Do You Really Want to Know?

Do-You-Wanna-Know-the-TruthA teenager asked me about illegal downloading of music the other day, wondering if it was legal to turn YouTube videos into music.

“A friend of mine said he researched it and it was okay.”

The timing of her question was interesting, in a climate where I’ve witnessed countless ethical questions being answered with messy morality rooted in ignorance.

So my response to her was as follows:

“Do you really want to know the truth… or do you just want to find someone who can back up what you want to believe?”

A quick Google search will find plenty of people telling us that downloading music is okay, for a variety of reasons, naming policies as unconstitutional, nitpicking laws, twisting them, all stated with absolute authority.

Last week I spoke to junior high students about sex. In my research about monogamy versus promiscuity, I discovered numerous studies arguing the benefits of promiscuity (SIDE NOTE: even in those studies, it was interesting to see the temporary focus, quick thrill, literally labeling the benefit as “fulfilling animalistic urges,” compared to the longterm fulfillment yielded by monogamous relationships). In my research, I even found proclaimed Christians arguing, “Just have sex. The Bible was written in a different context where people were getting married younger and it was much easier to wait.” Flawed reasoning and hilarious misinterpretations of scripture.

Major issues in the church are being argued like this right now. Young people are Googling questions and finding “this really smart guy who sounded like he knew what he was talking about.”

The Internet is good for many things, but one of its drawbacks is the assumed authority young people give anything they find on the web. This might flow from the growing distrust of the institution, and the tendency to listen to ordinary people in mainstream social media.

I think the biggest question we really need to ask “searching” young people today is, “Do you really want to know the truth?”

This world offers plenty of what we want to hear, but as flawed humans, we must understand our own shortsightedness. Pleasure, often wins over truth. The temporary thrill repeatedly supersedes what we know is best for us in the long run.

It’s called “suppressing the truth.” (Romans 1 paints a graphic picture of what it looks like.)

Don’t worry, I’m not saying we should become Pharisees… getting hung up on rules for the sake of trying to earn some sort of perceived righteousness. That would be an effort in futility. But we absolutely do need to be aware of the sin we allow to creep into our lives, which so easily entangles us. We need to let Jesus get rid of it, and fix our eyes on the truth, in the person of Jesus. (Yeah, I kind of stole from Hebrews 12:1,2 right there.)

Stepping off soapbox.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.
[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it's real easy-go here.
This entry was posted in Faith, Jonathan's Rant, Music, Youth Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Do You Really Want to Know?

  1. dan manns says:

    Thanks for today’s blog Jon. I’ve been thinking about similar things lately regarding the topic of truth; specifically – how bad we are when we become the standard for truth. We are lousy at determining what is true and what’s not. I think all of us get into trouble when we allow ourselves to set the parameters for what we believe is true in our lives. What we determine to be true varies based on a ton of factors most of them being selfish ones. How many of our bad behaviors (sins) are justified because of what we deem to be true based on our situation. “It’s OK for me to steal these office supplies from work – they don’t pay me enough.” “”It’s OK for me to flirt with the secretary – my wife hasn’t been properly respecting me as a man lately.” Since we are flawed at setting the standard for truth we need a trustworthy, reliable, perfect, unerring and never-changing outside source to determine the truth for us. And then do our best to live by that. I think you know where I’m headed with this. And it is obvious. There’s only one source that meets all the qualifications – it has to be God’s book. Thanks again Jon – today’s blog was more like a mini daily devotional for me!

  2. Roger says:

    I loved the response you gave…“Do you really want to know the truth… or do you just want to find someone who can back up what you want to believe?” We’ve been dealing with a very lax view of what is legal copyright wise with both music and video and your response is direct and to the point. We often desire others to affirm what we do when we already know it is wrong. Thanks for the post.