A friend recently congratulated me on my fact checking abilities. I didn’t think I had done anything special, but she ended her compliments with, “You should be a reporter.”
The things I had done were pretty simple. I just followed a set of principles that led me to the correct information. Those principles included:
- As much as you might trust someone, double check that what they say is accurate.
- Search on keywords related to the topic, and try to find specific articles from reputable sources that deal with it in depth. 
- Don’t accept that an article is true unless you can corroborate it with at least 2 to 3 additional articles, not from the same source.
- Be sure to question everyone’s motives. Do the article writers have an axe to grind? It can be very difficult to find someone impartial, so always make sure that you’re holding writers’ possible underlying motives in your mind at the same time as you’re reading the articles.
- These days, many people treat opinion as fact. Be sure to treat them differently, especially if you can’t verify information.
- Where possible, trace information back to its original source. This might take a little bit of work, but if an article quotes another article or a piece of statistical data, go to the purported source of that data. Is the article accurate? Is it old data or new data? Has the author of the article misused the data in any way? This will give you clues as to how biased or truthful your sources actually are. If they turn out to be really biased, keep searching for different sources.
As Christians, we should be lovers of the truth. After all, Jesus said that He is the truth, the way, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.  If Jesus is truth, then we must be rigorous seekers of truth in order to properly follow in His footsteps.
Nowhere does this apply more than in our spiritual journeys. Unfortunately, these days the Internet has made us lazy. We no longer have to go to a library and use the Dewey decimal system to look things up. We have so much knowledge at our fingertips that we don’t know what to do with it. And, we often don’t know how to sift through it to get to the truth. Many people use the Internet as a way to extend their conspiracy theories and false theologies. How can we possibly sift through everything to find the truth?
The answer is: don’t try to engage every nutty person on the Internet. Find a few sources you trust, and regularly return to them for your spiritual content. Keep in mind that it someone was once trustworthy, this doesn’t guarantee that they are still so. Continue checking what they say against the scriptures.
In the end, we have only one source we truly need to go to for fact-checking spiritual truth. That is: the Bible.
Whether we are on the Internet, reading an article, or listening to a sermon in church, it’s imperative that we as Christians jettison our lazy attitudes in favour of spiritual diligence. Without careful examination of what our leaders and teachers are saying to us compared with what the Bible says, we cannot hope to weed out lies from truth. Sometimes a lie can sound so good and right to our human ears. But if lies and false assumptions make their way deeply enough into our psyche, the results can be devastating.
When we build our faith on shaky assumptions, our faith itself will be shaky. If we want to have a robust, holy, healthy faith, we must put in some effort to following the Truth, wherever He leads.
The Bible tells us that:
The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Did you get that? The Berean Christians didn’t just passively sit and listen to the apostle Paul‘s teachings, absorbing them and accepting them as truth. They questioned what he said, and held it up against the lens of scripture. Keep in mind that they did this with the apostle Paul—the one human being who has written more books of the Bible than anyone else. Even so, his teachings were rigorously inspected before the Bereans accepted them as true.
I would encourage you to do the same, whether with the things that I write, or the things that other people say or write. That’s why I always include scripture references at the bottom of my blog posts, so that you can look at the Scriptures themselves and see if what I’m saying is right or wrong. If I’m wrong, I want to know it. If I’m wrong, I want you to know it too. That’s the only way that we can hope to lead holy and godly lives.
We are so sinful that we can’t hope to discern what is sin and what is not on our own. That’s why God gave us the Bible as a compass we can use to direct us to holy living. We cannot afford to embrace what the world says is right, and ignore the Truth.
So let’s once more commit to searching for Him in the word of God, and treating the effort we use to do so as an act of worship to our King.
 Some people are better at searching the internet than others. Peter’s a real pro, and I’ve learned a lot from him. If you’re not very good at doing this for yourself, ask someone more skilled to teach you how.
 See John 14:6.