Relationships between conspiracy theories and religion may heuristically be distinguished into three types: conspiracy theories in religions, about religions, and as religion. All three highlight the social functions that conspiracy theories play in creating in- and out-groups, allocating blame, explaining events, and creating a sense of meaning and order; hence, they are tied to key aspects of sociological theories of religions.

What Are Conspiracy Theories?

People theorize conspiracies all the time, yet only a small subset of such claims is usually labeled conspiracy theory. The first attested analytical use of the term is by philosopher Karl Popper, who in The Open Society and Its Enemies defined (and criticized) what he called “the conspiracy theory of society,” as a framework for understanding society that seeks intentional, self-interested ...

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