“If the only reason you believe something is because your favorite talk show host or preacher said it, you will eventually believe a lie.”
What is the Truth and how do we find it? In our world today we are bombarded with information from every side. From the news media,TV, Movies, the internet, church, preachers, bible studies, everywhere someone wants our attention and wants us to believe what they are saying. Sometimes its so we’ll be a member of their church and pay our tithe, sometimes its to get our vote, sometimes its to buy a product, sometimes its a more sinister agenda which is just to control the situation.
Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of passing along a bit of information, an e-mail or a “facebook” post just to find out later that it was a hoax or an untruth. I know I have and it really made me feel stupid and used, in a way, because I believed the information and I believed that the source was reputable.
The problem with being flooded with so much information is that it takes work to find the truth. Our news media has turned into a “for-profit” business. With the 24 hour news cycle and competing networks and media outlets there is huge competition for viewers which leads to sensationalized high-tech presentation of the news. Let’s face it the news is now just another form of entertainment. I don’t care which news network or source of information you prefer they are all biased and are presenting the “facts” from that bias. Whoever is funding the media outlet is setting the bias and tone of the programing.
We have the same problem in our churches. Even the most God fearing pastor in the land can’t help but count the attendance and the offering. Churches are competing for viewership the same as network television. Especially with the dwindling church attendance most churches are experiencing. All you have to do is flip channels on a Sunday Morning to watch the competition being played out for the world to see. It takes an exceptional individual to resist the temptation of bowing to the pressure of scratching itching ears.
The other phenomenon with this overload of information is the demand for loyalty. Whether it be from news media, politicians, talk show hosts or bible teachers, the push is that we believe them and only them. There is “this if you’re not with me you’re against me mentality”. Every voice demands that believe every word out of their mouth and reject everyone else. To the point that we are expected to take sides and not listen to or accept anything that comes from the competition. To prove this point have a conversation with a conservative media fan and mention that you heard something on liberal media (or vice-verse) and the information you are sharing is immediately discounted because of the source, not because of the value or truth of the information.
So in the middle of all of this overload of information and competition for loyalty, minds and our money how can we go about sorting it all out? How can we tell the truth from a lie?
There is a clue for us in the scriptures to answer this question. It is from the book of Acts and the missionary journeys of Paul.
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. Acts 17:10 12
The Bereans are commended in the text, saying they were more noble-minded because they received the word with eagerness, not because they believed what Paul said, but because they examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
The only way we can know if the information we are believing is the truth is to study it for ourselves. We cannot rely on the source of the information to give the information its validity we have to get to the facts. It doesn’t matter if the facts you are researching come from the Sunday Morning sermon or the the 5:00 o’clock news, the personal responsibility to find the truth is the same.
Like I said earlier finding the truth takes time but the good side of having so much information available is that there is so much information available. There are many on-line easy to use study tools that you can quickly look up scriptures and the meaning of Greek and Hebrew words. You can be like the Bereans and “examine the Scriptures daily to see whether these things are so”
When it comes to news, politics, local or world events, I have found that the best way to get to the bottom of things is to listen to more than one source. Maybe you like one news outlet more than the others, so what, tune into the others for a few minutes and see how they’re reporting the incident. There was one particular incident that was a hot topic in the media a few months ago and everyone was really taking sides. I got on the internet and read every news story and commentary from every source I could find. I highlighted the facts that were common in each of the stories and rejected the obviously biased or sensationalized editorials until I felt that I had an understanding of the facts. Then I could base my own opinion on the story instead of just taking a specific new media’s perspective and adopting it as my own.
Or we can let others digest the information for us, read the headline, believe it and move on.
And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free John 8:32
The only way to know the truth is to seek the truth.
Grace and Peace