Friday, April 20, 2018

Why is the Church of God Fertile Ground for Baseless Conspiracy Theories?

There is one gospel message that many in the Church of God are good at and that is spreading conspiracy theories.  Due to the endless stream of sermons, articles and videos pumped into the minds of church members on the "Prince of the poser of the air" who was actively seeking to thwart humanity in every aspect of life. Church members found the bogeyman hiding all over the world in books, TV, movies, papers, magazines, music, businesses, religion, and in the minds of every human on the earth, except of course, in the enlightened  COG members.  They and they alone could see though all of the corruption and subterfuge going on the world around them.  Satan was busy as hell and they were having none of it!  Expose him and his agents of darkness with  everything you could. So stories were dreamed up, exposes created, all breathlessly whispered or broadcast on Facebook as truth.

Case in point is the photo above circulating on various COG members Facebook pages and on conspiracy laden  conservative Christian pages.

One of the hallmarks of the Church of God is that it always claimed it NEVER lied about things to the membership or the world.  It was all God's truth directly inserted in the mind of Herbert Armstrong and every single minister that ever preached a sermon.  Yet, church members post crap like the above picture on their blogs and FB pages in self-righteous indignation.  Never once do any of them ever check into the facts surround some conspiracy.  If there might be the slightest grain of "truth" in the story then it is good for posting.

Matthew Herper from Forbes Magazine writes about this controversy:

The fetus-derived cell line we’re talking about was created around the time I was born. This is 35-year-old technology. And it is widely used in cell biology. And there is no way you’ll consume them or that the cells would cause any health problems.
The cells, called HEK 293 cells (that stands for human embryonic kidney) were taken from an aborted fetus in the 1970s in the Netherlands. Bits of chopped up DNA from the adenovirus, a virus that causes a pretty severe cold. The kidney cells were forced to take up bits of DNA using a technique invented in 1973 that used a calcium solution. The resulting cells don’t act much like human cells at all, but they are very easy to work with and have become workhorses of cellular biology. That’s why they’re used in the development of drugs and vaccines. No new fetal tissue has been used to keep the cell culture going; the use of this cell line isn’t leading to new abortions.
A tiny company called Senomyx has been working to use this new technology to create food additives. Senomyx has isolated receptors found on cells that detect taste, and added them to the HEK cells. This allows them to test thousands of potential taste additives to see whether they might taste sweet or savory with a speed that would be impossible with human taste testers. Synomyx has announced collaborations with Pepsi, Nestle, and Coca-Cola.    Famous Food Companies Caught Using Aborted Babies for Flavor Additives


Byker Bob said...

They opened the door to a mentality which is receptive to conspiracy theories by using various conspiracy theories as support for their very belief system. That’s as bad as the research methodology employed by Alexander Hislop, which was of course fully endorsed by HWA/WCG. So far as the capacity for objective thinking is concerned, HWA/WCG ruined many of the church members’ minds! This is why we have so many conspiracy theory “victims” even today participating in the so-called dissident sites.
These people even complain that we are not open minded if we don’t consider their crap and assign equal value as to proven research or facts! And they often don’t accept factual material. One would hope that eventually everyone can recover, but in some cases it’s highly doubtful.


Anonymous said...


when a religion is not focused on the things it is not supposed to be focused on, every other little bit of clutter starts to feel and seem appealing.

There's the "whatever is" scripture that comes to mind. It's the "Think of these things" scripture. Yet it seems the Armstrong version of this scripture (Since they're SO good at trying to rewrite scripture to their own paradigms and dogmas) reads more like:

Armstrong 2:4: "Whatever is crazy, whatever is weird, whatever is confusing, whatever is baseless, whatever is unproven, whatever is ridiculous, whatever is debatable, whatever is fruitless, whatever is way out there, whatever is loony, whatever is quack, whatever is whack, whatever is unfounded, think on these things".

Or how about Armstrong 14:3:

"For we do not have a spirit of peace, but of conspiracy, of doubt, and of paranoid anxiety."

Or how about Armstrong 16:56:

"Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what new conspiracy is about to be posted on some strange social media page."

Yeah, what we see sure seems to line up with Armstrongish "scriptures", don't it? Oh yeah, they're all made up, just like Armstrongism.

Connie Schmidt said...

Most common ones I see are against Vaccinations, and advocate Chemtrails spraying us and Flat Earth.

But consider this... this is a group of people who were convinced not to visit doctors, not to wear makeup and to not celebrate birthdays. Also to accept some removed, never met in person , individual that is a "Bible Character" , (Elijah, Prophet, Two Witness, Zerubabel, et al) with full authority over their salvation, money and life choices.

