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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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4/13/2004

Religion in the Media part 2 

This is the article that I just finished reading (would have been done LONG ago, but I've had some wierd stomach virus thing). As I said, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the news media doesn't always represent religion in a favorable, or even accurate, light. The surprise should be that, apparently, the majority of Americans know better, and are willing to watch the misrepresentations anyway. We're willing to let liberal Bible scholars question the reliability of Scriptural accounts. We're willing to let them say that the Gnostic Gospels are more accurate. Why?

I think the biggest part of that answer is the anti-intellectualism that people perceive as part of religion. Matters of faith, we believe, aren't on the same level as history, or science. Faith is individual, it's personal, and what we believe, while good for us, may not be good for everybody. It doesn't even have to be logical; it's faith, after all. And this is an area where evangelicals are trying to make up lost ground.

We say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. If Jesus is the Truth, shouldn't that Truth be, well, true? If we accept that the Bible is God's Word to us, shouldn't that Word be accurate? If it tells us something as basic as the fact of Jesus' burial in a borrowed tomb, shouldn't we accept that as a fact? If it's lying about something like that, how do we determine what it isn't lying about? Can we?

Christians have become afraid of investigating their faith, partially due to the influence of liberal scholarship. If these "learned people" can poke such holes in Christian traditions, why would a Christian want to investigate further -- especially if it runs the risk of destroying our faith? Fortunately, these naysayers and skeptics are not the only authorities. There are conservative Bible scholars of all denominations who take orthodox Christian beliefs seriously, and are showing that they are logical, historic, and valid. We won't find them in the popular media, unless it is on a program outnumbered 4:1 by the Jesus Seminar. We have to find them ourselves -- we have to look. We have to read. We have to do for ourselves the things that the Reformation gave us the ability and the right to do -- study the Bible, and question teachers that contradict it. Until we do that, Peter Jennings will continue to throw softballs at John Shelby Spong and John Dominic Crossan on programs about why Christianity isn't what it was supposed to be, and we'll sit and watch, and wonder about what we were taught in Sunday School. And until we are willing to learn, Christianity will continue to stagnate in the United States, while the Church moves forward throughout China, Africa, and many parts in the East, where they haven't lost the zeal for God's Word.



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