Are Conspiracy Theories Giving Birth to a New Religion? In the nine years since 9/11 conspiracy theories about the Illuminati have grown from fringe notions held by religiously inclined paranoiacs to mainstream beliefs championed by former governors and major celebrities. With unshakable beliefs and fanatical adherents, perhaps what we’re witnessing is not the unmasking of a grandiose conspiracy, but the dawn of a new religion.
Over a decade ago I met a guy in the pub – a friend of a friend – who was reading a book about the Illuminati. It was the first time I’d ever heard of them. Seeing I was interested, he elaborated on the fantastic yarn about a plot to rule the world that began in ancient Egypt and is going on this very day in Bohemian Groves and Bilderberg Groups around the world. I was captivated, especially at the claims that Clinton, Bush Sr. etc would be spending the Millennium Celebrations in the pyramids at Giza where the missing Golden capstone would be added at the structure’s apex for an occult ritual, or his dissection of a dollar bill for all the Masonic symbolism.
To top it all, he ended his rant by telling me the book had since been recalled, and all copies destroyed.
In the following years I read books and books of conspiracy literature, watched videos and scoured websites guzzling information. I was determined to get to the root of the ancient conspiracy, to find the true “secret history” of the world. Naively, when I began my research I had assumed there was one definitive truth about the history of the Illuminati. After studying a little while it soon became apparent that there were many competing theories as to who they were, and major differences as to their origin, intents and goals.
It took me many years to figure out what the Illuminati actually represents: the roots of a future religion, currently rife with theological differences waiting to be ironed out.
You can find many parallels with the emergence of Christianity in the First to Third centuries. In the first century especially, there were extraordinarily diverse views of who Jesus was, on notions of the afterlife.Was Jesus a man? If he was, how could he be resurrected? Then was he a spirit? If he was a spirit then how did he suffer on the cross? Was he a god? If he was a God, how was he also the son of God? Were they the same person? And so on. Much of this was eventually settled with the advent of the Trinity doctrine (a theological kludge) some 400 years after Jesus died. You even had Christian Gnostics who thought the universe was made by an evil god; polytheistic Christians and a kaleidoscope of other weird and colourful cults.
Illuminatism is a fledgling religion, and 9/11 is its crucifixion.
Why a religion and not a serious theory? Because it relies rather heavily on dogma and belief, rather than facts and figures. Don’t’ get me wrong facts and figures are cited to death in conspiracy circles, but they are often used the same way fundamentalist Christians use facts and figures, as a way to support a conclusion they’ve already arrived at. Because of the belief that the Illuminati are in control of all major media, and a huge number of prominent media figures and politicians are under their direct control or influence, then all information from these sources are seen as lies spun by the Illuminati to condition us to the New World Order master plan. However, if the information from these sources supports the world-view, they are adopted into it, and used to strengthen pre-held beliefs.
I call these “anchors”, news reports, events, documents and even physical objects that provide “proof” of an intangible belief that can be referenced in reality and shared with others. We use them as place markers, associate our own particular meaning to them and over time, and build up a conceptual map of reality relative to belief in the Illuminati. One that is shared an enriched through communication, and evolved through debate that explains away internal contradictions and other nonsensities with all the vigour of Star-Trek fanboys explaining the sudden appearance of Klingon bumps. But that’s all it is, a map, and as all you fans of General Semantics already know, “the map is not the territory”, it’s merely a convenient and often crude approximation.
Belief in the authenticity of your map over others is an effective tool for dismissing things that don’t fit into it. Take Alex Jones and his dismissal of Peak Oil campaigners and Climate Change scientists. These people are seen as pawns of the Illuminati, stooges peddling lies so the Illuminati can pave the way for their microchipped big brother world government. Anyone who does not agree 100% with Jones’ conclusions are doing the will of the Illuminati, knowingly or unknowingly. That’s why I had to wince when Jones was interviewing Chomsky on his radio show, and called the 80 year old anarchist a “new world order shill” because of his views on gun control – a heresy.
Why has it become so popular? Because since 9/11 people are questioning things and not getting straight answers from the media, politicians or other icons like celebrities. People are looking for answers.
9/11 especially acts like a conspiracy “hook” into the Illuminatism world-view, and often encourages digging deep into the rabbit hole. You find out about the Bilderberg group and the Council of Foreign Relations, the Rothschild family and the Freemasons. Suddenly a whole new way of viewing the world, of viewing reality, begin to unfold.
