A friend of mine was the ultimate conspiracist. No, he wasn't paranoid, wasn't even an atheist (the real conspiracy theorists). See, he subscribed to the same anarchist Christian theory as Tolstoy did, except my friend went a step further and considered the moment Constantinople accepted Christianity as the moment it was corrupted.
Funny thing, was he was a programmer, and I never saw these things as anything but dissonant from the other views he held. Let me provide an example. He thought of astrology as a field full of charlatans. Not that he was geocentric or anything like that, but rather that he subscribed tot he theory that stars were representations of dead gods. That the dead gods were not all holy and powerful, but mixed in with demigods, those semi-important people of history, only made his theory more outlandish to me, while these details made them more in touch with reality to him.
I would rarely challenge him, though, because the first time that I did, he showed me a whole desk full of literature backing his view and disproving others'.
Which brings us to another view of his (though he didn't seem to subscribe to it unless it was convenient). That the modern citizen should keep his/her mind open to all evidence. And though I agreed with this, I really was of the mind that to really do so was to ask for a mental breakdown as there was so much tripe and fake evidence out there, that one couldn't possibly evaluate even a modicum of any issue. And even if the end result of this is that we end up looking for fake prophets (secular or otherwise) who would at least tell us something true, this method is not without its flaws.
When the prophets become the focal points of interest, the powers that be become aware and soon corruption or fear (yes, it's binary) rule the roost instead of facts. Who to trust then? This would be the main point of contention between us.
Sadly, it's easy for me to see that faith and conspiracy can be an acceptable outcome when the other choice is just as nihilistic. Of course, the question then is: where does that leave us as a nation, as a group of people? Is the status quo as good as it gets?
I'm not sure, but since my friend is otherwise a good person to hang out with, I have decided to accept this theory of his. Hard to find good friends these days, so what does some ephemeral theory matter to me then?
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