Oxford Dictionaries chose ‘post-truth’ as its Word of the Year for 2016. Western media seems to be full of examples of how we live in a post-truth world, as well as frequent discussions about it. What is the state of the media in a post-truth society? Why does fake news circulate so fast in social media? How should we respond as Christians?
As part of the “Media Messages Matter” multiplex session during the Cape Town Congress in 2010, Nick Pollard outlined the approach used by Damaris Trust in working closely with the mainstream film industry in order to produce outreach resources.
I enjoyed following the conversation on the threefold media challenge from Cape Town, subsequently reiterated by the 2012 Lausanne Regional Consultation on the Gospel and Media in Kristiansand. It has brought back memories of my younger years in the world of media in Denmark, Ethiopia, Geneva and Norway – some of these years were actually in Kristiansand with the International Mass Media Institute where we were deeply engaged in the trinity of awareness, presence and ministries. Since then my life and focus have moved into leadership, missiology, theology of religion and other obscure matters, but when the smell of media reaches my nostrils, I can still smell the sawdust of the circus. My small contribution to the conversation will focus on two interconnected issues: the worldview of the media and a Christian worldview; and the absolute need for Christians to be involved as salt and light.
Thank you for raising us out of the gutter’ was how my editor put it, when I left my last newspaper. I wasn’t a born-again believer yet – but was on the way. God is at work in us even before we can speak the required religious formulae – and is at work in a hundred more ‘secular’ newsrooms up and down the country.
Wherever we live in today’s world, information and communication technologies increasingly influence and impact our human lives, our Christian witness, and our Christian ministries. The varieties of local, global, and ‘glocal’ media messages provide complex contexts for the task of making the case for the truth of Christ in the 21st century. The missional issues related to media engagement are therefore of real significance to the global church.
Journalism is a key profession in today’s media world. We need journalists who represent various worldviews and faith commitments – with a united commitment to truth, fairness, independence and human dignity. I am convinced that the Christian worldview provides the most credible intellectual foundation for these key values in journalism.
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