Post Truth, Alternate Facts and Fake News

In a confusing and changeable world the Bible’s message provides an unchanging hope!

In recent months terms such as Post truth politics, alternate facts and fake news have increasingly come to the fore in the media. But what do these terms mean and why have they been used so regularly to speak of the current global political landscape?

Post truth has been defined as “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief, for instance: ‘in this era of post-truth politics it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’ ” (1).

Is ‘Post Truth Politics’ anything new? Is it true to say politicians of bygone eras used to have greater integrity in the way they handled information, or have people always used Propaganda to support their own agendas?

The term ‘Alternative facts’ was recently used in a media interview by a high ranking assistant in the Trump administration to describe a factually inaccurate statement made by a colleague. Political ‘spin’ is nothing new, but in a world where information is increasingly spread by the medium of social media, the way people access news is changing and the potential for bias towards one particular view point has perhaps increased, particularly with the rise of ‘Fake News Websites’ – a term which speaks of websites deliberately publishing disinformation and propaganda for political or financial gain.

With such changes to the way that news can be accessed, it’s becoming increasingly bewildering to know what to believe as true, with claims and counter claims made by opposing parties.

The Roman governor Pontius Pilate famously once asked: “What is truth”?

For many, truth can be seen as a flexible or arbitrary commodity, prone to change as and when the alternate facts might suit. But why did Pilate ask this question about truth? Pilate was judging Jesus of Nazareth a man whose whole life was founded on truth.

Jesus had said to Pilate:
“…to this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18 v 37-38)

The truth that Jesus witnessed to was in no way arbitrary. It is absolute. Unchanging. Jesus said:
“I AM the way, the truth, the life: no man comes to the father but by me” (John 14 v 6)

So many people claim ‘you can have your truth and I’ll have mine’, but Jesus’ message was stark by comparison. Jesus claimed he was The way and The Truth. And the only way to God is through him.

When Jesus met a woman from Samaria he again stressed the importance of truth:
“God is Spirit (or: Breath) and those who worship him, must worship in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4 v 24)

Jesus’ message stands in stark contrast to the post truth politics of today. What a hope the Bible gives us that the broken system of man’s politics will be replaced by a king who reigns in mercy and truth!

Many events in the world today seem to point towards the soon return of Jesus Christ as prophesied in the Bible. Isaiah 16 talks of the way in which Jesus Christ will reign as king when he returns to the earth:
“In mercy the throne will be established; and one will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness. (Isaiah 16 v 5)

Only with a ruler who acts in truth can righteousness like this ever be attained. He is a king who will act out of his love of those things which are true rather than any personal self-interest.

How we need such a ruler today!

Post Truth, Alternate Facts and Fake News