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Living In The Age Of Virals

Page history last edited by Capri 5 years, 5 months ago

 

Living In The Age Of Viral Messages

Original post title: Living In The Age Of Email Forwards

Original post date: 1/8/14

Living in the Age of Email Forwards

Imtiyaz Damiel

(Note: Originally written for Muslims, this version is modified by Capri to make it a message for Christians too. - end of note.)

The advent of modern technology has provided an unprecedented platform for individuals and groups to manufacture and spread false information about Christianity on a large scale. This phenomenon is carried out by people who are members of the faith, and open adversaries of Christianity alike. For far too long, the first group has had almost total success with very little opposition within, while fuelling the ranker and derision coming from the latter group who need no urging to take the opportunity to bash Christians as fools and hope to win still more people to their way of thinking. What is said in this blog about Muslims, is the very same thing being said against Christians by anti-theists all over the world.

Though there is a very small number of Christians ever cautious and vigilant, aware of the dangers of false teachings coming from internet virals and always demanding verification and proof, the vast majority of Christians seem apparently oblivious or indifferent to this predicament. Too many are complacent, as long as the chain email/FB repost has something "inspirational", mentions God, therefore, sounds Christian, or says the right kinds of political things, it doesn't matter to them if the story itself is 100% accurate or how many times it has already been re-shared.

Throughout the years, I have personally witnessed people from all walks of life, at home or at work, including Christians, inadvertently and naively involved in tampering with the pristine teachings of Christianity by spreading viral messages they received. Commentaries are given of the Bible with the aid of strange and fictitious superstitious traditions that have no place in Christianity, bits of scripture that are quoted, taken out of context and misused in ways that are unanimously agreed by any good pastor as fabrications, irrational statements are dressed up and put into the mouths of early Christian disciples, martyrs and saints, even Jesus himself, to appear legitimate, ridiculous rumors are spread without anyone questioning their authenticity or asking for references. Emails and Facebook re-shares in particular are used as a vehicle to spread false information from person to person with astonishing rapidity by encouraging recipients to like, share/repost, forward messages, to everyone they know,.

It is all too common to find our email inboxes or Facebook news feeds and walls inundated with alleged miracles; like the “trees in the form of the shahādah in Germany”, or famous conversion stories like, Crock Hunter Steve Irwin and Charles Darwin becoming Christian, or Neil Armstrong becoming a Muslim after hearing the adhān on the moon (Where were Snopes, Hoax-slayer, TruthOrFiction, Urbanlegends.about etc. for this one?),, or warnings on the birth of dajjāl or Armilus or anti-Christ with malicious cockeyed fabrications and doctored photographs, or exceedingly wrong-headed fabricated or misused scripture on the merits of different actions.

this is nothing new. Zealots, heretics, pamphleteers, teachers, story tellers and ignorant ascetics of every age give currency to legendary narratives and furnish it with a few of their own “pious inventions”. Jesus himself warned against such false prophets.

Today, the circulation of fables and fictitious legends continues via books, television and the internet. If this trend continues unchecked it will lead to disastrous results.

It is only when we as Christians work together, that we will be able to eradicate this problem. We must show a high level of caution and vigilance and avoid paying forward virals without verification. We must not quote or cite something claimed to be in scripture whose authenticity is unknown or doubtful. We should not feel inhibited or shy to ask someone for a reference or source.

In conclusion, I'll leave you with some scriptures that warn against false prophecy.

Isaiah 44:25
who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,

Jeremiah 14:14
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

Jeremiah 23:16
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:32
Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.

Ezekiel 13:9
My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.

2 Timothy 2:14 [ Dealing With False Teachers ] Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

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