Seeing Isn’t Believing
“I Create Fake Videos” was an interesting headline trying to catch my attention. The secondary headline was: “People will accept anything as true if it confirms their beliefs – regardless of whether a video or image has obviously been manipulated.” Yup. Caught me.
The woman who wrote the article explained that she is part of a team researching how to detect manipulated digital images. She works for Team Devious who sends its work to Team Authenticate who try to figure if or how fakery was done.
Because she works hard at creating fakes, she became fascinated with acceptance of terrible quality on-line photos that are obvious phonies and stumbled into the aforementioned confirmation bias. Interestingly, she believes that the problem is a generational one. Those old enough to have lived through the transition from analog film technology to digital imagery are more likely to subscribe to a “seeing is believing” attitude. Youngsters have little trust in on-line images, having always lived in the digital photo age, and are less easily fooled.
It brings to mind the loss of authority of our Bible. There was a time when hearing was believing, but years of denigration and lack of spirited defense of the words of the Bible have led to this time of little trust.
For generations we’ve allowed our children to be taught evolution and that whatever we see around us is just a happy accident. There is no God, no purpose, no capital “T” truth. Everything is a maybe and our time here is meaningless. Eat, drink, and be merry. Hooray for me!
Interestingly, the author of the article is pleased by the younger generation’s skepticism. She says they’re just “better at consuming and responding to imagery and video…. They don’t believe it until they have proof that it’s real….” What she doesn’t seem to get, however, is that for those who don’t believe in truth, there never can be a certainty that it’s real. Skeptics grow into cynics who eventually just tune out everything.
A bedrock principle of epistemology (how we can know anything) is that God exists first. There must be a Creator God, independent of us, who defines truth, proof, and reality. Truth can only be eternal and unchanging by existing outside of time, space, and humanity. If we get to define it, how is it going to be unchanging?
We Christians continue to have our work cut out and ready for us. A skeptical generation needs to confrontfirst that there is Truth and that it’s found in the Word of God, and it is the Word of God (John 17:17). Ours is a robust and attractive religion, with answers for today and the future. We can fight the world’s cynicism and accompanying apathy by unapologetically proclaiming the whole Truth of the Bible.
~John Bingaman, September 2019