Our world increasingly boasts of information, but not all information is equal. We are said to be living in an age marked by an information revolution; but is our age marked by truth? We are told that knowledge equals power and that education is the solution to humanity’s problems. But how powerful is knowledge that is not true? What solutions come with untrue information?
There is a prevailing assumption that all knowledge is inherently good and the more we have the better we will be—this is a fallacy (cf. Gen 2:16-17). More than ever before, we must guard from this knowledge fallacy.
Mere knowledge cannot be the ultimate pursuit of human intellectual activity, truth must be (truth is here understood as representative knowledge of objective reality that is free from misrepresentation, inaccuracy, and contradiction). Truth is life; deception is death. Intelligence must not be satisfied merely with knowledge, it must go deeper to discover truth.
While advanced science and technology have furnished humanity’s ancient quest with unprecedented quantities of information, it appears that ultimate answers to the ultimate questions remain wanting. The quest must not confuse the pursuit of knowledge with the pursuit of truth—these are not the same.
Knowledge that is believed to be true but in reality is not true is delusion. And delusion is destructive to the quest for truth. Incidentally, the increase in the quantity of information available today does not necessarily correspond to the increase in its quality. In other words, an increase in information does not mean an increase in truth.
In the midst of information inundation, may we cry out with the psalmist, “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5).
Let us remember that mere knowledge is not sufficiently capable of changing minds and destructive choices. We need more than knowledge, we need truth. But even more than that, we need heart change. We need more than the right information to know and love God, to turn from sin and destructive choices, and to live and enjoy life to the glory of God and the good of people; we need spiritual life.
Jesus never said that knowledge will set you free. But He did say, “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32-32). This truth is personal: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36); Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
May we guard from the knowledge fallacy and value truth more, in all areas of life and especially in Christ.