Believe Not Every Fake News (1 John 4:1)

tabloidA few days ago, a friend shared this photo on Facebook.  The photo originally came from Counter Current News’ fan page on Facebook.  I suggest that you read the meme. I am sure that you can guess the question that Counter Current News asked their fans. Whatever happened to critical thinking?

The meme serves as a good commentary on the flood of fake news that appears all over Facebook.  I’ve also run into these deceiving spirits on YouTube.  No, I did not goof on the last sentence.  Ever heard of 1 John 4:1?  What am I talking about?

First, it would help to share what 1 John 4:1 is, then I’ll connect the dot. Here is the verse from the Message and it’s right to the point:

My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. [1 John 4:1]

When I saw the meme, this very verse of Scripture came to mind.  Though John is talking about false teachers and false prophet, fake news could probably get lumped into the same category of “Liars and Deceivers”.

Critical thinking is an incredibly useful skill; especially when it comes to testing things out.  Yes, Christians are to test the spirits and check things out.  How does this help with the sea of fake news? First, it will not hurt to ask questions and do some homework.  Here is an illustration

Some time ago, I read a report that Donald Trump had a Cyrus anointing and the person pointed to Trump’s “Build a wall” comment was confirmation. How did this person know? He claimed that God told him. “Oh really?” I asked.

It is actually a good idea to ask God; especially if someone is claiming to speak in God’s name. Here is what Jeremiah 14:14 has to say:

14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.

Because Jeremiah had to deal with so many fake news, he probably made it a habit of ask God. “Did you actually send this guy?”  I’d recommend a similar approach. I have respect and appreciate prophets like Chuck Pierce and Bob Hartley and they are credible.  However, I’d still ask the Holy Spirit and I’d still open my Bible and read.

Here’s a second step and it’s always worth doing.  What is worth doing? Do your homework! When I heard about the above word, I felt uneasy.  Why? It’s because I really didn’t know about Cyrus, outside of Nehemiah.  I inquired of the Holy Spirit and I felt a need to do some research on Cyrus, the Great on Wikipedia. You will find the article to be quite interesting.

Eh, how does this relates to “critical thinking”?  Critical thinking is a skill that I learned in college. It simply requires that you ask questions and be willing to learn.  I trust that you picked up on the basics in the above set of paragraphs?

Yes, you were supposed to actually read; it’s a requirement for critical thinking or practicing discernment. Here is another key requirement and it’s worth noticing.  Consider the source. For regular news, I’d prefer Fox News and CNN.  Yes, they are slanted in their coverage; however, they are considered to be legit. 

I would trust these news media before I’d trust the flood of Fake News outlets on Facebook. If I did see something then I’d ask “Is this on Fox or CNN?” If not, I’d have to seriously question it.  Consider the source? If in doubt, I’d go straight to God, the Father and ask!

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. [James 1:5]


Barry Brindisi

Author of "You Are Not A Lesser Human".

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