Instant Experts

You’ve probably noticed the phenomenon–a story appears in the news, and suddenly everyone is an instant expert on the topic. It might be the Middle East, or AWOL soldiers, or immigration, or the border. 

I started thinking about this after hearing several comments about Pope Francis. A masonic chaplain celebrates what he thinks is a pope dismantling Roman Catholic dogma. An Adventist fears that his kindness and his involvement in some international and interfaith dialogues means The End Is Near. Journalists imagine the Catholic Church will soon be blessing homosexual marriages and ordaining women. 

None of these people have read a papal encyclical. None have read The Catechism of the Catholic Church. But a couple of stories in the news, or a YouTube video by their favorite conspiracy buff, and they are instant experts. If you try to say a word of context, or explanation, then you are automatically suspect–especially if you have a Catholic background. You are dismissed, in favor of the interpretation of Mr. YouTube Expert (who also has never read The Catechism of the Catholic Church).

You smile. You swallow what you wanted to say. You step back and go join another conversation. You “unfollow” their feed on Facebook (still keeping them as a friend). The thing is, none of these folks wants facts. They just want a little tidbit of “evidence” that confirms their existing beliefs. And with such, there is no point arguing.