Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The digital lies we crave. . .

A lie does not have to be all false -- only slanted enough or lacking enough context or facts to hide or distort the truth.  Sin loves lies.  Eve loved the lie that the serpent whispered in her wanting ear.  Adam loved the lie that told him to eat because Eve ate.  It is no different now.  Though I am hardly on any social media, the occasional glimpse are filled with lies -- from the sources that purport to tell you the real story behind the English royal family, the political intrigue of Trump and Biden and their minions, the sordid details of the lives of the famous in Hollywood and sports, and just about anyone and anything else is in the news.  We feed on such lies.  Conflict feeds on such lies.  Suspicion feeds on such lies.  Division feeds on such lies.  You name them -- all the ills we love to hate are all fed by a stream of lies.

The media has become the yellow journalism warned about in the past.  Neither left nor right are content to speak facts but instead take up a cause that often misstates or negates the real facts.  Sadly, we do not want facts anymore.  We have become as a society so deeply suspicious of anyone and everyone that we would rather live in the echo chamber of our own bias and beliefs than to live in a world where truth engages openly and with love the falsehoods of the world.  So they pander to us and we pander to them.  It is despicable.  On top of that is the huge lie that if you disagree you are a hater and must be cast of the circle of friends, the conversation of the public square, and the neighborhood.  The left and right are complicit in this and we have allowed them to take over our minds and steal our reason.  Worst of all, we seem incapable of turning them off or holding them accountable.

The internet is close to the the gates of hell.  It allows the anonymous and the cowards to spin their lies or their version of the truth unchecked and unchallenged.  They do not need to prove anything since innuendo and insinuation are the tools in trade of those who tweet and post allegations as truth and presumption as fact.  I am ashamed that this blog lives in the same sphere as the stuff of the internet.  Believe you me, I have thought long and hard about giving this whole enterprise up.  My use of the social media is for one purpose -- for the preaching of the Word, for the calling of the faithful to know that Word, and for the occasional benign humor at no one's expense but my own.  I once thought porn was the biggest danger of the internet but it is being chased by the demon of opinion that poses as information and attack that poses as remedy to the things that ail our society. 

The worst of it all is how Christians fall victim to the same kind of abhorrent stuff in the name of Christ.  On the one hand you have Christians who advertise that they neither know nor heed and apparently do not even care about what God's Word says and the Church through the ages have believed.  The Gospel has become a rainbow meme devoid of any mention of sin, the cross, or the empty tomb.  The Law has become a toothless lion who roars while we who say we are Christian yawn.  What a sham it is!  On the opposite extreme are the righteousness police who make the Pharisees look like amateurs.  They troll for any information that they can use to divide, destroy, and spread despair.  God has an answer for sin but not these people.  Once condemned, always condemned.  They are the only godly ones they know and they have become a parody of what it means to call your brother or sister to repentance.  When they are called out, they revile back worse than they got and distance themselves from the Lord who forgave those who crucified Him.  Their goal seems less to be truth than influence and power and so they have been corrupted by the same idols as the world -- the only difference is they do it in God's name.

Get off the screens and into the Word.  Be discerning about what you read or hear instead of deceived.  The internet corrupts everything because we let it -- it appeals to our basest desires and the things that should not live at all now live openly only because we let it.  Vulgarity has become normal and are we better for it?  Truth is now captive to the individual but are we better for it?  Perception has become the real reality and are we better for it?  Tearing down has become the goal and are we better for it?  Satan is laughing as he gathers our souls as the harvest of lies and we have surrendered to Him what belongs only to God.  Do not give you kids a smart phone and if you cannot control your use of it, you should get rid of yours. 


Janis Williams said...

Social media is not reality. The people you meet there are not real. The really concerning thing is how the Overton Window has shifted on truth. We read (and believe) things that only a short time ago we would have sneered at. We take as truth statements that should first be sifted, analyzed, and met with cynicism. We make statements in like manner. Who wants to portray him/herself as inadequate, uneducated, unprepared. This applies to all of us, including myself. Repentance is the required action, and yes, fast at least part of the week from media.

Carl Vehse said...

"The internet is close to the the gates of hell."

That's a bit of an overstatement! Sure, the internet, and almost anything else including the pulpit, can be misused to mislead Christians. However the internet allows access to a vast amount of knowledge that, only three decades ago, would require a person to live or spent a lot of time in a major university library.

Within the area of Lutheranism, a layman has access to the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek, and in many different translations, or can use several online translation applications (or take online language courses in those languages). There are various Bible commentaries available online. There are the Lutheran Confessions, in the original German and Latin, along with the Triglotta and other translations.

The volumes of Luther's Works (both the Weimar Edition and the St. Louis Edition) are available on the internet in the original language or English translation. The writings of other confessonal Lutheran theologians are also available online, as are countless Lutheran journal articles (e.g., CTQ, CTM) Walther's Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel in the German and English translation is available on the internet. The internet can also be used to access books, article, videos, and audio lectures on the theology, development, history, and organization within Lutheranism.

A layman can also find Lutheran book reviews, such as the critical reviews of Luther's Large Catechism with Annotations and Contemporary Applications, released in January of this year.

And with the development of applications like ChatGPT, a layman can easily assemble confessional Lutheran references and summaries on almost any doctrinal topic of interest.

Of course, there are those who might object to laymen having the ability to access such Lutheran knowledge on the internet. A few centuries ago, there were those who didn't want laypeople reading the Bible in their own language.