So actually not surprising. "There is a sucker born every minute"- PT Barnum 1875

RSK said...

Isnt so much of the COG belief system built on such speculation anyway?
I mean, it was pretty sad when Alex Jones happily misidentified an old Threadless design as an "Antifa shirt", but how much worse were we with our silly notions about "SATANS GREAT FALSE CHURCH"?

Anonymous said...

When I was in the WWCG I didn't listen to baseless conspiracy theories. I got up and walked out in the middle of a sermon because the minister was talking out his ass.

Anonymous said...

"When I was in the WWCG I didn't listen to baseless conspiracy theories. I got up and walked out in the middle of a sermon because the minister was talking out his ass. "

Did he notice? And did you get the good talking to and disciplinary action? I can't imagine a WWCG minister just letting that slide - the deacons HAD to notice and the spies had to get into full gear. Or at least the backwards-walking-attendance-taker-person got his pencil out!

Anonymous said...

Some conspiracy "theories" are bull-poop, while others are irrefutable facts they just don't want you to know about. You have to do your own research to find out which are which.

Anonymous said...

The "kooky conspiracy theory" that Christmas and Easter are of pagan origin is just a matter of facts. The WCG helped to make those once shocking facts widely known, which helps explain why they are no longer kooky or conspiracy theories. So, the WCG did some good for the world in spite of themselves. Some other still "shocking and kooky conspiracy theories" are true also.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I believe this is rooted in low self-esteem. It leads the Armstrongist organizations down the path of gnosticism. Maybe all gnosticism is rooted in low self-esteem down through history. It is also prevalent among the many priggish Evangelical Protestants who know all about the rapture (and you don't, sorry).

The scenario goes like this: People with limited education feel inferior. So they compensate by "discovering" that they have access to special knowledge that makes them smarter than anyone else. You may have a Ph.D. in Physics but they know the true identities of the US and UK. So they can look upon educated people as being stupid.

Remember that song in the Purple Hymnal based on a psalm where David or whoever sings about being smarter than his teachers?

Map this attitude to other areas of knowledge and you have an pathological interest in conspiracy theories. They know that the Tri-lateral Commission is running the economy.

Or they know that "false" Jews run the financial system (like some of the Armstrongist minister in Big Sandy). They have special gnosis that makes them better, brighter and smarter than people with "this world's education." So they founder in ignorance all their lives.

It's pathetic, really.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:53, If the minister would have said anything to me he would gotten a hell of an ass kicking. I didn't take any shit from those assholes.

Connie Schmidt said...

Neo- I think you are on to something. HWA used to rail against "the intellectuals" as I understand it, and was greatly threatened by educated men, such as Robert Kuhn.

Anonymous said...

"Remember that song in the Purple Hymnal based on a psalm where David or whoever sings about being smarter than his teachers?"

You've got to be talking about that one about O how love I thy law it is ever with me I have more understanding then the ancients of old.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"Some conspiracy "theories" are bull-poop,"

I'm sorry. This cracked me up. Growing up in WCG we couldn't even say "Fart". The word was "Stinker". ;)

Hoss said...

When I click on a YouTube sermon (usually Bob Thiel's CCOG or BNP channels) the string of "suggested videos" are usually a mix of conspiracy theories and cultic teachings.
When I was a new WCG member, the major semi-secret conspiracy theories cliques were following the "true meaning" of UFOs, the Illuminati, and spinoffs of BI.

Anonymous said...

But since the sermons are so repetitive in all the splinters, as well as in their publications, just how educated are the ministers? People can listen to thousands of their sermons, yet at the end of the day, still be morally confused and uncertain about the workings of the world.

Living On Tulsa Time said...

Pepsi is the best damned soda in America and Chips Ahoy is the best damned cookies in America. :-)

Ben said...

Yummy! Baby parts in my Mountain Dew! That must be where that extra kick comes from! I had to drink a Mountain Dew before every church service in order to stay awake in my years in LCG.

Anonymous said...

Ben at 6:56, I had to do the same. I had a minister who droned on in monotone during his sermons. I believe watching paint dry or cement solidify would be more enjoyable than sitting through one of that guys sermons.

DennisCDiehl said...

It also helps low self esteem to sing "Not many wise men now are called, not many noble brethren..." so you can stay. I suspect the pursuit of conspiracy theories subconsciously allows one to feel the end is near, which is the mantra of all the COGs.

Anonymous said...

Oh that's nothing. How about "Before Me I Constantly See MY Disgrace, with shame and confusion I cover my face." Now THATS a self-esteem dropper if there ever was one. Oh, and "Smile, Brethren!"

nck said...

