The Democratic and Republican parties had their electoral conventions recently, and viewers watched and listened to influential leaders share their personal and political opinions why Trump or Biden would be the best President. However, many individuals didn’t watch the live conventions. Instead, they chose their favorite news reporter and station to report what was said. Still, others might have gone directly online to read or Google the convention and to read social postings from “experts,” or “friends”, telling them what they need to know and how they should vote. Today, we think we are getting unbiased facts and information from media and Internet sources, but in reality, that’s not the case.
What we see and don’t see is being manipulated by tech creators and engineers.
Receiving information and opinions from secondary online sources or from individuals with personal and political agendas isn’t only affecting how we think in political arenas, but it is affecting our social, financial and spiritual choices as well. We think we choose what we listen to and the sources from which we get our information, but the fact is we are only getting one sided information based on our past history of internet searches. The search engine knows what we want to read and hear. We are being manipulated by these search engines, mainly Google, who then sends us the information they think we will want to read conveniently eliminating for us any opposing or differing information. This causes us to only see one side or a small portion of the information and a tilted one at that. We then formulate our own personal opinions based on this tilted information which we then share and repost adding more misinformation to the ever-growing internet jungle of information on the web. The whole truth and the real truth is forever squashed down or lost.
The result is that censored content and information is polarizing us.
Our packed schedules and cluttered sources of media along with social media influencers have made us in a constant hurry and overwhelmed. It is just easier to rely on sound bites of information, popular opinions or individuals who have been given authority as experts. Using technology and computer-generated systems we only see what we want to see based on our past internet searches. These systems are programmed based on our previous google clicks or how long we stay on a website, what we are interested in or ‘like’ or ‘don’t like.’ The computer program then helps us by blocking any information it knows we won’t want to see.
Peaceful discourse has all but disappeared because of our constant digital usage.
Digital devices have made our lives more complicated and we are now more polarized than ever before. We cannot live without our smartphones and our addiction to it is far more deadly than our recent pandemic. We check our smartphones an average of 150 times daily. We have become so addicted that we panic when we misplace them. Researchers tell us that we get endorphin hits to our brains in the same way we feel pleasure from pulling slot machines handles. Neurologists tell us that the constant intake of information and media is actually causing our brains to physically change – especially in children whose brains are still forming. The pandemic has been a catalyst to this growing dilemma as more and more of us are watching TV and are online. Children are becoming even more comfortable with receiving information from online sources as education has moved to the Internet.
Our constant infatuation with digital media and the surrender of control to our handheld devices is escalating mistrust, polarizing us, and intensifying our anger. We are all seemingly connected and reading the same things, but the evidence is clear that we aren’t.
Our handheld Internet devices are the modern-day tower of Babel.
If you haven’t caught the recent Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma” it is one of the most eye-opening films done on the subject to date. It reveals by the very tech engineers, developers and designers who created our social media and search engine platforms how we are being manipulated by the technology they helped create. Some of the top digital professionals at Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter unravel how we have been made victims of digital manipulation. We have stopped being a consumer in control of our choices and are now a commodity being bought and sold to businesses and advertisers. When we purchase, research, or search out what we believe and act on (often done unconsciously because they have suggested or driven us there), we are being monitored 24/7. We are then bought and sold (like cattle, rice and oil commodities) without our knowledge. It is being driven by consumerism and an endless human thirst for more. The end goal of digital designers and engineers is to get us to buy-in. We are being brainwashed by these programs and have become completely enslaved to their manipulation.
Technology inventors admittedly say they cannot control what they have created.
Those who created these programs are perplexed as to how to stop them. They admit that they can’t control what they have created and predict it may be the force that will ultimately destroy mankind if it is not stopped. They are digital engines they can’t turn off.
Is it the beast the Bible talks about?
The Bible talks about the beast that will control our lives before Jesus returns. I am not certain if this is the beast talked about in the Bible in the book of Revelation, but as a consultant, producer and Christian working in the media and the entertainment industry, my focus has been to produce meaningful content, clarify how to use media effectively, and help users discern its effects on our lives. Ultimately, my passion is to harness the megaphone of media for God’s Kingdom purposes.
I am not a prophet, but Daniel was in the Old Testament. In the 12th chapter, God tells Daniel in verse 4 that knowledge will increase when end times are near, and Jesus returns for the final time. God goes on to tell Daniel to seal up the full prophecy. God’s words (the revelation of what will fully happen) is to be closed and sealed until “the time of the end.” Only God knows when the end will come, I believe because He wants us to not fret but to trust Him fully. God gives us more instruction and insight in Revelation 16:15 (TPT) saying, “Behold, I come like a thief! God’s blessing is with the one who remains awake and fully clothed in me and will not walk about naked, exposed to disgrace.” God shares with us here how we can be protected and prepared for the coming of end-time challenges. We are to be fully clothed (alert, aware, and engaged in the Word of God and in a vibrant relationship with Him).
Ultimately, it is our job to know and trust Him personally. We are to obey, stick like glue to the Word of God and pray without stopping. We are to ask God for discernment in recognizing when we are being manipulated. We are to practice kindness, choose peace (Romans 12) and stop lashing out in anger at others with differing opinions but be ready to defend our faith graciously (I Peter 3:15). We need to give God His space to work in hearts and minds by being instruments of clarity and let God bring His certainty. As the world pulls apart and is manipulated to think and act, often with one-side information and without knowing it, we are to step back and view the bigger picture of what God is doing and be willing to trust Him when the world seems to be imploding around us.
After leading the Children of Israel to the promised land and God giving them all that they had asked Him for, Joshua told them to “choose this day whom you will serve.”
God gives us that choice every time we pick up our smartphone. Who will you serve?