us all.
— Regardless of our sins, of what we've done. And so when I think about the Taliban, gosh, I don't, to be honest, I didn't want to pray because it just makes me angry and I'm like, golly. Like, in my humanity I'm like, they don't deserve the love of God. But then who am I?
— Who am I to deserve the love of God?
— And so what I know to be true is that if God can move the heart of Saul.
— Come on, yeah.
— For him to be Paul then He can move the heart of anybody that is a part of the Taliban.
— And shift their heart to recognize that He loves them, that He has created all of the beings here on Earth. And because of that, we can choose to put differences aside. Yeah, yeah.
— Yeah. I think now is probably a good time for us to just do what we can and actually pray. And so for those of you that are watching this video as Jasmine is gonna lead us in prayer, I would love to invite you to pray along with us for these different situations, the people that are affected, and even the people that are hardest to pray for because this is who we're called to be.
— This is what we're called to do. And so Jasmine, would you mind leading us in prayer?
— I would love to. Father God, we just first and foremost come to you thankful for who you are, thankful that you're a God who has never left us, has never forsaken us. That you're a God who is near and dear, that you're a God who overflows in His love for His children and Jesus, we come together asking you just for you to do what only you can do. Father, we ask you to be with the military members and families. We ask you to be with the women and children that are in Afghanistan who are scared. Jesus, we ask that you just continue to move in the hearts of the Church and people who are attending or using the YouVersion Bible app. Jesus, we pray for an abundance of peace and an overflow of truth in who you are and who they are in you. Jesus, the only thing that we can do is ask for you to just relinquish all of your peace onto them. Jesus, they can't be navigating through or take control of the situation, but Jesus, we know that you're a loving God who is with them. And Jesus, the last thing that I ask for you to do is just to move in the hearts of the people that are a part of the Taliban. Jesus, God, I ask for you just to shift their heart. Jesus, have their hearts see that you are the only one who we need to live for. Jesus, I ask that they just be overwhelmed with your love and that there is nothing that they can do that will separate the love that you have for them. We love you, Jesus, and we pray this in your name, amen.
— Amen, amen. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us for this week's episode of "Culture Makers". If you guys have questions, comments, things that we can be praying for you about, please make sure to leave those in the box down below and we're just thankful that we get to be a part of this with you.
— See y'all.