I was listening to an interview with a futurist, a person who makes his living predicting and estimating life ten, twenty, even a thousand years from now. As opposed to many people in these days of decreasing security and increasing fear, this man is very positive about what lies ahead. I listened for his premise for this. What keeps him looking at the glass “half full” as opposed to “half empty” is his belief in a sort of intellectual collectivism, a universal “WIKI-brain,” if you will, similar to the Jungian idea of a “collective unconscious” but evolving.
This intelligence, he maintains, continually edits “itself” via discovery and change for the purpose of betterment just as Internet “WIKI,” or “collaborative,” sites solicit readers to edit those information sources if they can improve them.
The futurist chooses to put his faith in the positive evolution of mankind’s motivations as well. He believes that human intelligence and why and how we use it is more beneficial than harmful.
His interviewer, however, kept inserting, in various ways, the concern that, what if evil, greedy people get control of the technologies and programs developed by good, generous people through, well, evil, greedy means and for nefarious purposes?
But the futurist would not be waylaid. This is a problem, he admitted, but by his way of thinking the good guys outnumber the bad guys and, anyway, now we have nearly universal, instant means’ of communication and we’re better educated as a race, so we can “out” the criminals sooner and get supporters for our (good) causes faster.
I didn’t hear the whole program, so I might have missed the part about what happens if an electromagnetic pulse fries electronic communication and information sources, or, worse yet, a malignant global cabal grabs power and corrals those information sources via policy and/or police and skews what it is we get to read after it’s been through a controlled media spin cycle and re-packaged for the purposes of the cabal. What if truth gets edited out and replaced with “newer speak” for the sole benefit of a not so benevolent brand of futurists? I didn’t hear answers to that sort of thing, if it was part of the discussion. But I did “hear” this: “The heart (is) deceitful above all (things), and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV).
“WHAT I KNOW IS”
Dictionaries translate the term Wiki, as in Wikipedia, WikiHow, etc., as either collaborative information sources, or as sites to get some “quick” information (as wiki means “quick” in Hawaian). I heard it first as an acronym, however, standing for “What I Know Is,” which is most illustrative to me. After all, doesn’t that about sum it up?
Each contributor to the cloud of meaning for a given object or idea is contributing what he or she knows to be true (we hope, anyway, thus the caution about using WIKIs as sources of credible information for serious research).
But the problem with WIKIs is that human thought, like the human heart as referenced in the Scripture quotation above, is not always as benevolent as one would hope nor is it as constant.
Information may remain relatively static, or increase over time with new discoveries, but human minds and hearts frequently change, even in a given day, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. And how information is then altered to align with personal change is an influencing factor in the catch-all of a WIKI explanation to oneself and, in the world of Internet WIKIs, to others.
The danger, here, should a WIKI emanate from less noble intentions than the futurist hopes, is that though subtle at first, change over time can have powerfully transformative powers personally and in society at large. For one dramatic example, with a little help from social and political campaigns over the past 40 or so years and transmitted through the culture via a slogan here, a bit of persuasive rhetoric there, the word “choice” has now become an almost universally acceptable euphemism for the word “kill” in certain situations.
So in the WIKI world, where are the safeguards? What is or will become of the standard on which we can base our analyses of the nature of truth and the nature of deception, the nature of good and of evil, which, underneath the layers of serious inquiry, is what most of us seek?
And as “new thought” also infiltrates the Body of Christ, what are the safeguards for believers?
Consider “new” movements in Christendom that have introduced all manner of isms above and beyond core Christian doctrine: Dominionism, Kingdom Now-ism, Replacement Theology, Narrative Theology, New Apostolic Reformation experientialism, to name a few encroachments of New Thought for, some say, a New (Church) Age . But more to the concern of the Body of Christ are the WIKI foundations, you might put it, of these movements which lead away from the Word of God in text and in the Flesh and toward (evolutionary-type) change in the Church despite the fact that the narrative of man through history resembles more the Lord of the Flies than the Lord’s will.
So what’s a Body to do?
WHAT GOD SAYS
Fortunately, because human nature tends to remain the same despite our noblest efforts (sorry, Mr. Futurist), the One Who designed us also reminds those with ears to hear there is a standard, an immutable truth, on which we can rely: “Jesus Christ (the Word of God illustrated in the Flesh) is the same yesterday today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV). And because human beings are so easily influenced, this verse follows immediately: “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings” (9).
The context of that Scripture passage in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews has to do with the re-introduction of certain rituals no longer needed in the age of grace. But consider all manner of additions–subtractions, multiplications, and divisions–introduced into the Church since! Consider the spiritual, not just mental and emotional, mutability of man.
Is it any wonder God inspired not only words to explain His unchanging nature, but He also suffered His own Son, in the flesh, to live among us and pay the price of our sins to dramatically illustrate His sole purpose all along: His great and unending love, a love so complete He gifted us with a free will to either accept or reject His Son as our Savior so that when hearts of darkness seem to prevail, there is still hope; so that when our fickle, “WIKI-brains” lead us off-center there is an eternal Way (Truth and Life) to which we can return. And Jesus promised to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) as we discern the path.
For those searching for truth today, Jesus waits with open arms: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
 For information on the plethora of false teachings that have come into the Church, I recommend these sites although there are many more “watchers on the wall” to access for help. They are rich sources of research, information, and encouragement especially for those looking for the latest news in and about the church. Many people have labored long and faithfully on these sites and have helped many others get the information and resources they need. As with all other information coming at us, discernment is in order.
Illustrations from the public domain.