In this internet age, we are bombarded with information. But for the true Christian, sorting out the true from the false in the media is extremely difficult. How are we to do it? We all know the saying, “Don’t believe everything you read”, and it is very true; but how to know what is believable and what is not? It was difficult enough when all information was from books, articles, and newspapers, but the internet made it even more so. The internet is full of information, and most of it is junk. But how to tell the true from the false? How does one filter out the true from the false? How is one to lay hands on reliable sources of information, while rejecting the rest? These are extremely important matters.
1. Be Well-Grounded in the Word of God
As a Christian, to properly analyse the world around you; to properly analyse the sources of information claiming to tell us what is going on in the world; to discern right from wrong, truth from error, in the media, you have to be well-grounded in the Bible. Without being well-grounded in it, you will never be able to tell the true from the false. It’s as simple as that.
The Bible is God’s written Word (2 Tim. 3:16). Every word of it is true (Jn. 17:17; Psa. 12:6). There is no falsehood in it. Therefore, the Christian who is thoroughly immersed in the Bible will be able to tell what is right and wrong, true and false. “For the word of God is quick [living], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). When one is so well-acquainted with the Bible that one is able to wield it as “the sword of the Spirit” which it is (Eph. 6:17), then one will be able to know true from false. “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psa. 119:99). “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:104).
This world lies in the hands of the wicked one, the master deceiver, the liar from the beginning: Satan. As a result, all around us are lies, errors, distortions of the truth, designed to deceive, to lead astray, to confuse. How then to separate truth from error? By knowing the Word of God, and the God of the Word. By bringing everything one hears, or sees, or reads, to the touchstone of God’s Word. Having the light of the Word of God, a man can see all things; but without that light a man stumbles in darkness and uncertainty. And yet how tragic it is that so many who profess to be Christians are so ignorant of God’s Word! Unless the child of God reads and carefully studies the Bible every day, he remains vulnerable to every lie that poses as truth. The Bible is not a book to be casually dipped into every now and then. It is to be the Christian’s light, lamp, guide, treasure and joy, at all times! It is to be carefully read, hidden in the heart, meditated upon! If the swordsman does not know his sword, it is a useless weapon in his hands. The Bible must be known, known well, known thoroughly, and only then can it be wielded properly high above the head of the believer, who will bring it arcing down to cut through every lie and falsehood, every deception pretending to be the truth!
2. Know the Bias of the Source of Information
If you want to correctly analyse the information you receive from the media, you must know the specific bias of the author, or of the publishing group, or of the website disseminating the information.
Let it be understood: everyone has a bias. This includes true Christians, no less than other men! They, too, are biased. They are biased towards the truth of the Word of God. When anyone reads material written by a true believer, there will be a decided bias in that material –and so there should be! For the Christian loves the Word of the Lord, and the Lord Himself, and sets out to defend His truth, uphold it, and disseminate it to others.
And just as true Christians have a bias, so do unbelievers. Many authors and journalists love to say that they are unbiased and that they write from an unbiased standpoint, but this is just not so. One will never find a source of information that is completely and utterly unbiased. It is just not possible. For all men have their beliefs, inclinations, preferences, etc., and these influence their thought processes, their worldview, their words and their writings, no matter how indignantly they may try to deny it.
So then: accepting that everyone on earth has a bias, we need to ascertain the specific bias of an author, or publisher.
It should be evident (but sadly, it is not always so) that if a particular author or publisher is biased against biblical Christianity, that source of information can never be reliable for anything pertaining to biblical Christianity, true doctrine, etc. However, where the specific bias of an author or publisher is non-Christian, or even anti-Christian, this does not automatically mean that everything they write is useless or untrustworthy. Certainly, anything they write about true Christianity will be so; but when it comes to what they may write about, say, history, politics, current events, economics, etc., there are those who will be reliable as sources of information about these topics.
I have many books in my library written by men who had no love for the Bible, Christianity, or Christ Himself. For this reason they are completely and utterly unreliable on matters of doctrine or morality or anything relating to true Christianity, and should be shunned when writing on these matters. But when presenting factual historical, political, or other information, many of them are indeed reliable! This is certainly not true of all of them, and indeed many of them should be shunned even when they write on such matters, because they are simply unreliable conveyers of factual information. But many others are reliable sources for factual information on a variety of topics.
One must still be very cautious in studying this information from them, of course, being aware of their bias; but if one is aware of it, and keeps it in mind at all times, it is possible to draw useful factual information from such sources.
Of course, an author’s bias against Christianity is not the only bias one must look out for. There will be others, and it is important to be aware of these as well.
Ascertain the bias of an author or publisher, be aware of this bias at all times, and approach his material on this basis, and one may still profit from his factual information, if he is a reliable source for this.