Thank you so much for bringing up this timely discussion. I appreciate your thoughtful questions and I’m grateful to be thinking of how we might respond with grace and truth.
In addition to @artownsend’s examples I think, specifically, of the Salem Witch Trials which led to mass fear and panic and ultimately the deaths of innocent people.
I think it is healthy to exercise critical thinking, to do our own research, and to explore curiosities. We should do this all the while asking for discernment, as @reshwfhg points out, and weighing things against the truth of God’s word. Things become unhealthy when our extracurricular beliefs begin to affect how we treat or view other people. If our belief in unproven speculation causes us to become prideful, overly cynical, demeaning, or less loving and compassionate, we need to reevaluate.
Again, I love Alison’s thoughts on this
And her admonition to go back to scripture. We can find common ground with other professing believers under the authority of scripture. Also, if their beliefs and words are outwardly hurting or alienating a certain group/individual, we can call them out in love and grace.
More and more, truth is being obscured in our society, yet as Christians we follow Jesus-- THE Truth. We should remember that as Christ’s ambassadors, we carry His truth and with that privilege comes responsibility to steward all truth well.
The article linked below makes a good point.
When we bear false witness, we establish a reputation for blindly succumbing to unverifiable or groundless stories. How can we effectively witness when we have negligently borne false witness? How can we then claim to be the body of truth itself? When we spread conspiracy theories and fake news, we discredit ourselves, and we allow the gospel to be discredited as well.”
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2.3
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God… 1 John 4:1-3
Thanks again, for the discussion, Brendan. May we seek to steward these times and opportunities wisely.
This is the article quoted above.