Ever feel like we live in an environment where individuals are far too willing to believe the worst and far too unwilling to do the hard work of determining whether the story is true? Misinformation and disinformation may be to blame.
Misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is communicated regardless of an intention to deceive. Disinformation on the other hand is a type of misinformation that is deliberately deceptive.
I spend time most weeks looking into stories that put some of our Southern Baptist entities and their leaders in a bad light. These stories are often connected to a blogger who has written an article that is being disseminated on social media. Normally the story in consideration will end up being more opinion than fact. If the story turns out to be true, then appropriate action must be taken. If it turns out to be misinformation or disinformation, it can be disruptive and damaging to our cooperative work together as Southern Baptists.
According to a recent Lifeway research report, “Forty-nine percent of U.S. Protestant pastors say they frequently hear members of their congregation repeating conspiracy theories they have heard.” A recent Pew Research report states that 23% surveyed had shared fabricated stories either intentionally or unintentionally.
For Christians, especially those in ministry leadership, we must never allow ourselves to be those who spread false information. Why?
I am not speaking about legitimate claims of abuse or sexual misconduct. I am speaking about stories that are distributed widely that are called into question by even a modicum of research.
Given that there is so much information, how can a leader respond when misinformation comes his way?
Christians need to be people who know and share the truth. One way we can do to this is to pay close attention to misinformation and disinformation. Before you engage in spreading information, make sure it is true, helpful to others and pleasing to God.