“Fake News” or “Lies”

“Fake News” or “Lies”

“Fake News” or “Lies”
July 15, 2019

Table Of Contents

There are no headings in this document.

Introduction

A few years ago, a reporter from one of our local media entities had an interview with our children. When the article was published; the first reaction our children had, was that the article did not accurately reflect what they said during the interview. The wording of the article was not factual, rather reaction provoking, even sensation seeking. Was the reporter intentionally choosing words that would trigger a desired reaction at the cost of the truth or was it just an honest mistake?

When I read articles and I find that multiple articles from the same media source does not reflect the true facts, it is natural that I will lose trust in that source. If you are oblivious to the true facts of an article, it would not even cross your mind not to trust the media source. If, indeed you are well acquainted with the facts of the matter – you would immediately know whether the article is portraying the truth or not.   

Today’s buzz word

The buzz word among different news-outlets today is the words: “fake news”. With the explosion of “alternative media”, the mainstream media has been placed under a microscope for the first time in history and in many areas the mainstream media has been found wanting. When the “alternative media”, on the other hand is placed under the microscope – it soon becomes clear that even alternative media is found wanting in many areas.

Social Media

With the rise of social media, a door of opportunity was opened for anyone who wishes to share their opinions to do so. This is true in both the secular and Christian world. There are thousands of Websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels etc. These platforms are being used by people to voice their opinions. It doesn’t matter if these opinions are fact based or the figment of someone’s imagination. These platforms exist and people make use of it as long as there are people who are willing to listen to them.

Gone are the days when information was restricted to a hand full of people who influenced many. In our new world, information is everywhere, and no one seem to have any control over it any longer.

The Past

In years gone by, the flow of information was restricted. Mainstream media was the main source of information and it was taken for granted that the mainstream media tried to portray the facts as clear and truthful as possible. Those days are gone. Accusations of “fake news” are being hurled from one end of the spectrum to the other. The painful thing in all of this is that everyone looses at the end. No-one will really know what to believe any longer.

It is possible that almost everyone will sooner or later be found to have twisted the truth to suit their own agenda. This will cause distrust, which will end in disaster for society, who deeply rely on trust as one of its foundation stones in building strong relationships.

What does the Bible say

Even though we are all exposed to this modern phenomenon, the Apostle Paul gives an age-old instruction to believers to prevent them from getting caught in this deceptive trap which has been skilfully set up by the enemy of mankind.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul tells him: “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” (1 Timothy 4 verse 7). He then takes it a little further in his second letter by saying: “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” (2 Timothy 2 verse16).

In his first letter, the apostle Paul instructs Timothy to focus his attention on becoming more Christ-like in character. He exhorts him to continually exercise godly living and refuse to have anything to do with man’s inventions, falsehoods, as well as their silly talk. He is speaking about the kind of talk you will find when people are sitting around doing nothing but to talk purposelessly. The result from this kind of talk will most always end in silly and worthless chatter.

The apostle continues

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul tells him to avoid profane and vain babblings and he explains to him what these babblings will ultimately produce. Wherever profane and vain babblings are heard – it will go further and further into “nothingness”, which will eventually produce more ungodliness.

The context of Paul’s instruction is a stern warning that the words uttered by false teachers will go from bad to worse. The same result is unfortunately reached when people have a platform to say whatever they want and whenever they want to. Today it is called free speech, when in fact most of it sounds more like foolish speech.

The Bible tells us that it is better to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Furthermore, we learn that it is necessary for believers to let their yes be yes and their no be no. Uprightness and integrity are virtues which are highly praised in Scripture. In today’s brave new world it seems as if it is those people who say the most and say it the loudest who are the ones being heard. It doesn’t really matter if they are speaking the truth. What matters is whether or not they are saying it often enough and loud enough.

Narrative vs. Truth

We live in a world where true facts are no longer valued as highly as the narrative which is being propagated. It seems as if each individual can choose their own facts if and when it suits them, even if it is factually wrong.

Believers on the other hand, do believe in objective truth. Everything that is being said needs to be tested whether or not it is indeed factually correct. Even our faith needs to be scrutinised by God’s objective truth, – the Bible. What we are seeing is a moving away from everything that is right and an embracing of everything that is wrong. The reaction of the world to this claim is simply: “…you have your truth and I have mine, live with it!”

As believers, we are face with a time in history we have never seen before. The father of lies has been given free reign on the world stage by people, who intentionally or unintentionally promote “fake news”. The truth could be staring people in the eye, and they can choose either to see it or not. It seems as if truth no longer matters, – only the story does! Investigative journalism is disappearing at an alarming rate. Why? Is it possible that the people of the world loves the lie more than they love the truth? Is it possible that the god of this world, (Satan), has blinded the eyes of unbelievers so they are unable to see the truth?

What is the answer?

The answer to both questions is: “Yes!”  In 2 Thessalonians 2 verses 10 to12 we read: “…Because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

In 2 Corinthians 4 verse 4 we read how the god of this world blinds people, so they are unable to see the truth of the Gospel, and be saved. This is what the verse says: “…In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Not only is the god of this world blinding people’s minds not to see the truth of the Gospel, he is also blinding people to believe the lie, rather than the truth. John 8 verse 44 teaches: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” 

Is it possible that we are seeing an escalation of lies being accepted and propagated as truth? Is it possible, that what is called “fake news” today, is actually nothing but our adversary (the devil) spreading his age old lies under a new banner?

Conclusion

At the end, I believe it is up to each individual to answer these questions for themselves, in the light of the truth of God’s Word. Believers in particular, are called upon to be like the Bereans in Acts 17 verse 11, where we read: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

So! Don’t take my word for it, go, read, and find the truth for yourself!

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