Fantasy, distortion and falsehood are the currency of our new technology. It is very easy today to be someone you’re not.
All you have to do is create a Facebook account and you can be anyone you want. You can carefully select only the pictures, the comments, the interests and the background that you want to create. In fact social scientists are beginning to discuss what they call “Facebook depression”. We tend to put only the happy, wonderful news on Facebook, to project a polished perfect image of ourselves. Folks in real life see the perfect Facebook images and get depressed because their they don’t measure up to the Facebook image.
But it’s not just Facebook. News is increasingly a matter of spin. Pollsters and political strategists boast about their skill in distorting the truth to fit the image they want to project. Resumes are padded. Lies are no longer lies; we just “misspeak.” Political good intentions seem to count more than the actual results.
The special effects technology in movies allows us to create elaborate fantasy worlds. Computer effects allow us to create photographs of increasing and impossible beauty, we can crop, re-size, correct the color, lengthen, shorter, slim and beautify anything.
We have virtual relationships with people we have never met and probably never will meet. With each new technology it becomes easier and easier to project an image; to pretend to be something we are not and make others believe it.
But believers are called to be different. Hypocrisy, pretending to be something we are not, is condemned in the Bible. In our Galatians study, we saw Paul confront Peter for failing to live what he believed. In Luke 6:46, Jesus confronted his disciples with the same question: Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
The central question of the book of James is: are you living what you claim to believe?