The dominance of social media quickly turns terms into buzzwords these days, words or phrases that are temporarily fashionable and often overused by journalists and activists on both sides of the aisle.
Over the past year, all of us have heard more than our share about “artificial intelligence” or “A.I.” “Emotional intelligence” is another popular term. Other examples include “authentic,” “holistic,” and “next gen.”
Not surprisingly, buzzwords can also be weaponized. Who can forget the reference to the “basket of deplorables” – a term spoken by a presidential candidate of yore who seemingly was attempting to define and castigate a certain class or party of people.
Merriam-Webster defines a “deplorable” as someone “deserving censure or contempt.” The term “wretched” is also included in the definition. As a Christian, it’s hard reading that last term and not think of the beloved hymn by John Newton:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
From a spiritual context, we are all wretched, but for the saving blood of Jesus.
Lately, though, another term seems to have emerged, and it’s similarly critical and designed to undermine and ridicule: “Denier.”
It’s often attached to an event or issue.
For example, “election deniers” can be people who may question the integrity of the vote or its ultimate outcome.
“Climate deniers” are those who may question shifting science and man’s part in the ever-changing weather patterns.
Those of us who embrace the biblical 6-day creation may be labeled “evolution deniers” – all because we refuse to believe we all came from chance and some primordial ooze.
To be sure, not all these groups are the same, nor are their merits equal in strength or substance. But one consistent theme runs across those being run down by the pejorative “denier” term.
Each of these groups consists of people asking questions – questions they feel have not been adequately answered or addressed. In other words, in some instances, they’re not denying anything – but instead trying to satisfy their curiosity and draw their own conclusions based on actual facts rather than the predominant cultural narrative.
Scripture encourages curiosity, and even acknowledges there’s no way to know everything. We read in Proverbs, “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out” (25:2). Just before Jesus was taken up into Heaven, He said, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7).
Those lobbing the “denier” bomb are often so sure of both themselves and of things that ultimately aren’t even true.
Climate alarmists have been predicting catastrophe for decades, even stating the inevitability of mass starvation and underwater cities.
Biologist Paul Ehrlich is probably best known for being wrong, but somehow is still lauded and held in high esteem by the mainstream press. Back in 1970, he warned “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” He even went so far as to project 200,000 deaths due to smog in New York and Los Angeles.
Christians have an obligation to be curious and ask questions. But we should also promptly and unapologetically deny anything that counters, contradicts, or undermines God’s Word. We’re to be countercultural citizens, taking our cues from the Bible, not bureaucrats or those who claim to know so much when, in fact, they often know so little.
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