Pseudo-scientists in the Church

"How can they ignore these verses?"
"Don't they know this is how The Apostles did things?"
"Can't Brother ______ see this scripture?"

If you are like me, you have encountered individuals which provoke these kinds of questions. People who have what the writer of Hebrews called "divers and strange doctrines" (Heb. 13:9). Men & women whose beliefs about The Bible defy reason and basic Theological probing. They often perplex us, and decline even rudimentary examination of their odd views.

Persons with such weird and mystifying beliefs are the subject of this post.

Outlier beliefs

Throughout my ministerial life, I have fellowshipped with a wide range of preachers with disparate views and approaches. But there was always a bedrock of truth among these men of God. They approached The Bible seriously, and took great care to understand and apply its precepts.

There is, however, a different group. Existing in Christianity are numbers of individuals whose reading of Scripture is only cursory. Surface-level understanding of The Word of God can be dangerous, yet among this (second) group it is the norm. Why? Because a shallow reading of The Bible actually helps them justify their belief. To go deep would open the opportunity to be proved wrong, and that is not acceptable.

They are the theologians arguing for "annihilationism" ... even though The Rich Man in Luke 16 appeared fully awake and conversational in Hell.

They are the Christians who get drunk, claiming "Jesus turned water into wine" ... ignoring that The Apostle Paul specifically told us that "drunkards" shall not "inherit the Kingdom of God".

In my former life as a scientist, I encountered strikingly similar people who made surface-arguments as those above. Individuals who were careless in their assertions and logical reasoning. People who RARELY fact-checked their statements, and only gave you the narrow sliver of barely-applicable evidence for their claims.

Who were these people? They were Pseudo-Scientists!

They delved into wide ranges of scientific off-ramps and logical sinkholes. They loved different and non-mainstream ideas. They were conspiracy theorists & collectors of the strange.

But what could possibly make someone believe things like that?

The Theology of Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories have an appeal - they take difficult, complex things and condense them into a simplified worldview that explains everything. I'll give you some examples:

1. Why were the USA & Russia the only countries in the 60's sending people into space? ...

Conspiracy theory: it was FAKE! We faked it all. The Apollo missions, the moon landing, the first American man in space - I guess we filmed it over in California.

Problem: it's no longer just America and Russia. Since the 1960's, many more countries have sent satellites and space telescopes into orbit around Earth. Time and technology have made these space-deniers look ridiculous. They still exist, mind you, but no one takes them seriously anymore.

2. Flat-earthers ... Where to begin? These individuals believe the earth is NOT round, but flat. I emphasize again - there are, indeed, people who still believe the earth is flat!

Problem: As simplifying as that viewpoint can be, it is too easy to disprove it today. One need only be atop a tall enough building or mountain, and you can observe the curvature of the earth. The Earth is round. Observably, measurably, verifiably round. There was even a Greek mathematician who measured the circumference of Earth in 200 BC!

There are other examples:
 - Searchers of Bigfoot, despite the lack of any DNA or hard biological evidence, continue their quest to view this creature.
 - Photographers of the Loch Ness monster, who ignore that such a massive creature would need a similarly massive amount of food to sustain itself.
 - Abductees of aliens, whose "missing time" and "unexplained" bodily injuries more likely result from abusing illicit drugs than flying saucers.
 - Even Nobel-Prize-winning Physicists who study parapsychology and Extra-Sensory Perception, with not one shred of serious evidence for telepathy or telekinesis to back them up.

I could keep going, but I believe you get the picture.

Brother "Aliens"

How can someone be delivered from a tempting-but-false belief? The same way a person is delivered from a cult: one day they see or hear their like-minded compatriots do something so out-there, they finally wake up and realize the insanity of their life-status.

They see they are enmeshed in a nonsense dreamscape of logical leprechauns and mental mysticism.

There is one giant roadblock to them leaving: they like their prison. The comfort of the conspiracy theory allows them to remain outside the deluge of the normal. As long as someone believes that aliens exist, then their messy life can be blamed on little green men rather than their own personal decisions.

This is also the roadblock of the theologically weird - the perceived warmth and safety of false doctrine insulates them from the possibility of Holy Ghost-directed change. If the gifts of the Spirit ceased with The Apostles, then some denominations have the perfect justification for not having prophecy or tongues in their churches - ignoring that such a cessation was never pronounced in The New Testament. If I am "eternally secure" that my salvation can never be lost, then I can live however I want, can't I?

This is the challenge of truly living for God - I must avoid pet doctrines. Teachings that are DEEPLY appealing, but are Biblically incorrect.

I must accept The Bible as it is. I must seek to be the church that Jesus desires ... The Church the Apostles preached and died for.

If not? Then I would become a Pseudo-scientist!


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