Yes, low self esteem/or better, the desire to maintain a positive self image, is one of three factors. Then there is the desire for control and security in an uncertain environment. And the desire for understanding and certainty. Easy to find on the internet.

The biggest "conspiracy" theory in armstrongism was that "christianity" was a hoax, an ancient babylonian prank. The second that the entire political system was "held hostage".

These powerful truths are taught in any legitimate school. We label them differently, atheism or separation of church and state in education. Any lawyer knows that the entire legal system is beneficial, but can also be changed by men and that the legal system should free man, not hold hostage in ancient superstitions. The masses should hold to beliefs that maintain order and prevent communism and chaos. What most here label as "racist" articles in the PT, are in close read warnings against communism and anarchy.

Having said that, it is indeed remarkable that the "worst of heresies" published in the 1950's, for instance christmas not in bible or judaism being a legit predecessor of christianity and many many more are in 2018 accepted by the catholic church.

So it seems Armstrongism on many accounts was part of some sort of revolutionary modernizing force.

I remember my history teacher laughing out loud and citing legal contracts when I claimed East and West Germany would be united. So there was an alternative truth after all.

Cigarette, meat and medicine industry have been under scrutiny lately also.

Unfortunately, powerful information in the hands of the uneducated or disengaged or purists, fundamentalists, can turn into a self inflicting wound. For instance when necessary medicine is denied to a child for treatable disease, or too much emphasis is on the minors of politics. Like pointing out corruption in the international system without recognizing the longest streak of peace this system has brought.

My point. Transformation means friction. Friction often means war. War of information brings conspiracy as man wrestles for control.


Anonymous said...

"The cells, called HEK 293 cells (that stands for human embryonic kidney) were taken from an aborted fetus in the 1970s in the Netherlands"

ok, so they are using aborted fetus cells to help develop flavorings for food...or, technically, a continuing line of cells that originated from an aborted fetus.

I guess that since the baby was aborted so long ago that makes it ok...

and since they altered said cells by introducing DNA from a virus makes it ok too...

that said cells aren't actually included in the food is merely a red herring.

and you folks accuse the COG of playing loose with the truth!

pot, meet kettle.

the lengths you folks go to trying to justify your ways is very couldn't come up with this yourselves, you are being led (misled, actually).

Byker Bob said...

“you couldn’t come up with this yourselves, you are being led (misled, actually).”

Well, there you go with yet another danged conspiracy theory! Misled indeed! As if we were all unified, monolithically, in thought! Is that all you see, 8:17? I am sure we all bow to the depths and extreme detail of your understanding!


Anonymous said...

8.17 AM
"you folks accuse the COG with playing loose with the truth!"

Actually, I accuse the COGs with robbing members of all their God given natural rights (some of which are mentioned in the constitution) and substituting in their place endless rules, and the micromanaging of members lives. This theft of members lives, in 1984 Brother Ministry of Truth fashion, is called 'administering Gods government.'

Anonymous said...

Life doesn't mean just being physically alive. For humans, life is the exercising of ones natural rights. Notice how people feel alive exceeding these rights. This is nature affirming this truth. Hence robbing people of their rights is murder.
So I accuse you not of deceit, but of the ultimate crime, murder!

Byker Bob said...

The thing is, in order to “convert” people, Armstrongism employed extreme aversion therapy, mentally and verbally destroying everything in life from which humans derive fulfillment and pleasure. Then, when a prospective member is reduced to a state of severe depression, deep paranoia, and negativity, they drop in their little pissant enslaving church as the total solution for the conditions that THEY created within you.

Life just doesn’t have to be what they depict it as being. It can be fun! I just got home from an ML baseball game. Tickets were given to me by a prosperous merchant as appreciation for my beyond the call of duty services. He’s got season tickets 15 rows off 3rd base, and whenever other obligations prevent him from attending a home game, he rewards his key people with the tickets. The home team won, and now I’m at home multi-tasking (lubricating my liver while getting a little ‘weiser), rejuvenated, and looking forward to a good work week using my talents in unique ways to assist my white and multi-cultural clients in their various business endeavors. I don’t have any “dirty diaper” type ministers riding my butt to wear certain clothes or empty my bank accounts for them, and life is good!

I agree with anonymous 1:27. The ACOGs prevent people from being all that they could be. Killing the human spirit (as opposed to being a spiritual guide or mentor for it) is indeed murder!


Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theories are fun. Just ask Alex Jones. The guy is crazy, but the mainstream is just as crazy, just different crazy.