Why I Love Fake News...and Why You Should Too


Everyone's talking about fake news as if it's a bad thing. Hillary feels it was partly to blame for her losing the election. Trump thinks it's an attack on his legitimacy as our next president. The mainstream media is taking a big hit for it. But I LOVE it! 

Now, to be honest, I don't love everything about it. I don't love falling for it and then making a fool out of myself by getting all worked up, telling my husband all about it, and--of course--posting something bold and dogmatic on Facebook for all the world to see. Anyone else delete at least 50% of your statuses? 

But I do love that people from all walks are calling it out as fake. Because...if it's possible for news to be fake, that automatically means it's possible for news to be true! And while that might seem like a no-brainer to you, in our increasingly relativistic culture, absolute truth claims are hard to come by. What I mean is, nowadays people are very, very hesitant to say that something is absolutely true. It might be offensive, after all.

But no one seems to have a problem declaring absolute fakeness. And I'm excited about it! 

I delight in thinking that fake news might just be the start of our return trip to reality. Maybe we we'll see the return of absolute truth in our lifetime. Maybe we'll quit fooling ourselves into believing that "What's true for you is true for you, and what's true for me is true for me." Maybe fake news will save us from all this silliness--from acting like a bunch of preschoolers playing make-believe. Wouldn't it be lovely?

I definitely want to give subjective relativity the benefit of the doubt though. I'm sure it has the best intentions...simply a desire to include everyone...to open the doors wide to all. But what this subjectivity has actually ushered in is utter confusion. Subjective relativity has removed our security and replaced it with a structure built upon feelings rather than thinking. It's built around us a house of cards...no real foundation to stand on. Nothing to hold sacred. 

Including (for an increasing number) the Bible. In a culture where everything is open for personal interpretation, it only makes sense that the Bible should be fair game. If something I read is offensive or unclear, I should be able to adapt the meaning to fit my worldview. Just a little nip and tuck...a few changes here and there. Why shouldn't I be allowed to do that if there's no such thing as absolute truth? 

But in the real world--the one we can experience with our five senses--absolute truth does exist. There really is an up and a down. There really is a correct answer. We can all believe whatever we want. No problem. But there are only two possible conclusions to all that mess: 1. One (and only one) set of beliefs will line up with reality, or 2. We're all wrong. We can't all be right. Especially when our beliefs are contradictory. 

According to the law of non-contradiction, the Bible either is or is not the authoritative, revealed Word of God who either does or does not exist. He can't exist and not exist at the same time. Jesus either is or is not the only way to the Father. If He is, all the other roads that claim to lead to heaven are fake. If He's not, then let's look for the road that is true. Because no matter how cute the "Coexist" bumper stickers look, they're selling us beach front property in the heart of Ohio. Every single one of those belief systems represented by the cute little symbols contradict one another. They can't all be true. 

I realize that some people won't agree with me, and some will insist on saying that we can all have our own truth. But here's the deal...if everything can be true, then everything can be fake. And if that were the case, we're all living in the Twilight Zone.

I don't know about you, but I really like knowing that everything I'm looking at right now isn't a figment of my imagination. 


Heroin Needles and Pine Needles--Empty Stocking and Empty Tomb

We just got our Christmas tree a few days ago, and already I'm picking up what feels like hundreds of pine needles off my living room floor. There seems to be no end to those tiny little daggers, and they apparently love nothing more than rising up into the fibers of my socks to stab at my feet. There is definitely a fake tree in my future! 

While I was gathering up this morning’s harvest of needles, the image of another needle came to my mind. The needle that killed my brother last Christmas.

My brother died of an accidental heroin overdose in the very late night hours of Christmas one year ago.

One year.

The milestone that feels more like a millstone tied right round your heart and even your throat. The mile marker you can’t see but most definitely can hear. It’s not a dream. It calls out. He’s really not ever coming through the door again.

I already know this, of course. But the one-year mark just reaches out and yanks the curtain back--thoughtlessly exposing any secret, deeply hidden hopes that maybe, just maybe, it's all been a joke or a dream. Maybe I’ll wake up, and he’ll be there saying, Gotcha! and grinning that big, room-filling grin.

But it’s not a dream. I know. And my brother’s stocking—if my parents can even bring themselves to hang it at all—will be empty this year. And every year.

And thinking about that empty stocking—once filled with candy and movie gift cards and cologne and shaving cream—could knock me over with life-smothering sorrow.

If that was the end of the story.

But it’s not.

And in a crazy sort of way, instead of knocking me over with sorrow, the thought of Joey’s empty stocking reminds me of something else that was empty…the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.  And it actually inspires a hopeful and ever-more-solid resolve.

You see, that empty tomb—that beautiful, glorious empty tomb—says, It’s not a dream. Your brother might not ever come through that door again, but you will see him again. You will most definitely see him again. 

Now, I know there are people who don’t believe in heaven or God or miracles. All that faith stuff, they say, is for the weak minded or fools. No one with a brain falls for that. Maybe you even feel a little sorry at the thought of me truly believing this.

But this is what I wonder: How can anyone with a brain NOT believe it? 

The evidence is there. Yes, evidence. Objectively verifiable evidence. Not just the down-in-my-heart stuff (which is pretty great, too). But scholarly, falsifiable data.

The Apostle Paul was the first to dare everyone to look for it. In fact, He even says, Hey world. Investigate this resurrection. If it’s not true…you’re right. We’re all fools, and you have a right to pity us.[1] (my paraphrase, of course).

This one empty tomb is the one thread that if pulled and found lacking would single-handedly unravel the Christian faith altogether. Why would Paul be so forthcoming about something with that kind of destructive power if it wasn’t true? What would he possibly gain from making up stuff like this?

And for that matter, why would Paul care in the first place? He wasn’t a Christ follower before the crucifixion. He hated Christians. Even killed them. What would make him change his tune so dramatically? This is a complete 180!

Well, the Bible tells us why. The Bible records that Paul actually saw Jesus. After His resurrection. Alive…well…speaking.[2]

The Bible also records that Jesus appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses after He came out of the grave.[3]  Pretty lofty claims written during a time when many of those very eyewitnesses could have easily shouted, “Lies…every bit!” But they didn’t. There’s never been one contradictory record ever discovered. Because it wasn’t a lie. It was true.

And for those who don’t trust the biblical accounts (if this is you, I encourage you to read this article), here’s something incredible to think about. There is data that is so strongly attested to historically that it’s affirmed by nearly every scholar who studies the subject—including scholars who aren’t Christians and have nothing to prove. New Testament scholar Gary Habermas has deemed these, “the minimal facts.”[4] And he’s written an entire book on it complete with all the primary source data you’d care to see.

My heart is definitely tender this Christmas. In fact, it feels like tears are always at the ready, and sometimes it’s all I can do to make it to a private place where I can let them fall. And I know I need to.

But my tears aren’t bitter. They aren’t tears of hopelessness and despair. They are tears of missing and sadness mixed with victory, hope and faith.

For me and my family, Christmas will never be the same. It just won’t. But we still have so much to celebrate.

We celebrate that precious Baby Boy…born to die…and killed to rise. So those who choose to accept His loving and free gift can truly and always…live.

That’s the true Christmas miracle.  That’s the true end of the story.


[1] 1 Corinthians 15:16-19

[2] Acts 22

[3] 1 Corinthians 15:6

[4] Habermas, Gary and Licona, Michael, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel: Grand Rapids. 2004.