In my previous post I looked at some of Nicholas Kollerstrom’s comments about the evidence of Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz. Hoess had originally claimed that 2.5 million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz. In his memoirs written in November 1946, Hoess wrote that 1,230,000 Jews had been killed in Auschwitz (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, Phoenix press, London, 2000, p 194).
In May 1945 the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission concluded that four million people had died in Auschwitz. They based this on the capacity of the crematoria. But just because it was theoretically possible to cremate four million bodies does not mean that four million were killed in Auschwitz (Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims” in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 65).
In spite of all the revisionist claims that Hoess was coerced into writing his confessions and memoirs, he was clearly not coerced into going along with the “official” Communist estimates of Auschwitz deaths.
“Franciszek Piper, Director of the Auschwitz museum in the early 1990s when David Cole got to interview him, shockingly reduced the number who died in the Auschwitz camp from four million to one, or 1.1 million – and he somehow kept his job. The notice up at Auschwitz saying four million had to be changed, but the total remained: Six million minus three million equals six million.” (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 30)
Piper began his study of the number of victims in Auschwitz in 1980. The first draft of his results was completed in 1986 and it was published in 1991 (Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims”, in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indian University Press, Bloomington , 1998, p 68, 74).
His comments were only “shocking” to those who do not follow Holocaust research. Even before 1991, hardly any western historians believed that four million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz. The revisionist Jurgen Graf writes,
“Shortly after the Red Army’s takeover of the Auschwitz camp in January 1945, the Soviets told the world that four million persons had died there. Although this absurd figure was widely cited in the West, and was officially defended in Poland until 1990, few Western historians accepted it.” (Jurgen Graf, “What Happened to the Jews Who Were Deported to Auschwitz But Were Not Registered There?”, Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, July-August 2000)
Thus, Kollerstrom’s argument that the “official” reduction of the Auschwitz death from four to one million means that the overall death toll in the Holocaust should also be reduced by three million is flawed because Western historians never believed that four million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz.
Their estimates for the total number of Jews killed in the Holocaust was not worked out by adding up the number of Jews killed in each of the camps, including four million in Auschwitz. Their estimates were based on the number of missing or unaccounted for Jews at the end of the war.
While it is widely believed that six million Jews were killed, some historians have come up with lower estimates. In 1961 Raul Hilberg wrote that one million Jews had died in Auschwitz and 5.1 Million Jews had died in the Holocaust (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1961, p 572, 767). In 1968 Gerald Reitlinger wrote that 700,000 Jews had been killed in Auschwitz and between 4,2 and 4.57 Jews had been killed in the Holocaust (Gerald Reitlinger, TheFinal Solution, Valentine, Mitchell, London, 1968, p 501, 546).
Kollerstrom and other revisionists point to the Jews who survived the war, as though this somehow proves there was no mass murder program (Breaking the Spell, p 210, 212). He writes,
“Supporters of the Holocaust legend cannot have it both ways. If they are taking endless “reparations” from Germany claiming to be “Holocaust survivors”. then how can they allege that such numbers of Jews were liquidated in Europe?” (Breaking the Spell, p 46)
“One can either have an ongoing program of extermination or have workers capable of doing skilled work – but not both.” (Breaking the Spell, p 102)
They did have both. This argument reveals their ignorance of the nature of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not a pogrom in which the Nazis killed every Jew they could find. No historian has ever said this was the case. In general, the unfit Jews were killed, while the fit Jews, who could be used for slave labour, were kept alive for a while. Some of these survived the war. This policy is outlined in a well-known March 27, 1942 passage from Joseph Goebbels’ diary,
“Beginning with Lublin, the Jews are now being deported eastward from the Government-General. The procedure is pretty barbaric, and one that beggars description, and there’s not much left of the Jews. Broadly speaking, one can probably say that sixty percent of them will have to be liquidated while only forty percent can be put to work.” (David Irving, Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, Focal Point, London 1996, p 388)
The Wannsee Protocol is the minutes of a January 1942 conference on the implementation of the Final Solution. Part of it explains what will happen to the Jews who were deported,
“In pursuance of the final solution, the Jews will be conscripted for labour in the east under appropriate supervision. Large labour gangs will be formed form those fit for work, with the sexes separated, which will be sent to these areas for road construction and undoubtedly a large number of them will drop out through natural wastage. The remainder who survive – and they will certainly be those who have the greatest powers of endurance – will have to be dealt with accordingly. For, if released, they would, as a natural selection of the fittest, form a germ cell from which the Jewish race could regenerate itself.” (J. Noakes and G. Pridham (editors), Nazism 1919-1945, A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, Volume 2, Schocken Nooks, New York, 1988, p 1131)
Like Goebbels’ diary, the Wannsee Protocol says that the fit Jews would be used for slave labour, but it does not say what would happen to the unfit Jews. If it was nothing sinister, why didn’t they just say so? It looks like they did not want to put into writing that the unfit Jews would be Jews.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that Jews were actually used to build roads in the East.
