Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lounge chair critic

It never ceases to amaze me how many professional journalists don't "get" religion, particularly Christianity.

In an article in last Thursday's Green Guide, television reviewer Brad Newsome criticises what he sees as the poor quality of content on cable channels such as History, Discovery, and National Geographic.

He claims:

"Each Christmas and Easter we get a new slew of documentaries cobbled together on the assumption that Christian scripture is a reliable record of real events. Never mind the fact the historical record offers little corroboration, and outright contradicts some of it. What would be great would be a series taking a serious look at the Bible as a human book complete with human agendas, historical inaccuracies and precursors and parallels in pagan religion and literature. Not going to happen, of course."

Oh really? Mr Newsome must be watching different documentaries to most of the ones I've seen. I've yet to see one that affirms and takes a high view of the Bible, its origins, and the events it gives an account of. These documentaries usually feature liberal scholars such as the late Marcus Borg, and revisionists such as Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels, or use them as production consultants. I have yet to see a conservative evangelical historian or theologian featured. In other words, they take the sceptical approach that Newsome claims is lacking from these documentaries.

I see on his Linkedin profile that Newsome is an experienced journalist, and well regarded by his peers, but I can't help but wonder how much Christian history he's actually studied, let alone the Bible itself. Aren't journalists supposed to be adequately informed about the things that they write about? If he has the time and inclination, it might do him some good.

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