It’s been over a week since the U.S. presidential election, and things have remained interesting (to put it mildly!). All around the world, things are happening. In Portland, violent protestors (many of whom who didn’t even vote) are throwing a colossal anti-Trump tantrum. In Israel, prime minister Netanyahu had a much different reaction – looking forward to working with the new president. The Palestinian Authority was less friendly, by instead looking forward to unleashing all weapons if Trump moves the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Hmmph. That would be a bummer. Well, whoever said “you can’t please all the people all of the time” was right!
In the Remnant Report, we don’t forget the Biblical perspective. Whether the news looks good or bad to man, there’s always God’s perspective as well. And that’s what we’ll strive to see, in this issue of the Remnant Report.
“No Fake News for You!”
That’s essentially what Google is now telling it’s users. This past week Google made clear their position regarding what they call “fake news”: sites that publish fake news will essentially be penalized by Google. Currently, Google and Facebook are preventing ads on their ad networks from appearing on “fake news” sites. It’s a way to hurt these websites by denying them income.
The next step in this new policy will come later: outright censorship. Imagine a user searching for a topic – for instance, “President Trump” or even something like “modern Christian martyrs” or “Islamic terrorism” – and Google only showing search results that link to what it classifies as acceptable news articles. No more of those fake news articles for you!
It sounds perfectly safe and reasonable until we ask questions, such as: “Who gets to decide if something is ‘real’ or ‘fake’?”, “What is ‘fake’ or ‘real’?”, “What if a real news source is falsely labeled ‘fake’?”, and “What’s the deeper agenda behind this?”. Some people (in mainstream news) are talking about the dangers of Google’s censorship.
So…the world’s biggest search engine and social media site are gonna decide what’s OK for people to see. What could possibly go wrong?
The implications for Christians are obvious. Once all major media start censoring unacceptable news or opinions, the downward progression won’t stop. The next casualty will be so-called “hate speech” – opinions which aren’t politically correct. When that happens, traditional Biblical opinions and thought will be purged from the web. It’s happened to at least one Christian site already, NowTheEndBegins.com, which was placed on one list of “fake” news sites – a list that contains other non-mainstream legitimate news sources.)
Censorship of Christian viewpoints is coming, because the world system (a.k.a. “New World Order” or just “globalism”) is at odds with God and His Word. Biblical viewpoints are seen as “hateful”, “divisive”, “bigoted”, and backwards. Besides all that, the Bible says things that hurt some people’s feelings – especially in the places where God speaks against specific sinful behaviors! So this development is what is to be expected.
What should a Christian do? First of all, know that God Himself doesn’t “censor” – He allows people to make decisions and evaluate things on their own. The Creator gave us a brain that can reason (Is. 1:18), and we are expected to use it; He doesn’t shield us from ideas or decide things for us – although He instructs us in what is right! Second, know that there are many “alternate media” sources that are true – and maybe less biased – than the “mainstream media”. Read those sources instead, and the media won’t be able to dictate what you get to hear.
Regarding separating truth from lies, Jesus repeatedly admonished people to both think (“What think ye?”) and to “be not deceived”. Today, we hold the same responsibility (not a search engine!) to “buy the truth and sell it not”. God holds each individual responsible to think, reason, search the scriptures, evaluate if something is right (or not), research, and know the truth.
The Bible: Hard to Understand?
An old excuse people give has been “the Bible is too hard to understand”. I’ve heard it for decades, and I expect to hear it until the Rapture. When people say this, they often mention the “thees and thous”. I’d like to address this mindset with a few observations.
First off, it’s simply an excuse to not read the Bible. Life has a lot of distractions. There are lots of easier things to do than sit down and read. Watching TV takes no effort, and browsing the internet is an easy way to
spend waste an hour (or three). But reading the Bible takes some brain power, and it requires an attention span of at least a few minutes at a time. The excuse that the Bible is “hard to understand” is a way for someone to justify ignoring it.
Second, the Bible actually isn’t a difficult book in its style or structure. At most, many sources place it at a 12th grade reading level. Other sources say it’s approximately written at a 7th grade level, and one source placed it at a 5th grade reading level. In my own experience, I’ve seen many children read and comprehend what it says – in parts – once they take the time to read it carefully. They might have to ask what certain words mean, but they can certainly understand it with some help. This is to be expected – for a child. But most grown men or adult women really can’t cling to this excuse.
Third, the definition of words is a non-issue. We have dictionaries these days. They’ve been around for a while, actually! A dictionary is a book that shows people what words mean…which is great for when there’s a word you don’t know the meaning of…which is part of the excuse people give for not reading the Bible. And we have the internet. And we also have dictionaries on the internet. We also have Bible lexicons on the internet. We also have searchable Bible encyclopedias on the internet. All for free. There’s never been a time when we’ve had so much knowledge available to so many people, so easily, and so cheaply. So there’s no reason to let obscure or new words stop anyone from reading and understanding what a passage is saying.
Fourth, everyone knows what “thee” and “thou” mean. Come on. Everyone gets it. And the word “ye” just means “ya’ll”, which is a word that any civilized person uses.
Fifth, the Bible is a spiritual book. It has to be approached as such. It’s not a science textbook. It’s not a history textbook. It’s not an adventure story. It’s not a genealogical record. It does contain aspects of all of these things…but above all it is the Word of God. No one should expect to truly grasp a spiritual book unless they have spiritual understanding, and to have that a person much first be saved (1 Cor. 2:14). Salvation is essential to understanding God’s book.
Sixth, the Bible is inexhaustible. It’s bigger than the human mind. It’s a book that the smartest person could read 100 times, and still discover new things. We should expect that there are some things we won’t immediately comprehend (2 Peter 3:16). When that happens, try to understand…and move on. Keep reading! The thing that was hard to understand might might become clearer eventually.
I contend that the Bible is not truly hard to understand. It can be understood just fine, on a few levels, if someone will read it – that’s the real obstacle. On a purely technical level, armed with a dictionary and a high-school reading level, it can be understood. On a spiritual level, equipped with the Holy Spirit, it can be understood as well.
But without ever opening it’s pages reading the words, it’s impossible to understand.