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 Whatsamattababy
Joined: 12/24/2015
Msg: 1
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy TheoriesPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I was starting to wonder if there are any psychological phenomenon at play that differentiate between people who subscribe to conspiracy theories, and those who don't. Please note that almost everything I've read directly pertaining to the psychology of conspiracy theories came from Google, so it must be true ;)

Anyhoo... I was thinking about the obvious common element between religion and conspiracy theories: Belief in a higher power in order to make sense out of otherwise random events. The weird thing though is that religions purport a "good" higher power and conspiracy theorists believe in an "evil" higher power. One theory on the internet proposes that if people believe there are sinister beings at work behind random events, at least they know who the "enemy" is, so in theory they can fight it. (Kinda makes sense - you can't fight random chance.) But why not just subscribe to a religion? Seems more pleasant.

Anyway, it would appear that researchers haven't found much in common across conspiracy theorists. It would seem that the only commonality is that people who believe one conspiracy also are prone to believe others even if the theories directly contradict each other. This is another thing that makes them different from religions, I'm thinking, as religions more tend to exclude each other.

I'm interested in what others think of all this. Unless you are going to try to argue that conspiracy theories use scientific reasoning, in which case I will make you look like a fool. Oh, wait... ha ha.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 2
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 6:37:05 PM
I'm going to take issue with a bit of that.

While individual religions are consistent, the adherents seldom are. A Baptist might believe in reincarnation; a Catholic might have a bunch of books about the Angels all around us; a Lutheran will go to her cards or aura read. The US is something like over 80% Christian, but around half of Americans believe in alien visitation. There has to be some cross over there, but I can't for the life of me figure out how a believer in a 6 day creation/Noah's Ark/Burning Bush/Resurrection God can believe in aliens. They manage though.

Here's a little tidbit: If you conduct a survey asking, "Do You Believe in Alien Visitation" you'll get a number about 5 percent smaller than if you ask, "Do You Believe the Government is Covering Up Evidence of Alien Visitation." More people believe the government is covering up alien visits than believe in alien visits.
 Whatsamattababy
Joined: 12/24/2015
Msg: 3
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 6:47:03 PM
^ Let me help you with that. In the Bible, some things were misstranslated. One example is that in ancient Hebrew, "the heavens" refers to "aliens". Thus, when God created "the heavens and the earth"... Well, I'm sure you get it now ;)
 cassie2425
Joined: 3/4/2016
Msg: 4
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 6:54:51 PM
Maybe those that believe in stories in a book like the bible are easily led to betieve in so called conspiracy theories. They already have a tendency to believe pretty much anything so god, aliens, conspiracy theory...not a stretch.
 Whatsamattababy
Joined: 12/24/2015
Msg: 5
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:16:42 PM
^ The thing is, I understand the function of religion, both on a societal level, and on a psychological level. I don't understand the function of conspiracy theories (other than as a way for people to make sense of things). Aside from that, they seem kind of self-defeating?
 kj521
Joined: 9/20/2015
Msg: 6
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:18:22 PM
Yeah....I don't know what the correlation is or if one exists.

But I am a religious person and I also happen to love conspiracy theories. Only because my brother works for the US government and I just love to drive him crazy with them. It is the highlight of my month sometimes to get him all riled up and aggravated when I demand to check his hands for signs of chip implantation before I will alow him to stay at my house for the weekend. He did get me good though, the last time he was at my house, by explaining that the hands would not be the optimal area for chip implantation but a rather more "fatty" area. Trust me....I was just not that committed to my passion for conspiracy theories to go there! Yikes!


I might be a "special" case, though. :/
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 7
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:22:56 PM
I used to go to this coffee shop that functioned as the unofficial headquarters of a group of conspiracy theorists.

My perception was that it gave them a tribal identity and a feeling of superiority. They weren't "sheeple" and saw what others didn't. That's where I heard that Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC because the genetically modified monsters they battered and deep fried could no longer be called "chickens."

