I had a conversation recently about the normalcy of seeing falsehoods deliberately posted on social media for the purpose of confusing the public about political and social matters.
Generally speaking, no one gets upset by that any more. It’s what we expect from social media outlets as well as our political leaders, and even some religious leaders. (Jerry Falwell, Jr. just got put on a “leave of absence” because of an obscene photograph taken of him.)
The era the US is now in has been called the age of “Post Truth.” Wikipedia defined it this way. Post-truth is a philosophical and political concept for “the disappearance of shared objective standards for truth” and the “circuitous slippage between facts or alt-facts, knowledge, opinion, belief, and truth”.
This was inevitable given the obscenity of this political age. However, when people who call themselves Christians do not take their own truthfulness seriously, we are in trouble. My chief complaint is saved for those who pass on via social media a meme, “news” article, or other posting without concern about its truthfulness.
Reposting a lie is to participate in the falsehood. In effect, it is to become a liar, whether that was the individual’s intention or not. It is spiritual and moral indifference. It is not caring how many people read the false post and believe it. In today’s “viral” world, an indiscriminate post goes out like feathers from a pillow broken in the wind. Impossible to retrieve them all.
The Bible is pretty clear about what God thinks about lying. Here are four of many passages that deal with not telling the truth.
- Proverbs 6:16-19 lists lying among six other things that “the Lord hates and are an abomination to him.”
- Paul told the Colossians that they should not “lie to one another seeing that you have stripped off the old self,” 6:9-10.
- Jesus said that liars have the devil as their father because the devil has no truth in him. Lying is in his nature. John 8:44.
- In John’s Revelation he said that “the cowardly, faithless, polluted, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars” will die as a result. A chilling verdict.
It is very easy to determine whether something is true or not. Here are 3 simple steps to take.
- Look at what site the post came from. Google that site and see what the internet says about its political leaning or what its mission is.
- Look at what center-of-the-road news sites say about the subject being discussed. Consult the chart below to find news sources with the least media bias (C).
- Google the specific post to see what sites like Snopes say about the “story.” You can Google a claim being made, or the site that is posting it.
This site has a very thorough presentation of things that you can do to check validity as well.
There is no reason to be in the dark about what you choose to post. Simply stated, if a site comes from a foreign source, makes fantastical claims, and cannot be corroborated by middle of the road news sources, then it is probably false, and you, as a disciple of Jesus, should not pass it on.
See this site for my blog on truth and integrity.