Fake news has become a popular point of conversations recently. News stations, community conversations and events seem to have this underlying tension of discerning fact from fiction. Ever since the most recent political election it seems like every statement that is made must be fact checked, and that fact check must be checked by a reliable source. Even the President has taken several opportunities to point out the possibilities of fake news. Currently, designers for Facebook are working on algorithms that can help determine if articles that are being posted to their site are fact or fiction. Fictional articles are getting a “disputed” tag to them.
But fake news has been around since time began. The most obvious biblical example is the serpent telling Eve that the apple would make her know everything. Historically, fake news has been around as long as there has been paper to print it on. The purpose of fake news statements has been to inflame passions, create prejudices and provoke violence. For example, slave holders would share articles about the size of a slave’s brain and challenge any question of equality between races. Nazi propaganda machines relied on fake news to spread their beliefs about minorities and Nazi nationalism.
Most recently it seems like there has been a deliberate spread of misinformation which has caused a rippling effect of fear, anger, and distrust. Some of this has been directed at leaders, some at the network news stations but mostly, we seem to direct it at each other.
I hear us throwing our fake news story headlines at each other like mudslinging. The words, the misinformation, and the belittling effect that each of these words has on another is never good. I wonder where those words, “love your neighbor,” “pray for those who persecute you,” “listen,” “trust,” and “grace” have gone.
The one and only positive thing about these fake news stories is that they have begun to call attention to the fact that everything that is said or written about is not true. I want to share with you a few statements, proof checked, that I know are not fake news.
Jesus loves you. Not fake news.
Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose from the dead for you. Not fake news.
You are forgiven. Not fake news.