Time and Newsweek blatantly attack Christian doctrine

Christians use Internet to refute mainstream media misochristism—and be heard!

by Jonathan Sarfati, CMI–Australia

27 December 2004

For a long time, the mainstream media (MSM) has given Christianity a raw deal. Barely an Easter or Christmas goes by without some trashy ‘documentary’ or article allegedly debunking the Resurrection or Nativity accounts in the Bible. This Christmas time, Christians were treated to regurgitations of the tired old liberal canards attacking the virgin birth of Christ by Time1 and Newsweek2—cover stories no less.

Without fail, such articles will present the alleged ‘epitome of scholarship’, but only from a theologically liberal perspective. It’s important to realise that this perspective commits a basic logical fallacy of begging the question: i.e. presenting a premise as a conclusion. In particular, liberalism begins with the assumption that no miracles are possible. Yet the MSM present their denial of miracles as the conclusion of their allegedly brilliant scholarship. In reality, given their anti-miraculous bias, it would indeed be a miracle if they did NOT conclude that no miracles occurred! This is blatantly so with the self-appointed Jesus Seminar, which always seems to be cited although they are on the far left fringe even of liberalism.

Readers can skip to refutation of Time and Newsweek attacks on Virginal Conception, but before that, we explain why the MSM is this way, and how the Internet has enabled Christians to present the truth to a wide audience that was previously under the hegemony of the MSM.

Liberalism in the media

It has long been shown that journalists as a whole are far less likely to attend church, and generally occupy a position much further liberal-left on the political spectrum than the general public.3 For example, 97% say women should have the right to decide whether they want to have an abortion, 80% believe there’s nothing wrong with homosexual relations, and 51% see nothing wrong with adultery.4

However, this is not the same as asserting that there is a left-wing conspiracy in the media. Rather, the former CBS journalist Bernard Goldberg argued in his book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News and its sequel Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite that the liberal distortion is not usually conscious. Rather, these views are entrenched into people’ thinking in these circles, and they so rarely encounter contrary views among their peers, that they think they are ‘normal’. Thus anything even moderately conservative, including in theological matters, is dismissed as right-wing fascism. So the problem is even harder to fix, because many of the most biased people are blind to their own biases.

Thus there is a parallel with what we have often pointed out with the creation-evolution issue. It is not so much the facts, but the way a person’s worldview causes him to interpret the facts. And the dominant worldview, even among many professing Christians, is materialism or naturalism—matter/nature is all there is.

And once again, we are not asserting a conscious conspiracy or widespread deception. Rather, the worldview is so ingrained that most people don’t even realise that it colors their interpretation. Very few evolutionists realise it, but there are a few isolated admissions, such as by Lewontin, Todd and Ruse. However, while in many cases there is no conscious deception, evolutionists are not blameless. At some time, they made a deliberate choice of materialism, which is a sinful rejection of the evidence for a Creator (Romans 1:18–32).

Another parallel is that it’s very hard for viewpoints opposing the prevailing bias to get a fair hearing, as even the evolutionist historian of science Evelleen Richards recognized.

These parallels should also alert readers to the anti-Christian nature of the MSM’s evolutionary propaganda. Many of them would have us believe that their pro-evolution stance is purely scientific, and has nothing to do with any agenda against the Christian faith. But when the same media outlet pushes both evolution and blatant attacks on the reliability of the Gospels, Christians should not be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Internet allows opposing views to fight back

The development of the Internet has freed up the marketplace of ideas. No longer do the liberals and evolutionists have it all their own way. This disturbs many evolutionists, since they fear that their ideas may not survive fair competition in a level playing field. The atheistic anticreationist Eugenie Scott, leader of the atheist-founded-and-operated anticreationist organization pretentiously called the National Center for Science Education, inadvertently admitted precisely this:

In my opinion, using creation and evolution as topics for critical-thinking exercises in primary and secondary schools is virtually guaranteed to confuse students about evolution and may lead them to reject one of the major themes in science.5

Here are a few examples of creationists overwhelming evolutionists on a level playing field:

This doesn’t mean that all Internet work is equally good; far from it. But it does allow strongly credentialed and cogent dissent to be publicized. This allows people access to a wider amount of information than the thought-guardians of the evolutionary establishment want us to be aware of.

