“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. But because I say the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convicteth me of sin? If I say truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth the words of God: for this cause ye hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:42-47, ASV
On the television show “How I Met Your Mother,” the character Barney uses every possible technique to catch the girl. He is willing to lie, cheat and steal if it will advance his cause. His prey is usually a gullible and ditsy blonde who will fall for anything. In one technique, Barney approaches a girl with a smart phone as if she should recognize him. He is surprised when she doesn’t have a clue. He gives her a name and then walks away for a moment. She quickly looks him up on the internet, only to discover several websites describing his incredible life. She’s so impressed by what she sees, she readily follows him anywhere.
Of course, the websites are false. He has put them together just for this scam. News reports of his exploits are from fake news organizations. Photos were created in Photoshop. The entire character is fiction, but she’s drawn into what she believes to be reality.
It is easy to be fooled. I have to admit that I’ve fallen for news stories that were posted on satiric websites. As a matter of fact, a discussion group recently had a lengthy discussion about a story that was posted that was not real. The problem is that the story provided fodder for discussion about a very real problem. Though the solution in the article was fiction, it was an option that several people in the discussion thought might actually be the answer to a question many have asked. We were reminded several times that the article is fake, but the discussion went on because we saw some value in the foolishness.
I discovered the latest interesting use of false websites this week. There is an advertisement for a car company in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. The picture in the ad shows a shiny new car with a beautiful girl standing nearby. Well, you have to assume she is beautiful because you can’t see her face. She’s sexy, though, wearing a tiny bikini that matches the color of the car. Sex has sold automobiles for a long time, and I don’t see that changing. The car company has simply decided that you do not need to know the girl; it is enough to see parts of her.
The ad identifies the girl, and a quick internet search finds a website for this swimsuit model. This website is set up with a portfolio of her pictures. Every single one was with a car from that company. And you cannot see her face in any of the photos. The website has no information. It has no links to administrators or email. There is no biography or tour information, just pictures of parts of her with cars. The website is there to give credence to a woman who is not real.
The internet is just a new tool in a very old game. Satan was twisting the truth in the beginning and he continues to do so in every generation. We must not believe everything we see or hear. We must be especially careful when listening to those who claim to speak about the things of faith, because Satan continues to twist God’s word in and through the work of people who are either willing or unaware of the falsehood. So, listen for God’s voice and test every word against what you know to be true. Does the word line up with the whole revelation of God? Does the word glorify God or does it put human agenda, desires and opinions first?
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