The Devil Is In the Media

imagesThe primary tactic of the enemy is deceit. It seems that the enemy has, by and large, convinced Christians that we cannot discern truth. In so doing, he has crippled our ability to trust the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth. Here is how this has been done.

Christians are afraid of being misled by worldly media outlets. We have labeled them secular and liberal and believe we cannot receive any truth from them. Therefore we reject it, and in the rejecting we create our own news sources. These “Christian” news sources find stories that interest its readership and presents the news intermixed with Christian opinion upon the topics.

However, Christians keep a wall between what we believe to be secular and what we believe pertains to faith. Our news interests mostly pertain to violations of freedom to be outwardly Christian. Our Christian news sources look for these stories, and if there are not current stories to pull from, we reuse older stories. We have become so inundated with our specialized news that we marvel when the mainstream news did not tell us of the high school student who couldn’t pray in Jesus name at his football game.

Here are some actual headlines from Christian News:

  • Christians Outreach Into Strip Clubs
  • Nik Wallenda Constantly Prayed to Jesus During Grand Canyon Tightrope Walk
  • U2’s Bono Discusses Faith
  • Secular Group Questions Why Boy Scouts Won’t Accept Atheists
  • Professor Who Told Students to Stomp On Jesus Name Reinstated
  • Did President Obama Offend Catholics in Northern Ireland Speech?
  • Billy Graham ‘Just Can’t Wait’ to get to Heaven
  • Judge Rules Jesus Statute will not be Evicted from Federal Land

What happens when we are only listening to Christian news?  First, we begin to believe that this is a true representation of the state of the nation. Even if all of these kinds of stories are completely accurate they are going to be out of focus when the news source’s purpose is to provide these types of stories to its readership. Second, we are constantly besieged with the next breaking news piece about how our faith is in jeopardy. This creates fear, not faith. Thirdly, it seldom addresses anything beyond issues pertaining to Christians, the Christian faith, atheists, or moral issues. The above list of stories and those like them lack substance and relevance to almost anything relating to a healthy nation.

Because we have rejected mainstream media we have created a subculture media that is not a real substitute for journalism. Our Christian news sources are not providing Christians, much less anyone else, with good journalism. Many of the articles are not the whole story. Just like the media conglomerates, the point is to be sensational and provide what readers want to hear.

For example, it is unlikely for such a news outlet to represent atheists fairly. It’s far more likely for atheists to be as marginalized in these stories as Christians would be in the mainstream media. These news sources, by and large, give Christians the false perception that atheists are bent upon removing our national faith based symbols and preventing the free exercise of the Christian faith. Could it be the few atheists that make the news do not represent the majority just as the few Christians that make mainstream news are often not accurate representations of the majority?

The objections are probably mounting at this point to this way of thinking. What are Christians to do if we cannot receive truth from the mainstream media and we have not created an adequate substitute? However, we may be asking the wrong question. To create a substitute for our own culture is self-serving. We are to be the salt and light of the earth. Instead of retreating from what we deem “secular” maybe we need to look at how to restore the health of mainstream journalism.

It is a foregone conclusion that the state of American mainstream media or journalism is not in good health. It presents a predominantly secular view of the world. It should not come as a shock that the world thinks like the world. We have left it to itself because we thought we were not to be concerned with such spheres of culture. Moreover mainstream media promotes sound bites and weak stories to maintain its ratings. It often promotes that which is not newsworthy and demotes that which is while belaboring everything ad nauseum. However, one thing it doesn’t do is make you believe what you read or hear.

Christians have the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). If we close our ears and eyes to the bigger picture of the nation and the world and retreat to our Christian bubbles we will become irrelevant to helping our neighbor, much less our nation. We do not need to be afraid of the news sources of the world. The Holy Spirit is very capable in helping us know what is true and what is not. It is by the Spirit of Truth, not the spirit of skepticism that we navigate any information we receive and discern its accuracy.

Fear of deception begets deception. When we use fear to keep something at arm’s length, always being distrustful that the journalist is trying to weave a false story, we will feed on that fear and enter far more deception than any journalist could ever create. But when we rest in truth and see through the Spirit of Truth, we remain in the light and the darkness cannot harm us.

If our interest lies in being more informed about the world around us and being a change agent in that world we need to learn to discern truth with our spirit. In so doing, even when we read a Christian news source we need to discern its validity or lack thereof by listening to the Holy Spirit.

Christian news sources proliferate the idea that the problems of this nation are directly related to and corrected by the right of Christians to express their faith in public. Such a freedom is a byproduct of a free nation and not the object nor cause of a free nation. To fight an enemy we can see is to fight the wrong war with the wrong weapons.

It is easy to see surface level problems and to become dismayed by them. The problems we ought to be concerned with are the ones we cannot see. However, to see them properly we have to see with hope. The devil distracts us with what we can see so that we are too busy or scared to deal with what we cannot. When God is the One illuminating a problem, He is inviting you to take part in the solution. He reveals the unseen to us so that we who are born of heaven can repair the breach.

We do not win a cultural battle by fighting the enemy. We win it by responding to the Lord. We cripple ourselves by feeding on the problems. We empower ourselves by going to Jesus for the answers. We are not looking for answers as to how to share our faith in public. We are looking for answers as to how to stabilize our economy, resurrect our heritage, restore our universities, strengthen our families, and promote truth and integrity in our media, justice in our courts, and beauty and creativity in our arts.

The devil is in the media because the children of the light retreated to the shadows. If we want the nations to come to the rising of His light upon the Church, we cannot remain in the shadows of our subculture. It’s time to stop giving testimony to the work of the enemy, and become the voice of hope to the nations.

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