The Origin of Fake News

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The Origin of Fake News

The origin of Fake news was in the Garden of Eden:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden”?’…The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1, 4-5 NASB

King of Misinformation

Twisting the words of God Himself (Genesis 2:16-17), the “father of lies” (John 8:44) is the earthly king of misinformation. Even when tempting Jesus, the deceiver misused God’s Word in an effort to trick Jesus into denying His father (Matthew 4:1-11). Fake news is nothing new; after all, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), but technology now enables fake news to go viral.

Recently, a doctored video of Mark Zuckerberg began circulating on Instagram as the CEO of Facebook appeared to say:

“Imagine this for a second: one man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data—all their secrets, their lives, their futures. I owe it all to Spectre! Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data controls the future.”

Fake Mark Zukerberg

(Spectre is the fictional international criminal organization that is the nemesis of British secret agent James Bond in the Hollywood movies.)

As the world’s biggest social media company, why would Zuckerberg praise Spectre? He didn’t. The video was a fabrication, created solely through artificial intelligence technology. If not for the ridiculous content, its fakeness would have been barely detectable.

Bigger Problem Than Terrorism?

This particular fake news was the result of extraordinarily advanced technology, but most fake news today is regularly transmitted across ordinary media platforms. In fact, the problem has become so great that two-thirds of Americans report that fake news “has a big impact on their trust in government,” and half view it as a bigger problem than terrorism.

Benjamin Franklin detested the fake news that became so common in his day. He tried to come up with a way to make the press accountable for truth and accuracy, but admitted:

“I have been at a loss to imagine any [solution] that may not be construed an infringement of the sacred liberty of the press.”

Benjamin Franklin

God’s Word

When God endowed humanity with free will, He knew it would come at a cost—that it would be misused and abused. Wherever there is free will, there will always be those who “[exchange] the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25 NASB).

This is why throughout Scripture we are warned:

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world…”
2 John 1:7 NASB

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves”
Matthew 7:15 NASB

Fake news is dangerous, so put on the full armor of God, never neglecting the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14), which is the Word of God.
John 17:17

“Test everything; hold fast what is good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21

“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”
John 8:32 NASB

The Spirit of Truth

God has given all believers His Holy Spirit. The Father sends the Holy Spirit to help us know what’s truth, and what’s a “deep fake”. Jesus said:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

John 14:15–17 ESV

So, while many deceivers have gone out into the world, they can never obscure the Truth of God. As believers, we must seek first His truth and not our own opinions of the truth. When we seek His Truth and His Word, He promises we will find it. And when we find it, we find Jesus. And Jesus is the antidote to the poison of #fakenews.

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