NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–While complete objectivity in journalism is impossible, complete truthfulness is both possible and essential, Lauren Green said at the Baptist Press Excellence in Journalism Banquet in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 13.
The banquet — the culminating event of the seventh-annual Baptist Press Collegiate Journalism Conference — featured awards presentations for students in the fields of print journalism, photojournalism, broadcasting, web design and yearbook.
Green is a religion correspondent for FOX News Channel and previously served as a news anchor for the morning program “FOX & Friends,” where she provided daily news updates. She is also a concert pianist who released her debut CD, “Classic Beauty,” in 2004.
“Objectivity for all of us is nearly impossible,” Green said. “But what’s possible is truth. What’s possible is being fair. What’s possible is understanding people. What’s possible is found in God’s law.”
The reason objectivity is impossible for humans is that every person’s thinking is shaped by his or her experiences and perspective, she said. Green noted that even before she reached adolescence, her own thinking had been irreversibly shaped by her family and the way people reacted to her.
The fact that every person has a unique perspective, however, does not mean there is no absolute truth, as some people wrongly claim, she said.
“Secular people tell you that there is no absolute truth,” Green said. “Of course, that statement is false because if there’s no absolute truth, then that statement is making an absolute claim and that means it’s not true.”
Absolute truth exists because God has set an absolute standard that is independent of any human perspective, she said.
“Truth is possible if it’s lined up against an absolute standard of truth that only exists in God — only,” Green said. “It doesn’t exist in us because we are faulted. It doesn’t exist in any other human being. It exists in the law of God.”
Every discipline on earth somehow has God’s absolute law written into it, she said, citing examples of absolute standards of truth in music, architecture and astronomy that could only have been established by God.
When people defy God’s absolute standards, there are always negative consequences although those consequences may develop very slowly, she said.
“Most of our problems come from bashing our bodies and our psyches and our intellect against the hard realities of God,” she said. “Just like the divine law of gravity — if you try to defy that one without wings or an airplane, you’ll come crashing down. But the moral law of God is slower to act, and this is why we think that it doesn’t affect us.”
Because God’s standards are the only absolute standards of truth, journalists do not need to leave their faith out of their professional lives, Green said. In fact, there is a dangerous myth among secular people that “you have to check your Christianity at the door basically before you become a journalist,” she said.
In reality, journalism cannot be excellent unless it accounts for God’s law and His absolute standards, she said.
“The living reality of God is that He is everywhere and in everything,” she said. “We only need to pay attention to it. We only need to focus on it.”
Journalists’ first obligation is to seek truth, and the only way absolute truth can be found is by measuring humanity’s idea of truth against God’s standards, she said. Therefore, the only way for a journalist to achieve ultimate success is to hold to the Christian faith, Green said.
By having compassion on people and informing them of the truth, Christian journalists can change the world, she said.
“That’s my challenge to all of you — the only way to be true to your craft is to go deeper into your faith,” she said. “You can’t abandon your faith, because this world will try to help you see a different light. (The world will say), ‘There’s a different truth out there.’
“No. The law of God stands firm. There is no other truth but that. And so the only way to really understand and really do your job better is to get out there and to understand what the real truth of the world is and to never back down from it.”
Chansin Bird, a junior at Belmont University, received the annual President’s Award, the highest honor of the conference’s journalism competition. It comes with a $1,000 scholarship and was awarded at the end of the banquet.
David Roach is a freelance writer based in Louisville, Ky., and a Ph.D. student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.