The ultimate paradox though was that they were all so incredibly gullible. I would have books handed to me which I would open at random and find a claim made with absolutely no basis. The only one I can remember is that human flesh rots faster than other animals. It makes no sense, but they accepted it whole heartedly.
 cassie2425
Joined: 3/4/2016
Msg: 8
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:23:02 PM
I'd actually like to hear two or three examples of what you deem "conspiracy theories", Whatsamatterbaby . Just for a giggle.
 Whatsamattababy
Joined: 12/24/2015
Msg: 9
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:37:06 PM
^ I don't really want to make fun of them because there are people here who subscribe to them, and just because I don't understand the purpose they serve (not the people - the theories) doesn't mean there isn't one. But the first one I ever encountered was about not getting children vaccinated because the government puts microchips in the vaccinations.
 Onyx49
Joined: 3/6/2016
Msg: 10
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:43:14 PM
Religion and Conspiracy Theories and two vast, and different things, I try hard not to question or dispute a persons beliefs...or path in the way they chose to serve god.
However I am skeptical of people that follow no religious path...I believe that they have no boundaries regarding life in it's most fundamental form.

As for other stuff like space aliens...the World is full of mystery's, if somebody you'd known for years told you they saw something about 3 and a half feet tall, with almond shaped eyes and was grayish in color...while driving home...would you question it, even knowing this is a trustworthy person.
 cassie2425
Joined: 3/4/2016
Msg: 11
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:54:38 PM

Religion and Conspiracy Theories and two vast, and different things, I try hard not to question or dispute a persons beliefs...or path in the way they chose to serve god.
However I am skeptical of people that follow no religious path...I believe that they have no boundaries regarding life in it's most fundamental form.


I find that odd that you question someone who don't believe in religion yet you don't question people that believe in a miracle birth, th second coming or just a god, any god. A story, quit book made up of stories created by men. Weird. Even the term "serve god" gives me the willies.

As for conspiracy theories, some of them are just too damn strange. But, like religion, they do the tick - they provide an answer for an unknown. Both are blind faith. One, religion, is used more to "control" than the other. Both "baffle with bullshit" , as a wise man once told me. And the "microchip in vaccine" people don't ask for money or special privilege or tax free status.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 12
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 7:59:54 PM
But both conspiracy theories and religion provide the believer with a sense of special knowledge and a tribal identity.

 Whatsamattababy
Joined: 12/24/2015
Msg: 13
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 8:02:34 PM

If somebody you'd known for years told you they saw something about 3 and a half feet tall, with almond shaped eyes and was grayish in color...while driving home...would you question it, even knowing this is a trustworthy person.


Darling, if I myself saw that I'd think "My goodness, the brain is a complex and unreliable thing. I think I'll have some neurological testing done." But that's just me. We can all still play nice :)
 Onyx49
Joined: 3/6/2016
Msg: 14
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 8:08:19 PM
But, people have said that...and whose to say they didn't see it ?
There is stuff out there that we simply don't know about, and there are things that happen which we can't explain.

If you happen upon a strange looking creature...consider yourself lucky...I would !!!!
 Whatsamattababy
Joined: 12/24/2015
Msg: 15
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 8:14:58 PM

But both conspiracy theories and religion provide the believer with a sense of special knowledge and a tribal identity.


The sense of belonging, I completely understand. I'd overlooked that little need. Not sure about the "special knowledge" part. I mean, "knowledge is power" supposedly, and power (efficacy) is also a need, but those types of beliefs would overall make someone feel more powerless, I'm thinking?
 Doremi_Fasolatido
Joined: 2/14/2009
Msg: 16
view profile
History
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 8:20:52 PM
I 've heard of folks seeing Angels too.... Has anyone seen the series "Ancient Aliens"? According to them, the ancient folks who wrote some of our most adhered to [to this day] religious texts were seeing....in fact...Aliens and their spacecraft. Who knows what the ancients were really seeing and describing back then? After all, there were no proper words to describe spaceships or aliens. Interesting theories though IMHO.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 17
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 8:22:17 PM
But the powerlessness of the believer is similar. In an Abrahamaic religion, you've got a God who knows everything you're going to do before you're born, then judges you for it after you die. Someone who thinks the Illuminati control everything are also controlled in what they can do.

