A young reporter had been assigned by the news director at the TV station to do one of those “man on the street” surveys. It’s one of those news reports where the reporter asks everyday people their opinion on subjects. The question for that day was, “What are the two greatest problems facing America?”
The reporter was having trouble getting people to stop and respond during the busy lunch hour. He finally got a man to stop so he could ask the question. In his best TV voice, the young reporter asked, “Sir, what do you think are the two greatest problems facing this country?” “I don’t know, and I don’t care!” snarled the man, as he hurried on his way.
It turns out that the man had the right answer. Ignorance and apathy are the two greatest problems facing this country. The reality is many of us don’t know and don’t care. Since we don’t know, we can be easily manipulated by others for their own selfish purposes, and not for the greater good of all. And since we don’t care, it doesn’t matter anyway.
The truth is there is no longer any excuse for ignorance. You may not be able to afford a degree from a major college or university, but you probably have access to most of the knowledge they dispense. The local library is still around, and yes, library cards are still free. But more than that, most of us have access to the largest collection of information ever assembled in the history of man. It’s the internet, and more than likely, it’s on the desktop computer in your study, the laptop computer in your den, or on the smartphone in your pocket or purse.
The internet has become the source of all sorts of information for the majority of us. Sadly, it is often a source of useless and unreliable data. It is up to us to discard the useless and question the accuracy of the information. But the knowledge is there, and is accessible to most of us. You want to know something, you click on the Google search engine and google it. (Isn’t it funny how a noun can over time become a verb?) And most of the time the answer is there. You may have to sort through various websites and discern their reliability, but the answer, the knowledge, the information is there.
There are other resources of knowledge around us, available to us every day. Newspapers, TV, and other forms of media. If we don’t know what is going on in the world, it’s our fault. Growing up, you found out what was going on nationally and around the world mainly between 6:30 and 7 PM daily, on the three TV networks. Today, there are various TV news networks, informing the public 24 hours a day.
But, like the internet, the TV news networks can also be a source of useless and unreliable information. Certain news networks may present the news in a slanted or inaccurate way in their effort to target one particular audience for ratings, or to promote a certain agenda or cause. It is important for us to be aware of that and not become prisoners of one particular news network. That way we can truly have a “fair and balanced” view of the world around us.
While we may have access to knowledge and information all around us, it takes effort to accurately accumulate knowledge. Maybe that’s the real reason we don’t know, it takes work. To genuinely care is a response to knowledge. It’s a response that many are unwilling to make because it also takes work and effort.
Of course, when I say that we don’t know and care, I am painting with a very broad brush. There are many knowledgeable people who give of themselves daily in the service of others. They know and they care. And I know when I’m pointing my finger at others, I have three pointed back at myself.
Over the years I have found that the Bible is the ultimate source of knowledge. Unlike the internet or the TV networks, it is never useless and always accurate. And the Bible is useful as a guide to better understand and disseminate the information from all the other sources of knowledge. And compassion and caring for one another is one of the foundations of the Bible, especially in the New Testament. The Bible itself states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) And the lack of knowledge of God’s Word may ultimately be the greatest problem facing America.