Have you heard of the signal vs noise ratio? It is a science and engineering ratio used to measure the desired signal being received in a transmission versus the amount of noise in the background. Even if you are unfamiliar with the ratio itself you are certainly familiar with the concept. Ever listened to the radio, talked on cell phone or played walkie-talkie as a kid? Then you are familiar with the concept. The signal is whoever/whatever you are trying to hear. The noise is all that static you wish would go away. The concept of signal vs noise is also commonly used in a metaphorical sense to differentiate factual and relevant information from false and irrelevant information. Signal is the factual and relevant information; noise is the false and irrelevant information. Take about any subject for example and you will find that there is a seemingly endless stream of information available. But much of what you will find is either wrong or irrelevant. In the age of information so much time has to be spent sifting through the endless stream of data to find what is factual and relevant. Or to put it another way – you have to spend a lot of time tuning out the noise to focus on the signal.
Christianity is not any different. There is an endless stream of information available about the Christian faith – information about Jesus Christ; information about God; information about the church and what it should look like and how it should function. But all the information out there is not factual. Nor is it all relevant. How do I know? I know because it simply cannot be – there are too many opposing views and too many agendas at work.
So how does a person sift through all the noise and focus on the signal? Where does a person even look to find the “signal?” We will talk about that in the next post.