But by acknowledging this powerlessness, they don't need to feel superior to God or the New World Order. They just need to feel superior to their neighbour. Those whose eyes haven't been opened to the Truth. And they both get to proselytize. Winning converts gives them more feeling of specialness.
 DameWrite
Joined: 2/27/2010
Msg: 18
view profile
History
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 8:56:12 PM
Religious people are trying. So are conspiracy freakzoids and/or sad and troubled who try to be special.

The ones who REALLY work the con spiracy's are greedy!

Religion is based on faith and fear which is a con spriacy to control and collect from the naive. Patriotism (as in the "I will do what you say (follow orders) no matter what I think is right" is greedos asking you to do their work, dirty work, pay up, and sometimes kill for them.

Conspiracy theories USED to have to have a fact based basis...but now the theories are sold as any idea that may pop into ones head. .. Aliens, reptiles, freako healers etc. (This is to make people throw questioners in with nut bars/sad people and mock them instead of questioning what's up).

What is happening is that the many people who delve into finding out the truth and try to share it with others, come up against a wall because those that make money off stupidity...don't want others to know this. People can't handle that there are REAL azzholes out there who do NOT think your life matters and want to use you.
They do not want you to know that they are actually that fckin dirty, greedy, murderous..so they have started a campaign calling EVERYONE who calls them out on their shit, "conspiracy theorists" .

The facts remain. There ARE conspiracy's and most of what we are sold, is sold to us because greedy "families" got together and said..."how can I con vince people to give me money/control/faith/power/sex ...?"

Garnering control by a group of like minded group is...a conspiracy.

The propaganda is that ALL people who think outside the box are conspiracy theorists. This is meant to dis credit the clever or the investigators. They allow or throw nut bar scenarios out there to muddle the lazy.

Religion and stat ism are THE BIGGEST conspiracies out there.

But hey...you can dis credit everything I say if you call me a "conspiracy theorist",

Convenient for the greedos who want your $ ?xo? ?
 flman2015
Joined: 10/3/2015
Msg: 19
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/13/2016 11:49:17 PM
There is a crucial difference between religion and a conspiracy theory.

There is no penalty for believing or not believing a conspiracy theory. Your soul will spend eternity in hell in indescribable pain and suffering if you don't believe what religion tells you. Religion offers bonuses in the form of a varying number of virgins (noticeably, they don't say anything about going shopping with them), immortality and conscience bleach to remove the stains left by altar boys, those little perverts!

I like conspiracy theories. The 25 women thing was started by Victoria Secret and Manolo Blanic to sell more product. something afoot Watson;-) There is a conspiracy, price collusion and the invisible hand of a hidden feminine cartel at work. I can tell.

I heard Trump was in favor of replacing waterboarding with stoning, what a copycat!
 woobytoodsday
Joined: 12/13/2006
Msg: 20
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/14/2016 12:39:53 AM

human flesh rots faster than other animals


Not gonna argue that one way or t'other--but pig flesh seems to rot faster than chicken, beef, or mutton. The others are herbivores, and pigs, like humans, are omnivores. In the Solomon Islands, human flesh was called "long-pig". . . . Mebbe?
 Jo van
Joined: 5/23/2009
Msg: 21
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/14/2016 4:39:54 AM

Anyway, it would appear that researchers haven't found much in common across conspiracy theorists. It would seem that the only commonality is that people who believe one conspiracy also are prone to believe others even if the theories directly contradict each other. This is another thing that makes them different from religions, I'm thinking, as religions more tend to exclude each other.

I'm not sure I agree with that last bit.
The biggest advocates for the introduction/spread of "islam", in the 'west', (in the UK anyway) is the 'established' 'christian' church.
As unlikely as it seems (now), I think eventually, all three 2Abrahamic" religions will merge, to combat falling numbers.
These hyper-market style "synachusques" will also allow them to liquidate some of their current real estate holdings.
Of course, women won't be allowed*, because "god" hates women.
(*Unless they wear beards. Some women will wear false ones.)


