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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: Hope must be evident in your reporting

Metaphysics is the study of reality. A Christian understanding of reality is the source of comfort, confidence and compassion for the journalist. The metaphysical understanding of the journalist of faith is that he understands:
a) God is in control,
b) God is a public God,
c) God requires our minds.

A) God is in control.

The Christian journalist understands that God is a loving God, as He reveals Himself in the Bible. There is nothing that escapes His attention or concern. He speaks, and the winds calm down, the waves subside (Mark 4) and death is defeated (John 11). His fingerprints are on everything (Colossians 1). We call this aspect of God’s work, “providence” (Latin =“forethought”), and it means the entire universe is dependent upon the sustaining power and personal care of its Creator. Because of this divine care, there is always hope in reality because a personal, loving God is always present and is guiding His creation. We do not live in a random, chaotic, purposeless, Sartre/Vonnegut universe. This means that the Christian journalist always has a positive orientation toward the future because she knows that the universe is in the trustworthy hands of God. Because of this sure hope the Christian journalist has a basis for reform, renewal and even redemption. Hope infuses the world which the journalist observes.

B) God is a public God.

Christianity teaches (Job, etc.) that the physical, created world (i.e., general revelation) is the public stage on which are enacted God’s dealings with humankind. God did not and does not act in secret. He acts before a watching, skeptical, fallen human society, and He understands this (Acts 26:26). Because He is so transparent, God is justified in bringing light to the darkest places and to exposing that which is hidden.

The journalist of faith reports and writes before a watching and skeptical world. Emulating God, Christian journalists should shine light on the hidden and unexplained. Neither should believing journalists be afraid of public scrutiny of their work and lives. If the Christian journalist can’t hide from God, why try to deceive anyone with wrongdoing? Christian journalists should hold themselves to the same standard of accountability and transparency they have for others.

C) God requires our mind.

Christianity does not exalt the un-informed, ill-informed or mis-informed. The Christian standard is to take all ideas and examine them in light of God’s reality. To that end, the Christian who is a journalist is to be careful of an epistemology called empiricism. The theory of empiricism denies a reality beyond experience. Empiricism says that there is only what we perceive or experience with our five senses and that there is no universal definition of reality behind these particular objects that we sense. Or, if there is a reality behind these experienced objects, we can’t really know that unsensed reality. Or, if there is a reality behind perceived objects, it is not important for public discussion because it is a private matter. This widely accepted pragmatic theory of epistemology asserts that all we know of importance is what we sense. To an empiricist or pragmatist, a metaphysical understanding of the world is non-sense.

Empiricism is nothing more than a presupposition which can’t be proven. Still, the journalist of faith appreciates and uses the empirical theory of reality. We are all Thomases–-touching, smelling, tasting, hearing, seeing God’s activities around us. But we understand there is an unsensed reality behind the sensed reality of the physical world. We believe in an unseen God who sees and acts.

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