Today, I came across a news post on my Home feed that was shared with two friends of mine.
This link was in Spanish, and was titled “No hay fuego en el infierno; Adán y Eva no son reales”, expone el Papa Francisco. on the Yucatán Hoy news webpage.
The story on the Yucatán Hoy page was published on the 10th, Friday of last week, and a member of my faith posted it on Tuesday, which led to 3 shares, 2 of those shares ended up on my wall post today. I then, without the slightest attempt to verify the information, shared it with a friend of mine, and told my Dad about it over the phone.
Can you see how nightmarish a misunderstanding can become through today’s capacity to share information?
The original post comes from another WordPress user running a site called Diversity Chronicle, who posted the article December 5, 2013. I have put the original post for the sake of readers who want to read the original account. There’s a disclaimer on the blog, saying that the content on the site is largely satirical. The blogger says:
I created this blog for my own personal amusement.
But at what cost? He may not have had any intentions to promote misunderstanding. But his blog post went big and all of December was in a uproar till the Vatican had a chance to silence it January 13th.
That was about a month ago, and the word is still being cycled through the internet about the misunderstanding.
Here’s what the Vatican News page posted on it:
Dear friends, we have been notified by many readers that there are stories currently circulating all over the Internet spreading statements by Pope Francis with regard to a number of issues, concerning the Bible’s content, the relations between religions, the renewal of the Church’s doctrine, and even the calling of an alleged “Third Vatican Council”, which are FALSE. These statements were spread by unknown sources. Therefore, we would like to alert all readers to be careful and not to trust too soon news about the Pope that are not from the Vatican.
One of the reasons my blog was designed was to share light about the concepts of the Latter-Day Saint faith, so those who come across misunderstandings can come here and read and be enlightened rather than confused.
That doesn’t mean I’ll let misunderstandings about other faiths or anything else continue in circulation.
This reminds me of what Barack Obama recently said about blogging:
I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.
I ask you all as readers, to take this negative energy that is building up from blogging, and turn this new information sharing activity, this chance to be more open and share our lives with each other and connect and our digital fingerprints which have such lasting effects on our soul, and use it to build up goodness and light on all subjects.
Pope Francis did not say anything that was mentioned in that satirical post. But who’s to say the amount of damage upon a person’s faith it may have created?
On a Catholic forum page I visited I found these two thought-provoking questions I have decided to redirect to my readers. And this goes not just for this story, but for all stories, all faiths. The fact that the LDS faith is so generally misunderstood, those readers that share my belief system will recognize the damages of misunderstanding in their own lives and the lives of others, to include the loss of friends and family support, ridicule and shame.
So an effort to be more civil and seek more rather than aimlessly post like Obama says, I hope readers of this post will recognize the dangers that come from not checking your sources and discrediting a worldview!
Read these questions, ponder and comment below your thoughts! (From the Catholic Forum, thread link below)
What are some of the ways for us to continue our Apologetics in the face of such obvious distractions designed to confuse, misinform or muddy the waters?
How do we engage social media like Facebook to charitably assist those well-meaning people who do not check facts behind stories before they quote, share or comment on them?
- First Quote: http://diversitychronicle.wordpress.com/disclaimer/
- Second Quote: See Facebook Page for Shared Content – https://www.facebook.com/light4astandard
- Third Quote: “Journalists Deserve Subsidies Too.” http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20091103/OPINION16/91102031/1004/OPINION/Journalists-deserve-subsidies-too?nclick_check=1
- Fake Story on “Third Vatican Council” where Pope Francis calls All Religions Equal. (http://amadanesi.com/)
- Third Vatican Council quote by Pope Francis? (www.forums.catholic.com)