Myth Busting the Internet and Why Christians Should Be Cautious
It has been said; information is abundant, but discernment is scarce. The internet is a goldmine of information with answers to pretty much any question you can think of. However, the abundance of information on the internet also comes with a downside. With so much information available, it’s easy for misinformation and untruths to spread like wildfire.
This is especially true regarding topics relating to religion, spirituality, and Christianity. There are thousands upon thousands of blogs, websites, Facebook pages, forums, and other social media outlets dedicated to exploring Christian life from different angles. While many Christians know they shouldn’t blindly trust the internet regarding faith-related topics, there is plenty of evidence that people are doing the exact opposite.
In fact, many rely heavily on the internet as their primary source of religious knowledge. Here are some examples of why trusting the internet can be problematic when it comes to Christian topics:
Lack of Good Christian Scholarship and Sourcing
When it comes to topics like the historical Jesus, the authenticity of the Bible, or theology, it’s easy to fall into trusting Christian authors without checking credibility. This is especially true if you’re reading articles written by individuals who appear to be faithful Christians.
However, there are many popular and prolific voices on the internet who are not scholars working within the framework of a Christian academic institution. Instead, they’re just ordinary Christians who have gained a large following through their articles and social media content.
In fact, many of these ordinary Christians are doing great things for the church and the rest of humanity. However, the Christian community needs to understand that scholars, who have been trained within the Christian academic system, understand Christian topics much better than the average person on the internet. Thus, if you’re looking for trustworthy information on topics like the New Testament or the person of Jesus Christ, it’s advisable to consult scholarly articles or double-check the scholarship of the voices you are listening to. Don’t just take them at face value because they carry a “Christian” label.
Misquoted Bible Verses
It’s easy to find a Bible verse that supports any argument, whether it be related to politics, culture, or any other topic. This is why misquoting Bible verses is a common practice for many people who identify as Christians.
However, it’s important to remember that context matters. Take some time first to explore who the audience was, why the writer was saying this, who he was saying it to, how it connects to the whole breath of the bible, and then… ask how this applies to me today.
Bible translations are important, but they’re also highly controversial. This is because no two translations of the Bible are identical. Many factors go into translating a verse, including the original language and culture.
Thus, it’s important to remember that no one translation is perfect or entirely accurate. If you read a translation of the Bible, ensure you’re reading an accurate translation written by reputable biblical scholars and take time to compare it to other available versions. Bible apps like You Version and other online Bibles have made it super easy to compare bible translations side by side.
While this is not nearly an exhaustive list of pitfalls, it is a warning to exercise wisdom and discernment when forming beliefs based purely on internet sources.
The internet is a valuable tool for Christians, but it’s important to remember that no one source of information is perfect. It’s easy to trust the internet, especially when we’re reading articles written by fellow Christians. However, it’s important to remember that some of the most popular voices on the internet aren’t actually scholars. In fact, most of them aren’t even employed by Christian institutions. That doesn’t mean that their articles are false, but it does mean that Christians need to be cautious when it comes to trusting information on the internet.