With the rise of the Internet, and especially social media, people are being bombarded with more information than ever before in human history. As the amount of information rises, so does the amount of misinformation. While fake news has existed as long as legitimate news has, the amount of rumors, gossip, and propaganda being accepted as fact seems to be at an all-time high. Perhaps nowhere has this been more evident than with this COVID-19 pandemic.
People on social media claim that breathing hot air from a hairdryer will kill the virus. Our friends repost pictures that say drinking lots of water and gargling with alcohol will prevent us from getting sick. Some of us even share videos that claim New York hospitals are empty and it’s all just media hype. Even highly educated, well respected people get caught up in sharing potentially dangerous misinformation. Why? Well, aside from reports that foreign countries are spreading fake news intentionally to cause chaos, it’s because when faced with an overload of information many of us tend to go with our gut. A lot of us don’t use our minds to critically analyze the information, because there is simply so much of it to process – we just rely on our intuition instead.
Oftentimes people take that same approach with God: there’s so much “spiritual” information out there how can we know what is true? Even us Christians can respond similarly: one preacher says one thing and another says the opposite, so I’ll just go with my gut. But God invites us to cut through the fake news, the argumentative theology, and the discord that Satan has caused and have a direct, personal experience with Him. “Discover for yourself that the Lord is kind. Come to him for protection, and you will be glad” (Psalm 34:8). May we all find safety and joy as we discover God’s goodness for ourselves!
For more information on how to process and better identify fake news, please visit: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200406-why-smart-people-believe-coronavirus-myths?fbclid=IwAR2IfmOeGU6PR2MqW8w8AK35MMIFjmGSfX2MpQ9PvsIw0-GqCwtejdlpsiY