Rudyard Kipling’s “‘Just So’ Conspiracy Theories”

Melchezidek is the Messiah, or so he claims. Not the Messiah prophecised by Jewish Scriptures or the Koran and certainly not the Second Coming of that old staple of Christianity, Yeshua Bar Joseph (the Christos[1]). No, Melchezidek is the messiah that these religions have sought to deny.Melchezidek, whose websites offer you a free book proving his claims started off with the rational, cogent even, notion that three of our major world religions share an awful lot in common. Not only that, but in researching them Melchezidek discovered that there seems to be a lot of correspondence between these religions and some Old World faiths that are no longer ‘treading the boards[2].’ Looking very specifically at the symbology of the major texts Melchezidek discovered what seemed to be a common ‘language’ within the metaphors, similes and descriptions.A ‘language’ that he thought was akin to a programming code.Which he then reverse engineered to prove the existence of God.Yep. Aha.But what has this to do with Conspiracy Theories?Firstly, Melchezidek’s reconstruction of the original prophecies indicates that the three major world religions that take their inspiration from these symbols are perversions of the code. Not only that, but that these perversions are deliberate ploys by the Christian Church to hide the truth away from mortal eyes. Thus we have an age old conspiracy that not only claims that the Church is denying us the truth but also the corollary that under this understanding both modern Judaism and Islam are controlled by the Roman Catholic Holy See. Pretty inflammatory stuff, whether its true or not.The Messiah, by the way, that is prophesied by this ancient code is himself a code-breaker who discovers the truth of all things through his work, which is why Melchezidek has realised that he is the one to break the silence, reveal the code and bring the conspirators to justice. As proof of this he is revealing all this information for free upon the internet as proof that, unlike the Church, he will not hide the truth but rather set it free.Melcezidek’s conspiract theory is another iteration of the ‘major group is hiding the truth from us’ ‘meme’ (one day I should explain why ‘meme’ is an informatively useless term) that spans from the political (JFK) to the New Age (UFOs) wrapped up in a little religious history. In the field of religion I’m a whole-hearted subscriber to the ‘Cock-up Theory’ (no pun intended); having studied a little Church History in my time I know that a lot of the current ‘issues’ are mostly due to the unintended consequences or conflicting desires of people who you wouldn’t nowadays trust to feed your cat. It’s not a major plan of deception, it’s just ineptitude with the occasional misogynist thrown in there to deny women their rights (which is not to say that none of what transpired is regrettable).Now for Conspiracy Theory.Some people think that conspiracy theory explanations are ‘Just So’ stories (ala inferences to any old explanation). Under this understanding a conspiracy theory can be taken to be bad because its almost akin to a randomly selected purported explanation of the events at hand. On one level this seems trivially true; given the story Melchezidek provides we can posit all sorts of explanations we think are better, such as there being a common set of symbols to all old world religions that survived to the modern day (but aren’t indicative of any real ontological truths of the world) to possible pyschological issues with the author himself. But I don’t think that’s where the inference is important; whilst we can infer better/more plausible explanations that’s because we often just get the edited highlights. Consider food historians; whilst Tacitus might be a great historian when it comes to explaining the political intrigues of the Roman Empire he isn’t very good at telling us about the diet of the ordinary Roman. Tacitus tells us what he thinks is interesting about the Roman world, but it’s a selective report. In the same respect Melchezidek only tells us what he thinks is salient. I’m sure that to him his researches confirm all that he says and thus, for him at least, the inference is to the best explanation he can give. Instead of saying ‘Oh, we could just say Y rather than X’ we should really be looking at why he came to say X in the first place.Melchezidek believes his existence was foretold by an ancient religious code, to which he holds the key. To me he is either a very clever satirist or someone who needs to take a critical thinking/reasoning class. Whatever happens to be the case, I think he sincerely believes that his explanation of world history, religion and the fate of the world to come is the best he can give. The interesting part of his story is not how he came to his ultimate conclusion but rather how all the little arguments that lead him there played out. Should I judge him? Yes. Should I assume he’s simply leapt to the wrong conclusion? No. Errors of judgement come in all sorts and not everyone is well qualified to judge them.Except me, of course. I’m magic.1. The Peacemaker, probably some advertising thing related to Mentos.2. Although it seems that a new form of Ancient Greek/Roman paganism has risen in Greece this should not be confused with the Ancient World faith.