Relevant Wisdom for the Internet Age

Does the Bible speak to today’s issues? Consider for example your Facebook or Twitter feed. The ancient writers knew nothing about our technologically advanced world so how could their words impact our interactions in cyberspace? But here the thing — It does.  The reason will become clearer If we’ll put down our screens for a moment.

Let’s take one small issue that’s been the buzz for about a year but a problem long before then. We’ve all seen them, the posts on Facebook and Twitter that make some claim to be true but scratch the surface and it’s “fake news.”

So a “friend” on Facebook shares a share of a share that is foolish and untrue. What should I do about it? Should I ignore it or refute it? We’ve all been at that point of decision. If I answer I may get dragged into a troll war catapulting flaming words. But if I don’t then someone may go through life thinking that foolish string of letters is true. Worse, someone may reshare it to their “friends.” What am I to do?

Believe it or not, it is a problem that even wise King Solomon had a difficult time with. Consider this wisdom from Proverbs.  “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.” (Proverbs 26:4–5, NLT) Don’t get lost in the apparent contradiction, if you do you’ll miss the wisdom of God’s word. So what’s the right answer to the question of should we or shouldn’t we correct “fake news.” Both!

As another wisdom book from the Bible says – “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7b, NLT)  Sometimes we should gently and respectfully address a foolish falsehood. Especially so when real harm could come, like the snarky words putting someone down. But sometimes refuting a point won’t have any life-altering effect. No one is going to be harmed by thinking that margarine was developed to feed turkeys. (A real Facebook assertion that is easily and completely refuted but has popped up in my newsfeed more than once).

Let’s return to where we began. Yes, the Bible can and does speak to our technologically enhanced world. How?  Because there is one element that remains the same – people. The conflicts, issues, and tricks of human beings haven’t changed since the beginning. Falsehood, rumor, innuendo, gossip, bullying, and human value are the same today as they were two thousand years ago in Jesus’ time and back further in the days of Moses, Abraham, and Noah. Only the speed and reach has changed. I find the ancient truths of the Bible are very relevant for today’s challenges. How about you?

Dale Heinold
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