Jesus wants his followers to believe. But not everything.
If discernment is lacking, even when faith is strong, the result is advancement of bad news rather than the good news we have been charged to share.
It doesn’t matter how firm one’s faith might be if its public expression is weakened and damaged by the continuing failure at discernment and the dispensing of that which is demonstrably false.
The result is the weakened credibility of a faith built, presumably, on truth. But truth – as in facts – seems to matter little to a large swath of American Christians, who are more concerned with advancing a political ideology that soothes their fears.
Bearing false witness – which, by the way, is one of the big 10 no-no’s Moses toted down from Sinai – has become excusable, even acceptable, for many American Christians if it leads to a desired political end.
The regurgitation of unfounded conspiracy theories, along with easily discredited or outright lies, floods the social media threads of professing Christians whenever it scratches an ideological itch.
This often results from carelessness (in not testing the truthfulness of a claim) or disinterest in truth, favoring allegiance to an ideology of self-interest even if it is at odds with what Jesus said and did.
So this week, when politically motivated, nonsensical medical claims from untrustworthy sources hit social media, sure ’nuff, it appeared time and time again on the social media of conservative Christians who have long claimed a firm hold on biblical truth.
One of the so-called “frontline doctors” in the latest political blast – Stella Immanuel of Houston, who is also a minister – falsely claimed that mask wearing is ineffective and that there is a cure for the coronavirus.
There was complete disregard for the fact, yes, fact, that these claims contradict not only the scientific community at large but directives given to American citizens by the very leaders advancing this nonsense.
Previously, Dr. Immanuel has made such bizarre claims as scientists creating a vaccine to prevent people from being religious and the dangers of sex dreams with demons.
Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, President Donald Trump said Dr. Immanuel is “very impressive” and that he “know(s) nothing about her.” Typically, one knows something about someone before being impressed and recommending their advice to millions as being authoritative.
Finding a doctor to support just about anything is not that hard; just look at late night infomercials. But for political leaders and, more so, professing Christians to continually advance such nonsense is more than spreading misinformation; it is being dangerous.
The ease with which so many Bible believers embrace and multiply false claims harms more than the Christian witness; it harms people. Especially those most vulnerable to both misinformation and to this deadly virus.
Mental laziness, combined with a primary political allegiance at odds with Jesus’ teachings, has the credibility of Christianity in America tracking downward as the virus cases track upward.
We can and must be better, and do better.
Executive editor / publisher at Good Faith Media.