How credible is your online witness?

If someone is dressed in a clown costume and comes to our house, we’re unlikely to buy into their new theory on how black holes are formed.

But if someone with a Ph.D. in the field is publishing their research on the National Science Foundation website, their ideas are likely to get a hearing.

Technically, how we dress and where we present our ideas are completely irrelevant to whether or not our ideas are true.

But in everyday life, we evaluate people when we evaluate their ideas.

This thought was prompted by reading this post on Twitter:

Today is the day that every insufferable nutcase you’re related to, who throughout the year posts a steady barrage of unhinged MAGA, antivax, Let’s Go Brandon, and Qanon memes instead posts a picture of the empty tomb, writes “He is risen indeed!”.

This person is making a compelling point: all year long, perhaps we all see Christians sharing conspiracy theories and being mean. However, I think it is imperative to clarify that I don’t think this is a problem exclusive to any particular political party. The issue is misinformation and rudeness, no matter where it comes from!

Here’s the heart of my concern: is this guy going to take the Easter announcement seriously? No way.

Now imagine that Christians were known for thoughtful, respectful interactions online. We only shared reputable, fact-checked information. We were unceasingly polite and kind. We habitually went out of our way to help others.

How would that affect the credibility of our Easter celebrations?

How about you? If you go back and read through the last 10-20 posts you’ve made on social media, how credible is your online witness?


Carson, I think we need to have online or digital elders, leaders, or buddies who are also active on social media and who can keep an eye on our online lives. We need online guidance, support, and follow-up as well. Imagine if we double checked each other and guided on how we are doing online as Christians and if we are reflecting Christ in our online conversations and behaviours.

Just a thought!


A great idea, @krishnam! Sometimes, we can do this for each other as peers.

In my case, I know of two people who monitor my social media activity and bring up any concerns. It’s a gift. I’d much rather have someone address an issue with me right away than have it develop into something much worse over time.


:sweat_smile: really challenging, and such a good point. I don’t want my witness about Christ to be compromised online by being sandwiched by lots of ridiculous stuff that people don’t take seriously. I’m much more careful these days about what I post online, but even so I sometimes worry that I shouldn’t have posted something. Perhaps it’s better to be overly cautious. I’ve never asked anyone to monitor my social media, but I’m always open to someone gently keeping me to account!


Having someone to monitor our online accounts sounds like a great idea! I’ve come to a point whereby I don’t post anything because thinking of what to post and how it’ll be viewed by others can be pretty time and energy consuming. :joy:

But I’ve definitely seen a lot of hypocrisy regarding Christians and what they post. It’s best to think of the intention and how people might perceive the message behind our posts. I’d definitely not want to post anything that encourages comparison, stress or anything that does not honour God.


So, I wrote a reply last week, but have been sitting on it because I wondered if it hijacked the thread. Basically, I got stuck in reflection on the concept of being “credible”. That is, while I do highly value credibility, in this age of sharp political polarization and a glaring lack of trust in public institutions, I wanted to acknowledge the complexity of the issue .

First off, I noticed that you and others pointed out that there are two levels we would do well to reflect on in our social media interactions:

  1. relational
  2. informational

And, as Carson mentioned, these two are inevitably intertwined. If I am coming across as abrasive, callous, rude, or ungracious in my interactions, then chances are slim that people will engage in depth with any ideas I may post. Conversely, if the information I post seems dodgy, then conclusions will be drawn about my character (or, perhaps, rational state) even if my other interactions are “unceasingly polite and kind”.

I find this frustrating, but not surprising.

As Christians, I believe that part of glorifying God is seeking to be a credible witness as best as we are able. However, we need to recognize that we cannot be always credible to all the people all the time. That’s impossible because credibility is a subjective concept. That is, it runs through the interpretive frame/filter of a person, and there are all sorts of things that go into the creation of a single person’s interpretive lens. That is why one person’s reputable source is another’s propaganda. One person’s “conspiracy theory” or “misinformation” is another’s plausible story.

I find the tweet you mentioned difficult to engage with, Carson. I mean, perhaps there is some truth in it. Just getting on Facebook for couple of minutes can confirm that, which I find demoralizing (and, yes, worth reflecting on!). But this tweet is in the same vein as all that other vapid noise coming from both extremes, and I rather doubt there would be much of anything that could compel this particular person to take the Easter announcement seriously.


I hope I’m not allowing my cynicism to get the best of me, but I would reply, imagine if objectively “reputable, fact-checked information” existed in America. :smirk:

I do agree that fact-checking is possible and that some sources are more reputable than others, but not everyone will agree on what those sources are. Perhaps we ought to begin with noting extreme sources? Perhaps we ought to be looking for data sets and interpretive frameworks? We all have a filter. Perhaps we need to acknowledge first the subjectivity of “credible” in order to move towards an agreed upon/objective criteria for credibility?

As for the credibility of our Easter celebrations, my question for personal reflection is: How connected to my life is Easter? That is, to the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus? Is Easter Day merely a special Sunday where we wear special clothing, eat a special meal, hunt plastic eggs, and, if the timing is right, take a nap with the Master’s golf tournament on in the background? As nice as that sounds, it seems to be merely this thing that comes round every year, rather than a deeply meaningful event that changed the course of history…and changes my life.

And if my life isn’t changed, how credible is my witness anyway? :slight_smile:


The shelf life of facts in this world is maybe six months. I think I understand want we are trying to say here, but it is a pipe dream today. I told my wife this morning that I used to feel like a museum piece, but of late, I feel like I have landed in a world that is like a bizarro world in the Superman comics.
I confess I find it almost impossible to reason with someone whose head is stuck in an echo chamber. No amount of fact-checking will change that person’s mind. When you are beyond “fact checkers,” you need to be re-educated not in 1984 style camp were O’Brian assures Winston that everyone eventually is cured (note Winston is on a rack) but with a view to incermental progress, i.e. the ablity to discuss and not fuss is a good goal.
I read this today: “the universal problem of religion is confidence—the need to convince people that its teachings are true and that its practices are effective.” Rodney Stark, For the Glory Of God: How Monotheism led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, And the End Of Slavery (thanks @Carson ) for the rabbit hole.
I thing I might add from the above quote I would substitue the words worldview for the word religion. It is hard to know the difference at times.
My thought, your comments.


Guilty! I have actually gone back and deleted posts I have made because I knew they would not be right with God.