A dearth of knowledge is not generally a modern-day problem.
With the exponential development of multiple platforms devoted to communications technology and the sophistication of contemporary education systems – to name a few – we have more information at our fingertips than we probably know how to use.
However, no one person can know everything. And sometimes, we only need to know one important thing to avert a tragedy – as was the case in the true story of a woman walking along a riverbank with her child. As children are wont to do, he was running around exploring the riverside environment when he went too close to the edge and fell into the water. The mother screamed in terror. She couldn’t swim, and besides, she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Finally, somebody heard her screams and rushed to her assistance. The utter tragedy was, when entering those murky waters to retrieve the child – who was now lifeless – they found the water was only waist deep! If only she had known the water was so shallow she could have saved her child’s life.
In 1997, at a US High School, a senior student won first prize at a science fair in Idaho. He was attempting to show how conditioned many have become to alarmist propaganda masquerading as science. And how, as a consequence, fear is generated – especially in the context of the environment. So, he launched a project in which he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide.” And for plenty of good reasons, since he stated it can cause excessive sweating and vomiting; it’s a major component in the formation of acid rain; it can cause severe burns in its gaseous state; accidental inhalation can kill you; it decreases the effectiveness of vehicle brakes; and it’s been found in tumours of terminally ill cancer patients.
The student then asked fifty people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was H20 (water). The title of his prize winning project was: “How Gullible Are We?” He concluded that the answer is obvious.
So, we live in a knowledge-rich society – but we still lack knowledge, are not sure how to use the information we have or are happy to embrace so-called ‘fake news’ – particularly if it feeds our insecurities and fears.
Yes, we live in a veritable minefield of information and facts. And it is difficult to navigate our course through life and emerge undamaged or intact.
When questioned by Pilate at his mock-trial, Jesus responded: “Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognises my voice”. To which Pilate retorted: “What is truth?”
Clearly, Jesus has already answered Pilate’s question. In another context he stated: “I am the way, the truth and the life”.
We would be wise to heed the words and teachings of Jesus if we wish to make sense of our lives, understand our purpose here on earth and value the hope and promises God has made to us in Jesus.
We can have absolute confidence in Jesus for he embodies all that we need to know in order to live meaningfully, hopefully and peacefully. To follow in his footsteps will be the wisest thing anybody can do!