Ever since Digong became the President, the issue of fake news became a prominent feature in my social media feed. Intellectuals and Pseudo intellectuals would argue and present their cases. Constantly, we are faced with legitimate questions, like: Why would fake news flourish? Are Filipinos too dumb to determine what is and isn’t real? Or are we, as people with natural depravity, naturally succumb to what isn’t true?
Do we naturally exchange the truth for a lie?
Since the day I read the first two chapters of the book of Romans in high school, it remained in my head (And heart) like a sticky note that would remind me from time to time.
The verses terrified me. Paul’s repetition of the phrase ” God gave them over “ in Romans 1 sent chills down to my scoliotic spine.
He repeated the phrase three times.
And while reading the last part, my fourteen-year-old self, shivered.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
The thought of God giving you over to a depraved mind that you do what ought not to be done terrified me. The idea of God…giving up on me, terrified me.
Almost eight years had passed, still, Romans 1&2 lingers in my mind and heart up to this day. It never left me even in my years of rebellion. Even when I shut the Bible off and removed it from my periphery. It stayed on me and became a terrifying reminder, an alarm clock I kept snoozing, an alert tone I resented.
Yet it remained. It faithfully remained.
This morning, like my usual itinerary, I opened my social media and updated myself with the new things thru my feed. Fake news still occupied the Philippine Internet. People are still arguing. Martial Law is still happening. Lies are still spreading.
Where will I stand amidst this chaotic Truth War?
I have always been that kid who prefers to stay silent rather than argue for what I believe is true. Arguing exhausted me. Debating seemed trivial and useless in my eyes. I have been passive when it comes to fighting for what I think is right. Even processing the Truth war internally…tires me. Thinking no longer mattered. Truth seemed relative. Truth seemed surreal. Truth disappeared in my life.
People falling for fake news isn’t really fresh news. It isn’t a new thing. We have been falling for the same lies since time immemorial. Adam and Eve fell for the serpent’s fake news. The whole history of humankind is a long story filled with battles of the Truth War.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S Lewis gives us a glimpse of why we are in this chaotic mess:
“All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
Why is this happening? Why do we obliviously fall for the fake?
Paul would gently remind us again in Romans 1,
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Our depravity is the sole reason why we fall into this trap. Our wickedness inclines our hearts to lies. We suppress the truth because we are wicked (v18). We deny the very existence of the Ultimate truth. We exchanged the truth about God for a lie (v25).
I no longer see this in a different light other than the Biblical perspective because it is the only perspective that makes sense in this truth-is-relative-kind-of-world.
That is the very reason why fake news is spreading.
because of this, our lives revolve around the preferred handcrafted version of things. Tailormade for our own liking. We cannot accept the Truth. In fact, we despise it.
In result to that, we spread fake news, fake love, and live fake lives.
I write this as a twenty-year-old millennial living in a time of fake news and fake love. I am writing this to make sense of my thoughts, to untangle the unresolved issues in my head, to unriddle the confusion in my heart. I am writing this because I know that I constantly exchange the truth about God for a lie. I am writing this because my heart is inclined to fake things. I am writing this because my heart is prone to wander and that I, alone, cannot make my paths straight.
At the end of the day, I am comforted with the Truth,
that while I am in my wickedness, Christ died for me. I rest in this timeless promise,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lo, let us always remind ourselves, that
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
This He will not despise.
Let us choose the Truth in this time of fake news,
and spread genuine love in this time of fake love.
(Yes, I’m talkin’ about you, Drake.)