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Newsweek Slams the Bible, Labels Christians ‘God’s Frauds’

( [email protected] ) Dec 31, 2014 05:56 PM EST
From the first sentence, Newsweek's leading cover story of 2015 - 'The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin' - the author paints a hateful picture of what the he refers to as 'cafeteria Christians.'  People who pick and choose Bible verses to best suit their arguments, the article claims, then seek to cram their beliefs down the throats of any passerby while twisting phrases and customizing translations to prove their biases and beliefs still honor God's word.
Photo: Newsweek

From the first sentence, Newsweek's leading cover story of 2015 - 'The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin' - the author paints a hateful picture of what the he refers to as 'cafeteria Christians.'  People who pick and choose Bible verses to best suit their arguments, the article claims, then seek to cram their beliefs down the throats of any passerby while twisting phrases and customizing translations to prove their biases and beliefs still honor God's word.

"Christianity doesn't have anything to fear from an honest look at the facts and the true claims of Christianity, and when you have someone in the media give a balanced view and talk about the great truths of the faith in an honest, balanced and journalistic way, that's fair game," Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on Fox and Friends on Tuesday.

"But that's not what we're dealing with here," he continued.  "From the opening shot this is an open attack upon Christianity."

The author of the article, Kurt Eichenwald, is an award winning journalist who has written for The New York Times and Vanity Fair.  But most of his writing, as Mohler discusses on his website, has been on business and financial matters.

"Eichenwald appears to be far outside his area of expertise and knowledge," Mohler wrote.  "More to the point, he really does not address the subject of the Bible like a reporter at all. His article is a hit-piece that lacks any journalistic balance or credibility. His only sources cited within the article are from severe critics of evangelical Christianity, and he does not even represent some of them accurately."

What Eichenwald does do successfully is sum up his interpretation of God's word in nearly 9,000 words where two would have sufficed.  The main message to the reader is simple - don't judge.

Writing with absolute certainty, Eichenwald flows from one Biblical error to the next with ease.  Cross references, input from non-Christian Biblical scholars and history books support these inaccuracies, he writes. 

But when the author cites what he believes to be an undeniable truth from the Bible, the reader gets a vague mention of a Biblical authority.

"...embrace what modern Bible experts know to be the true sections of the New Testament," it reads.  "Jesus said, Don't judge. He condemned those who pointed out the faults of others while ignoring their own. And he proclaimed, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

Eichenwald prefaced this statement with several paragraphs slamming those who cite God's word when naming homosexuality sin.  He does cite the fact that God sees all sin on the same level then hints at suggesting parents who choose to throw their child out of the house for being gay - stated as if all Christian parents in that situation make that choice - should also do the same to children who stay out too late partying.

Newsweek's story on the Bible's history and meaning was meant to be educational, not a debate over the existence of God.  To that end, Eichenwald remains true to the goal.  But a few paragraphs in and it is evident that this isn't just an unbiased exploration of God's word.  This is an attack on God Himself - a God portrayed to have no supremacy or authority, and no sovereign control over the Bible.  In fact, there is little mention of God at all other than to mock the idea that His word is inerrant.

The author also claims that no one has nor ever will ever truly read an accurate Bible. 

"No television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the pope. Neither have I. And neither have you," he writes.  "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."

Eichenwald states the article is 'designed to shine a light on a book that has been abused by people who claim to revere it but don't read it, in the process creating misery for others.'

What it does is call God and his children frauds, and dismisses the lives of centuries of Christians who lived out their days based on Biblical truths.

The author also calls out politicians, social leaders and some clergy as people guilty of delivering Biblical wisdom though 'they seem to have never read' God's word. 

Eichenwald resorts to school yard antics when suggesting that U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann should 'shut up and sit down.'  Last March, Bachmann received harsh criticism when she called gay individuals bullies for opposing legislation that would have allowed Arizona businesses to choose not to serve same-sex couples.

Citing Biblical instruction to women in I Timothy, what he calls the 'most virulently anti-woman book of the New Testament,' the author suggests that Bachmann should resign immediately or admit that she is a hypocrite.  Every female politician who insists the New Testament is the inerrant word of God should resign, he adds.

What he fails to understand here, or chooses to overlook, is that I Timothy is discussing the roles of women as teachers and preachers in the church - not those holding a public office outside of the church.

Tullian Tchivdjian, grandson of Billy Graham and the senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, blames the comingling of religion and the conservative political movement for the confusion surrounding Christianity and politics.

"Over the course of the last 20 or 30 years, evangelicalism, specifically their association with the religious right and conservative politics, has done more damage to the brand of Christianity than just about anything else,"  Tchividjian told the hosts of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe.'

"That's not to say that Christian people don't have opinions on social issues and we shouldn't speak those opinions, but Sunday morning from behind the pulpit is not the place," he said.

But Eichenwald's article doesn't just target public figures like Bachmann, nor does it take a fresh look at God's word.  It is an attack on the principle beliefs embraced by Christians for centuries.  The author discredits accounts of creation, the flood and of Christ's virgin birth, and claims that the Bible itself proves there is no trinity.

"...with a little translational trickery, a fundamental tenet of Christianity-that Jesus is God-was reinforced in the Bible, even in places where it directly contradicts the rest of the verse."

Later he claims, "None of this is meant to demean the Bible, but all of it is fact.  Christians angered by these facts should be angry with the Bible, not the messenger.  This examination is not an attack on the Bible or Christianity. Instead, Christians seeking greater understanding of their religion should view it as an attempt to save the Bible from the ignorance, hatred and bias that has been heaped upon it."

But Eichenwald's article is written like a manifesto for unbelievers, and his message is clear.  The Bible is incorrect and so full of errors that no person with any level of education or common sense would believe it - let alone base their existence on its teachings.

"Nowhere in the Gospels or Acts of Epistles or Apocalypses does the New Testament say it is the inerrant word of God. It couldn't-the people who authored each section had no idea they were composing the Christian Bible, and they were long dead before what they wrote was voted by members of political and theological committees to be the New Testament."

But as the New King James Version of the Bible states in II Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 

As John MacArthur wrote in his study bible, "Sometimes God told the Bible writers the exact words to say, but more often He used their minds, vocabularies, and experiences to produce His own perfect, infallible, inerrant Word."

But Eichenwald closes by saying that the Bible is most definitely a human book.

"It was written, assembled, copied and translated by people. That explains the flaws, the contradictions, and the theological disagreements in its pages. Once that is understood, it is possible to find out which parts of the Bible were not in the earliest Greek manuscripts, which are the bad translations, and what one book says in comparison to another, and then try to discern the message for yourself."

So what should the primary concern of the reader be after digesting all this?  Do they need to read the entire Bible in one sitting, or should they enroll in the nearest theological seminary to ensure that what they are reading is correct? 

While Mohler called the article 'incredible hostility toward Christianity - evangelical Christians in particular - and the Bible,' there is something much more important that the reader must take away from this article.

"It shows the Bible still matters," Mohler said.  "It matters so much that someone would choose this kind of venue to attack it in such an open way.  And those who are Christians know why - it is indeed the word of God."

II Peter 1:19-21

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."