In our day, finding answers to questions has never been easier. When we have questions, we simply search the internet—which is now as simple as talking to a handheld device—and we expect immediate responses. And we often get them! But how often do we stop to consider if we are asking the right questions of the right sources—and if we are getting the right answers?
In the information age, our problem isn’t that we have too many unanswered questions; it’s that our questions have too many answers. How can we discern between good and bad information, between truth and error, between fact and fiction? It’s one question that the internet isn’t really equipped to answer—the same question the Roman governor Pilate asked Jesus of Nazareth thousands of years ago: “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
Sam Wineburg, a respected Stanford history professor, has noted that in previous generations, research meant going to a library and reading countless books that had been carefully vetted by editors and respected publishers. Today, for many people research means typing a phrase in a search engine and clicking on the first web page that appears—one that may not have undergone the scrutiny or peer review that was once associated with being published. Now anyone can create a website or write a blog and appear to have authority or expertise that they might not have.
Professor Wineburg observes: “What once fell on the shoulders of editors, fact-checkers, and subject matter experts now falls on the shoulders of each and every one of us.” The internet has saved us the trouble of finding information but reserves for us the responsibility of evaluating that information. So, we check and double-check sources, assess the author’s motive, and consider context. And then, when it comes to our deepest questions, regarding eternity and matters of the soul, we remember Jesus’s words to Pilate: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37). For all questions—but especially those questions whose answers matter the most—we seek out the best and most trustworthy sources.
January 10, 2021 Seek Out the True and Trustworthy
Broadcast Number 4,765
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Let All the World in Every Corner Sing
The King of Love My Shepherd Is
Sinfonia to Cantata XXIX
Johann Sebastian Bach; arr. Robert Hebble
All Things Bright and Beautiful
English melody; arr. Mack Wilberg
What a Wonderful World
George David Weiss and Bob Thiele; arr. Mack Wilberg
How Firm a Foundation
Attributed to J. Ellis; arr. Mack Wilberg