Church & Culture
A Matter of Integrity: Why Christians Must Stop Taking the Fake News Bait
Including a simple 4-step check-list to help us stop passing fake news along.

Why ‘This Is Huge, If True’ Never Is

The more huge and out-of-the-mainstream a story is, the less likely it is to be true. Because true stories tend to get covered enough that they stop feeling huge anymore.

Yes, I’m aware that mainstream news has an agenda, too. So there are some stories that have gone under-covered because of that. That’s why it’s important to get our news from multiple reputable sources, not just those that lean our way politically or ideologically.

Just because a story supports our worldview doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, I’ve learned to become especially skeptical of any story that fits my argument too perfectly.

Why This Matters for Christians

Christians aren’t the only ones that take the bait and get suckered in to promoting fake news and undermining their case. Everyone is susceptible.

So why am I aiming this post at Christians?

Because I don’t mind when people I disagree with do something stupid and post something untrue. But I mind very deeply when people I agree with post something untrue. Because it undermines and belittles the very important cause both of us are trying to promote.

And when that cause is the gospel of Jesus, with people’s souls in the balance… well, I get downright ornery about people who undercut the integrity of that – even if they do it with all the right intentions.

Truth Is Our Currency

I don’t care how huge a story is. If it's not true – or even if it might not be true – we as Christians should stay as far away from it as possible.

And please don't respond with "who knows what's true any more?"

As followers of the one who told us “the truth will set you free,” we don’t get to say that.

As followers of Jesus, truth is our currency. Without it, we have nothing.

As followers of Jesus, truth is our currency. Without it, we have nothing.

It's essential to the integrity and believability of the gospel that we are known as truth-tellers, not argument-winners.

Christians should have a reputation for being the most truthful people on earth. Sadly, we're more likely to be seen as just another demographic group willing to say anything in order to get our way.

The Value of Saying Nothing

If you don’t know, don’t post it.

You’ll never regret the fake news item you didn’t pass along.

So, the next time you’re tempted to post or say something you haven’t confirmed from very reliable sources, remember this. It’s okay to say nothing. It’s okay to lose an argument if it means keeping your reputation for truthfulness and integrity.

Remember that winning arguments doesn’t set anyone free. Only the truth does that.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

January 03, 2017 at 2:36 AM

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