the ability to judge well.
(in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding.
For a long time now people have been reading or listening to different stories in the news, some of which are wildly inaccurate. Some people seem to perpetuate the story anyway, letting the false information spread like a virus. And I’m not really pointing to any particular group or demographic. We all should do a better job of discerning things we hear or read.
But why don’t we? One of the reasons we don’t is because often the story comes to us from what we believe to be a reliable source: a news station, friend, family member. Notice how it’s much easier to tell someone who holds different views as your own that they are wrong, but we rarely challenge our friends? As a society we need to be better at this. But in our society’s changing times, questioning is seen as a hurtful act and the person questioned often gets offended. The maxim of “steel sharpens steel” should be how we see this. One could ask themselves: Is it better to let a friend continue in a direction of falsehoods and inaccuracies or to help them see the light?
Here’s an example. Some time back there was a story that circulated about kids in schools using litter boxes and dressing as “furries” (look it up, furries are a thing). Some people were expressing outrage, asking how such a thing could be allowed. But, once you looked into it, finding evidence of this actually happening couldn’t be found. I even enlisted the help of some of my crack investigative team to gather evidence of this (ok, so I actually asked my kids if they or their friends had ever seen or heard anything of this). But alas, still nothing. To be clear, I’m not saying that this never happened, somewhere. I’m just saying, I couldn’t find any evidence of it. I’m discerning the truth to be that it’s more likely than not that this isn’t really happening. In cases like this I feel the best thing for a person to do is “think globally and act locally.” That is, focus on things in your area that you can effect change on. And more importantly, that you can investigate yourself and discern the truth of.
Another facet that bares noting, and definitely shows how discernment is important is what to do when you find a story that has some truth to it, but some falsehoods as well. First you should acknowledge the truth. Then point out why part of the story is incorrect or questionable. Could do another article on being tactful, as pointing out faults in a story should be done tactfully, but I digress.
When you come across something that has some truth and some falsehood, be alert. Adding false information into an otherwise truthful story may be an attempt to deceive you. It makes it easier to discredit an entire story if you can prove some of the information is false. Certainly, the false information could be an innocent mistake but it could also have more nefarious intent. Color me a bit jaded, but there’s a lot of bad actors in the media trying to trick people these days. Ask who would benefit from the story being discredited and you may be able to get closer to the truth.
A big tip off for a false or potentially false story is if their main source is “ anonymous “ or unnamed sources.