Bible-believing Christians and Christian nationalists are the most likely demographic to embrace conspiracy theories, including ones related to 9/11 and mass shootings.
According to a new study from Religion in Public, Christians who consider themselves to be “biblical literalists” and believers who agree with Christian nationalism ideology are “more likely” than the general population to believe in conspiracy theories.
“We find that both Christian nationalism and biblical literalism have an impact on an individual’s likelihood of adopting generalized conspiracy thinking,” wrote the authors of the study. “As people express both higher levels of Christian nationalism and higher levels of biblical literalism, they are more likely to express conspiracy thinking.”
Are religious folks more apt to believe in conspiracy theories?
Specifically, belief in a literal Bible and Christian Nationalism increase conspiratorial thinking. Together, they generate a multiplicative effect. https://t.co/qyd9oZV87J
— Ryan Burge 📊 (@ryanburge) July 5, 2023
The study was based on the 2019 Chapman University Survey of American Fears, which asked individuals their beliefs about seven popular conspiracy theories and one fictional conspiracy: alien encounters, the 9/11 attacks, global warming, the JKF assassination, the moon landing, the Illuminati/NewWorld Order, mass shootings — including Sandy Hook, Las Vegas and Parkland — and the “South Dakota crash.” The last one was placed in the survey to determine if Americans have a “tendency to accept any sort of conspiracy at all.”
“The tendency for some segments of a population to adopt conspiracy thinking can create ripple effects that affect the population as a whole,” the authors wrote. “Conspiracy thinking is amplified when one holds the fear mindset inherent in Christian nationalism’s claims of a threatened way of life and the anti-elitism common among biblical literalists – and this way of interpreting the world is not limited to the popular conspiracy theories of the day.
“By generating a generalized conspiracy thinking measure,” the authors continued, “we suggest that Christian nationalists and biblical literalists are likely to buy into future conspiracy theories, too.”