Friday, November 3, 2017

Gullibility Awareness

We hear so much in the news today about “fake news.”    Not much of it is good.    As noted by Renee Loth in her Boston Globe article, “Why do so many believe fake news?” (October 31), “Our algorithmic overlords – Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like – have been slow to admit their role in the disinformation campaigns that infect US elections, promote malicious conspiracy theories, or peddle propaganda…”   Fake news turns hearts cold, spreads fear, incites anger, and just simply hurts people, individuals, races and cultures. 

She says, “…near universal access to information online has steadily devalued expertise and authority: Why rely on a medical doctor when you can diagnose your own symptoms with this handy website?  Why slog through complex news stories when a tweet is so much more satisfying?  Why insist on facts when everyone else is just ‘speaking my own truth?”

We are dumbed-down when we take the easy way and we conclude critical thinking is too hard.   Our children (and we adults) become fake news dumps manipulated by those feeding them junk news molding their opinions into a collective of lemmings gullible enough to swallow swill and follow fools.

This is why it’s so important for our Church to promote the alternative news – the Good News –  provided by clear-thinking, responsible leaders taking the hard way.  That’s the challenging and demanding way offered by Jesus Christ.   Hearts warm; fear is vanquished; and anger is replaced by understanding and even love.

The demons among us and who reach out to us conceal themselves in on-line deceptions.  They have their own “dark web” in which evil reigns and spreads.   Our antidotes are the Gospels – our Good News – and our willingness to ask simple questions for which we need answers.  As Loth concludes, “Ask: Who published this?  What do they have to gain from it?  Can these claims be checked independently?   Have you tried?” 

I add: “Are we runners in the social media fall run for gullible awareness?  Let's sit that one out."

Deacon David Pierce

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