Faith does not mean forwarding every piece of spurious crap you receive on WhatsApp, believing everything you read on Facebook, or liking every Tweet shared by a Muslim personality. You still have to verify the information you receive, even if it comes from a trusted friend.
What is it today? President Bush’s daughter has become a Muslim, and here’s a video to prove it. Erm, but the video doesn’t show President Bush’s daughter. In fact it doesn’t even show one woman. I guess all women look the same to the fool who created this ridiculous montage, meant to somehow strengthen our faith, with the notion that celebrities believe too, and not just losers like us.
It’s sad to say, but the overwhelming majority of claims I encounter on social media turn out to be false, which is a terrible indictment of a people who claim to have the best processes of verification ever conceived. But I guess, in reality, it simply serves to show why those means of verification were so important: because at root, most of us, unreformed, are liars of various degrees. We lie, consciously and unconsciously, sometimes at source, sometimes in its dissemination.
To overcome our morass, we need to become mindful. To pause before sharing everything we hear. To not just rely on the notion that our companion is trustworthy because our faith tells us that believers should be trustworthy. To become trustworthy demands that a decision is made: we must consciously choose to be trustworthy, to speak the truth, share what is true and verify what we hear. Only then might we be able to consider ourselves and our companions truthful, to be taken seriously by the world. Until then, we will only ever be the boy who cried wolf.