Back when I was in college, one year I decided to take a couple of classes at a local college while I was home during the summer.  One of the classes was a class in American history.  The professor in that class had an idea about American and world history that I had never been exposed to.

This professor believed in what he called the World Conspiracy.  He believed that the history of the United States, and much of the world, was determined by a group of powerful people who plotted and manipulated behind the scenes.  Government and politics, according to him, was just a stage show.  The real power was exercised by a cabal that secretly manipulated things behind the scenes.

This guy was an older man, and he was not an idiot.  He had a Ph. D. from a major university and was very intelligent.  He believed this about the World Conspiracy with his whole heart and had spent much of his life studying about it.  The identities of the actual people in the cabal were hard to pin down, but according to him, they were an assortment of various extremely wealthy and influential people.  They had one thing in common—they wanted to control the world.  They wanted things to go their way, and they had developed tentacles of power throughout the world.  They were able to influence and manipulate basically everything.  They were the real power behind the Communists; they were the real power behind World War I and World War II; they exercised secret control over the United States government, over the news media in the United States, and over television and motion pictures.  In one way or another, they had wormed their way into everything, so that there was no area of society and government in the United States, Western Europe, and the Soviet Union that they didn’t have tremendous influence over.  Through behind-the-scenes influence and manipulation, they basically controlled the entire industrialized world.

Why?  Very simple.  They were greedy and wanted to control everything.  They had their ideas about how things should be, and they were wealthy and powerful enough to make things go their way.

Now of course today, a professor in a mainstream university couldn’t get by with promoting a view like that.  But that was 40 years ago, when everyone didn’t have to toe the line like they do today.

That was the first time I had ever been exposed to an idea like that, and it fascinated me.  It wasn’t necessarily that I believed it, that there was a cabal manipulating and controlling things behind the scenes.  I felt like the mechanics of such a thing would be daunting and almost impossible to pull off.

It’s easy to imagine how a group of people might get together to secretly influence one thing.  For instance, say some legislation is being considered in Congress, and a group of powerful people get together and in a behind-the-scenes manner use their influence on Congress.  Things like that happen all the time.

But it’s another thing altogether to imagine a group that exists for 75 or 100 years or more and controls everything.  After all, the original members of the group would eventually age out.  They would die, they would have heart attacks and strokes and become unable to participate; so new people would have to be constantly brought in.  These new people wouldn’t necessarily agree with each other or agree with the goals of the cabal; they would have new ideas, different directions and such.  They would have disagreements among themselves.  It would be really hard to hold something like that together for years and years.

As much as I respected that professor for his dedication to his beliefs, and as much as I respected the years and years of study he had put into this, I just couldn’t imagine how something like that could be maintained and held together for 75 or 100 years or more.  And so I never really could agree that there is a World Conspiracy, a cabal of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals who have banded together to secretly control the world from behind the scenes.

I do understand, though, why such a conclusion would be tempting to come to.  It does seem as though things always progress in a certain direction.  When you look at things that happen in the world, whether in politics or in society in general, it often seems as if the way has been prepared for the way things work out.  The particular sequence of events that causes any one certain thing to happen often seems to fall right into place as though there were some hidden hand manipulating things behind the scenes.

When you look at major events in world history or major trends and changes in society over the past 50 or 75 years or so, you can often see how things fell into place so neatly for results in a certain direction that it seems unlikely to have been all chance.  Things worked out so neatly that it seems like there almost had to be a guiding hand behind it, manipulating behind the scenes.

Just an example from broad overview.  In the late 1970’s, I had a friend whose father was career military.  This guy used to really scare me about the Soviet Union.  He talked about how many tanks they had, how many missiles, how many bombers, how many submarines, how the military equipment they had was superior to anything the United States had, how it was all ready to go and pointed at us, and he said one day they were going to use all that against us.  That really scared me back then.

And then of course, in the 1980’s, on our political scene, we were told to be scared to death of the Soviets.  Their military was vastly superior to ours.  They were poised to use it to pounce on us at any time, so we had to build our military up.

Well, it wasn’t but a few years until the Soviet Union disintegrated, and we found out that that mighty military we had been told to be scared to death of was mainly a bunch of rusting, antiquated hulks that didn’t work.

So then people started talking about what they called the “peace dividend.”  Now that we didn’t have to worry so much about being annihilated by the Soviet Union, we could spend our time and money solving some of our own problems and doing good throughout the world.  But guess what?  The “peace dividend” never materialized.  Just as soon as the Soviet Union fell, we became involved in conflicts in Eastern Europe.  And then there was the mother of them all, that’s consumed this country for more than 15 years, the conflict with Muslims in the Middle East.  There was no “peace dividend.”

It’s been the same on the social front.  There has been no “peace dividend” from societal problems, either.  New ones keep popping up, and old ones never seem to go away.

