21 Nov Information That Influence Your Mind
Now, we used to hear about selective listening where people choose to hear what they want to hear. And mentally, they tune out someone’s opinions or ideas when they don’t line up with theirs.
Now, it’s a universal problem because as human beings we all have our prior prejudices and biases. In a world of confusion especially, the Bible teaches us to be discerning and make good sense out of the things we hear.
But today we want to talk about another problem that go alongside selective listening, i.e. selective information feeding. Now, most of the time, we know we are biased, but have we considered that those who feed us news are also biased, to a certain extent? The World is filled with different ideologies, agendas, motives, and biases. So how do we know that the news that we’ve read, or the information that we’ve received from the media, from newsfeed, or from the people we know are objectively credible? How do we know they’re not propagandas to influence our mind and direct our thinking? How do we know information feed to us are not a result of other’s fear and uncertainty?
Nowadays, we always hear people making money out of someone’s else fear. For example, someone after hearing how bad the market is going to be, dump his investments prematurely, and then someone else make a fortune out of it. Or recently, when the media released news of the Covid_19 vaccine being developed, the share prices of our national airline soars 14%. You see, the world reacts to both pessimistic and optimistic news, and sometimes blindly. And that tells us how much we need to scrutinize our information giver.
Now, one thing with the Covid_19, if the World hasn’t learned, is this. i.e. Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Now, I am not saying we totally discredit what science says, or what the news media reported. But we must know everyone has their agendas when they released certain news, whether it is on social medias, or whether it is on the national newspaper. Sometimes, they may do it in good faith, yet not knowing the complete picture. Sometimes they over-report, sometimes they under-report. So the one who heed every single advice given by the medias will not survive.
Because the World is being deceived, and it deceives also. And as Christian living before God, we have a godly responsibility to be truthful to our neighbors, to make careful considerations about the things we’re telling others, right?
For example, at the start of the Coronavirus, there were some people who said we could reuse our disposable mask. And there are some who were very against it. I happened to ask someone who were very against it, and later on I realize he is someone who is selling mask. And he releases information to tell people how unwise and dangerous it is to re-use those disposable masks. I mean he could say he does it in good faith, but who knows.
Now, the Bible teaches us to live as wise, not as unwise. And when the Bible talks about being wise or unwise, it is not just a matter of being smart. It is a matter of being morally responsible. And as Christians, we need to be responsible with what we’re telling others.
Now, I was reading a passage in Jeremiah, where God told Jeremiah that one of the sins of his people is lying lips.
<Jer 9:8-9>: Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit. With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbors, but in his heart he sets a traps for him. Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”
Now, one of the sins that God punishes His people for was for their lying lips. And where does lying lips come from? It comes from a deceptive heart, a heart that is not right before God. Now, if we’re not right before God, there is no way we can be truthful. We will be either be saying things foolishly without good discernment, or we will be saying things out of impure motives. So let’s think through how can we be discerning and at the same time be responsible in relating information to others also.
Be a lover and seeker of God’s truth.
Now, there is only one absolute truth in this World, i.e. God’s truth. So he who immerse himself in God’s truth will love what is right and pure. His heart will be less susceptible to lies and selfish motives. Now dear brothers and sisters, don’t think that you can outsmart the world with your wits and knowledge. There is no way your heart can be kept from lies and wrong motives when you are not spending time reading, listening and confirming the truths of God.
Have a wide variety of newsfeed.
Now, with the world being more fallen and polarized, learn not to read from just one newsfeed. Learn to read from different sources, and read viewpoints that challenges each other. You need to have different point of views before you arrived at the right conclusion about things. And with regards to Covid_19, you can see how widespread it is, the vaccines, the way of dealing with it, now if you could my brethren, learn to read from different sources. Also learn to get firsthand information from people on the ground. Sometimes if you only hear from medical workers, you will feel too negative as those working on the frontline will be too overwhelmed, they tell you negative things. Sometimes, if you hear from people who are well-sheltered, you will feel they are too cavalier about it. So my point is: Have a wide variety of newsfeed. Don’t believe everyone blindly.
Now, no one has a monopoly of objective information. But learn to observe each time after the world believe in a particular news, whether it is with regards to politics, economics, health, medical science or the current pandemic, learn to see what happens on hindsight. In fact, there are some news network, politicians or economists who kept making the wrong prediction and analysis about things, but strangely people keep believing them. You see, the most foolish thing is people don’t learn from their mistakes, and keep on letting themselves be influenced by views that are not credible, just because those views play on their current fears and needs. Of course, no one can be right all the time, but we must learn to be reflective. And do not be afraid to be confronted with the truth. Sometimes, we need to be corrected to learn, and we learn more from there. Now, in a world of chaos and confusion, let us be more wise and discerning.