Kollerstrom quotes from both Goebbels’ diary and the Wannsee Protocol, arguing that the Final Solution only meant deporting the Jews to the East (Breaking the Spell, p 214). That part is true. The issue is what happened to the Jews when they got there. He quotes several passages from Goebbels’ diary about the deportation of the Jews and concludes, “Let’s hope this settle the matter.” (Breaking the Spell, p 216)
However, he ignores the two passages quoted above. How can someone ignore the most famous passage in Goebbels’ diary on the fate of the Jews when discussing the fate of the Jews?
Kollerstrom argues that there could not have been any mass murder program because there were 5 million Jews still alive at the end of the war (Breaking the Spell, p 46, 48). If there were about 11 million Jews n Europe at the start of the war and 5 million Jews at the end, this does not prove that around 6 million Jews were not killed.
However, Kollerstrom claims there were only 3 million Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe (Breaking the Spell, p 46, 50). He even says there were only 1.1 million Jews in Poland (Breaking the Spell, p 46).
I think the Nazis would have known how many Jews they had. The Wannsee Protocol said there were 11 million Jews in Europe, including 2.7 million in Poland (Nazism, 1919-1945, Volume 2, p 1130). In a diary entry for March 7, 1942, Joseph Goebbels wrote, “There are 11 million Jews still in Europe.”
Before the Wannsee Conference Hans Frank, Governor of the General Government (part of Nazi-occupied Poland), said in a speech on December 16, 1941,
“We have an estimated 2.5 million Jews in the General Government; if one includes those married to them and all their dependents, perhaps 3.5 million. We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, we cannot poison them, but we must be able to intervene in away which somehow achieves a successful extermination.” (Nazism, 1919-1945, Volume 2, p 1126-1127)
This does not sound like a resettlement policy.
In The Holocaust and the Soviet Union Yitzhak Arad estimates there were between 2.6 and 2.7 million Jews in the Nazi-occupied areas of the Soviet Union, including the Baltic States and eastern Poland, and 2.5 to 2.6 million were killed (Yitzhak Arad, The Holocaust and the Soviet Union, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2009, p 525).
Kollerstrom deals with the issue of the Jews killed in the soviet Union by ignoring them,
“We are not concerned with Jews in Russia, namely because the German pay-outs for “Holocaust survivors” excluded these until the collapse of the Soviet Union.” (Breaking the Spell, p 46)
What is that supposed to mean? Because the post-war West German government did not pay reparations to the surviving Russian Jews, the Jews, which came under Nazi rule, do not count?
This is the third of a series of posts on the book Breaking the Spell by the Holocaust revisionist Nicholas Kollerstrom.
An important source for Auschwitz is the testimony and memoirs of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, however revisionists claim that his evidence is unreliable because he was tortured. Kollerstrom writes, “Rudolf Hoss was seized by a British army hit team and tortured until he gave his torturers the story they wanted to hear” (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 42) and in 1983 it was disclosed “that Rudolf Hoss had been tortured for three days and nights by a British army hit team” (Breaking the Spell, op cit., p 60).
His source is Legions of Death by Rupert Butler who says that Hoess was bashed when he was arrested, but he does not say he was tortured into confessing (Rupert Butler, Legions of Death, Arrow Books, London, 1986, p 237).
The evidence that Hoess was tortured into confessing comes from Hoes himself, who wrote in his memoirs,
“At my first interrogation, evidence was obtained by beating me. I do not know what was in the record, although I signed it. Alcohol and the whip were too much for me.” (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, Phoenix Press, London, 2000, p 174)
Holocaust revisionists are arguing in circles. They say Hoess’ memoirs are unreliable because he was tortured but the evidence he was tortured comes from his memoirs.
Even though Hoess’ evidence supposedly cannot be trusted, Kollerstrom still relies on Hoess when it suits him. He quotes Hoess saying at Nuremberg that the reason for the poor conditions in the concentration camps at the end of the war, with thousands of inmates dying from starvation and disease, was the fault of the Allies who bombed the railways so no food could get to the inmates (Breaking the Spell, p 207-208).
The fact, that Hoess was able to blame the Allies, suggests that he was not the show trial witness which revisionists make him out to be. He could say what the wanted.
Modern revisionists use the same argument as Hoess and blame the Allies for the conditions in the camps at the end of the war. They do not just deny the existence of the gas chambers. They are hard-pressed to admit the Nazis ever did anything wrong.
There are films of German civilians being made to visit the concentration camps at the end of the war. They all look well-fed.
If there was still enough food getting through for the German civilians, it seems implausible that there was not enough the concentration camp inmates.
Starvation was also a problem for the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in the first half of the war.
This cannot be blamed on Allied bombing. It was Nazi policy in action.
Kollerstrom claims that Hoess changed his story about how the gassings took place,
“We’ve alluded to the two stages of Rudolf Hoss’s confession: after being tortured by a British army hit team, he finally agreed to sign the story which was the climax and meaning of Nuremberg, now believed by the entire world. Firstly Hoss confessed that people went into the shower units expecting a shower, and then cyanide gas came out of the shower heads, and they were all dead in twenty minutes. Then, someone presumably murmured to him that the cyanide came in granular form as slow-release Zyklon and it would not be very easy to have this result in gas emerging from shower heads. Also, psst, hydrogen cyanide is lighter than air, so it would not very quickly descend to the captive and naked crowds below expecting their shower. So the story changed, and the famous roof holes made their appearance: the Zyklon was poured down onto the seething masses of bodies through the holes in the roof. This was not part of Hoss’s original confession because he knew perfectly well that there were no buildings in Auschwitz with such holes. But they became an imaginary necessity owing to the logistic flaw in the earlier shower unit concept.
A third step in Hoss’s confession came about because the sprinkling of Zyklon through the roof holes was not felt to be adequate, so pipe cylinders appeared, stretching from those roof holes down to the ground, where the dropped Zyklon would then reside in bowls and slowly release it deadly gas.” (Breaking the Spell, p 58-59)
First of all, Hoess’ confession was not “the climax and meaning of Nuremberg”. The Nuremberg trials were not all about the Holocaust. About 90% of the proceedings dealt with other war crimes than the killing of the Jews. David Irving commented that more time was devoted to the shooting of RAF officers who had escaped from the POW camp at Sagen than the extermination camps (David Irving, Nuremberg, The Last Battle, Focal Point, London, 1996, p 235).
It is not clear which of Hoess’ statements Kollerstrom is referring to. Hoess’ first statement “after being tortured by a British army hit-team” was dated 14 march 1946 and designated NO-1210. In this statement Hoess described the gassings in Bunkers I and II,
“The people, now undressed, then went into the rooms. Each had a capacity of 200-300 people. The doors were bolted and two cans of Zyklon B were sprinkled through the hatches into each room. The Zyklon B was a crystalline mass of prussic acid. It took between three and ten minutes to take effect, depending on the weather conditions.” (cited in Ernest Klee, et al, (editors), The Good Old Days, Konecky and Konecky, New York, 1991, p 270)
At the Bunkers the Zyklon B was thrown in through openings in the walls which were then shut (Franciszek Piper, “Gas Chambers and Crematoria”, in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, Anatomy of the AuschwitzDeath Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 162).
In this statement Hoess also described Crematoria II and III,
“Here too it was explained to the people through interpreters that they were going to be bathed and deloused and that they should make sure they knew where they had left their clothes. Then, still underground, they went into the next-door room, which was equipped with water pipes and shower attachments, creating the impression that it was a shower-room. Right up to the end, two Unterfuhrer had to stay to stay in the room to prevent people from getting worried.” (The Good Old Days, p 271)
Hoess did not say how the Zyklon was inserted in Crematoria II and III. He did not say it came out of the showerheads as Kollerstrom claims.
Hoess made a second statement signed April 5, 1946 and designated PS-3868. He described the gassings,
“So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, I used Cyclon B which was crystalized Prussic Aid which was dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending on climatic conditions.” (PS-3868, cited in Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2002, p 250)
This sounds like a description of Crematorium I in Auschwitz I, where there were no insertion columns, The Zyklon B was dropped through the holes in the roof onto the floor.
Hoess testified at Nuremberg on April 15, 1946, where parts of this statement were read out.
On April 9, 1946, Dr Gustave Gilbert interviewed Hoess in his cell where Hoess said,
“The killing was easy; you didn’t even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas.” (G. M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, Eyre and Spottiswood, London, 1948, p 149)
This is the closest Hoess came to saying the gas came out of the showerheads. It was not the first version which he was told to change, as Kollerstrom claims. It was a private conversation. He had previously said in his statement on March 14 that the shower attachments were only to give the impression it was a shower. The words “instead of water, we turned on poison gas” sound more like hyperbole than a technical statement on how the gas chambers worked.
In November 1946 Hoess gave a more detailed description of the gassings in an appendix to his memoirs,
“Experience had shown that the preparation of prussic acid called Cyclon B caused death with far greater speed and certainty … After undressing, the Jews went into the gas chambers which were furnished with showers and water pipes and gave a realistic impression of a bath house … The door would now be quickly be screwed up and the gas immediately discharged by the waiting disinfectors through vents in the ceilings of the gas chambers, down a shaft leading to the floor. This ensured the rapid distribution of the gas.” (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, London, 1995, p 197, 198)
There is no evidence that Hoess’ interrogators whispered into his ear to get him to change his story. His story did not really change. In his March 14 statement he was describing Bunkers I and II and he did not describe how the gassings took place in Crematoria II and III. In his April 5 statement he was describing Crematorium I. His later statements were describing the operation of Crematoria II and II which he had not described previously.
Most critiques of conspiracy theories assume there is no truth to them. I disagree. Much of it consists of little more than wishful thinking and speculation, but I still believe some of it could be true. The real problem with conspiracy theories is not whether or not they are true, but the way they can become an obsession for those, who believe them, often with destructive consequences. As the title suggest, I am particularly concerned with Christians who believe in conspiracy theories. I am not suggesting that belief in conspiracy theories, in itself, is wrong or sinful. The belief becomes sin when Christians make their belief in conspiracy theories into an idol which is more important to them than their relationship with God and their responsibilities as Christians, leading them to disobey the Bible’s commandments.
One of the characteristics of a cult is, “Any religious movement which claims the backing of Christ or the Bible, but distorts the central message of Christianity by 1) an additional revelation, and 2) by displacing a fundamental tenet of the faith with a secondary matter”. This definition applies to many Christians who promote conspiracy theories which, even if they are true, are a “secondary matter.
As Christians, we are supposed to preach the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15), grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-12, Philippians 1:3-11), live godly and moral lives (Romans 12:1-21, Colossians 3:12-17, Ephesians 5:1-7), love other Christians (John 15:9-17, I John 3:23). Christians, who believe in conspiracy theories, tend to be fundamentalists, in that they believe in the literal truth of the Bible and they know they must obey its commands and preach the Gospel. They usually pay lip service to the Gospel. However, in practice, many of them become more interested in telling people about the Bad News of Conspiracy Theories than the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their belief in conspiracy theories is basically “another gospel”, about which Paul said;
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
Jesus said that the truth would set us free (John 8:32). Belief in conspiracy theories often has the opposite effect and enslaves its adherents, distracting them from what is really important, causing them to break the Bible’s commands, and becoming obsessed and ruining their lives. Conspiracy theories become their religion.
Like members of a cult, conspiracy theorists often become paranoid and isolated from the rest of society which they believe is under the control of the conspiracy. People, who believe in conspiracy theories, usually lack the organisation, structure and control of a cult. (An exception is the Lyndon LaRouche network which operates as the Citizens Electoral Council in Australia and has been described as a cult.) Nevertheless, those, who promote conspiracy theories, often behave like cult gurus. They believe that they have the “truth”. Anyone, who disagrees with them, usually gets accused of being part of the conspiracy.
Knowledge can make us proud (1 Corinthians 8:1). Many conspiracy theorists, like cultists, believe their supposed knowledge makes part of an elite, separate from ordinary people. They think they know how the world really works. Gary North has compared this attitude to the ancient Gnostic heresy;
“The ancient gnostics believed that man is saved by secret knowledge. They believed that man needs to be liberated from this world of matter and elevated, through secret initiation and certain ascetic techniques, into the realm of the spirit. Certain groups of contemporary “New Age” humanist hold a very similar viewpoint. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians and far too many “we must reveal the truth” fanatics who have adopted a variation of this ancient heresy. Their “secret initiation” into knowledge about their enemies, whether the enemy is the devil (in the case of Christian investigators) or the conspiracy (in the case of radical conservatives or leftists) serves them as a psychological justification for doing nothing. They think that just knowing more and more about “the conspiracy” relieves them from doing anything about it. Their endless studying is an excuse for their inactivity. They send their time with other similarly minded people, enjoying the impotent luxury of exchanging secret phrases and knowledge of secret things. They have imitated their enemies; they have created their won inner ring – a secret ring which knows all about their enemy’s secret ring. They became hypnotized with “circles within circles”. Their great spiritual enemy thereby removes them from the real fight.” (Gary North, Conspiracy: A Biblical View, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1986, p 137-138)
And no, I am not a reconstructionist just because I quote Gary North.
In a similar that the original Gnostics looked down on the early Christians, Christian conspiracy theorists see themselves as superior to ordinary Christians who are only concerned with evangelism, worship, prayer and discipleship, not conspiracy theories. Like the Gnostics, they are proud of their special knowledge.
Pride and failing to preach the Gospel are not the only sins of conspiracy theorists. I do not know of any Christian conspiracy theorist who attends church regularly in violation of Hebrews 10:25.
Their belief usually results in the believers being afraid of the all-powerful conspiracy which controls everything. Paul Coughlin writes,
“During one New World Order seminar in southern Oregon, attendees stared straight ahead like deer caught in the headlights. Says one observer, “People just sat there with eyes glued on the information they were given, they were stuck in their seats” – stuck there by fear.” (Paul Coughlin, Secret Plots and Hidden Agendas, IVP, Illinois, 1999, p 148)
In contrast, the Bible commands us not to be afraid of any conspiracy,
“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:12-13)
God, not a human conspiracy, is in control of everything. The conspiracy can do nothing if God does not allow it (Psalms 2:1-9). Even the Antichrist can only act with God’s permission (Revelation 13:5-7). We are supposed to trust God, not be afraid or anxious (Philippians 4:6-7).
The Bible tells us that all governments are appointed by God and we must obey their laws, except when those laws conflict with God’s commands (Acts 5:29). Paul writes;
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God, therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist bring judgement on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due; taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7)
Peter made similar statements in 1 Peter 2:13-17.
Many conspiracy theorists refuse to obey these commands. They believe that government is evil and part of the conspiracy. Even if it is, God knows this and still commands us to obey. Paul and Peter were executed by the Roman government, but they still told us to obey the government. Some do not obey the Bible’s command to pay taxes, such as Kent Hovind, an American creation scientist and conspiracy theorist, who was sentenced to 10 years for 58 tax offences in 2007.
Another Christian conspiracy theorist, whose beliefs led to disobedience and its consequences, was Fritz Springmeier, author of Bloodlines of theIlluminati and The Illuminati Formula Used to Create an Undetectable TotalMind Control Slave. During 1993-1995 Springmeier was counselling a woman, Cisco Wheeler (a.k.a. Linda Johnson and Linda Anderson) who was supposed to have been a victim of Illuminati mind control. In 1995 while he was still married to someone else, Springmeier attended a mind control symposium and introduced Cisco as Mrs Springmeier. In 1997 Springmeier was involved in an armed robbery of a bank in Damascus, Oregon. In March 2001 police raided the house of Springmeier and his third wife and found 50 marijuana plants, weapons and material from a militia group called the Army of God. He was convicted in February 2003.
Springmeier was an extreme case. Not every Christian, who gets involved with conspiracy theories, becomes a bank robber. Nevertheless, he is an example of what happens when Christians’ beliefs in conspiracy theories causes them to lose focus, become obsessed with an idol and think their special knowledge makes them think they are exempt from having to obey the Bible.
The Bible commands us “to speak evil of no one” (Titus 3:2). Many Christian conspiracy theorists ignore this command, as evident in these quotes from Texe Marrs which Richard Abanes compiled;
“Hilary and Bill [Clinton] have surrounded themselves with the most wicked and demon-possessed people imaginable.”
“[Clinton is] a heartless New Age occultist – an occultist who has relentlessly used the full resources of the White House to slander, defame, persecute, and kill true Christians and American patriots.”
“Is President Bill Clinton a practicing Satan worshipper? … [Are the Clintons] demonically charged to perform hideous and barbaric acts unimaginable to decent and trusting Americans? What are the true religious beliefs of Bill and Hilary Clinton? Are they lovers of the Father of Lies – Lucifer himself? Order this exclusive Special Report … [Y]ou may just conclude that Bill and Hilary Clinton are the most wicked witchcraft-evil couple ever to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!”
“Arrogant and anti-Christian lesbian, homosexuals and paedophile advocates now hold the reigns of political power, and the ‘D.C.’ in Washington D.C. has become the ‘District of Corruption.'” (Richard Abanes, American Militias, IVP, Illinois, 1996, p 206)
Even if any of this were true, so what? The Bible does not say we are allowed to speak evil of others if it is true.
We are commanded to “test all things” (I Thess. 5:21). Although I believe there is some truth to conspiracy theories, much of it is speculation and wishful thinking. A conspiracy is, by definition, secret. We should not know about it. If the evidence for a conspiracy is easily available and anyone can read about it in books or on the Internet, then it is not really a conspiracy. Many conspiracy theories are not so much based on evidence, which should not be there, but on wishful thinking, what the conspiracy theorist believes the conspiracy is doing.
For example, within a few hours of the death of Princess Diana in 1997, conspiracy theories were appearing on the Internet about how she was really murdered. Even if they were true, the people, who wrote them, had not had time to have done any research. They were simply writing what they wanted to believe had happened. This is not the same thing as evidence.
This problem is further apparent in the way that different conspiracy theorists with different agendas look at the same events, talk about the same organisations, such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderbergers, but then they that a different group, which just happens to be the one they do not like, is behind the event, such as the Jews, the British Royal Family, the New Agers, the Roman Catholic Church or human-alien hybrids.
It looks like which group people end up blaming for the conspiracy depends largely upon which conspiracy theory they came across first. They decide that this particular conspiracy theory is right and all the others are wrong. Worse, they can come to believe that those, who promote alternative conspiracy theories, are disinformation agents of the conspiracy, distracting people from the “truth”.
Conspiracy theories are based on the assumption that “nothing happens by accident”. Therefore, everything must be part of the conspiracy and have some sinister purpose. Assuming there is a conspiracy, it cannot control everything. If it did, it would control what is published in books and on the Internet or spoken on talk-back radio. We would know that it existed. The fact the conspiracy theories exist proves that the conspiracy does not control everything. Some things must still happen by accident.
Instead, because they assume that nothing happens by accident, but every significant event is part of the conspiracy’s plans, then some of the events, which they assume are part of the conspiracy, must be nothing of the sort. They are genuine historical accidents with no sinister purpose.
There is a sense of hopelessness. They cannot change or reform anything because the conspiracy is too powerful and controls everything. If something good does happen, they assume it is part of the conspiracy and there must be some evil purpose behind it.
Conspiracy theories are not completely lacking in evidence. Unfortunately, some of it is fabricated. The most famous example is the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion which was first published in 1905. It is supposed to be the minutes of a meeting of Jews outlining their plans for world domination. However, as early as 1921 it was proved that parts of these proceedings were copied from an anti-Napoleon III pamphlet, Dialogue in HellBetween Montesquieu and Machiavelli, written by Maurice Joly in 1864. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, even Christian ones, such as Kent Hovind, still believe the Protocols are authentic .
Anti-Semitism is the dark side of the conspiracy theory movement. Some critics like to portray everyone, who believes in conspiracy theories, as rabidly anti-Semitic. This is not true. Gary Allen, author of one of the most influential conspiracy theory books, None Dare Call It Conspiracy, has written,
“One major reason for the historical blackout on the role of international bankers in political history is that the Rothschilds were Jewish. Anti-Semites have played into the hands of the conspiracy by trying to portray the entire conspiracy as Jewish. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The traditionally Anglo-Saxon J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller international banking institutions have played a key role in the conspiracy. But there is no denying the importance of the Rothschilds and their satellites. However, it is just as unreasonable and immoral to blame all Jews for the crimes of the Rothschilds as it is to hold all Baptists accountable for the crimes of the Rockefellers.” (Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy, Concord Press, California, 1971, p 39)
There is even a Jewish conspiracy theorist, Barry Chamish, who believes the Jews are victims of the conspiracy, rather than being behind it.
Nevertheless, the conspiracy theory subculture is filled with anti-Semites. Anybody, who becomes interested in conspiracy theories, will soon come across claims that the “evil” Jews are behind everything. I have seen people, who start out with legitimate concerns about globalisation, banks or what really happened on September 11, 2001. The mainstream media and major political parties will not address these issues, so they turn to conspiracy theories which purport to have the truth. They end up getting involved with anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Another hoax is the Report from Iron Mountain which is supposed to be a secret American think-tank report from 1966. Among other things, it suggests faking an alien invasion in order to unite the world. In 1972 Leonard Lewin, who had been the editor of a political satire magazine Monocle, admitted he had written the whole thing. Just like the Protocols, many conspiracy theorists ignore the facts and still believe the Report from Iron Mountain is authentic.
I have mentioned two conspiracy hoaxes in other articles here and here. The UFO conspiracy theories about MJ-12, Area 51, secret treaties with aliens and an underground base at Dulce, New Mexico, were invented by the Air force Office of Special Investigations and the National Security Agency to distract UFO researchers who were getting too close to classified military projects.
Likewise, books such as The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and theHoly Grail claimed there is a 900 year old secret society, the Priory of Sion, which believes the Merovingian kings were descendants of Jesus Christ.
The Priory of Sion has been exposed as a modern hoax. Moreover, those, who created the hoax, never claimed the Merovingians were descendants of Jesus. This was simply made up by the authors of The Holy Blood and theHoly Grail. However, some Christian conspiracy theorists would rather believe in a conspiracy than the truth and accept the claims of The HolyBlood and the Holy Grail at face value, such as J. R. Church and Fritz Springmeier who have written that the Priory of Sion is a real secret society. I once read an article which claimed that Prince Charles is the Antichrist because he believes he is a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene through the Merovingians.
The Merovingians never claimed to be descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. This was made up by the authors of The Holy Blood and the HolyGrail in 1982. These Christian conspiracy theorists would rather believe in a conspiracy than in the truth and are just uncritically accepting these claims and building on them.
One way of knowing the truth about the Illuminati would be if a former member were to come forward and reveal their plans. John Todd, Doc Marquis and Bill Schnoebelen have claimed that they were Illuminati members who became Christians. The trouble is anyone can claim to have been a member of the Illuminati or some other secret society. I could say I was a member of the Illuminati. They are not going to issue a press release denying it. Moreover, the claims of Todd, Marquis and Schnoebelen are very dubious.
During the 1970s John Todd claimed to have been a Satanic high priest and Illuminati member. Todd claimed to have been a Satanist during the 1960s until he became a Christian in 1972, however he was part of a Pentecostal church in Oregon in 1968. In 1969-1970 he was in the army. He claimed to have been a Green Beret when he was only a clerk. Todd’s army medical records say that he suffered from “emotional instability with pseudologia phantastica” (compulsive lying) and he “finds it difficult to tell reality from fantasy.” They recommended his discharge.
In 1973 while he was working in a Christian coffee house, Todd was caught trying to recruit teenage girls to join a witches’ coven. He started telling Pentecostal churches about his involvement in the Illuminati and claimed that John F. Kennedy was still alive and that he was his personal warlock. He left Pentecostal circles when he was accused of mixing witchcraft and Christianity and seducing teenage girls.
In 1974 Todd was operating an occult store in Dayton, where he was again accused of seducing teenage girls.
In 1978 Todd, who was now part of an independent Baptist church, began touring the United States talking about his involvement in the Illuminati and their plans. He said they were going to take over the world in 1979 and that Jimmy carter was the Antichrist. He accused many Christian leaders, especially those who challenged his claims, of being part of the Illuminati.
Around 1980 Todd dropped out of sight. In fact, in 1982 someone told me he had been killed. In 1987 he was arrested for the rape of several college students in South Carolina and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Of course, he claimed the Illuminati had framed him. He died in prison in 2007. However Fritz Springmeier wrote that he was released from prison and picked up by a helicopter and killed in 1994.
Like Todd, Doc Marquis also claimed that he joined the army, which the Illuminati was infiltrating, in order to set up covens. He appears to be copying Todd’s claims. My only direct knowledge of Doc Marquis comes from a DVD, Arrival of the Antichrist, a lecture recorded at the Prophecy Club.
Instead of revealing some insider information about the Illuminati, which a real member would know, Marquis relied on already published material, such as Nesta Webster’s books and books on Freemasonry like Pike’s Morals andDogmas. Then, for about 1½ hours he quoted passages from the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which he claimed was “a coded Illuminati document” to show how the Antichrist would supposedly come to power. A real member of the Illuminati, or whatever they call themselves, would know that the Protocols are a forgery.
There used to be a good article on Wikipedia exposing Bill Schnoebelen, but it has disappeared. The biggest problem with Schnoebelen’s credibility is that he has claimed to have been so many things. He says that he has studied to be a Catholic priest, completed two Masters degrees, been a Wiccan priest, a Spiritualist minister, a Druid high priest, an Old Roman Catholic Church priest, an Illuminati member, a Freemason, a Satanist, a Knights Templar, a voodoo high priest, a Gnostic priest, a Naturopathic doctor, a Mormon and a vampire. It is hard to see how he could have found the time.
In a DVD, The Sons of God and the Antichrist, filmed at a Prophecy Club meeting, Schnoebelen says he is also a UFO expert. He claims that during his occult phase, he was taken by a UFO to one of the moons of Saturn, where his “third eye” was marked by Satan, and returned to Earth.