There is no peace in the world, and there are no prospects for peace in the world.  There is no peace among the citizens of the United States, and there is no prospect for peace among the citizens of the United States.  If anything, our society is more fractured and alienated today than at any point in our history.

When you look back on this stuff, it’s like the pieces for it fell into place so neatly that it would be easy to believe someone planed it that way and made it turn out that way, that there was some guiding hand causing it to turn out the way it did.

Look at other things today.  We have wonderful science which has given us medical capabilities beyond anything imaginable 50 years ago.  And what do they offer?  Well, if you have one kind of cancer, there’s a chance they can keep you alive for a few more years at a cost of $150,000 per year.  For other cancers, promising new treatments are on the horizon, at a cost of $250,000 or more per year.  And that’s just for cancer.  Add in heart disease, diabetes, other things.  Our entire medical system is so expensive that it’s not sustainable, no matter who foots the bill.  But that’s what they offer us.

And, we have so many different factions in our society at odds with each other.  We’re divided along racial lines, along sexuality lines, along gender lines, along political lines, along religious lines, just to name a few.  We’re divided to such an extent that we’re reaching the point where there’s not enough consensus in society to sustain society.  Our society is so fractured that it’s not clear if there’s enough commonality left to hold us together.

All that’s not even counting international affairs, our involvement in conflicts throughout the world.

What’s most scary is that there is no leadership, anywhere, that is offering solutions.

Things have deteriorated so much, and they’ve worked out so neatly in that direction that it would be easy to believe someone made it work out that way.

I think the professor I had 40 years ago who believed in the World Conspiracy had done the same type of analysis with the situation in his day, and that’s why it was easy for him to believe in the World Conspiracy.  He was taking his evidence, mainly, from the way things always seem to work out, and he saw that they work out so often in one direction that it was hard to him to believe it was just chance.

I heard someone joke not long ago that if things really are chance and random, you’d think that at least sometimes they’d go in our favor, just by chance.  But they never seem to.  That’s why it’s so tempting to believe in a group of people secretly controlling and manipulating thing behind the scenes.  But yet the mechanics of maintaining and continuing that would be so daunting that I don’t think it would be possible for a group of people to manipulate and control things behind the scenes to that extent.  That’s why I don’t believe there is a secret cabal of people manipulating and controlling things behind the scenes.  It would be so unwieldy as to be unworkable over time.

So what is going on?

The Bible talks about a power that is in the world that manipulates and controls and operates in secret, works hidden behind the scenes, disguises itself for good but brings bad.  But it’s not a human power.  It’s the power of evil.  The Bible talks about it operating behind the scenes, in secret, manipulating and controlling, looking like the opposite of what it is, always directing things in a direction opposite from good.

Could it be that it’s not human beings that are causing all this stuff, all this deterioration, all these disappointments, all these things that never seem to work out in our favor?  Could it be the power of evil?

After all, the Bible tells us to be on guard against it.  The Bible tells us it prowls around looking for something to devour.  The Bible tells us it disguises itself as good.  The Bible tells us it operates by deception and lies.  The Bible tells us it’s out to destroy us.  The Bible warns us to be cautious of it.  The Bible describes it as the power that’s in the world.  The Gospel of John describes Satan as the “ruler,” literally, of this world.

I would ask you to consider that evil is active in the world, not a human power of evil, but the spiritual power of evil.

I really do believe that the spiritual power of evil is active in the world.  Have I seen it?  No, I have not seen it.  Do I have proof of it?  Well, I’ve already talked about what the Bible says about it, but I realize that’s not real proof to many people, because many people don’t see things in the Bible as real proof.

So let’s go to science for our proof.  Let’s just forget the Bible and look to science for our proof.  Science proves some things not by the things directly but by their effects.  Science often takes the effect of something as proof of the existence of something.

Let’s look at astronomy.  Do you know how astronomers prove the existence of planets around stars outside our solar system?  The glare of the star makes it impossible for astronomers to see those planets with a telescope.  They prove the existence of planets around stars outside our solar system by measuring the effect a planet has on a star.  A star creates a gravitational pull on a planet, which is what holds the planet in orbit.  But a planet also creates a small gravitational pull on a star.  That makes the star wobble, just a bit, every time the planet completes an orbit of the star.  Astronomers measure that slight wobble of the star, and from that they prove the existence of the planet.  They never see the planet directly; they prove its existence by the effect it has on the star.

Particle physics also uses effect to prove the existence of things.

And so effect is recognized in science as proof of the existence of something.  Effect is regarded as scientific proof.

That’s how I prove the existence of a spiritual power of evil—by the effects it has in the world.  I look out in the world and see how things work, and that’s the real proof.  Proof by the effect, which is scientific proof.