Sniffing Out Fake News

September 7, 2017
Volume 21, Number 30

A story carried by the Associated Press on August 31, 2017 notes that two professors at Penn State University have been awarded $300,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation.  The grants will help fund a project in which the professors hope to develop programs that “will enable digital devices to recognize [fake news] and purge stories that contain” such.

“Fake news” is a concept that was made prominent in last year’s elections.  Charges were common of facts being altered and sheer fabrications made to disparage one candidate or to elevate another.  The label may be fairly new, but the idea has been around for a long time.  No one wants to be deceived by what is not genuine.

Genesis 37 tells of the treachery of Joseph’s brothers that resulted in his being sold as a slave to nomadic traders.  To cover their crime, the brothers took Joseph’s robe (easily identified by its colorful style) and dipped it in the blood of a goat.  When the robe was shown to Joseph’s father, Jacob, he drew the natural conclusion: “A wild beast has devoured him.  Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces” (Genesis 37:32).  That was not the truth, of course; Joseph was alive.  But the fake news kept Jacob from suspecting his other sons of foul play.

The master of fake news and deception is Satan.  Revelation 12:9 says that he “deceives the whole world”.  Jesus said of Satan that “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Wouldn’t it be good to possess a device that sniffs out the fake news Satan spews out daily?  If we could only detect his lies, our likelihood of living righteously would be increased.  Does such a device exist?

Good news!  We have such a device; we call it “the Bible”.  Psalm 119:160 is one passage that points to this: “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”  Jesus affirmed that view in John 17:17 in a prayer to His Father: “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”

How does this spiritual lie detector work?  Read Acts 17:11: “These [Jews who lived in Berea] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”  They trusted God to show them what was true.

Are you concerned about spiritual claims you hear?  You should be!  Satan doesn’t want you to be saved.  He churns out fake news every day.  But by using God’s lie detector – His Book of truth – you’ll know what it genuine and what is fake.

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.


Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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