There is a hand behind world events, and it is a malevolent one; much like Satan was blamed for everything that went wrong in Medieval society (disease, crop failure, sudden unexplained deaths), it is possible to blame the Illuminati for in ours (Bird Flu, Engineered Resource Shortage, the death of David Kelly). It’s rationalisation is a rich and voluminous, a complex tapestry of a thousand sources – what else to expect from the first mainstream religion of the Information Age?.
Depending on which route you go down in your research (which could be influenced by your previous beliefs), you can go down one of these following paths (not exhaustive). Each a Illumiantism sub-sect with its own particular focus and specialisation. If you follow it for long enough you’ll experience a complete paradigm shift, a totally new way of organising incoming sensory information.
Territory pioneered by Hal Lindsay and Pat Robertson in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Illuminati is a Satanic plot to engineer the rise of the Anti-Christ and herald in the World Government. The United Nation is their primary tool. This movement seems to have split with the one below and become pro-Republican sometime in the late 80s. Believe Hilary Clinton is an Illuminati Witch.
Shares much in Common with the above worldview, except both Democrats and Republicans are two heads of the same beast (controlled from London by secret societies). Aspects relating to the Anti-Christ are traditionally toned down and emphasis is placed on sci-fi aspects of the Illuminati plot such as microchipped super-surveillance societies and hi-tech mind control. Typified by one of the Grand Imam’s of the conspiracy world, Alex Jones and popular in survivalist circles. Illuminati often described as “communist”.
New Age / UFO
Shares much in common with the above in terms of practical details and organisational structure, however Satan is not the villain of the piece in this strange reality; it is the mysterious Annunaki. Strongly influenced by the strangely charismatic David Icke, this movement sees the Illuminati as being either trans dimensional or extra-terrestrial entities attempting to keep mankind in a spiritual as well as physical prison to use as labourers on a planetary plantation. Influenced by Buddhist thought and draws, somewhat haphazardly, from sources as eclectic as Zulu shamans, UFO abductees and quantum physics.
Far Right / Anti-Semetic
The most traditional of the Conspiracy worldviews, this sees the Illuminati as a tool of Jews, who plan to enslave the white man and dilute his race with inferior stock. Israel is often seen as the source of the global plot to control the world via international Banks. US Government often described as ZOG – Zionist Occupational Government. Some views expressed by the shady Lyndon LaRouche.
Far Left / Rationalist
Sees banks as the power behind world events, and often described in the language of Globalisation. Religious aspects of the Illuminati are toned down, and often the name “Illuminati” is not even used. Particular emphasis put on corruption and secret societies like Skull and Bones. A very diffuse grouping of beliefs. Some ideas relayed by Michael Parenti.
The other reason, of course, that such thinking is becoming increasingly popular, is the sheer amount of information available today. Belief in the Illuminati is a way of making sense of an intimidating and unpredictable world which we can never hope to truly comprehend. Like religion, it is a way of simplifying an infinitely complex universe to once that is internally cohesive and provides a basis for understanding reality. Also, the more indoctrinated (i.e obsessed) one gets with the Illuminati, the more evidence one will see of their existence. It’s pattern recognition. If they truly have their hand in everything, they might be monitoring your computer, they might have spies after you, they might be trying to shut you up. That way, madness lies.
But as I say, these are early days. In the centuries ahead, especially as society becomes more technologically advanced and bewildering (or conversely, as the world spirals into increasingly titanic wars), beliefs in Illuminatism – that a Malevolent force is guiding world events – will become more and more prevalent. We’ve just began to see the first high profile adherents of such beliefs – Charlie Sheen has just come out and said he believes 9/11 was an inside job, and was interviewed on Alex Jones radio show. CNN done a follow up interview with Jones and took a poll of who thinks he’s right. 83% of the CNN audience thought Sheen was correct. Glenn Beck is now peddling his own versions of common conspiracy theories that are viewed by millions. This is only the beginning.
Our mind’s operate by developing narrative to explain events. If they did not, the world would be too chaotic to comprehend. This function is hardwired into out brains. We imagine our lives as narratives, when in fact we are at the mercy of an indiffernt universt. It is comforting. It makes us what we are. As society becomes more complex, and more and more information is thrown onto the internet, our minds will yearn for easily comprehensible narratives to explain things. Right now, Illuminatism – with its logical, rational cover story – is a the main contender.