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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

26 April 2017: Rev'd Max Cross, St Mary Magdalen, Sheet

Alligator found in Petersfield lake!

That's not true, however it is the type of news we often see on social media sites printed as fact. Urban myths distributed as fact have become such an issue over the last few years that a whole new genre of websites have sprung up.

Sites similar to snopes.com debunk myth and print the facts as far as they can be ascertained. More recently we are told that we now live in a post truth, fake news world. It doesn't matter that it's not true for you, if it's true for me.

On Good Friday I stood in Petersfield square, as the local churches gathered to commemorate the fact that two thousand years ago a man called Jesus was nailed to a cross. I encouraged us to investigate the truth about him for ourselves rather than rely on opinion.

In the past there were many mainstream academics who denied the possibility that a historic figure called Jesus ever existed. Today they may not agree on who he was, but the majority of academics agree that Jesus existed. Has the truth changed? No, so seek the truth I implored people. There is certainly plenty of opportunity to do that in Petersfield.

Seeking the truth is also not a bad mantra to have in mind as we journey together in our Petersfield community. We as a community don't have to buy into the cynical post truth concept. We can be different not taking on face value words spoken about individuals. We can seek to go behind what we see at first sight or hear from others. We can acknowledge that everyone has value and deserves at least a little of our time to ascertain the truth.

Love your neighbour as yourself, said that man nailed to the cross two thousand years ago. Perhaps the first part of loving them, is not to rely on opinion, but to understand them just a little bit more and seek the truth of who they are.

Max is assistant curate at St Mary Magdalen, Sheet and leads Reveal.org.uk a different form of church every Wednesday night at Winton House.

 

There will be a concert of trumpet and organ music at St Mary Magdalen on Saturday 29 April - entrance is free but there will be a retiring collection towards the organ fund.

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