We are bombarded by more and more information every day. One study noted that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By 2013 knowledge was doubling every 13 months. One can only imagine how fast knowledge is doubling today.
What is even more mind boggling is how much data is being produced on the internet. It is now predicted that there will be 40 zettabytes of data available by the end of 2020. This is a whopping 40 trillion gigabytes! It would take a person 180 million years to download all the data that is currently on the internet.
It is hard to comprehend what is important from all the headlines that flood our minds every second. These so-called vital facts are on topics ranging from global warming to Harry and Meghan’s exit from the Royal Family. Let me ask you a question as an example of how difficult it is to discern fact from fiction these days. What is the coronavirus and what is the real danger we are facing concerning it?
There is one thing for certain related to information overload — we have lost our ability to discern truth! This is a big problem and it has significant impact on how we educate future generations.
I consider myself to be an avid reader. It is important to keep up with all of the latest research and studies that are taking place; especially as they relate to education. It seems like a new “best practice” is being lauded on effective teaching, leadership and/or a host of other topics every time I turn around.
How do we as Christians sift through mountains of books, articles and research reports and stay true to God’s calling on our lives? The answer to this question is pretty simple but not so easy to accomplish. It can be summed up in something that Ruth Bell Graham once said.
Read, read, read — but use the Bible as home base.
This became very clear to me during my graduate studies. The amount of reading that was assigned in every subject seemed overwhelming to say the least. I can remember reading information and listening to lectures by professors and thinking that it sounded really good.
The big question that I was constantly confronted with was, Is It True? I found myself talking with God on many nights during my 90-mile drive form Charlottesville to Lynchburg. I would ask God if something I had read or heard in class was really true? It sounded so reasonable but was it biblical?
It was during those times that God brought verses of Scripture to my mind. When this occurred, I found it much easier to filter through all the information and know what to hold on to and what to dismiss from my mind.
This caused me to let all of my professors know that I was going to critique everything that I would be studying from a biblical perspective. Some of them questioned if I could be “objective” but they allowed me to do this. In one class we were assigned the task of comparing and contrasting two different moral development theories. My paper contrasted Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory with Biblical Thought.
In order to study everything from a biblical perspective, I had to spend as much time in God’s Word as I was spending in reading man’s works. One verse of Scripture became very real to me.
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Ecclesiastes 12:12 (KJV)
I still try to keep up with the latest research and trends in education. I have addressed many topics in recent blogs that I read about in books that I recommend to others. Some of these have been written by secular authors. However, I must always filter what I read through the lens of Scripture.
So, how do we survive information overload but still press on to become the best at whatever God has called us to do? This conundrum has always existed. There were a group of believers who faced this challenge when listening to the Apostle Paul. They didn’t want to take anybody’s word for truth without verifying it. This is the kind of Christian God demands we be today.
These [the Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11 (NKJV)Those of us who have been called by God to shape the hearts and minds of the next generation must read, read, read. But we must search the Scriptures daily to find out whether what we read is true.