The Rector Writes - March 2018

"Fake News" - it was one of 2017's 'words of the year' for Collins Dictionary.

It isn't a new thing, but since Donald Trump popularised the phrase, it has stuck - and for good reason.

When I read something online, can I trust that there is any truth behind it?

An article on the BBC news website listed some ways to check: What is the source? Is it only in one source? What is the agenda? Go beyond the headline (among other tips).

April Fools' Day is one of the things that shows that though the phrase "fake news" may be (mostly) new, the idea is not.

Interestingly this year April Fools' Day is also Easter Day, which raises the question: Is Easter just fake news, an April fool played on the gullible?

What if we apply the BBC's tests?

What is the source? What if there were, say, verifiable eye-witness testimony? Well that is exactly what we have in the New Testament - indeed at one point the apostle Paul says to a group of people in effect "fact check it: there are hundreds of eyewitnesses, go speak to them - check out the sources."

Is it just one source? Clearly not - in fact there a number of the sources that just don't make sense if it were made up (like, why are the first people to see Jesus after His resurrection women - whose testimony in a court was not counted as valid - unless it really happened that way?)

What is the agenda? Is this to bolster someone's power or give them a cushy life? Only one of the apostles (those leaders who were eyewitness of the resurrection) was not executed or tortured to death for saying that Jesus was alive, and he died in a prison cell. Comfortable? Hardly.

Look beyond the headline: Why not join us at one of our Easter services, or come along to one of our discussion groups and ask all your questions - check it out.