The danger of echo-chambers [God’s heart for people to find the truth, part 1]

26 Nov

Photo by Joe Taylor on Unsplash

Have you heard of “echo chambers”? I was listening to a podcast this week where a guy said that in our day and age, especially because of the many, many choices we have for news, and because of social media, that Christians too often live in an echo chamber. 

 Echo chambers are rooms where you can talk and hear the sound waves of your voice bounce off the walls and repeat over and over so you hear an echo, echo, echo, echo.  We do this in life too, especially with the news, when we listen to one viewpoint over and over.  For example, if you believe that one particular news outlet is biased, you might decide to never listen to or read any report from that news outlet.  What happens is that we tend to load our social media feeds with news outlets that tend to agree with us.  Or we watch TV news that affirms our beliefs. Usually this falls along political lines.  It doesn’t matter if you are conservative, progressive, or liberal, it is human nature to want to be affirmed. But that can create an echo chamber in our lives, where we almost always, or maybe only, listen to what we already believe.  We don’t listen to other points of view.  We become insulated from hearing other points of view. 

Here’s the thing: Christians should not be in an echo chamber.  Instead Christians should be people who are able to evaluate multiple points of view with a Kingdom perspective!  The question, then, for Christians is, where do we find this truth? 

As we will see in Deuteronomy 18, God was also very concerned that Israel would be able to find the truth too. 

In the last few months studying Deuteronomy, we’ve seen laws about worship, about food, about holidays, about governance, about generosity, and time and time again, God tells Israel that they are not to be like the nations around them.  Israel is to be different because they follow God.  God wants Israel to be different, because he loves them and has a heart for justice, for human flourishing. In the nations surrounding Israel, there is much injustice.  So Israel must look different.

Once again in Deuteronomy 18, we see God warning Israel about the temptation to be like the selfish, destructive nations around them, because those nations had many detestable practices. 

Look at what he says in Deuteronomy 18:9-14.  Verse 9 tells us that in the Promised Land of Canaan, the land Israel was about to enter and take over, there were nations who did all kinds of detestable practices. 

I tried to imagine what that would be like for the people of Israel to enter into this foreign land and see all these different kinds of practices. 

Have you ever been to a foreign country where Christianity is not the dominant religion?  It is an eye-opening experience.  When I was in Guyana, India, Nepal, Cambodia and Malaysia, I experienced a bit of this. All over the place were temples and flags and statues devoted to the gods of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.  I didn’t feel tempted to give my life to those religions.  It was certainly very interesting, for example, visiting a Buddhist temple in Cambodia, talking to a Muslim Imam in Guyana, watching Hindus enter their temples in India.  I felt uncomfortable, and yet curious.  My first visit to a Catholic cathedral in Vienna, Austria, felt similarly uncomfortable, and that nation is historically Christian! 

So from my vantage point, it seems like Israel would not be tempted to get into all those detestable practices,especially because they have God on their side. Why would they ever think of anything else?  Well, God knows his people.  I think again that the slave mentality is a factor here. I’ve mentioned it in the past, and I think it pertains here.  They were slaves 400+ years in Egypt, and it is very hard to remove that mentality from their way of thinking.  Slaves did as their rulers told them.  God knows his people could be tempted by the powerful nations around them to fall back into that slave mentality. 

Tomorrow we’ll look at the detestable practices people in other nations used to gain knowledge and power, practices that God wants Israel to have nothing to do with.

So once again he strongly tells them to be different, to not practice the detestable religious practices of the nations in the Promised Land of Canaan.  And so he lists a bunch of these practices, to make it abundantly clear what he is talking about. 

2 Responses to “The danger of echo-chambers [God’s heart for people to find the truth, part 1]”


  1. Avoid the occult [God’s heart for people to find truth, part 2] | Let's Talk About Sunday - November 27, 2018

    […] we saw in part 1 of this series on Deuteronomy 18:9-22, God instructs Israel to not dabble in the detestable […]

  2. Jesus wants to destroy your echo chamber [God’s heart for people to find truth, part 5] | Let's Talk About Sunday - November 30, 2018

    […] series of posts on Deuteronomy 18, we’ve been talking about how we need to get out of the echo chambers of life and find the truth in […]

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