Information and misinformation

PLYMOUTH, MI – Information is coming at us faster and from more sources than at any other time in human history. It’s hard to believe that there was a time in my life when I had to go to the local library to get or verify information. Research got so much easier when I could type a few words into a web browser and get information in my home. Now, I don’t even have to type. Depending on whether I’m in my home, office, or on the road, I say, “Hey Google, Hey Alexa, or Hey Siri,” and I can get or verify just about all the information I need.

The rise of the internet has expanded information exponentially. Some have estimated that the internet is growing at a rate of 65% a year! There’s a plethora of information available 24 hours a day about everything and it’s growing. Don’t get me wrong. I love the feel of a book in my hand and I still go to our local library occasionally, but the internet makes parts of my life so much easier!

Unfortunately, there is a downside to internet resources: Not all of the information on the internet is accurate. There’s no reliability or truth test a person has to pass to post something. There are no monitors making sure the information is accurate. Content on the internet could be false, misleading, inconclusive, or even fake. I read some contradictory information online recently for a project and it left me confused and in doubt about what to do.

To be fair, my struggle for clear and accurate information is not limited to the internet. Daily, I hear or read news reports on television, radio and in print that contradict each other. Somewhere behind all of the noise of commentators, politicians, and pundits is accurate information. It’s just really hard sometimes to sort through it all and find it.

Information is only as good as the source that it comes from. It’s unfortunate that the dramatic increase and accessibility of information doesn’t always bring clarity. It comes at us faster and from more places and perspectives than ever before, but not all of it is true or beneficial to our lives or the lives of others. It’s one thing to get bad information for a project. It’s another thing to get bad information for life.

This Scripture caught my attention during my devotional time a day or so after my frustrating internet search: “Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach” (Mark 3:13-14).

There’s a lot in these two verses to reflect upon, but two things stand out to me.

Jesus calls his followers first to be with him. Before he would ask them to do anything, he asked them to be with him. Being with him was their first and foremost assignment. It was their training ground for who they would become long before what they would do. As they did life with Jesus, they would discover the truth about God, themselves, and their purpose. In him, they would experience God’s love, forgiveness and grace and it would change their lives. Jesus was building their character as they spent time with him. Being precedes doing because character trumps activity.

Second, from his presence, Jesus would send them out to preach. Notice the pattern: Being with Christ preceded being sent from Christ. The truth of who they were in him was reflected in how they lived for him. Character led to conduct that honored God and advanced his Kingdom.

The information and misinformation around us is not going to change, and it’s not going to get any easier to sort through it all to get to the truth. There’s really not much we can do about it. What we can do is follow the example of the first followers of Christ. They spent time with Jesus and it changed not only who they were, but how they lived. They impacted the world because their character and conduct reflected the Christ they followed.



Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.



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