Navigating the Information Age in our Decisions

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Living in the “information age” definitely has its advantages.  If I want to know something as simple as how to make jam, I have all I need to know plus more at my fingertips.  I can also enjoy gaining perspectives from people I would likely never encounter in a pre-Internet society. 

If I have a strong opinion about something, I can find someone who eloquently makes my point in a way I can’t seem to put into words.  And I can find someone else who makes a strong argument against it.  By opening my mind, I’ve been able to see many sides to a once-seemingly cut-and-dried issue.

Being an avid reader and enjoying seeing both perspectives (even if I don’t agree) has drawn me to various blogs, articles, and other opinion pieces.   There is no absence of a solid argument on both sides of even the most contentious of issues.  While enlightening, this has also been tiring.

How do I navigate this world of opinions?  The easy – and primary –  answer is to measure them all against the Word of God.  But it’s not always that easy.  I’ve read countless blogs that point to various Scripture passages to make entirely different points.  It makes my head spin sometimes. 

I think Jesus himself foresaw this dilemma in our society – and in particular, His Church – when he said this:

“Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” (Luke 7:35)

I like the Message paraphrase for this verse: “Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

When I as a Christian consider an issue in my life, and I see various opinions on what Scripture has to say about it – all solid arguments – what do I do? 

I believe this Scripture points us to dig deeper and see what the outcome of the choices in question have been in others’ lives.

This can be as simple as observing those around us.

Or as broad as seeing the dearth of research studies surrounding an issue.

Let’s take a non-contentious topic for example.  If I see a family that seems to never fall ill, I may observe their lifestyle.  What foods do they typically eat? Processed, fast foods, or whole foods and vegetables?  Are their activities sedentary or active?  On a large scale, I can look at studies that have been done that show that the more vegetables a person eats, the lower their likelihood for certain cancers.  For this example, the wisdom of our lifestyle is justified by its children.

(Caution: please don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees in this example; clearly there are exceptions and the healthiest of people still fall ill. I’m looking at a broader view here.)

I believe we should take this wisdom from Jesus and apply it to any issue in our lives.  Some of these issues may be personal. Some may be political.  Some may be decisions for the family.  Some may be decisions for our church.

Some decisions aren’t hard. They are clearly spelled out in the Bible.  And if you look closely in our society, even the issues that are obvious in Scripture will show their children. 

But some issues may be more difficult.  It’s in these areas that we are to search Scripture and also look at the “children” of these decisions to help us navigate – in this world of information overload – with wisdom.