Saturday, November 20, 2010

It’s more important to be accurate and truthful, than to win every battle

As a talkback host I am often in a position to spar with people over topics, it’s probably a weakness that I enjoy it a little too much as on occasions I may lose the context of a conversation, or the importance of an issue, to 'win' the argument.

I am growing as a person and a talkback host and think this is an area that I can, and have worked on. I am a bit of a stickler for facts and accuracy; I don’t like sweeping statements and regularly call-out someone using them. This isn’t to say that I am not guilty of that same ‘sin’ at times, I am sure we all are.

In the last 24 hours I have had occasion to think through this ‘win at all cost’ mentality over an interesting email I received.

It’s headed up “FW: Islam Mass Marriage of girls aged 6-10yrs” in which the claim is made that 450 Muslim men, supported by Hamas, in Gaza married girls aged between 6 and 10. Have a look here to get the guts of the email.

I get dozens of these types of emails from friends, family members and listeners, and always approach them with caution as I have found in the past that not many of them are completely accurate. This email stood out to me as a hoax just simply from a logical point of view, Hamas is a terrorist organisation, a well oil, well organised (albeit democratically elected) terrorist organisation, so I found it hard to believe that they would put themselves in front of the world showing them supporting paedophiles. It makes no sense.

I started to search the interweb to see if I could either disprove…or indeed prove the claims of the email.

What I found is that this email, or versions of it, have been circulating the globe for over a year, there are hundreds of website references and one must assume that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have read them, many will have forwarded it on, or sent links to the claims. So many people out there believe this story to be true, but forwarding on someone else’s email, or putting all the information onto your blog doesn’t mean it’s true, it just means you buy it.

I still wanted to know whether it was true or not.

The sad part of this story is that the truth was revealed within about 5 minutes or looking…the story is a hoax.

You can look here which may not be the most reliable/official place to find inaccuracies, but it’s out there.

If you want more you can go to websites like this one that put the original story up, then retracted if after they realised it was a hoax, again though not an ‘official’ source.

How about this one, a Jerusalem publication, it doesn’t either confirm or deny the claim, but one would think if any area of the world was going to want to give Hamas a black eye it would be in Jerusalem, if the story about child brides were true, then this is the exact kind of publication to support it.

The most accurate way to see if there were indeed child brides or not, is independent eyewitness testimony. Tim Marshall is an English reporter for Sky News, he was there at the ceremony and when he saw the ‘Christian’ world starting to spread this disgusting rumour he started getting onto the websites posting things like this...(this is one of his posts)

“Hi. I was there. The girls are relatives, nieces etc. Dressed up having fun. Brides were in the audience. It’s always like this. Hamas does enough terrible things without anyone having to make up nonsense about child brides…

I was there at the Wedding ceremony. We filmed the event. These young girls are NOT the brides. The brides are among the 5,000 or so audience. Where is your proof they are child brides. It is a cultural thing among the conservative Gazans to do things this way. It is grossly unfair to portray ordinary Gazan men in this way. Hamas does enough terrible things to write about without having to resort to making things up. The girls are having fun dressing up. Its been like that for years.”

You can real a full post from him here.

It’s more important to be truthful and accurate than to win the fight every time. Sometimes the right thing to do is get a proverbial black eye, be a little embarrassed, but retract and set the record straight.

For Christians out there, who has believed this lie, and then passed it on as fact, you are implicit in this deception. The Christ you serve isn’t into deception, He is into truth.

If you read this post, or Tim Marshall’s, or others out there…and you still believe it to be 450 child brides getting married then there is no evidence that can be put before you to convince you otherwise.

Christians out there, please love the Muslims…that your job…that’s your God mandated job, not to judge them, not to try to ‘win the argument at all costs’, not to put them in their place, not to defend your faith by bringing theirs down…none of that…just love them.

There are also real issues that we need to be concerned about in the world, Hamas is actually one of them, as is child prostitution and paedophilia, but you cannot beat evil…by being involved in evil things. You cannot win against lies…by lying, whether the lie is intentional as the originators of this email must be, or unintentional by forwarding on something you believed to be true.

I also want to make clear that this 'rant' is not aimed at the actual Child Bride email, or anyone person who has sent it on, but at the idea of how important truth is, how important it is to be a purveyor of truth whenever possible. It’s more important to be accurate and truthful, than to win every battle.

When you get the next chance to score one for Jesus by taking a group down a peg or two, whether it be valid or not, just ask if you think this is this going to bring the ‘one’ closer to the God you know, or will it give the ‘ninety nine’ something to snigger about?