“China’s hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities, if or when China decides the time has come to strike.” That is how FBI director Christopher Wray described our cybersecurity status with China before a House subcommittee this week.
And while it does not appear such large-scale cybersecurity attacks are imminent, China has already been caught attempting to access critical infrastructure sectors like our power grid, water systems, and oil pipelines as recently as last year.
Jen Easterly, the director of the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, likened it to the Russian ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in 2021, but on a far more massive scale. For context, that previous attack—which closed a single pipeline for six days—resulted in more than 10 percent of the nation’s gas stations going dry until service was restored.
However, Americans are not the only ones facing the daunting prospect of such interference. It turns out, China is increasing its attempts to meddle with its own populace as well.
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Why lies are hard to believe
As Daisuke Wakabayashi and Claire Fu write, “China’s top intelligence agency issued an ominous warning last month about an emerging threat to the country’s national security: Chinese people who criticize the economy.”
They go on to describe how “the Ministry of State Security implored citizens to grasp President Xi Jinping’s economic vision and not be swayed by those who sought to ‘denigrate China’s economy’ through ‘false narratives.’”
Among those “false narratives” are:
- News articles conveying people’s experiences of financial struggles and poor living standards
- Large amounts of local government debt
- A tumbling stock market
- And a crashing property sector, as exemplified by one of the nation’s largest developers going bankrupt after accumulating more than $300 billion in debt
The government has been utilizing Weibo—China’s version of Twitter/X—to spread misinformation on the state of the economy and restrict anyone who posts updates that run counter to their official narrative. Banks and brokerages have also been warned against putting out “carelessly produced” reports that portray the economy in a negative light.
Yet, at least so far, their threats do not appear to be having the desired effect.
As Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkley, points out, “the more the government suppresses negative information about the economy, the less confidence people have in the actual economic situation.”
And that basic truth applies to more than just economics.
Are you settling for milk?
Aristotle once quipped that “it is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
And that is especially true when it comes to issues of faith.
However, getting to the point where we can engage with thoughts that run counter to our faith requires that we actually understand our beliefs rather than simply parroting the opinions of others.
The author of Hebrews spoke to this reality when he wrote, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12–14).
The basic idea in this passage is that milk is food that someone else digested for you while solid food is something you have to digest for yourself. The latter takes more work, but it is a sign of spiritual maturity to which we are all called to strive.
Yet, as a teacher in my local church recently pointed out, it can be easy to get into the habit of settling for milk. Consider:
- If the extent of your time in God’s word is a sermon every Sunday, then you will spend roughly twenty-six hours a year engaging with the Lord.
- If you add a couple of Bible studies or weekday services to the mix as well, you can probably get up to about seventy-eight hours, or just over three
If you spent three days a year with your spouse, how well would you know them? Would it be fair to question how much you were really committed to them? What about your friends or your children?
The hard truth is this:
We cannot develop a meaningful relationship with someone without putting in the work, and that’s just as true for our walk with the Lord as it is for anyone else in our lives.
Fortunately, God is always there, ready to engage with us as soon as we’re ready to engage with him.
So let’s try to add more solid food to our spiritual diet.
That’s the best way to make sure that the next time we’re given the opportunity to share or discuss our faith with someone, we’re not afraid to entertain thoughts that run counter to the truth of God’s word. Rather, we’re prepared to engage with the confidence that can only come from a close and intentional walk with Christ.
How solid is your walk with him today?
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The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
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