SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
We all have our biases.
It is not easy to always be objective in the world we live in today.
We get information from so many sources: TV, radio, social media, internet, news media, blogs, vlogs, etc. Many times we get some information and we don’t bother to find out if the information is true, especially when it goes with our bias. We quickly spread it as true because we desperately hope and wish it was.
And that is how falsehood spreads.
I remember in 1994 before the advent of the internet and smartphones, Nigeria lost in the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup to Italy. Nigerians were disappointed! Suddenly, a rumour started spreading like wildfire: “FIFA had disqualified Italy! Nigeria had moved on to the Quarter Finals!”
How so? On what grounds?
“The Italian Players were tested for drugs and they failed the test! So they were disqualified for drug use!”
Now, I was passionate about football in those days, I took my passion beyond watching the game; I studied the rules also. I knew that FIFA runs drug tests on players before each game, but they just pick 3 players randomly per team. They don’t run drug tests for the ENTIRE team! So I knew the news was fake.
But it spread all over the country! People claimed they heard it on BBC and VOA! It was that bad: Nigerians desperately wanted to believe it was true…
When Joshua was leading the Israelites to take over the Promised Land, the Gibeonites knew they had no chance against them. They knew the Israelites had overrun Jericho and Ai, so they hatched a plan to deceive Joshua and save their own lives (Joshua Chapter 9). They pretended they were from a far country and they came to sign a treaty with Joshua. They showed him mouldy bread and old wineskins. They wore worn and patched sandals and old clothes to convince Joshua they had come on a long journey.
Joshua bought it and signed a treaty with them, only to discover they lived close by!
He was deceived because he did not confirm the information the Gibeonites gave him.
We can accuse Joshua of not being detailed, but we have also done the same at some point in our lives. We have also been deceived by believing a deliberate lie.
We hear all sorts of news daily. I don’t know the ratio, but a high percentage of them are lies. All news you hear is slanted either to the left or to the right, depending on the bias of the news source. If you watch American News, you will notice any event in that country is told differently by CNN and Fox News. Same event, different presentation to the public. You will be wise to sift through the biases, through the propaganda to get authentic information.
In the Book of Acts Chapter 17 Verse 11, we read about some Christians in a town called Berea. Paul and Silas went into their Synagogue to preach. When the Bereans HEARD Paul, they went to check the Scriptures to SEE if what he preached was true!
You don’t swallow information because you assume the source is infallible. Don’t just accept the SOUND you hear: go and SEE if it is true or not!
In the Book of Genesis Chapter 18, God had a plan in His mind. Then He decided to share His thoughts with His friend, Abraham. What He said was very instructive: Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
Here, God says He had HEARD an outcry about Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, He wants to go and SEE if what he HEARD is as it really is.
The Message translation puts it more succinctly: God continued, “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, SEE if what they’re doing is as bad as it SOUNDS. Then I’ll know.”
I am going down to SEE if what they are doing is as bad as it SOUNDS, God said.
God is aware that reported speech always has its biases. He knows information is always painted in the colors of the disseminator. So He took no chances! Now, if God did not take any chances on the SOUND He heard, if He felt a need to go SEE for Himself if what He HEARD was as bad as it SOUNDED, why shouldn’t you?
If you are active on Social Media, you need to be VERY CAREFUL WHAT YOU BELIEVE!
I have seen news twisted, I have seen outright falsehood painted as truth. I have seen people arrested for breaking the LAW, but it would be painted in tribal or religious colours: “They were arrested because they are Idomas! They were arrested because they are Hindus!”
There’s an old Christian song I used to have. The lyrics go thus:
“Do you know a lie when you hear one?
Can you tell the false from the truth?
Don’t believe everything that you hear…
‘Cos there’s a liar on the loose!”
Indeed, there ARE liars on the loose: don’t let them lie to you.
The SOUNDS and the SIGHTS are not always in sync…