Archives For Truth

Way back in 2013, I followed the idea of a friend on Facebook, who had out of interest, explored the Google automatic search suggestions (G.A.S.S). My search range included Bloggers, Christians, Schools, cats, dogs, gamers, Christianity, Google, diets, faith and TV Dinners. That post can be found here: Answers According To…

I figured it would be interesting to compare the 2013 search results with 2017. So yesterday, following the same procedure I chased down the same subjects, following the same search parameters.

The 2017 outcomes were as interesting as the 2013 outcomes. The only surprise difference being the results for “Christians are.” This time around either the Google mechanic blocked that search or the search just didn’t register. The suggested search outcome was blank. By contrast, when I typed in, ”Muslims are”, the phrase “true feminists” was highlighted.

According to G.A.S.S, Bloggers are:

2013:


Bloggers according to Google

2017:

There’s a noticeable difference here. Bloggers, according to G.A.S.S, are now different to journalists and are now just annoying, not stupid. So, what did G.A.S.S think about Google:

2013:

Google according to google2017:

So, Google is no longer evil, is still your friend,is no longer god, is still skynet (Terminator 2 reference), but Google is now the best and is apparently gay.

TV dinners remain pretty much the same. Clearly, Google is no friend to TV Dinners:

2013


TV Dinners are according to google

2017

Like Google, cats are no longer listed as evil, and are instead ”the best”. Cats are still better than dogs, remain jerks, and continue to be bizarrely listed as liquid (hmmm?).

2013

Cats are

2017

Dogs are no longer listed as being “the best people”. However, they are still talking, and are better than cats. Dogs are also now, “great”, “loyal” and “family”.

2013

Dogsare

2017

The automated search suggestions didn’t vary much, when it came to looking up “Faith is”. The difference now being the absence of the biblical quote, and “like a muscle”. The additions included “breaking out” and ”the confidence.”

2013

Faith is according to google

2017

From a theologian’s point of view, Google’s automated search suggestions are still on a winning track.  Even the inquiry for “Christianity is”, took a more balanced leap forward:

2013

Christianity is according to Google

2017

The search for “Christians are”, was the most surprising. As I noted at the start of this article, the section for 2017 yielded no response.

2013

google search

2017

For the most part, the 2017 “gamers are” search stayed very close to the 2013 inquiry. The only real change was that gamers are no longer “annoying”, they’re “awesome”.

2013


Gamers are

2017

Of all the G.A.S.S. subjects, my Schools inquiry was the most intriguing. Schools are still considered to be “prisons”, and “killers of creativity” and most appear to be “closed”. From which I take “closed” to mean closed-minded etc.

2013

Schools are according to google

2017

The final comparison had the most significant changes. As it turns out, “Diets are” no longer “bad”, “fattening”, “stupid” or “useless”. Every dietitian and their program is, by Google’s automated suggested search results, exonerated.

2013

Diets are according to google

2017

The technology still rocks. It’s also encouraging to see that the changes between 2013 and 2017 are mostly positive. This could be due to a better developed and dedication to having up to date accuracy from within the algorithms used to measure ranking.

The lesson still is “Caveat Emptor” (buyer beware). Philosophically, relying on Google’s search engine, or any silicon based search platform for all the answers doesn’t replace the role of good, hard research work.

We can take some facts and ideas of consensus from the internet, however, it’s important to remember the large number of people who do not have an online presence or an online voice. Nor do they wish to. Whilst one group may dominate online, that doesn’t mean that their dominance is reflected in reality.

The internet often magnifies – and quite regularly distorts – support for something, when it barely even registers on the radar of 9-5, or around “workplace water cooler conversations.”

As Paul & Marguerite Shuster wrote:

‘Test everything….’ (1. Thess.5:21, ESV)
 ‘those who Jesus confronted most directly were as likely to want to kill him as to follow him. He seemed to not have the slightest inclination to make hearing and following him pleasant and easy…Truthfulness, in other words, is not determined by customer satisfaction surveys’
(‘The truth and truthfulness’, 2008)

 


Sources:

Shuster, M. 2008 Truth and truthfulness in Performance in preaching Childers & Schmidt, Baker Academic

Sullivan, D. 2011 How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work, sourced 28th October 2013 from http://searchengineland.com/how-google-instant-autocomplete-suggestions-work-62592

 

wedge-taled-eagle-aus-flagThe birth date for Australia as a nation is officially Federation Day, where on January 1st, 1901, the states and territories came together as one.

The 26th, “Australia Day”, marks the landing in Botany Bay of the first fleet, which arrived in 1788, filled with British convicts, their wardens and a few settlers. One year before the French Revolution. 14 years after the American war of independence.

