By George Adimike
By means of the arresting appeal of the New World Order conspiracy theory, the evil one seeks to entrap the world. Many pseudo prophets and demagogues have taken over the rostrum of the information superhighways and various social media platforms, marshalling out claims, which are generally unfounded. Being experts in the manipulation of facts and hearts, they confound the public with their false and firebrand messages containing a mixed grill of diagnosis and solutions to the present crisis that even some of the knowledgeable are swept off their stead. They misuse Scriptural data and wrongly mix them up with historical facts that lead away from the truth. In their vainglorious claims, they take the name of the Lord in vain without qualms of conscience. Like the Gnostics of old, they claim esoteric knowledge and arrogantly arrogate to themselves the power to penetrate God’s mind (cf Rom 11:34; 1 Cor 2:11) as if they have been appointed members of God’s Advisory Council.
These alarmists regurgitate old narratives about the New World Order and present them as imminent ‘Armageddon’. This conspiracy theory, which has been current for decades, claims that a certain occultic power elite, often linked to the so-called Illuminati, have an inimical globalist plan of a totalitarian nature that will undermine the sovereignty of nations. Accordingly, it will inaugurate a One World Government with One World Religion marked by totalitarianism and with enormous socio-economic ramifications. The purveyors of this conspiracy theory hold that the cabal of the New World Order foresees its inauguration as the apotheosis of history and the climax of its development. Indeed, this New World Order conspiracy theory is fed by the fusion of the currents of the ultra-conservative and radical anti-government right of the left American ideologues and the apocalyptic-minded Christian fundamentalists of the end-time obsession appeal.
Naturally, the accused by these theorists are always organizations with global spread, influence and authority, since they are generally far right-ultra-nationalist populists or radical-fundamentalist-circumscribed Christian groups. Hence, it is not uncommon to see the United Nations and the Catholic Church, which are the two genuinely global bodies being accused as the architects of this so-called New World Order. For the fundamentalist Christian wing of the theorists, Pope after Pope has been accused of being the master-mind of this global agenda. According to them, One World Religion and One World Government funded and driven by the so-called esoteric minority power elite, the so-called Illuminati, spell this New World Order of the Anti-Christ. Incidentally, in the minds of many, any successful individual in the world, especially of global stature, belongs to this elitist club, the Illuminati. In their assumption, the Illuminati rule the world.
The above situation ordinarily will challenge the faith and reason of a faithful Christian who knows that Christ will not abandon his world to the devil, who prowls in search of someone to devour (cf 1 Pet 5:8; John 10:10). However, it beats ratiocination and imagination to accept that Christ is defeated and schemed out to the margins of the world he redeemed.
Numquam! It constitutes a big struggle to place Psalm 24:1 (the Lord’s is the earth and all its fullness) within the structure and scheme of this conspiracy theory. The fact that the devil thrives in fear-mongering to disorient and disorganise people is an absolute certainty that needs to be acknowledged at this moment. Rightly so, God’s gifting of the human person with the dominion over the world (cf Gen 1:26, 28) as the One whose gifts are irrevocable (cf Rom 11:29) imbues man with the capacity to thrive and flourish. As such, it becomes a counterpoint to attributing superlative success to the evil one.
Notwithstanding, these ‘men of gods’, employing biblical literalism, manipulate the Bible by proof-texting. In their eisegesis (projecting onto), they shop for passages similar to their presuppositions to justify their prejudices and hypotheses and thus fund their narratives. By so doing, they force the Scriptures to fit within their mindset or preconceived ideas. They relate with the Scriptures with an attitude of masters who manipulate it according to the rubric of circumstances and not as humble servants who submit to the school of the Word to learn from the Master by the Spirit. With this cafeteria-like attitude, these false prophets pick and choose from the Scriptures, thereby doing violence to the Word of God. In their manipulative disposition, they fail to take the Bible as a unit wherein the Scripture interprets Scripture knowing that the letter is of no avail, but the Spirit of the Word gives life (cf John 6:63; 2 Cor 3:6).
These demagogues, in the name of the Gospel, harm faith and do a disservice to religion. In their ignorance or arrogance or both, they dish out falsehoods, half-truths and manipulated facts, which eventually do not approximate to the truth. This unfortunate time of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has offered them a rostrum to unleash their jaundiced messages to the unsuspecting public. Unfortunately, they confuse many. And many overzealous Christians join the fray without understanding the crux of the matter. This piece is necessary because not everyone is equally gifted with mental rigour or enough information to see through the demagoguery and process their lies. It serves as a critical caveat to my fellow simple Christians to beware of these merchants of fear, who turn the _Maranatha_ hope into paranoid despair with their rhetorical skill, passion and promise. They are false prophets, whose stock in trade is panic as they prowl around in this challenging moment.
In the end, it should not escape our attention that those who create narratives rule the world. The Catholic Church means universal, and her global ministry translates her true identity, which is unconnected with any so-called New World Order.
The Popes understand that religion should be a force for good and an instrument for building a fellowship of God’s children and not an agency of division, strife and war. Sequel to the role of religion to teach humanity the value of life, dignity of human person and liberty of the children of God, the Church led by the Papacy has been spending herself to lead by example. Religions cannot support wars in the name of God of peace, and they cannot promote hatred in the name of God of love. Indeed, the Popes see themselves as the embers of truth, love and peace that will fire the world into a new civilization of love, hermeneutic of peace and culture of life. In likewise, Popes, in appreciation of their mission as bridge-builders, find creative ways to unite people of different creeds and cultures. Precisely, being a Pontiff (from Latin Pontifex meaning bridge maker) imposes a bridge-building mission on the Popes – the Supreme Pontiffs (Supreme bridge-builders).
Hence, Popes of recent memory, namely, Pius XII, St John XXIII, St Paul VI, St John Paul II and Benedict XVI, left no turn unstoned, and left no stone unturned in promoting global peace and geopolitical dialogue. Visiting the United Nations in 1965, St Paul VI proclaimed that the Church is an expert in humanity and the Papacy of St John Paul II was an eloquent testimony to that. On October 27, 1986, St John Paul II convened the meeting of world religions and a day of prayer for peace in Assisi, Italy, in which most Christian denominations and 11 non-Christian religions participated. Other Popes have been following the tradition. Benedict XVI initiated The Courtyard of the Gentiles as a global cultural counter-offensive for dialogue with the atheists, secularists and non-believers. Presently, Pope Francis is continuing in their footsteps. When he promotes universal fraternity with the Muslims and encourages the diffusion of education to the remotest parts of the world (Education: the Global Compact), he is only embodying the Gospel values and living in the footsteps of his predecessors. Similarly, the same applies to his diplomacy of encounter through which he preaches respect for human dignity and justice for all, including the immigrants. Whoever misconstrues it as New World Order is either ignorant or mischievous.
To conclude, those who deceive others have a price to pay depending on the degree of their knowledge. Christianity is already a new world order in which Christ exercises dominion over the world, any other thing to the contrary comes from the evil one. Beware of those who preach the contrary Gospel and beware of the false prophets (cf Matt 7:15) who make false accusations and allegations. Christ is the new order, and we are his own.
Adimike, a Catholic priest, wrote from Rome.