I’m not sure if there is more to be concerned about in the world or if the ubiquitous access to information makes it seem that way. Either way, I’ve found that I have to regularly upgrade my information sources and my filtering strategies. Simultaneously, I continually mine ancient wisdom to help me process current events.
First, all information sources are not equally credible. Here are four principles I keep in mind:
- All communicators and news organizations have biases. These biases inhibit impartial judgement and communication. I go to sources I believe are more reliable.
- I also look to sources that tend to report on issues that are important to me. For example, I am more interested in global and national news than local news or human interest stories.
- Since my sources are advertisement-driven, I remain aware that they must hold their audience’s attention and therefore they entertain as they report.
- Finally, I deliberately try to pay attention to sources with known opposing bents. For example, I pay attention to both conservative and liberal leaning news outlets for political news. (I confess, due to my personal worldview, I am more often disappointed with one of these leanings than the other.)
Paying attention to where information is coming from, continually evaluating the motives of the communicators, and attempting to see more than one perspective on important stories help me come closer to an accurate understanding of global and national events.
However, taking in the news is only the first step. There is an even more important second step – discerning what it really means and determining how I should respond. This is where the Holy Scriptures become invaluable. The Bible reveals the nature of God and teaches people how to properly live in light of his glory and grace. Unlike all human communication, God’s Revelation is completely reliable. Some human communicators are more reliable than others, but none are infallible. Only the communicating God is infallible. So, I daily invest time reading the Bible and praying that I will understand what is happening in today’s world in light of God’s sweeping purpose that extends throughout history. For example, currently the Old Testament books of Kings and Chronicles are providing considerable perspective on US politics.
What about you? What principles help you process the news?