Today it’s commonplace – I’m sure there has always been a measure of it, but today it seems to be accepted practice, the manufacturing and communicating of fake news – the distortion and twisting of things to serve a particular agenda; and the demonising of those who hold opposing ideas – the discrediting and belittling of those who disagree with you as being unintelligent, backward, even lesser humans.
I think of some comments from the former governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, who said he “resent(ed)” suggestions by friends and acquaintances that Britons who even thought about voting for Brexit were “ignorant” or “racist” and that voters were treated like “the British equivalent of the deplorables” an expression used by Hilary Clinton to describe half of Donald Trump’s supporters in the run-up to the presidential elections.
I think of some of those who protested and rioted around the world, whose very words and actions were as despicable if not more so than those they claimed they were protesting about.
I think to of some atheists and media and their attempts to suggest that anyone who believes in and teaches creation (as opposed to evolution) is involved in indoctrination and child abuse, and that those who hold such views are lesser humans and scientifically illiterate (there are many scientists who believe in creation).
I think to of the closing down of debate in our universities if it doesn’t fit the liberal agenda.
It not only happens in the world, it also happens in the church.
I think of those who would demonise (or make a ‘heretic’) certain people and ministries because they have a certain emphasis on grace, faith, the charismatic, church growth, or a difference in end time theology, etc..
Such methods are not good, are not godly.
Both fake news and the demonising of individuals are the fruit of radical liberalism (which really results from the fall) the idea that we are free to think and do what we like without regard (am I my brother’s keeper?). They flow from the rampant political correctness that pervades the West, formed itself around a particular godless ideology, an ideology with which we are all expected to agree, and fear to do otherwise for fear of being demonised and discredited by the party politic. Everything goes but the one thing that they deem to be wrong. Not so different to communist totalitarianism, just different clothes.
Fake news and demonising, become the order of the day, the weapons used to control and produce that which is desired by the silencing of those who would dare to disagree. The so-called new age of freedom is not after all as free as it claimed to be.
A thought on freedom
Interestingly freedom of thought and expression comes from our Christian heritage, where all are seen as made in the image of God, possessing dignity and value, where all are made equal, and free to think, decide and act without coercion and duress. Yet that freedom is not meant to be self-serving but exists within the bounds of our ‘brother and sisterhood’ a responsibility to love and serve one another under God – that recognition that we are all made in God’s image and to be treated with love, respect and civility. A freedom that has given life and energy to the idea of democracy, along with the necessary balances that prevent it breaking down (the imperfections lie in our imperfection).
- Intolerance is not a virtue.
- Neither is incivility.
- Misrepresentation is not a virtue.
- Neither is demonising.
The law of liberty
Scripture calls us to love and honour one another – whoever they are, whatever they believe.
It calls us to speak the truth in love and in loving to speak the truth.
It calls us to grace and truth – there are some who have plenty of truth but little grace, and others who have plenty of grace but little truth. We should aim to be filled with both.
It calls us to remove any beam in our own eye before attempting to remove what we might see in others.