Speaking Truth in a Disinformation World

One of the things that has impressed me (in all the wrong ways) about the recent war in Ukraine is how successful Putin has been at keeping his own populace ignorant about the true facts of the invasion.  When Joanne and I were in Florida we struck up a conversation with our waitress who turned out to be Russian. This was just a week into the war.  She was distraught both by the invasion and the fact that so many Russians are convinced by the lies they are hearing from Russian media. I’ve heard multiple reports of Ukrainians reaching out to family members in Russia to tell them what’s happening, and not being believed. Russian parents are refusing to accept the eyewitness accounts of their own children concerning the bombs falling on their city! Such is the power of a deceptive narrative cleverly told – particularly when it is a narrative we want to believe.

We all assume that we are pretty good at discerning truth from error – but the age of the internet has made fools of us all. The fact is the internet is better at lying than we are at discerning. Algorithms are able to determine the stories we want to hear and then craft false narratives we happily consume and pass along.  You would hope that Christians would be immune to this – but sadly, we aren’t. Here’s a stunning fact from a reputable source:

“According to the MIT Technology Review, 19 of the top 20 Christian Facebook pages are run by foreign troll farms. Their strategy—post 95 percent Christian content stolen from other pages and then slip in 5 percent insanity—is effective in making Christians ‘useful idiots’ spreading disinformation.”[1]

This past Sunday I preached on Ephesians 4:15 which calls us to “speak the truth in love”.  In a world addicted to propaganda and spin we are called to speak truth. In a world gripped by hate and anger we are to speak in love. 

Here are some thoughts on how we might do that well.

  • Decide to spend far less time with social media and far more time with God’s media – the Bible. The more our hearts and minds are impacted by His truth, the more certain we will be that our speech will be truthful and loving.
  • Be increasingly skeptical about what you are reading on FB and other social media outlets. Ratings are driven by rage, not truth. Be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16).
  • Before you pass along the latest “can-you-believe-this” link, pause to ask yourself: Am I certain this story is really and fully true? Will this contribute to the love and peace and unity of the body or hinder it?  If men will give account for “every careless word they speak” (Matt 12:36), wouldn’t the same be true for every careless post? 

May Harvest be characterized by “truth in love” for the glory of God and the building up of the body.

In Christ,

Pastor Dale

[1] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/avoid-misinformation-disinformation-online/  For more information read the full MIT report here.


What Pastor Dale is reading . . .

How to Avoid Misinformation and Disinformation Online
by Patrick Miller

The Loveliest Place: The Beauty and Glory of the Church
by Dustin Benge