They arrived not to fight an organised army or take siege of cities. When they arrived, they saw bushland that went on as far as the horizon. To this enlightenment age people, this land, although sparsely occupied by clans of indigenous Australians, was mostly empty.  Hostility fuelled by misunderstandings and racism, between Europeans and indigenous people came much later on and with it a history that is not as black and white as white vs. black.

There has been an official “sorry” given for wrongs committed towards indigenous Australians, plus a TON of aid and support in both education and other social programs to empower awareness and positive change within indigenous communities.

Today, Australia Day represents the ownership of those wrongs and the long effort to factually acknowledge and correct them. Australia Day also represents the celebration of freedom, God’s blessings, our rich heritage, the land, new citizenship for immigrants and the importance of  indigenous Australians to our nation’s future.img_0948

It’s also a day that reminds us, we are a people still need of THE saviour.

For reconciliation to mature beyond words and gestures, forgiveness must follow that genuine apology. This won’t happen, though, for as long as Leftist elites and their sycophantic allies are allowed to control a skewed narrative and direct the hearts of people through their often biased politics.

Yes, Australia Day does remind us of the negative side to our nation’s history. However, that’s not something to run from, it’s something to be acknowledged; something that leads to Australia Day bringing not just patriotism, but humility; something that should rightly trigger solidarity of suffering, respect and reconciliation.

We aren’t beyond being mature enough, as a people, to hold the right and the wrong in both hands, being able to learn from both, being humbled by its mistakes and using them to empower our future.

To move the date to, May, or make it ”Wattle Day” is to jettison all the benefits that can come from redeeming the past for the present and the future. Effectively taking the negative aspects of this nation’s history and burying it does nothing for progress, unity or reconciliation.

Moving the date or renaming the day will only unnecessarily divide us, ripping from our hands and hearts, the potential to fuse together and be fused together by a solidarity that the Australia Day, as an event, brings and can bring.

We aren’t beyond redeeming the day or the date, because we still stand under the God who redeems, has redeemed, and will redeem.

If you think the day is offensive, don’t reject it. Aim to redeem it.

 ‘…Transgression. Redemption. One island’ – Midnight Oil, One Country.

Happy Australia Day.


Notes:

Artwork credit: Artist TBC, otherwise unknown.

Image: Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, Australia Day, 2017: “A great privilege to be welcomed as part of a traditional smoking ceremony at the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony” (source: Official FB page)

#truth

Visual Commentary

 

 

 

 

Image sourced 21st May 2014 from the:  Frontline Hobbies FB page

 

Answers According to …

October 28, 2013 — 4 Comments

This post is inspired by something which popped up on my news feed last week.The post in question included an image of the automated results someone got after typing ”Christians are” into Google’s search engine. For the purpose of simplicity throughout this post I will simply refer to Google’s automated search suggestions as G.A.S.S.

Applying some hard learnt academic vigour, I tried it out. As one does to critically certify whether or not this search engines mechanics did actually do what was implied.

Here are the results:

According to G.A.S.S, Bloggers are:

Bloggers according to Google

Hmmm…okay, potential food for thought there. Next I figured I’d try G.A.S.S’s thoughts on Google:

Google according to google

“Alrighty then”…moving on. Figuring that I’d be wasting my time trying to psychoanalyse the implications presented here, I decided on a lighter subject, TV Dinners:

TV Dinners are according to google

Enough said really. Next I entered into that universal debate between who is better: Cats or Dogs:

Cats are

Mmm.. I can understand evil, but cats are liquid? Jerks? (okay, so cats in the latter sense probably refers to a football team, but liquid?)

Dogsare

“Dogs are the best people“…Huh?. Given that this is a blog about theology, I  thought, hey why not investigate Google’s automated search suggestion (G.A.S.S) on what “faith is”:

Faith is according to google

GREAT! Love it! How theological can Google’s automated suggested search get? … Then I tried a variation of the very thing that inspired this experiment.

Christianity is according to Google

Hmmm…righto.

google search

So here I’m thinking, hey, maybe this is how the world (according to G.A.S.S) really do see Christians. Then after experiencing a very fleeting moment of condemnation, regret and anger, I composed myself and expanded my search. Finding that:

Gamers are

It seems that no positive things can be said about gamers either…ironic really, since most gamers use the internet, pay big dollars which uphold the industry etc. Still, if we take this assessment seriously the results indicate that Gamers and Schools have, like Christians, a serious image problem in need of repair.

Schools are according to google

Finally,

Diets are according to google

Google is not the only search engine that allows the use of this function. However, it is the most popular and as such it is influential. As consumers we need to pay attention to some of what this represents, but we also need to read it critically for what it is and the context it is set in. The lesson here really is “Caveat Emptor“.

The technology rocks. However it’s use as a census of consensus is fickle (if not trivial). For example: excluding “Faith is”, all the other search results included a large amount of negativity.

