Theologian and author Albert Mohler is encouraging Christians not to fall for Russian "fake news" amidst its war on Ukraine, saying believers are called to "seek the truth" and think rationally.
"The Christian worldview is predicated upon the fact that facts really do exist, that objective reality is indeed reality, and that it is ultimately knowable," Mohler said Friday on his podcast, The Briefing.
Mohler made his comments the same week that Russia denied bombing a Ukrainian maternity and children's hospital. Russia told the world, "Don't believe what you see, don't believe all the evidence, don't believe the video, don't believe the images. Believe us," Mohler said.
"I have heard others in the media say that what we have here are competing narratives," he said. "Well, that might be true, but Christians understand that the most important reality is not narrative. It's fact. It's objective reality. And the big question is which narrative … accurately describes the facts, the historical occurrences.
"Francis Schaeffer, one of the great apologists of the 20th century, reminded Christians that we have to continually come back to space, time and history, events that take place in space and time and history," said Mohler, who serves as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
As people "made in God's image who rightfully seek the truth," Mohler said, "we have to understand that the truth really does exist."
"Life is not just a matter of battling narratives," he said. "And what is taking place right now in Ukraine is certainly not warfare made deadly by narrative. It's being made deadly by bullets and by bombs and by rockets."
Christians, he said, must understand that "facts are facts," Mohler said.
"There is so much information flowing around us that the downside is that there's opportunity for propaganda, for so-called fake news, and for distortion," he said. "But it is also, on the other hand, an opportunity for almost any fact on the ground to become known and for a denial of reality to eventually be shown for what it is."
Christians are called to "not only seek the truth but also to think in ways that are rational and fact-based and clear and honest," Mohler said.
"Ukraine did not invade Russia, and Russia was certainly under no threat from Ukraine," Mohler said. "The Ukrainians had not amassed hundreds of thousands of troops and tanks and jet aircraft and bombers on the border with Russia. No, it was the opposite that took place right before the watching eyes of the world with aerial surveillance and satellite images, and eventually with the horrifying confirmation that came by the fact that Russia moved to an active invasion of Ukraine."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Matthew Stockman/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.