When it comes to the various public media reporting on churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, religious schools, and missionary organizations, scandalmongering appears to be the order of the day. But are secular media organizations adequately equipped to evaluate the underlying beliefs and practices of religious organizations?
The Tanakh’s Book of Proverbs states that “evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully” (Proverbs 28:5). Would not the secular media fall into the category of “evildoers,” seeing that a majority of media personnel admit to an atheistic or agnostic philosophy of life? When the apostle Paul states that “the spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15), is this statement nothing more than a form of spiritual arrogance and a failure to be held accountable for one’s actions? Or do Christians actually operate with an epistemology that is inaccessible to non-Christians? When the Qur’an notes that “it is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration…” (Sura 42:51), implying that the spiritually devout have access to “inspired information” that the unbeliever does not have, is such information essentially incontestable by secularists?
This essay will examine the ways that secular media acquire, interpret, and disseminate information regarding religious movements and institutions and will seek to evaluate the media’s fundamental biases in relation to various religions’ claims that their teachings and practices are divinely inspired and essentially incomprehensible to “unbelievers.”