Truth Matters

Spin, fake news, alternative facts… Lies are a much bigger problem than we are willing to admit.

I realise that this video may make uncomfortable viewing for some people, but I love it.

(If you get Kouyanet by email and the video doesn’t show up you can find it here.)

I love the dry sense of humour as the Danish presenter demolishes the criticisms of his country one by one, but more than that, it gives me great pleasure to see facts being used to rebuff silly, generalised opinions with no basis in reality. Now, before anyone gets upset at me criticizing Fox News, this isn’t my point; they just happen to have provided a particularly egregious example of a tendency that we see in numerous media outlets and (more alarmingly) from leading politicians.

Making things up, spinning stories, categorising anything that is uncomfortable or which doesn’t fit your own narrative as “fake news” are an increasing feature of our political and media landscapes. We used to call these things lying. There are a couple of reasons why I believe that we should be concerned about this. The first (and least important) is that modern democracy is a system which is based on the ability of people to make informed choices about who should govern the country. When politicians openly lie and do their best to suppress the truth, the electorate are effectively robbed of their ability to make appropriate choices. I do not believe that democracy as we know it, can survive for long in this sort of situation. While I don’t believe that liberal democracy is sacred, it does seem the best form of government that humanity has come up with so far and the existential threat raised by the proliferation of lies concerns me greatly.

The second reason that I am concerned about this, is that I believe that our current culture is profoundly anti-Christian. While we might like to dress up untruth by calling it spin, marketing or alternative facts, what we are dealing with is lies and we should be prepared to name them as such. Scripture is repleat with teaching about God being a God of truth and rejecting a culture of lies; it goes so far as to say that Satan is the father of lies. It is not overdramatic to say that lies come from the pit and that when our politicians and their apologists lie to us, they are doing the work of the evil one. This is a serious business and believers must be voices for truth, not avid consumers of lies – whatever our political stance.

Believers must be voices for truth, not avid consumers of lies - whatever our political stance. Click To Tweet

This is not a plea for simplification, in a complex world, you can only get to the truth about most issues by considering a range of opinions and digging into primary sources. We, as consumers of news and opinion, need to be prepared to do the hard work of reading and listening to longer analytical pieces which explore issues properly, we must reject a sound bite culture that sums complex issues up in one sentence – damaging truth in the process.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow


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