- Mainstream media – i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS etc.
- Cable News Networks – i.e. CNN, FOX News, MSNBC etc.
- National Newspapers – i.e. NY Times, USA Today, Washington Post etc.
- Internet sites – i.e. Drudge Report, Politico, Huffington Post etc.
- Talk radio
- Political parties – i.e. Republicans, Democrats, Independents etc.
- Other _______________
It is interesting to hear their responses. Some will respond according to their political persuasion. Others base it on whatever source they most often listen to or read. If you were asked this question, how would you respond? The two most common responses I receive are the mainstream media and cable news networks. Faith in the media is quite low to say the least.
As I pondered this very important issue, I find myself choosing “other” as the biggest source of fake news. In fact I believe that there is one source of fake news that is behind all of the other groups listed above. Before I share my choice with you, let’s review a couple of things. In last week’s post I defined fake news as a sensational piece of news which does not map to reality, or a deliberate spread of misinformation. The question then becomes what is the biggest source of information that does not “map to reality” or is a deliberate effort to “misinform” people.
Based on those definitions, my winner is Secular Education!! I was reviewing some notes I had taken from a talk given by Dr. Albert Mohler. Mohler defined secular as that which is “non-religious” or “non-theistic.” Of course, by being non-religious or non-theistic, it ultimately dismisses that fact that there is a God. This point was made clear in Carl Sagan’s original series called Cosmos: A Personal Journey which was released in 1980. Sagan’s opening statement was also the opening statement in the 2014 remake of this series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Sagan boldly proclaims:
The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.
This statement sets the foundation for all secular educational efforts. The belief that the universe, nature, is the only thing that is eternal will color all of what is taught in secular educational programs. In reality, secular education is founded on the assumption that God does not exist. Because of this foundational belief, secular education cannot “map to reality”, thus making it fake news.
I also believe that secular education is a “deliberate effort to spread misinformation.” Sagan also stated that we will follow the truth no matter where it leads. Yet, this statement is also misleading because if the truth leads to the reality of a supernatural creator, they will not go there. Why? Because they have also established a prior assumption that God does not exist.
This is made even more evident when you look at what another secular educator, Dr. Richard Lewontin, a Harvard genetics professor, said (emphasis mine).
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because of a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…
Lewontin makes his point even stronger when he goes on to say,
Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.
In a current secular 7th grade history text this “deliberate effort to mislead” is also evident. In a recent presentation at a worldview conference Dr. Bryan Smith, head of biblical integration for BJ Press, explained how misleading this text is when it presents human history.
Even though it is subtly presented, the text teaches students a false progression of man’s origin and purpose. Since God does not exist, man was not created but evolved from lower life forms. According to this textbook, as man evolved science and technology resulted. Science and technology led to civilization and civilization over time invented religion. In a secular approach to history, science and technology are central. Man is human because he is a tool-maker. Thus, history becomes a study of how humans make and use tools.
I can go on with many other examples of how secular education presents all information from a worldview that does not “map with reality.” It is also a “deliberate effort” to mislead as Lewontin says that they must accept scientific claims that go against common sense. However, I also want to explain why I chose secular education as the biggest source of fake news over the others listed above.
My reasoning here is that all the other sources listed have developed their biases from their own secular education. They operate from a secular worldview because of the education they received. It doesn’t matter what their political, economic or other beliefs are. Because of their secular worldview, everything they present is based on a faulty foundation and, therefore, presents information that cannot “map with reality.”
Jeff Keaton, founder and director of Renewanation, regularly asks parents, church leaders and educators the following question.
Falsehood: How Much Is Too Much?
Keaton goes on to ask listeners if they would keep their children in a school that teaches the following to be true:
- Turtles are faster than cheetahs
- The Americans were defeated by the Nazis
- George Washington was the King of England
- The law of gravity doesn’t exist
Of course, everyone responds that they would not keep their children in a school that teaches these things to be true. However, Keaton then asks if they would keep them in a school that teaches these things to be true:
- God is irrelevant, even non-existent!
- The Bible cannot be trusted!
- God did not create the world!
- Sex outside of marriage is expected!
- Same sex marriage is good and normal!
Both lists of so-called facts are fake news because none of their statements “map to reality” and are “deliberate attempts to spread misinformation.” The sad reality is that very few Christians would keep their children in a school that taught the first group of statements as being true but the majority of Christians actually keep their children in schools that teach the second group of statements as being true. Is it because we, too, have become victims of “fake news”?