It’s easy to get fooled by scams. There’s one I saw on Facebook a few times now with a photo of a traffic wreck that says: “Just died in an accident,” & it looks like it’s someone you know. But if you click it, you’ve just been phished–your data scraped. We’ve become pretty savvy at avoiding obvious online scams about clicking to win some big prize. But the scammers just keep getting more slick with their deceptions.
People often don’t know what to believe anymore. Confusion & chaos is sown by misinformation & misdirection. Information has been controlled by those in power for a long time, but now that information has been decentralized, their chokehold monopoly has been broken. But still, truth is covered up, suppressed, withheld, & twisted by so many in authority–whether government, media, schools, social media, or religions with made-up mythologies & spurious books. Yes, even many churches lie to us. Why? Because they’ve departed from the Scriptures.
The Chinese government is re-writing the Bible into a communist translation & telling Christians, “You’ll use it or else.” You know the woman caught in adultery story, where Jesus says: “Let him who is among you be the first to throw a stone at her”? Jesus tells the woman, “Go, and from now on sin no more.” The Chinese Communist Party’s version has Jesus tell the woman, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.” Then Jesus stones her to death.
Artificial intelligence is growing more influential & programmed with bias. AI platforms like ChatGPT have generated fake Bible passages. A recent news story reported that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) actually rewrote the Bible with the help of ChatGPT to make the book of Genesis “vegan friendly”–animals are referred to as beings rather than beasts, & instead of animal skins for clothing, plants are used.
ChatGPT also has Jesus saying things he never said–“There is no man nor woman, as all are one in spirit.” Another example is: “Blessed are those who strive for unity within themselves, for they shall know the deepest truths of my Father’s creation.” The real Jesus never said those things. In the same way, a new AI app lets users “text” with Jesus. You can ask questions & chat with a “Jesus” that’s been programmed to respond in “Christlike” ways. The app’s creator may have good intentions, but it’s just a human imitation posing as Jesus, putting words in His mouth. That’s dangerous business.
Scripture tells us that unbelievers will distort, suppress, refuse to love, oppose, & deny the truth (Rom. 1:18). George Orwell remarked: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”
But it’s not just unbelievers–even within the Church, “…from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). And even among genuine believers, truth may not be well-received.The Apostle Paul was shocked by so-called Christians: “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). But one of the key marks of a Christian is that we believe, walk in, worship in, stand for, & speak the truth (Eph. 4:15, 3 John 3).
If we are to be a people of the Truth, we have to be careful in what we believe & proclaim. No one can really blame anyone anymore for doubting authorities & agencies that have been found to be lying to us. But we should be cautious about spreading dubious information unless we can verify it. Always have your radar up. Question everything–make sure it agrees with what God already says in Scripture. We want to be discerning not only that “we don’t get fooled again” (with a tip of the hat to The Who), but that we’re not guilty of fooling others & losing our credibility to share the News that matters most.