The Apostle Paul instructs Christians in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things, hold fast what is good.” We all need to develop that ability—and it takes time and effort.
A reader recently forwarded to us an email from a fine Christian ministry that bemoaned the proliferation of “fake news” and other bad thinking on the Internet in the novel Coronavirus pandemic. She asked, “The very thing I’ve been thinking, and one of the reasons I dislike watching the news — too many lies. Who do you believe? What do you believe? Your thoughts?”
Ah, the perennial questions: Whom do you believe? What do you believe?
But better is the question, How do you decide what to believe? That is, how do you discern truth from falsehood? You need criteria.
The first one should be this: Does it contradict, either directly or indirectly, what God says? (Isaiah 8:20: “To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”) Answering that question requires broad and deep knowledge of what God’s Word says, and knowledge of logic so as to recognize contradictions when you encounter them. This is the level at which we construct our worldview—from Scripture—which is the paradigm by which we interpret “data,” that is, observations, whether our own or others’. (For no “data” are self-interpreting—which is why “data” is not the best word for the purpose, since “data” means “given,” and nothing is “given” us by observation alone, but all observations must be interpreted according to one or another worldview/paradigm.)