Apart from the creation-evolution issue, there are other examples of where Internet dissent has brought down previously untouchable hegemons. A good example is the überliberal CBS newsreader Dan Rather, who egregiously violated professional journalistic standards of political neutrality by a blatantly partisan report. This time, it wasn’t long before Internet web-logs (‘blogs’) exposed the fact that the documents central to his case were obvious forgeries—text styles not possible on 1970s typewriters but easy with Microsoft Word. However, Rather was so used to being untouchable that he first defended his story, personally attacked the messengers, and bizarrely claimed that the story was still true even if the documents were not (huh? The documents WERE the story!). But now Rather has announced his departure, probably brought upon by the disgrace which was now massively publicized in a way that has only recently been possible (see Mainstream Media Accountability).

The MSM vs. the Virginal Conception

The Time and Newsweek articles epitomised MSM liberalism.

Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek, and he claims to be a ‘believing Episcopalian’. However, one should ask, ‘Believing in what?’ In fact, very little content seems to be required of belief in many sections of Episcopalianism—they even have homosexual priests and now even a bishop, and the arch-heretic John Shelby Spong was a bishop. His attitude was clear:

To many minds conditioned by the Enlightenment, shaped by science and all too aware of the Crusades and corruptions of the church, Christmas is a fairy tale.

David van Biema, who writes for Time, is not quite so blatant about his liberal bias, but the end result is the same.

When it comes to MSM attacks on the Bible, our website should be able to help readers in two main ways:

  1. Providing resources to help readers counteract MSM claims
  2. Refuting specific MSM articles

The two are not independent. If we have enough resources on an issue, then a specific response may not be necessary. And even if it is, the response can point readers to already-existing resources.

With the Time and Newsweek articles, many of the points are already answered in The Virginal Conception of Christ and other articles on our website or linked from it, so that’s #1. For example:

Thus a specific response is not necessary—indeed it would be impossible to respond to all the anti-Christian garbage around. However, some scholars have provided some excellent responses on other Internet sites. One is by Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Newsweek vs. The New Testament. A very detailed point-by-point rebuttal is by Harvard Ph.D. Rev. Dr Mark D. Roberts, The Birth of Jesus: Hype or History?

Conclusion

Christians might be surprised when they first see such blatant anti-Christian attacks in the MSM. But they should not be, given the widespread anti-theistic bias in the journalism profession—and so ingrained that they are unaware that they even have a bias. However, there is rarely anything new in any of their attacks, and Christians can easily be equipped with answers. For example, the CMI website has a Q&A page, and three of the sections are on the reliability of the Bible, the true Triune God revealed therein, especially in Jesus Christour great God and Savior’ (Titus 2:13). We hope these will help equip Christians with answers when a non-christian friend, neighbour or workmate flashes around the next two-bit anti-Christian diatribe. Meanwhile, may we suggest that Christians might reconsider subsidizing the proselytizing of a counterfeit religious belief in such publications as Time and Newsweek, and use this money instead for a subscription to Creation magazine or Journal of Creation?

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Further reading

References

  1. David van Biema, Behind the First Noel, Time, 13 December 2004, pp. 54–64. Return to text.
  2. Jon Meacham, The Birth of Jesus—Faith and History: How the Story of Christmas Came to Be, Newsweek, 13 December 2004, pp. 54–64. Return to text.
  3. Lichter, S.R., Lichter, L.S. and Rothman, S., 1992. Watching America: What Television Tells Us About Our Lives. Referenced in Ray, D.L. and Guzzo, L., 1993. Environmental Overkill, Regnery Gateway, Washington DC. Return to text.
  4. For the Australian media, see the insightful book Press v Pulpit: Christophobia in the Australian Media by award-winning journalist Cameron Horn. Return to text.
  5. Cited in: Where Darwin Meets the Bible, p. 23—by anti-creationist Larry Witham, Oxford University Press, 2002. See review by Jerry Bergman, Journal of Creation 17(3):22–24, 2003. Return to text.
  • David van Biema, Behind the First Noel, Time, 13 December 2004, pp. 54–64. Return to text.
  • Jon Meacham, The Birth of Jesus—Faith and History: How the Story of Christmas Came to Be, Newsweek, 13 December 2004, pp. 54–64. Return to text.
  • Lichter, S.R., Lichter, L.S. and Rothman, S., 1992. Watching America: What Television Tells Us About Our Lives. Referenced in Ray, D.L. and Guzzo, L., 1993. Environmental Overkill, Regnery Gateway, Washington DC. Return to text.
  • For the Australian media, see the insightful book Press v Pulpit: Christophobia in the Australian Media by award-winning journalist Cameron Horn. Return to text.
  • Cited in: Where Darwin Meets the Bible, p. 23—by anti-creationist Larry Witham, Oxford University Press, 2002. See review by Jerry Bergman, Journal of Creation 17(3):22–24, 2003. Return to text.
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