With no thanks to the media and its yellow Journalism, the Conspiracy Theory has emerged as a cultural phenomenon in the 21st century. Perhaps, it would not be extremism if we say conspiracism has become a religion in our world of today.
While many conspiracy theories are results of psychological projection, many historical events have led many to become cynical, paranoid.
On the other hand, one may argue that conspiracy theories are results of the “age of enlightenment (or age of reason)”; an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th to 19th centuries. The validity of the argument is that the age of reason, for example, saw to the separation of the Church from the state, undermining the Church’s authority and in France, an opposition to the fixed dogmas of the Catholic Church.
Psychologists may claim that conspiracy theory is highly related to psychological projection and Machiavellianism, which may be true, but, on the other hand, conspiracy theories may be a response to the many lies and dogmas man had to accept and believe unquestionably.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines Conspiracy Theory as, “a belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people. Examples of historical events, people and occurrences with conspiracy theories surrounding them include;
- The death of Adolf Hitler
- The creation of State of Israel
- The Protocol of the learned elders of Zion
- 1969 Apollo Moon Landing
- The Death of Malcolm X
- 9/11 World attacks
- Osama Bin Laden
- The Syrian War
- ISIS and al-Qaeda (working for the USA)
- Boko Haram
Conspiracy theories are more based on the faith on an individual than on evidence. Conspiracy Theorists believe that they are of a higher thought process or special knowledge compared to the masses who believe the official account.
At the time of this writing, the world is in tension over the outbreak of the Coronavirus which originated from Wuhan, China. The virus has seen to the deaths of thousands, especially in China, Italy, Iran and Spain.
Conspiracy theories have been around with China accusing the US military of ‘bringing the virus’ to China. Iran has made similar claims.
- In the religious space, some Muslims clerics were seen telling the worshippers that the Coronavirus was created by the America as a war against Islam. It is necessary to say note that these clerics do not represent the opinion of the overwhelming number of Muslims, rather, their statements confirm the fact that conspiracy theories is more faith-based than evidence based.
Also, Conspiracy Theories are not necessarily false, if they are backed with evidences more reliable then the official account.
On a personal note, conspiracy theories should be not be taught, used, believed as part of faith or one’s thought process when there are no reliable evidences, rather they should be held as mere speculations.
A man whose conviction is based on speculations is unintelligent. Conspiracy theories may be true, but, when there are no evidences, they better be held as speculations and not convictions.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman