Actually, most of the urban legend "conspiracy theories" that float and cyber-virus their way around the world don't qualify as theories. They aren't posited as careful attempts to make progress in understanding the cause/effect relationship of phenomena. They have nothing to do with the scientific method. Most so-called conspiracy theories are rumors and propaganda, flat-out fiction.
To be sure, there are events where one should theorize the possibility of a conspiracy and then test to see whether the evidence supports a conspiracy. For example, did Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others conspire to manipulate and manufacture oxymoronic "intelligence" supporting WMD and a Saddam Hussein-Al Qaida link in order to justify and bring about the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Odds are better than even, I'd say.
But there are other conspiracy theories that don't stand up to the light of day. A former co-worker dragged around a whole bag full of those for years. Some wacko wrote about it in a piece on the Internet, and therefore it must be true. President Clinton, at the end of his term, would refuse to leave office, declare martial law, institute a dictatorship and hold the world hostage by threatening to detonate nuclear weapons planted all over the Arctic.... It was a deep, dark, sinister conspiracy. "Phil" (not his real name) believed this. He really did, told it to anyone who would listen. Reasonably intelligent man, father of six, war vet, successful businessman. Go figure.
And then there is ADVENT CONSPIRACY...
It's a wonderful thing conceived several years ago by Portland's Imago Dei Community and a couple of other churches as a response to the overspending and overconsumption of modern commerical Christmas. It has spread at the grass roots and has produced countless acts of relational giving and diverted dollars that have provided clean, safe drinking water to thousands of people in impoverished areas, countless acts of local outreach. It has resulted in new connection, new communities and new beginnings.
All without being a church "program" that is packaged, marketed and sold. For profit.
Now Zondervan wants to do exactly that. Sure, they will donate a percentage of the profits to good causes. They say. But they also won't do this deal at a loss. You can bet your crucifix bookmark on that.
So when something becomes a product instead of an inspiration, what happens to the spirit and the soul of the thing?
Maybe we need to conspire against the "new and improved" Advent Conspiracy and start a Lent Conspiracy, Easter Conspiracy, Pentecost Conspiracy, 24/7 Conspiracy.
Or maybe we should just subcontract all of our faith life to China. Put it onto a DVD. For profit.
Jesus repeated the oldest biblical instruction to love our neighbors. It's the heart of being in relationship with God. Do we really need a program to do that? Do we need a conspiracy to do that?
I have a theory...