Conversations during Christmas usually delve into important discussions like . . . why cats chew on Christmas trees. So I was surprised when we got on the topic of “fake news.”
Apparently, not only are people fabricating stories online for click-bait, the Oxford English Dictionary has announced that its 2016 international word of the year is “post-truth.” Its publishers define post-truth as a time “in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” In other words, it doesn’t matter whether something is true; what matters is what one thinks or wants or feels to be true.
“We now live in this fragmented media world where you can block people you disagree with,” laments one commentator, “so you can only be exposed to stories that make you feel good about what you want to believe.”
Good thing Facebook is working on building “better technical systems” to detect “misinformation.”
Doh! It’s so easy to get snarky in this new post-truth reality, isn’t it?
The gospel, however, is not something we think is true or feel is true or want to believe is true. Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). We not only know the truth; we’ve been set free by the truth (John 8:32). We’re even sanctified in the truth (John 17:17)!
“We are those who are rooted and grounded in not only the truth of God’s revelation, but also we are those who still embrace the very notion of truth itself. That, in the end, may be our most valuable contribution to an ever-fragmenting culture. This is also why we could very well be entering a very hopeful phase of Christian witness as we proclaim the gospel through word and deed” (Timothy Tennent).
Bring it on, 2017. Embracing the truth cleanses us from all snarkiness.
Gloria Wiese, Minister for Discipleship