I am a bit of a UFO expert and some of his claims in this talk suggest that he does not really know much about UFOs. He claims the Grey aliens, who supposedly carry out UFO abductions, started showing up in the 1960s, when the typical Grey with its all-black eyes did not appear in UFO reports until the 1980s. Other Christian UFO researchers have concluded that UFO abductions are not physically real. Abductees are not taken aboard UFOs. Their experiences are implanted and there are no credible reports of a witness seeing someone being taken aboard a UFO. However, Schnoebelen claims to know of a case where a Baptist minister witnessed a member of his congregation being taken out of their house up into a UFO. A UFO abduction, which was witnessed by a minister, would be one of the most important UFO abduction cases ever, but Schnoeleblen is the only person who has heard of it.
While even New Age UFO researcher John Mack acknowledges that there is no physical evidence for the human-alien hybrids which are supposedly produced from UFO abductions and doubted they were real, Schnoebelen says he has met “several young people” who are the offspring of humans and fallen angels masquerading as aliens. Again, I do know of any other UFO researcher who knows this.
This means that Schnoebelen is the greatest UFO researcher ever and has uncovered things which no one else has, or he is making it up. If he were the greatest UFO researcher ever, he would know that the stories about an underground base at Dulce, New Mexico, populated by aliens, secret treaties and battles with aliens, which are popular on the Internet, were disinformation which was made up by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in the 1980s. Instead, he believes it is true.
In this DVD Schnoebeln also claims to have summoned up Cthulu out of Lake Michigan. Cthulu was a fictional monster made up by the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
As far as I could tell, his supposedly Christian audience just sat there and uncritically believed everything he said about having been a vampire, calling up fictional monsters and meeting children of fallen angels. There was no discernment and the Bible’s command to “test all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) was ignored. Christian conspiracy theorists are usually fundamentalists and are rightly concerned with heresy and false teaching in the church, but they show little concern about false teachers and deceivers in their own circles. Someone just has to say, “It’s a conspiracy” and they get a free pass. Their claims are uncritically accepted.
Although “it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret” (Ephesians 5:12), the Christian audience at the Prophecy Club meetings sat there listening to Marquis and Schnoebelen talk about occult symbolism and rituals, vampirism and other sordid details. In contrast, the Bible says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Something is wrong here. It is a fascination with evil, which could be described as “conspiracy porn”.
Like porn, conspiracy theories seem to be becoming more extreme. A simple conspiracy theory no longer satisfies. This is evident in the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings and the 2013 Boston Bombing. A few years earlier conspiracy theorists would have said that the perpetrators were framed and some secret hit team really carried out the crimes. Now, conspiracy theorists are not simply saying someone else carried out the crimes. They are saying the crimes never even happened. They are hoaxes. It is like they need something more extreme to satisfy their addictive beliefs.
There have been other cases of Christians fabricating stories of their past involvement with Satanism. Mike Warnke is a Christian comedian and author of The Satan Seller who claimed to have been a former Satanist until he was exposed as a fraud in 1992.
Lauren Wilson was born in the United States in 1941. She wrote three books as Lauren Stratford, claiming to have been a victim of Satanic ritual abuse before she became a Christian. After she was exposed as a fraud, she changed her name to Laura Grabowski and said she was a Polish Jew who had been a child inmate in Auschwitz, where she was experimented in by Joseph Mengele. She even claimed to remember Binjamin Wilkomirski, author of Fragments. He also claimed to have been a child in Auschwitz until he was exposed as a fraud.
These people say the right things about Jesus and salvation, but what they say about their experiences with the Illuminati and Satanism is clearly not true. They may be deliberate deceivers (Matthew 24:24). However, when I described them to a Christian psychologist, he suggested they were delusional.
After writing this, I came across a series of posts on Swallowing the Camel which covered these apparent imposters and more in much more detail.
I used to like those little evangelistic tracts Chick Comics. Although they were simplistic, I admired Jack Chick’s forthright proclamation of the Gospel with its emphasis on repentance which is often lacking in modern evangelism. Chick has also published the claims of Alberto Rivera, John Todd, Bill Schnoebelen and Rebecca Brown. They have all made claims of involvement in conspiracies or Satanism and they are all believed to be frauds. Chick clearly has a heart for truth, but his desire to believe in conspiracy theories has led him astray into promoting falsehood.
I believe that many people are attracted to conspiracy theories with good intentions. They are looking for meaning and explanation and want to know what is really going on in the world. However, belief in conspiracy theories does not give Christians an exemption from having to obey the Bible’s commands. As Christians, we are supposed to bring all aspects of our lives under the Lordship of Christ. This includes our conspiracy theories and the attitudes and actions which result from them.