Malik Faisal Akram took hostages at a synagogue near Fort Worth last week, after an almost 11 hour standoff the hostages were free and he was dead. His stated purpose was to free Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani with a PhD in neuroscience who is serving a federal prison sentence in Fort Worth after being found guilty of attempted murder and other charges in an assault on US officers in Afghanistan. According to the Rabbi, Akram said “Jews control the world. Jews control the media. Jews control the banks. I want to talk to chief rabbi of the United States.” (BTW, there is no such thing.)
There were two things going on here, neither having to do with his faith. As far as his faith goes, he had been kicked out of a mosque just a few days before because of erratic behavior and his own family had tried to talk him into surrendering.
No, instead the two issues are mental illness and conspiracy theories.
First, while not diagnosed, to the best of my knowledge, his behavior prior to the event and the testimony of those close to him suggested that Akram had experienced a kind of mental or emotional break.
Second, however, and perhaps more importantly for my purposes is the fact that he bought into a centuries old conspiracy theory. He believed that a tiny synagogue in Texas would give him access to some secret cabal that ruled the world. In his mental state he accepted an obvious falsehood.
But there are people with far better records that do the same. About the Jews, yes, but also stories about any group seen as different, no matter who it might be. There may even be things that you currently believe to be true about public figures, other races, or government agencies that are just as damning. The conspiracy theories about vaccines, for example, has resulted and continues to result in massive casualties as our health system is overwhelmed by the unvaccinated.
Spreading conspiracy theories, even if you do not fully believe in them but just find them interesting, contributes to their credibility.
The Bible is clear on how believers should monitor what they say. For a long time we have lumped things in to vulgarity or gossip, but right now the most dangerous speech for America is the conspiracy theory.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.