How many people would "believe" the "christian" story, if it happened recently??
The headlines would read:
"12 year-old girl raped by space alien, and resulting child is declared "the Messiah"!"
Or the "muslim" one:
Or "Beardy Man rides into space on flying horse, after talking to space alien. We have pictures"
Or the "jewish" one:
"Man who mutilated the genitals of all his 300 "slaves" in a single day, ascends mountain, and is given "tablets" by space alien.
On the way back down, he chats to a burning bush, and claims his "staff" all turned into snakes".
(Police warn about dangers of taking 'contaminated' tablets, from strange space-aliens)

If any of these claims were made today, they would probably be met with healthy scepticism, by most nominally sane people.
Yet, somehow, "magically", because they happened a few hundred years ago (allegedly),
modern people seem willing to believe that the people from the 'Bronze Age' are somehow more 'reliable' witnesses, than people are today.

Religions are just another 'big business', selling ideas.
I think the 'commonality', is the willingness to "believe" things, with absolutely no proof.
JMO
 Inner_Gorilla
Joined: 12/3/2015
Msg: 22
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/14/2016 8:49:31 AM

While individual religions are consistent, the adherents seldom are. A Baptist might believe in reincarnation; a Catholic might have a bunch of books about the Angels all around us; a Lutheran will go to her cards or aura read. The US is something like over 80% Christian, but around half of Americans believe in alien visitation. There has to be some cross over there, but I can't for the life of me figure out how a believer in a 6 day creation/Noah's Ark/Burning Bush/Resurrection God can believe in aliens. They manage though.


What I see is that most religions negate their primordial tenant, and white wash their b u ll sh it to mean whatever they may want to mean.

Take for instance Christianity. It's supposed to be monotheistic, does not worship idols.

It really is not when not only do you have a God, but then you have the devil. To make it even more screwed up, God has a son, but also a holy spirit. So now you vary 3 more identities there. They engage in what anthropologically would be called, "Hero worship" that means the worship the deeds of their Hero, Jesus. Many of the elements of the Hero worship include that a god came down and impregnated a human, thus creating the Hero. The cult of Hercules comes to mind, which was very popular around the time that Christianity moved from being a Jewish sect to include non-jews. You can also call Protestants Book worshipers, since they follow what is in the bible as if it was the word of god, when there's clear historical evidence that most of what constitutes the Bible were text that were edited to fit the interest of the Emperor (Constantine) in the 3 century to consolidate his power and make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
 deetristate
Joined: 12/4/2014
Msg: 23
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/14/2016 8:52:41 AM
Many thought that "the government is spying on you" was a conspiracy theory until the Snowden event.

I always wonder how strong and secure is the nonbelief of those who regularly question and analyze the believers. Hmm.

I have a friend who is a wiccan and a close friend who is an antitheist and one who is a co.mitted catholic. Fine. Works for them.

Don't the irreligious think that religion is a conspiracy?
 BeckyHT
Joined: 1/1/2013
Msg: 24
view profile
History
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/15/2016 11:23:01 PM
And about conspiracy theories…

The US government asked it’s citizens to believe in one of the biggest conspiracies… that 19 individuals brought down two towers, crashed another airline into the Pentagon, and made one disappear into the ground In Pennsylvania. Go figure.

Some are figuring out the government story isn't the real story. Yet most have never heard of trade tower #7.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 25
view profile
History
Differences and Similarities between Religion and Conspiracy Theories
Posted: 3/16/2016 12:35:16 AM
I think the strongest area of similarity in all these things, isn't so much in the things themselves. It's in the source of the things: people.

I think I see a fairly universal urge or drive in most people, to have the feeling that they are ON THE RIGHT TRACK. That's basically it, really. Depending on a lot of other factors of time and place and a little bit of DNA, that basic urge can manifest itself as anything from wanting to believe in the most extreme wild stories, to the insistence against all facts, that the Official Line is also The Truth.

Even something like racial, gender, or cultural prejudice comes out of this. The less insistent the individual is that what they hang their sense of certainty on, is actually rational, the more likely they are to buy in to all sorts of things.

There have been a number of purposeful (as well as accidental) social experiments on people, wherein it was confirmed that if people are convinced that they are obeying SOME authority, that they will do almost anything at all to other people. Even with that, it isn't the existence of the authority which really matters, it's the desire of the person to feel positive about themselves which fundamentally drives their behavior.
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