July 23, 2020
Volume 24, Number 25
The video from 1969 is grainy but powerful. President Richard Nixon’s address to the nation to announce the catastrophic end of man’s first mission to the moon was brief but emotional. Though his voice was shaking, he kept his composure.
Wait a minute – what?! That mission to the moon was successful, and those astronauts returned home safely. It is true that there was a speech written to be read in the event of tragedy. But the video you can watch on moondisaster.org is totally fake. It was recorded recently by researchers at MIT using sophisticated technology.
Why was this project undertaken? According to the story carried by United Press International, the project “aims to educate the public about the existence of technology that can create realistic videos of fictional scenarios.” In a time of pandemic, racial tensions, and political campaigning, “media misinformation” is a threat to the order we cherish. We need to be cautious before accepting someone’s claims to the contrary.
“Misinformation” is an ambiguous term. Sometimes I may give the wrong information because I am honesty mistaken. But if I knowingly give incorrect information, you should not be so forgiving of me. Lying is usually a malicious choice and inexcusable.
Paul warned about lying in the realm of the religious: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1,2). Note those dark words again: “deceiving”, “demons”, “lies” and “hypocrisy”. The effect of believing lies will be a departure from the faith.
Faith is precious! Jude wrote that we must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). We fight for it because it is our path to finding life: “… the gospel of Christ … is the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). Altering the gospel is like tampering with a vaccine: it will lose its potency.
So how can we be sure that our faith is in the real gospel, as opposed to a “deepfake” (the term used by the MIT research team)? Here’s the apostle’s advice: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The one who wants to avoid being ashamed on the Day of Judgment must adopt the habits of a careful Bible student.
John also saw the danger: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Spiritual misinformation – the worst kind of deepfakes – is prevalent!
Here’s the goal: Know God’s word so well that we will never be fooled by a counterfeit!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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