I find [H. P.] Lovecraft's general paranoia a bit hard to empathize with -- I tend to think of the world as being ruled mostly by benign incompetence, rather than malicious conspiracy.Indeed. I was struck by this when I saw it a few weeks ago on Goodreads. I'd recently had a conversation with someone who I really respect but who flabbergasted me by saying that he thought the Catholic Church was a vast, malicious conspiracy. Oh, and that the conspiracy began very soon after Jesus' death. This was supported by all the reading he had done.
I have to say that my experience of the Church ... and indeed of most organizations, whether secular or religious ... tends to fall in line with Alex's quote above. Yes, you do get evil sometimes. Hitler's and Stalin's legacies alone testify to that and we all wish those were the only two of their kind we could point to.
But for the most part, most people are generally good at heart. We're just not as good at being competent as we all think we are. And neither is the next guy.