Fake News and ‘The Other’
The enormous complexity of a contemporary multi-faith society that one finds today in most Western countries can result in a perception of the new and/or unusual as ‘the other’ – sometimes to the extent of dehumanising ‘the other’. Both ignorance and misinformation can result in unnecessary suffering which could be avoided by a more nuanced awareness of what the minority religions are actually like. There have always been rumours and gossip about new and other minority religions. However, the arrival of the Internet and, most recently, the social media has facilitated the spread of ‘fake news’, which can result in the increasingly widespread and rapid circulation of accounts of beliefs and practices of minority religions – many of which may bear little or no resemblance to the religions’ actual beliefs and practices. Such dubious ‘information’ can result in teasing or even bullying members of ‘weird’ religions in the playground, and/or to a lack of ability to assess critically any apparently attractive approaches made by proselytising groups.