I remember growing up hearing the phrase, “Information Age,” but it wasn’t until the late 2000s that we really began to appreciate the astronomical amount of information on the Internet.
As the smartphone reshaped our expectations of what a phone could do, many people were able to now carry a powerful computer in their pockets. Information was always accessible. I used to have to go to a library to fact check something, but my six-year-old son just blurts out, “Hey Google, what’s the largest mammal in the world?” (It’s the Antarctic blue whale by the way).
Moreover, YouTube and social media platforms like Facebook created an unprecedented amount of amateur, user-created content at around the same time. The rise of free access to information coupled with an enormous amount of unfiltered (or barely filtered) user-created content means one of the greatest skills one could develop today is the skill of discernment. How do we know what is credible information and what is incorrect?
The bible emphasizes the importance of wisdom. In fact, James encouraged Christ followers to seek wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
When Paul preached in Berea, the people examined the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said were true (Acts 17:11). Because there were so many philosophers and orators visiting their city to bring all sorts of teachings, the Bereans felt the need to ground themselves in Scriptural wisdom to discern what was right and wrong. We need the same skill today.
Today, we have billions of “visiting philosophers” on YouTube, Tik Tok, and other platforms that are accessible via a small device in our pockets, and they’re all offering their own perspectives and worldviews. How do we navigate through such massive amount of information?
We need wisdom and discernment. We also need curators who could help us make sense of the vast array of content that are available to us — a community of biblical wisdom to help us discern truth. Do you have such a community?