In the days to come, circumstances will compel Christians—particularly those in certain professions—to rethink our relationship to our work. We will be shown the door in some cases because of our beliefs. In others, the doors will never open in the first place—and if they do, men and women of conscience will not be able to walk through them.

— Benedictine Father Basil

We must think out the Christian worldview’s implications in every field, and often those implications are subtle. For example, does the gospel have an impact on how you do journalism? You could say, “No, I just report facts objectively,” … but there is no “view from nowhere.” Even the choice of what is reported on as news reflects someone’s values and beliefs about what is important. This is why we can readily identify the editorial strategy, or bias, of every journalistic outlet: This one is progressive, while that one is conservative; this one idolizes innovation, while that one idolizes wealth; and this other one idolizes self-determination. Furthermore, if success is too important to a journalist—if it functions as an idol in his or her life—then that goal will color the filter of what they decide to report on and how they write about it.

It is impossible to do a story without heroes and villains. The best journalists do a good job of reporting empirical facts as objectively as possible. But the facts you play up and the ones you play down or leave out, and how you relate them to one another—all this is done in the service of a background narrative filled with assumptions about which forces in the world are good and which are bad. It is seldom difficult, if you pay attention, to see that narrative at work in how the story is presented. Some have argued convincingly that the field of journalism, like many vocational fields, has a “religious” character to it, with sets of doctrines and folkways that are enforced by a kind of priesthood.

What might Christian journalists do differently? I would argue that the gospel worldview—which does not idolize or demonize anything in creation—can uniquely equip a journalist to be even-handed and open-minded in his or her reporting and writing. As we observed above, every other worldview tends to put too much faith in some things and too little in others. So whatever the basic worldview of a journalist, it will lead to being more naïvely positive or unnecessarily cynical and skeptical than if they held the gospel worldview.

Let me offer a simple example. In most stories of crisis our modern, cause-and-effect worldview very quickly seeks someone or something to blame. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans there was a finite period in which the basic news of devastation was reported. Very quickly, the story devolved into attempts to cast blame: on the builders of the sea wall or the federal government and its slow response. Not to say that flaws in city planning or unresponsive government agencies aren’t problems worthy of reporting, but the need to blame some aspect of creation is a human impulse—not a gospel one. The gospel tells us the fall results in brokenness in nature and in people. The real “story” of the gospel is the evidence of redemption and renewal. The stories of sacrifice and perseverance are a more fitting culmination of the gospel narrative than stories of neglect.

— Tim Keller (Every Good Endeavor)

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