Algorithms of social media and other media outlets have made it easier for people to receive content geared to personal taste. The more we search in one area of knowledge, the more information on that topic is made available on our stream. Parents might think their children are seeing the same memes and stories they see on their own streams, but because of algorithms, child and parent streams can be totally different. Finding information about God on your stream might be different for your child than for you. You watch uplifting Christian content while your child is getting anti-religious sentiments.
The world is teaching our children to seek the world view of God and His morality rather than the one found in the Bible. The world teaches, “If we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” It follows that if we can’t see God, He isn’t there. The world reasons that man created God to explain the universe, while modern theories embrace the idea that animals evolved from amoeba to man. The truth depends on which algorithm you cultivate.
Our world looks to scientific method to explain everything. It must be first a hypothesis, then data must be collected and a study must be conducted. Then the theory becomes fact, even if some scientists shape their data to match the confines of the hypotheses. There are scientists who truly practice the laws of science and admit they cannot explain some things about the creation of man and keep searching, while others jump on a theory and teach it as gospel.
In the time of Jesus, algorithms were shaped by the leaders. They could be as varied as the algorithms of today. It depended on which teacher was giving the lesson. Some leaders believed in the resurrection; to some, the grave was the end. Of course, there was an overarching philosophy for most teachers, but when Jesus came on the scene, He immediately became the outcast because He was calling people back to the truth and forward to a new way of living. His algorithm embraced all truth and rejected the philosophies of many generations of changing opinions. It was as difficult in those days to discern the truth as it is today.
When Jesus was teaching in the temple, He proposed His own scientific study to the unbelieving Jews. His scientific method still works today if people are willing to give it an all-American try.
Jesus speaking to the Jewish leaders said:
“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:16-17 KJV)
In other words, Jesus was advocating, “Take this hypothesis that I have laid out. Live the doctrine I am teaching, and you will know where it came from and if it is true.”
Jesus’ doctrine presupposed and embodied the teaching of Moses. The Jews were familiar with the Law of Moses and, in many cases, had changed it into a whip to beat the gentry and to gain power over the people. Jesus was teaching the law of love that encompassed the Law of Moses but went deeper, expecting His followers to not only keep the law, but to do it with a heart full of charity. His algorithm was much like what we have today. The more His followers learned and embraced His teachings, the more they learned. Others who rejected His teachings were repulsed by His words and in anger tried to destroy Him.
Jesus taught, don’t just refrain from committing adultery – don’t even look on another person with lust in your heart. Don’t just refrain from bearing false witness, go the second mile with someone who compels you to go a mile. If someone wants your coat, give him your cloak also. Love your enemies and pray for them rather than seeking exacting punishment and revenge.
Jesus said: “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matthew 5:25-26 KVJ)
In other words, don’t argue and fight. Find a way to common ground. Work it out so the matter doesn’t have to be decided by the courts, where the consequence is often more trouble and expensive than the initial problem. To some, this doctrine made complete sense. To others, it was changing traditions and sources of revenue.
Christ’s teachings were not concerned about winners or losers. His doctrine always taught win-win solutions. With His doctrine, both parties would have the best outcome; but there were those who were angry because their algorithms focused on obtaining status and riches. There is no status or riches if everyone wins.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28 KJV)
What would a philosophy like that do to the pornography industry? What would that do to the divorce rate in this country and the children being raised by single parents? What would it do for the schools that must teach children who are despondent and depressed because of shattered homes? What a difference that simple doctrine would make in the lives of millions.
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30 KJV)
In simple language, look at your weaknesses and get rid of them. Make it your daily quest to become a little better by casting out things in your life that offend God. Hell isn’t just after life. Hell begins here. C.S. Lewis in his book The Great Divorce makes it clear:
"Son," he said, "ye cannot in your present state understand eternity. ... That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, 'Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences': little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man's past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man's past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why ... the Blessed will say, 'We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven': and the Lost, 'We were always in Hell.' And both will speak truly."
To some, the algorithm of God seems foolish. They seem to prosper without God and seem to be happy in riotous living, but some day they will face the truth. Like the young man in the parable of the Prodigal Son, they will come to themselves in their misery and wonder how they got there. They will search for what they have lost and in a moment of truth, hopefully, will turn to God. If they do, they will find peace, yet they will regret the wasted years and the lives they have shaped into their own godless image. If they don’t turn to God, they will leave this life to face the God who was a stranger to them and will find the hell they thought was never there, and it will look very much like the misery they tried to leave behind.
Jesus’ algorithm is powerful and contains all truth. If we search His doctrine diligently and try to live His teachings, we will find more and more truth and light for our lives. And as C.S. Lewis explained, we don’t have to wait until death to find Heaven.