Every Holy Week, GetReligion must examine the slew of sensationalist religion stories that crop up. I don’t know why everyone in the fourth estate thinks this is the ideal time to uncork that story they think is going to finally blow the lid off this Christianity fad, but that’s the way it is.
Still, even as a long-time GetReligion reader, I have the unenviable task of presenting a particularly bad example of the genre. If there’s one positive thing I can say about the following story, at least with the headline “Discrepancies don’t shake Christians’ faith in the Bible,” you know what you’re in for:
Vanderbilt University student Katherine Precht knows what skeptical scholars say about the Bible: It’s full of errors, contradictions and a murky historical record.
Still, none of that has shaken her Christian faith.
That’s because Precht embraces a big-picture view of biblical truth. For her, it means the Bible speaks truth on ultimate things, such as Creation and salvation.
“Sure, there may be contradictions, [but] God was working through the scribes who put it together,” said Precht, a United Methodist from Montgomery, Ala. “Even though [the Scripture] is 2,000 years old, I see it alive and living . . . in friends, in Christians, in the world.”
As Christians prepare to mark Easter, the culmination of the holiest week of the year, many are mindful of hard-to-ignore critiques that would deem creeds and Scripture, at best, untrustworthy and at worst, downright false. Many have heard “Jesus Wars” author Philip Jenkins insist their beliefs are merely the result of ancient politicking. Still, they trust what the Gospels say about Jesus’s last days, despite the doubts of biblical scholars like Bart D. Ehrman, whose public questioning has made him a best-selling author.
You get the idea.
So despite the fact that Christian apologetics might arguably be the most studied subject in human history, what we have here is an article that plumbs the depths of alleged biblical contradictions in a mere 537 words. It makes no clear distinctions between different Christian perspectives on biblical literalism, and at one point includes the spit-take inducing paragraph transition, “Some writers, however, have cast doubt on Christian doctrines” before dropping this science on us:
“The view on the religious right, about the Bible being some kind of inerrant revelation or an infallible revelation from God. . . simply isn’t tenable anymore,” said Ehrman, a fundamentalist-turned-agnostic who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Yet, by and large, Christians seem to be holding fast to their beliefs and sometimes reconciling them with scholarly challenges.
Crazy, huh? Some Christians are still holding fast to their beliefs despite “some writers” who don’t believe in Biblical inerrancy. There isn’t a single argument in this piece — for or even against faith in the Bible — that’s fleshed out enough to even discuss intelligently. Notice, please, the complete lack of material from scholars on the other side of these issues, scholars who hail from completely mainstream campuses in a wide range of denominational settings, from Baptists to evangelical Anglicans.
However, this does not stop Religion News Service from putting it out and the Washington Post picking it up the day before Easter. I’d like to believe the goal here isn’t to insult Christian readers, but given the timing and complete lack of a newsworthy premise, I have to wonder. Was this article radically cut somewhere in the publishing process?