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Biblical Objectivity

BEYOND OBJECTIVITY: Facts are facts. That seems obvious, but these days politicians and pundits on both the right and the left seem to make up their own. Reporters in one sense should be like cameras, not funhouse mirrors. 

But we all know that cameras can be pointed in a variety of directions, with different lenses, film speed, lighting, etc., showing that absolute objectivity does not exist.

Why does biblically objective journalism matter?

BEYOND SUBJECTIVITY: Is everything, then, a matter of opinion? Not according to the Declaration of Independence, which declares “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [today we’d say persons] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

 

They are self-evident for people who grew up within a biblical ethic, whether or not they personally believe in God—but as Dostoevsky wrote, if God does not exist “all things are permitted.” Biblical objectivity is an alternative to both naïve objectivity and absolute subjectivity.  It shows that we are both made in God’s image and sinful. 

 

Today, subjective suite-level commentary is pushing aside street-level reporting. Much of today’s journalism, as Dan Pompei of The Athletic said, “is driven by metrics and how many clicks” a story gets. As Israeli journalist-rabbi David Begoun put it, we live in “a cancel culture that doesn’t allow people to report with moral clarity what’s really going on.” The result, according to Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov, is that important life-and-death stories go “untold.” 

The Bible tells a story of creation, corruption, and consummation. God made all things good. When Adam and Eve sinned, corruption entered the world. Then redemption begins, culminating  in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Corruption surrounds us and shouldn’t surprise us. Reporters relate bad news and should also proclaim the good news: That life has meaning and history is going somewhere. None of us is perfect, but Christ is, and He is making all things new. No political platform, no public policy, no person can save us, but in the darkest places God is at work, rescuing sinners from every tribe and ideology, and no one is beyond His reach.

We recognize that our hearts are deceitful: Even good people rationalize evil and fall into sin. Some things are always true, regardless of culture. Some things are always wrong. Biblically objective reporters view crises in the light of biblical truth, looking to history and human nature for wisdom in areas where the Bible is less clear. 

 

Biblical journalists show man's capacity for evil but also inherent worth, since we are created in God's image. Biblical objectivity means accurate description of God's world that shows how His creatures mess up and sometimes get things right.

Biblical objectivity also means that journalists need humility in approaching issues when the Bible is not clear.

 

We use a whitewater rapids analogy to explain how to steer: 

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