Fake News, Alternative Facts and Deception
(For the Dutch Version click here.
We live in the most amazing times. In all my studies of books, Scripture and human nature, I could not have imagined seeing what is happening today. Truth and integrity has totally disappeared, both in the world and the church.
We have seen a very deliberate and systematic process unfold in politics with profound results. A war has been unleashed against truth in every form. The term “fake news” is used to describe this battle. (Please understand, I know how much false news there is in every form of media). The purpose behind the discrediting of every form of news reporting is simply to create confusion and doubt, but more subtly, to create such a level of mistrust and confusion in what is obvious in order that the minds of people may be opened to an alternative (and even more false) set of “facts”. They blatantly use the term “alternative facts” as a euphemism for lies. But it is more than just alternative facts, it is an alternative reality! This is exactly what brain-washing is all about: The clearing of the mind of known truths and reality and then reprogramming the mind with an alternative reality and alternative facts. The way Russia, China and North Korea practice this (based on the work of Ivan Pavlov) is much more traumatic, but the results are exactly the same – the subject “forgets” truth and reality and fully embraces the new reality as truth. (I worked in military intelligence for several years and made a careful study of these things).
This results in a situation where, when the subject sees something is black, he fully believes that it is white. The political advantages of such a false reality are obvious. The emperor can literally walk down the street naked and the populace will praise him for his fine clothes. The difference is in the fable, they could see he was naked but would not say so, whereas today most cannot see reality at all even when faced with irrefutable evidence.
But what does this have to do with the Gospel? Much in every way. As a younger man, I could never understand how the Antichrist would deceive the whole world, including most of the visible church. But now I know that this is not only possible, but that we are in the process of that greatest deception of all time – crowning the Devil’s agent in the place of Christ (the meaning of the word “antichrist”). I couldn’t care less which political party you vote for, but what disturbs me deeply is that so many believers, including folk I know, have been deceived into believing and defending a political lie. My concern is not for political reasons, but because it is impossible for a mind, so twisted, to understand spiritual things. There is no way that someone can live, believe, and promote a lie in one area of their lives and yet know truth in the Scriptures.
In a parallel attack, the devil hatched another scheme, specifically targeting the truth of God’s Word. The political and the spiritual war against truth are one and the same, using the same methods with the same results – an alternative reality. This alternative reality causes people to believe they are born again, when they are not and their lives clearly prove their unregenerate nature. It is in this alternative reality that people believe the most blatant of lies from false preachers while rejecting those who dare speak truth. “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31).
This propaganda war has always been present, but it has been ramped up over recent decades. The result is that we now have a majority of “Christians” who do not know the first thing about the Word of God and how to behave as a believer. For example most believe that being against abortion and homosexuality defines a Christian and the Gospel, or that praying a brief prayer and then continuing in their sinful lifestyle makes them “saved”. This is clearly evidenced in the numbers crowding into false churches and the very few who frequent churches where the truth is preached. The number of ministers who take the Bible literally and believe that truth as absolute is at an all-time low and is dying out fast. Almost every believer now thinks that he is his own teacher and one of the statements I come across with increasing frequency is “I don’t listen to any preacher any more – I only trust the Bible”. That sounds wonderful until you think about what they are saying: “I do not believe that God has given ministries to the church, I am unteachable and I know everything”. There is no difference between this person and the one who has rejected every news report by the formal media and now finds his own truth on Facebook and Twitter.
So how can someone be rescued out of these lies and how can a believer protect his heart and mind from this onslaught against truth? (The fact that you have read this far is a good sign).
The first step is to seriously want to know the truth and be willing to accept the possibility that you may have been deceived. This begins with wanting to know the truth about your own spiritual state and a willingness to face the ugly facts about yourself. If you will not face reality in your own heart, you will not see truth anywhere else. “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” (Psalms 51:6).
If you do not love truth at every level of your life, doctrine and world view, you will be open to deception. “…men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:19-20).
Departing from truth into heresy or any other untruth is not primarily an intellectual problem. It is a spiritual one. Once you blind yourself to your own sin and disobedience, you lose all ability to see truth in every other area of your life. This explains why men who at one time were preachers of truth now embrace heresy. Pay careful attention to the specifics of these verses:
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
It all begins with not loving the truth about everything, in every area of your life. Because men do not love the truth, God gives them over to being deluded about themselves and everything else. This opens the door for the father of lies to deceive them. That is why it is useless to try and argue with those who are so deluded since they will not see until they correct the spiritual problem first: “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
Let me be brutally clear: If you believe that a politician can save America, or the world, you have been deluded because there is only One Who can, and does, save. If you believe everything on Facebook or Twitter, CNN or Fox News, even if it is your preferred outlet for news, you have been deceived and you need to repent and ask the Lord to open your eyes to truth. This is not about political truth, this is about your soul!
If you do not allow God, by His Spirit to shine His light into every area of your life, you open yourself to being deceived by, and to follow, the Antichrist. Yes, it is that serious. I appeal to you, as Paul appealed to the Ephesians, to not be like the Gentiles who “having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:18), but to come to the light that your deeds and heart may be exposed and God may give you light (John 3:20, Ephesians 5:14).