I read National Geographic. I enjoy watching Discover Channel programs, especially ones that capture different cities, cultures, and people. I know their intent is to educate and inform. I believe their information and media are factual. Yet, it never quite seems real.
As I landed in Shanghai, I remembered pictures and documentaries on the city. They spoke of a sprawling city struggling to come to grips with everything that comes with being big. Pollution, traffic, and logistics were horrendous. The new airport was a long way from the city. Just getting to your hotel in light traffic took and one and a half hours.
I thought the images were from the worst moments to emphasize the point. I assumed the writers were using my imagination to drive home their message. Both had to be inflated, likely driven by unrealistic expectations.
In the one and a half hour drive in light traffic from the airport, I found myself breathing dusty air even though it had been filtered through the van’s air-conditioning system. The traffic was considered light; to me it seemed like Los Angeles during rush hour. If it got worse, then it would be like Bangkok on a very bad day.
Whatever bias or exaggeration I thought had been there was gone. It was everything they said and more. I had not believed and now I wonder why.
Proof is a mysterious concept. Conceptually it is simple. In my life, it is messy.
The advice given to another so he could demonstrate proof went along the following lines. One you do this, “it will become obvious to everyone that there is nothing to the rumors going around about you and that you are in fact scrupulous in your reverence for the laws of Moses.” (Acts 21.24)
I wonder, would it? For me, what does it take to believe? I know facts are not enough. I sense that words, picture, and conversation will not be sufficient. Something more is required. For Shanghai, the trip from the airport into town began the process. Today, the process will continue.