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A conspiracy against truth

Christians should give no quarter to falsehoods

Amy Schneider on the set of Jeopardy! Associated Press/Jeopardy Productions Inc.

A conspiracy against truth

Merriam-Webster defines a conspiracy theory as a “theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.” Well, that sounds interesting.

There are numerous conspiracy theories related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The factualness of Kennedy’s death is (generally) not in dispute—but how it came to be is, according to conspiracy theorists. The London School of Economics reports that nearly 60 percent of Americans believe Kennedy’s assassination was part of some conspiracy.

In my view, Merriam-Webster’s definition is not adequate—at least in terms of how conspiracy theories are used in today’s vernacular. Now, conspiracy theories are also thought to traffic in claims that are generally both bizarre and false (for example, QAnon).

Let me offer an alternative definition: A conspiracy theory is a theory for how an alleged set of bizarre circumstances came to be or how obvious falsehoods gained mass acceptance due to the work of powerful actors. We ought to reject conspiracy theories, like any other truth claim, when they are false or unsustainable. If a claim cannot hold up to investigation, we are obligated to abandon it.

Today, there are a number of conspiracy theories associated with the political right that deserve scorn and rebuke by those peddling them. Conservatism champions the conservation of truth. If it’s not true, it should be exposed as false.

But what about the liberal temptation to conspiracy theories? Take, for example, last week’s headline in The New York Times that read, “Amy Schneider Becomes First Woman to Surpass $1 Million on ‘Jeopardy!’” Amy Schneider is, of course, not a woman. Schneider identifies as a transgender woman, meaning Schneider is without question a biological male. Our newspaper of record merely glosses over this fact and intends for the reader to buy the underlying headline. That’s about as false a premise as might be imagined.

We cannot be a society organized around lies.

Biological males do not become females by a sheer act of will or verbal declaration. Males can never become females and females cannot become males. Their own thinking about themselves does not reconfigure their genetics. Individuals struggling with gender identity deserve our compassion, not our indulging of their confusion.

The psychologization and politicization of gender are not just at odds with our biology, they have disastrous social consequences. For one thing, women are simply erased. The New York Times engaged in an act of female erasure by noting that Schneider was the first “woman” to amass that sum on Jeopardy!. Or, take the recent example of the University of Pennsylvania swimmer who is biologically male but identifies as a female and is smashing female competitors? In both examples, we see men robbing women of things that are owed to women. To deny something to someone who is owed it has a definition: injustice. That is what today’s leftist conspiracy theories concerning gender are doing under the self-serving guise of the left’s own unchecked power.

The hypocrisy of our ruling class reaches no higher zenith than on occasions like this. The champions of social justice, equality, fairness, and feminism contradict each with the self-deluded lies they peddle to those who they believe will listen with supple attention. Denouncing conspiracies, they traffic in their own. The only difference between the conspiracy theories of the left from the right is that the ones from the left are buoyed by political correctness and often entertained by the media. The conspirators in this instance are a powerful confluence of media, academic, legal, and entertainment forces that mutually reinforce one another’s narrative in service to progressive power structures. Power at the expense of truth is a notorious play of ideologues.

In terms of creation knowledge, everyone knows the transgender narrative is false. As one of my friends often says, “If you can get society to believe a man can become a woman, you can get society to believe anything.”

But never go along with the madness of crowds. Not only are we encountering Orwellian power grabs, but we are also undermining the dignity of womanhood and threatening the common good of society. We cannot be a society organized around lies.

Christianity is a worldview of truthful assertion. Ours is a public faith whose claims are open to rigorous interrogation, which is what a worldview confident in its claims allows for. We give no quarter to conspiracy or falsehood. Claims to truth must cohere internally and correspond to reality. The worldview of gender fluidity does neither. The New York Times may not tell you that, but Christianity will.

I reject conspiracy theories, whether of the right or on the left. So should you. Let’s conspire to honor the truth.

Andrew T. Walker

Andrew is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.

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