Sure such results might reflect current “concerns” which are reflected by the engines indexing/ranking system sourcing data from ”reputation (links) & authority (popularity – relevance)”, but anyone with well-positioned common sense will understand that these ”suggestions” are variable. They change and can be different depending on your location. This suggests that, even though Google do their best to get it right, the results can be tainted and therefore not accurately reflect reality. For me, the truth to be found here is again echoed by Paul & Marguerite Shuster when they write:

‘Test everything, hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil’ (1. Thess.5:21, ESV)
 ‘those who Jesus confronted most directly were as likely to want to kill him as to follow him. He seemed to not have the slightest inclination to make hearing and following him pleasant and easy…Truthfulness, in other words, is not determined by customer satisfaction surveys’
(‘The truth and truthfulness’, 2008)

Sources:

Cutts, M : 2009 Talk on Google, WordPress & Blogging,  sourced 28th October 2013 from http://youtu.be/3P-m2cBCJSk
Shuster, M. 2008 Truth and truthfulness in Performance in preaching Childers & Schmidt, Baker Academic
Sullivan, D. 2011 How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work, sourced 28th October 2013 from http://searchengineland.com/how-google-instant-autocomplete-suggestions-work-62592

I saw the photos of Oklahoma on the news feed this morning. It is a world away from Australia, yet social media seems to reach beyond the Pacific pond and pull us towards a sense of the grief, urgency, frustration and bewilderment that so many people in the stories and pictures seem to be experiencing. A lot like the images and reports that continue to emerge from within Syria. In some small way, we Aussie’s are enabled to connect and sympathise in real-time.

What made the Oklahoma tragedy so pertinent to me this morning, is that it intensified how I understood the words Paul spoke to the church in Ephesus (Eph. 4:11-15):

‘’we will no longer be immature like children…tossed and blown away by every wind of new teaching..Influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like truth. Instead, like Christ, we speak the truth in love’… (NLT)

As I try to comprehend the next step on from my undergraduate academic journey, I cannot help but wonder where we as Christians really are at. It seems too easy to be blown away and tossed about by every wind of new teaching. The magnitude of consequences associated with being blown away and tossed are evident, painful and real. All visually expressed in what we see in Oklahoma at the moment.

I recently read a comment on one of my posts last week that lead to me this conclusion. I don’t have ‘it’ all figured out and that is okay. This is okay because I can see the relevance in Paul’s use of words like ‘immature’ ‘tossed and blown about’. We are not called to uncertainty, we are called to hope in the midst our uncertainity.

Uncertainty brings with it a sense of crushing powerlessness. It can also remind each of us of a deeper sense of meaninglessness, hopelessness or a lack of clear direction. An image that might reflect this is that uncertainty is like a lingering mischievous fog, tempting us to rush ahead into a darkness that has settled down around us.

My response to uncertainty cannot be panic, anxiety or rash decisions. Instead my response must be

   ‘grateful obedience to the God of promise who summons humanity to place our hope in Him alone’ (Barth Church Dogmatics.IV3.2, paraphrased).

This is what vocation means.

It means ‘not grasping God, but allowing ourselves to be grasped by Him’ (David McGregor, Tabor Adelaide).

If we, ‘like Christ, speak the truth in love’, we are, like Christ, keeping in step with the Spirit.

This means authentic proclamation, bearing witness to the fact that because of the Holy Spirit, ‘Jesus Christ is within us’ (2 Cor.13.5). We can do this confidently, knowing that ‘we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God’ (1 Thess.2:4).

This is an act where ‘deep gladness meets the world’s deep need’ (Palmer ‘Let your life speak’, 2000). It involves the graciousness of God as we enter into participation with the Spirit (2 Pet.), who is always a sure compass, reliably pointing those with ears to hear and eyes to see towards true North; towards fulfilling our vocation.

The theological imperative is this, when I speak truth in love, I must first speak truth to myself in both word and deed.

Choose to seek maturity,  by being ‘gentle and patient’ (Paul) in my responses (e.g.: think-before-I-post). Choose to walk in gratitude and hope (humility – Paul).

How do we do this? By deliberately being vulnerable by being open when we disagree with someone. We do this by choosing not to retreat into the passive aggressive  reaction of posting memes all over facebook, or lobbing ambiguous tweets, out from under an evangelical bomb shelter, loaded with subtle put downs . We choose to be a truth-teller and truth-seeker.

Like Jesus the Christ, when we choose to work on ‘speaking truth in love’, we ‘live a life worthy of our calling’ (Eph. 4:1-2).

Related reading:

‘Things to do today’, (mrsmendiola.wordpress.com)
‘Wolves in Christian clothing’ (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com)
‘Momentum’ (walterbright.org)
‘Catering Churches – fearing of offending’  (realityofchrist.me)