Friday, January 13, 2006

The Age of Misinformation.

Dr. Albert Mohler has an insightful article on his blog concerning the paradox of the lack of knowledge of important current events, news stories or any other important matters and the notion that we are living in the “Information Age”. Dr. Mohler refers to an article written by David Gelernter entitled "Misinformation Age: More Computers, Less Learning". Despite the proliferation of electronic gadgets and especially computers, it seems that young people are painfully uninformed about a multitude of subjects and issues. This is despite the round-the-clock availability of information available at any time at our fingertips. Undoubtedly, much of the problem lies with the willingness to know and discover information. Mindless tinkering with computers and technology does not alone lend itself to learning. They just become nothing more but toys.

I find it interesting that educators seem to tout computer use as if it is automatically conducive to learning, but that is simply not the case. Computers can be very useful and can be an incredible aid to productivity. The Internet provides a very useful venue for me for gathering information and learning, but that is due to the fact that I discipline myself to use it that way. However, the Internet is only one venue for my information gathering and learning. I also make extensive use of books and other printed media. The Internet just provides me with information very quickly. But receiving the information is only part of the process. One must also become skilled at interpreting and sorting through the information. This is true regardless of where you get the information – whether it is the Internet or books. It also requires discipline to take the time to process the information and think critically about what you are reading. A desire for learning needs to be cultivated. Computers are nothing more than another potential tool to use. But they can also be a source of distraction from learning. The basics of learning and critical thinking are the essential foundation that produces the process that fosters true knowledge.

This is what irritates me about our culture today. There really is no excuse for being uninformed.

But more importantly, how is this adversely affecting the church? Let’s put it this way, if multimedia and technology is not helping the culture acquire true knowledge and wisdom, then how is the influx of this same technology into the church going to further contribute to the “dumbing” down of Christianity? It is not that I am against the use of all multimedia and technology in the church by any means. It can be used as an effective tool, as long as it is not overused or misused. Multimedia does not lend itself to reflective thought. There is a reason God provided us with His written Word. Scripture is intended to be read, meditated on and internalized as the Holy Spirit brings to light God’s truth. This process is generally difficult if not impossible to achieve with a multimedia experience. The only effective means of equipping those in the church is through the consistent solid preaching and teaching of God's Word. It is the key element, not computers and multimedia. While computers can be a useful aid and certainly should be used, nothing can replace the proclamation of God's truth.

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