Why is it that every year around Christmas and Easter, popular media outlets tend to run articles that are clearly designed to discredit and undermine the Christian faith? I am all for challenging one’s beliefs, digging out the facts, and learning the truth about how and why one’s faith is what it is. However, I am totally opposed to using outright lies and misinformation in the process.
Well, if you’re into lies and misinformation, then be sure the check out the recent Newsweek cover story (from December 23), The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin, by Kurt Eichenwald. If you want to read it, then Google will be happy to help you find it, as I am loath to dignify this article with a link.
It is, without doubt, one of the most poorly researched, factually incorrect, misleading pieces I have seen in quite some time. It is basically a mean-spirited collection of every myth that we have already addressed here on Logic & Light. It parrots the myths that
- The original manuscripts are so polluted with errors and alterations that we cannot recover the original text (FALSE)
- English translations of the New Testament are not trustworthy (FALSE)
- Jesus was not originally viewed as divine (FALSE)
- Famous passages were just made up by scribes (FALSE)
- Early Christians couldn’t agree on basic matters of doctrine, and the orthodoxy that emerged was just the winner after a lot of fighting and violence (FALSE)
- Plus many more…
The article goes out of its way to paint modern Christians as bigoted, hypocritical, scientifically illiterate, snake-handling buffoons. Some of the historical errors in the article are so egregious that I wonder whether Eichenwald did it intentionally, or is so historically illiterate himself that he believes his own writing, likely because he only used anti-Christian polemics as his research sources.
Well, in comes Dr. Michael J Kruger, Ph.D. to dismantle Newsweek’s screed. Kruger, whose educational background includes the University of Edinburgh, Westminster Theological Seminary, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.
On his blog, Canon Fodder, he offers a two-part series that puts Eichenwald in his place. For your reading enjoyment, we offer the links:
Image Attribution: Jesus Wept by Jerry Worster via Creative Commons