Hugh Hewitt has once again asked for bloggers opinion on Jon Meacham’s Newsweek article Religion: The Birth of Jesus.
In the article, Meacham claims that the story of Jesus’ birth is fiction – invented by the gospel writers to either cover up Jesus’ illegitimate birth.
This is not an investigative journalism piece. Meacham starts with a theory – the Nativity is false – and provided only biased evidence in a misguided attempt to prove it is true. Albert Mohler pointed out how Meacham’s sources were from liberal scholars, mostly the Jesus Seminar. Meacham didn’t cite one source that thought the Nativity was factual – only statistics quoted in such a way as to make it seem that people who believe the story is factual are unreasonable.
He also uses selective interpretation to prove his points. Like this example:
It is also striking that in parts of the Gospels Mary herself appears unaware of her son’s provenance and destiny. (In Mark, when Jesus is casting out devils at the beginning of his ministry, “his friends” the sense of the Greek is “family,” or “household,” which would presumably include his mother thought he was mentally disturbed and tried to stop him, saying, “He is beside himself.” If Mary had received Gabriel’s message, then she should have known her son was not mad, but the Messiah. And even if she were not around in this story in Mark, had Jesus been born in such extraordinary circumstances, it is logical to assume that those closest to him would have known at least something of itâ€”enough, anyway, to see Jesus as someone with a special role or destiny of which the exorcisms were a likely part.)
Whenever a Bible doubter quotes from the bible, you MUST look it up yourself. They are most likely taking the verse out of context. Meacham is referring to Mark 3:21. The King James Version says Jesus “friends” came to him. The New American Standard Version says “His people” came to him. I will concede that the original text may be translated as “family” here. But to see if that is accurate for this verse, you need to keep reading. In Mark 3:31 the narrative continues,
“Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him.”
In context, there are “friends” or “people” who come to him. Then his mother and brothers (catholics believe brothers really mean cousin in this case). The point is, there is a distinction made between friends and family. Meacham puts words in Mary’s mouth claiming she said “He is beside himself.” The gospel writer is clearly making a distinction between Jesus friends in verse 3:21 and Jesus family in verse 3:31.
Previously, I claimed that Meacham’s attempt at proving the Nativity is false is misguided. That is because Albert Mohler points out that Meacham claims to be “a believing Episcopalian.” Since the virgin birth is central to the story of Christ, how can someone believe the sacred texts of Christianity or lies, yet still claim to be a Christian?
It is a contradiction that can’t be answered. If the Bible lies, then the Bible cannot be believed. A person who says he is a Christian but does not believe the Bible is truthful cannot be a Christian. You are either misguided in believing the Bible is false, or misguided in claiming to be a Christian.
This seems to be a trend in liberalism this year. First we have John Kerry who claims his Catholic faith is important to him, yet does not believe he can use his faith to make decisions that will affect others. In fact, he must make decisions that go against his faith (such as supporting abortion). Now Meacham is trying to reinforce that view by claiming the religion that he believes in is a lie. The only conclusion we can draw from his position is that people should have their religion, but should not use it to form the guiding principles of their lives.
Meacham’s article was not written to illuminate us on the meaning of Christmas. He is trying to tell us that Christmas is a lie and we should reject religion in general and Christianity specifically. It is alright to be a Christian as long as you know that Christianity is not worth believing in.
Meacham’s example isn’t convincing though. He has shown faulty logic and biased “reporting”. What he has proved is that liberal writers cannot be trusted to provide a truthful discussion of Christiantiy.