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-Newsweek’s ‘Sinful’ Portrayal of the Bible

by Dr. D ~ January 8th, 2015

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The owners and editors of Newsweek Magazine decided to begin 2015 by resurrecting their failed magazine. For some reason they thought it would be a good idea to start over by trying to destroy the Bible and Christianity and by offending hundreds of millions of Christians.

They probably figured that the controversy would be good for publicizing their re-start. They could have done far better if publicity is what they wanted, they could have gone after the Quran and Islam and had their offices attacked rather than merely stirring up hundreds of written responses from Christians.

The offending cover article was entitled-  “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin” by Kurt Eichenwald. Eichenwald is known to be an accomplished award winning journalist and writer in the area of finance and business. But in this case he is far outside his normal area of competence and has chosen to write a scurrilous screed full of half truths and questionable research against the Bible with an obvious bias against conservative American Christianity. The real ‘sin’ is how he misunderstands and misrepresents the Bible, traditional Christian teaching, and millions of Christian believers.

Here’s how Eichenwald began his assault:

They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation.

They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.

<Read the whole article>

For those of us who have seriously studied the Bible and the latest scholarship there is absolutely nothing new in what Eichenwald presents or claims. One can find them on nearly any atheist website opposing Christianity and the Bible. It is the fact that he represents himself as a journalist seeking the truth that is most problematic. In the process, he doesn’t bother to seek out or present any of the able responses that Christian scholars have made to any of those claims. It is a ‘hit piece’ against the Bible and Christianity and he obviously never intended to present the other side at all while disguising himself as an impartial observer which he wasn’t.

I have found two articles which I believe are the best of the best in responding to Eichenwald’s attack. The first is by Dr. Albert Mohler- “Newsweek on the Bible — So Misrepresented It’s a Sin.” Here are a few quotes:

But Eichenwald demonstrates absolutely no attempt to understand traditional Christian understandings of the Bible, nor ever to have spoken with the people he asserts “claim to revere [the Bible] but don’t read it.” What follows is a reckless rant against the Bible and Christians who claim to base their faith upon its teachings.

In a predictable move, Eichenwald claims to base his research on “works of scores of theologians and scholars, some of which dates back centuries.” But the sources he cites are from the far, far left of biblical studies and the most significant living source appears to be University of North Carolina professor Bart Ehrman, who is post-Christian. Even so, he makes claims that go far beyond even what Bart Ehrman has claimed in print. …

In the main, he argues that historic Christianity has been based on nothing but a lie…

Newsweek’s cover story is exactly what happens when a writer fueled by open antipathy to evangelical Christianity tries to throw every argument he can think of against the Bible and its authority. To put the matter plainly, no honest historian would recognize the portrait of Christian history presented in this essay as accurate and no credible journalist would recognize this screed as balanced.

<Read the whole article>

The second article is by Kyle Beshears- “Snoping Newsweek: Is the Bible Really that Misrepresented?” In his post Beshears ‘fact-checks’ some of the major assertions made in the Eichenwald article. Here are 2 examples:

NEWSWEEK WILL NOT PICK SIDES IN THIS ESSAY

Quote: “Newsweek’s exploration here of the Bible’s history and meaning is not intended to advance a particular theology or debate the existence of God.”

Claim: The article will not advance any specific theological position.

Answer: No, Eichenwald does in fact put forth many different theological positions in front of others, thus advancing them over others. For example, Eichenwald later writes, “The Trinity—the belief that Jesus and God are the same and, with the Holy Spirit, are a single entity—is a fundamental, yet deeply confusing, tenet. So where does the clear declaration of God and Jesus as part of a triumvirate appear in the Greek manuscripts? Nowhere.”

The view that Eichenwald has just put forth is called Unitarianism, which has been advanced over a different view called Trinitarianism.

TRANSLATIONS OF TRANSLATIONS, COPIES OF COPIES

Quote: “No television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the pope. Neither have I. And neither have you. At best, we’ve all read a bad translation—a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.”

Claim: The Bible we have today has been tainted due to it being translated over and over again as well as copied over and over again.

Answer: No, the Bible has not been translated over and over again. A translation occurs when an individual, knowledgeable in two or more languages, takes a text written in one language and proceeds to copy it into another language. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek, and some Aramaic. When the books were copied and passed on to later generations, they were copied in Hebrew, Greek, and some Aramaic.

Thus, when a Bible translator sets out to translate the original biblical languages into English, she is not doing so from Greek to Latin to Old English to modern English as Eichenwald has suggested. Instead, she is doing so from Greek to English. So, we are not reading “a bad translation—a translation of translations of translations.” …

<Read the whole article>

Both articles are well worth reading adding fact to Eichenwald’s scurrilous fantasy.  If this edition of the new Newsweek re-make is symptomatic of what is to come, I for one will never read another copy since it is obvious that the writers and editors cannot be trusted to be impartial, to do due diligence on research, or to seek any semblance of the truth.            *Top

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1 Response to -Newsweek’s ‘Sinful’ Portrayal of the Bible

  1. Chris Farris

    Love these articles. Think you are right that the media takes unfair slants at Christianity under the guise of objective journalism and commentary. I’ve got a blog: http://www.theway-book.com/compass
    While we don’t delve into all the types of topics you do, we do work to get Christians focussed on their walk of God. Would love your thoughts on our blog. Once again, thanks for the very informative and honest look at this article.

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