Beware: “The Experts” Are Not Always Experts

confused-face1With every event, action, blog post or tweet that comes out from anyone or about anything even remotely notable, reactions are fast and plentiful. The news could be about a commuter plane shot down in the Ukraine, a new political scandal for the President, a shooting in Missouri, the Episcopal Church making the decision to ordain Gays and marry same sex couples, or a piece of toast that has burn marks on it that vaguely resemble the image of the Virgin Mary – it doesn’t matter. With the world of the 24 hour news cycle being what it is, and modern technology making is so easy to disseminate information, we mistake a great deal of what we read on our devices as “news”.

Sadly, this has prompted three things:

  • The first being that anyone who has the intelligence motivation to create a Facebook page or blog has become an “expert”.
  • Secondly; we find that it has become far more important for the news agencies to be FIRST, than it is to be RIGHT.
  • News agencies are not always sharing news or even truth.

Make no mistake, journalism is dead. Journalism, true journalism as it used to be with honest investigative journalists writing stories based on months of personal first hand investigation, exhaustive research, and a multiplicity of sources has gone the way of the dodo bird.

Consider this; The  news seems to elevate every small event into a crisis. Then, if the crisis has wings (meaning it drives ratings up whether the story is accurate or

Reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein, whose reporting of the Watergate case won them a Pulitzer Prize, sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post in Washington May 7, 1973.  (AP Photo)

Reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein, whose reporting of the Watergate case won them a Pulitzer Prize, sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post in Washington May 7, 1973. (AP Photo)

not) it become a “-gate”. But why do we call it a “-gate”? Well, if you,were  born after 1980 or so, you probably don’t remember why. As a course in history, the reason that we refer to a major crisis as a “-gate” is not so much because we want the readers to recognize that this is a serious crisis/scandal being dealt with, as much as it is an honorarium to the Watergate investigative journalism work done by Woodward and Bernstein. It’s said almost as a tribute because it feels like this was the last honest, affective, groundbreaking journalism work done by any major newspaper or TV network. Either the men that we have trusted for so many years (Cronkite, Morrow etc.) are retired or dead, and the rest of them are lost to scandal and lies (Brokaw, Rather and now Williams). The closest thing we have to that today is perhaps Breitbart, who as expected, has been branded a left-wing radial constriction, in spite of the fact that over the last 10 years his investigative web site has broken more stories than all the network news agencies put together.

These journalistic failures have erupted into major scandals against not just the news anchors themselves, but the networks in general. In the end, this causes many minds to question the very idea that the network news is even trustworthy at all. Actually, that’s a very real and legitimate question. And because of that, EVERYONE is getting their “news” from other sources. Any source.

ExpertThat said, since everyone is an expert, and “facts” are passed around by social media without any recourse or thought towards their accuracy, what should we do? Should we abandon social media? Well, for some people that may not be a bad idea. I might even suggest it. But we all understand that social media is here to stay – at least until its replaced by something newer and faster. We can also probably agree that if used properly, social media can be a positive means of communication. Social media doesn’t generate the news, it spreads the news, often like the plague.

Sadly, the same is true with regards to Christianity. Secularism, full of half-truth, ‘feel-good’ social agendas is blending its way into doctrine. So-called bible ‘experts’ are all over the network news, blogs, YouTube videos, books and social media telling us that the “traditions” of the bible are outdated, old-school, and are biased against what has become normal and accepted moral behavior. More so, those who hold onto those ‘traditions’ are what is preventing Christianity from really helping people. Those who believe and practice these ‘traditions’ are called “Fundamentalists”, and branded as a type of social or moral criminal, and religious zealots lost in out-dated, old-school Christianity.

bibleSo, should we discard social media and everything that we read or hear from “news sources”? Should we bury our heads in the sand and cry uncle? No. How can we? We need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us, secular and Christian, if for no other reason than to continue to pass on the truth, and expose the lies.

We simply need to treat the circumstances the way we have been taught to treat them.

I John 4:1 says, “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.

While taken out of context, and without proper exegetics, you might think that this verse applies only to spirits as most people today commonly understand ‘spirits’, as ghosts, angels, visions etc. Fact is, the word spirit can be used to refer to the Holy Spirit, the human soul, demons, angels, the wind, or even your breath. But in this context it means “…the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides” or, “the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul“. In short, I guess you could modernize this to a definition something like, ‘the way by which we judge or govern that is is attempting to influence us’.

As it applies to our Christian life, and world view – we need to fact check all spiritual influences. Why? Because much of what we are being told in the news, in ‘Christian’ blogs, etc, simply is not accurate.

As with the best of lies, there is always some truth in what most people are passing off as spiritual advise. It is our responsibility as independent moral agents to check these things that we are absorbing. With the secularism that has already crept into Christianity to become common practice (performing gay marriages, ordaining gay pastors and priests, the influences and effects of the Word of Faith and prosperity doctrines), true biblical Christianity is already fighting an uphill battle. Who can quell the tide, if not us?

We are told to be like the Bareans, and to examine the scriptures daily to see if what we are taught is true (acts 17:11). We are told continue steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine (Acts 2:42). I Timothy 1:3-7 tells us that we are only to teach/hear the Apostles doctrine. We have a responsibility. There is no such thing as an arm-chair, or side-line Christian. We must actively be at work making certain we are properly trained by proper teachers and pastors. We must sift the chaff of secularism and consume the word.

The next time each of us is to complain about the secularism of the Christian church, we must ask ourselves; what have we done to correct this?

 

 

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