Truth seems subjective these days with the rise of “alternative facts” spreading like wildfire across the internet and seeping into the mainstream media. Many believe that “fake news” helped influence the election of Donald Trump to become the President of the United States.
Attempts to maintain truth whether it be of God, gender, life, marriage etc. are often maligned as falsehoods by those who speak of tolerance. With truths that up to very recently were part of the status quo now being trampled on for not fitting the narrative of the “progressives”, the followers of Jesus ought to reflect on what “fake news” really is.
False information masquerading as fact is not a new phenomenon despite what many have been led by “progressives” to believe. Such is an attempt to cover up the distortion of truth by “progressives” themselves. In fact, the “Report of the Guard” as recorded in Matthew chapter 28, verses 11 – 15 tells of attempts made from the very day of Jesus’ resurrection to discredit the significance of Christ.
The question of truth is one of the main reasons that spurred my interest in journalism long before “alternative facts” was even a buzzword. As a child, particularly at Good Friday services, hearing the story of Pontius Pilate asking probably one of the humanity’s most important question; “What is truth?” (John chapter 18, verse 38) provoked something in me in my own pursuit of truth – which I have found in only in Jesus.
As followers of Jesus, we believe that God made the world and in our human rebellion against God have condemned ourselves to death. But only through Jesus can we receive true life and that there are only two ways to live – that being God’s way or the alternative being the world’s continuing rejection of God.
One way only – Jesus
With what was once “alternative lifestyles” that were on the fringes of society now being normalised and trumping over traditional values, it is the time that followers of Jesus stop and think where this all began. Too quickly are Christians jumping on the anti-Trump train and being drawn in by the new “progressive” Christianity that is distorting the truth.
“Alternative facts” should be called what they are: lies. Pure and simple lies not “progress”. If the unbelieving world seeks to reject Trump’s “alternative facts” then why are many Christians so oblivious to the “alternative lifestyles” that have become the norm in our society? It is time that followers of Jesus confront the shift away from the absolute truths of genuine Christianity that are being fervently attacked in today’s culture wars.
“Fake news” did not begin with Donald Trump, instead anything that suggests that there are legitimate alternatives to the Good News of Jesus Christ is the real “fake news”. Governments and social media companies are now holding investigations into the “crisis of fake news” without realising that only truth comes from God and Him alone.
Even statistics can be distorted
A clear example of “fake news” in Australia is the often-quoted statistic claiming that 61% of the population are Christians. The existence of this figure represents a lacking in the understanding of what the life of a follower of Jesus actually resembles.
If in fact, nearly two-thirds of Australians were Bible-believing Christians, the country would be a much different place than it is today. Regular church attendance statistics scratch the surface on how few are the followers of Jesus. Far from claiming that attending church services is what makes a person a Christian, the 8% of Australians that attend regularly may even already be an overrepresentation of the number of Christians.
One might wonder what’s happening to the remaining 53% of the Christian identifying population. Being a follower of Jesus means more than just accepting Christ as saviour but also requires living a life reflective of Christ as Lord of all. One of the ways that followers of Jesus live is by meeting up regularly to encourage one another (Hebrews chapter 10, verses 24, 25). The same verse also warns of Christians that are neglecting to do so and in turn running the risk of living an “alternative lifestyle”.
Be alert, be weary
This article isn’t here to debate the various forms of church gatherings nor to suggest that salvation is through legalism or works, but rather the use of regular church attendance as an example of how supposed perceptions of Australia as a “Christian” nation is highly untrue.
As followers of Jesus, we ought to be alert to the disinformation in our society and media that has been used by those promoting “alternative lifestyles” to justify their anti-God ideas. Followers of Jesus produce good fruit that is evident (Galatians chapter 5) and are also keen on making disciples. We must not let the truth of the Gospels be distorted by those claiming to be or merely acting as Christians.
The Christian church is at a crucial time where the next generation is growing up in a world that is openly hostile to Judeo-Christian values, not just with explicit attacks on Christianity but more seriously with undermining taking place through culture, in entertainment, news and education systems. Especially as millennials, being a follower of Jesus is ever so important when the pushers of “progress” use “alternative facts” and “fake news” to forward “alternative lifestyles” to distort the truth of Christ.
Roydon Ng is a freelance journalist having completed a Master of Journalism and Communication at the University of New South Wales. He lives in Western Sydney and attends Auburn Baptist Church and Western District Chinese Christian Church serving as a youth group leader.