In meeting after meeting, network representatives and producers would ask me a critical question: “What did your investigation reveal about the Gospels?”
I always responded the same way: “I found them to be reliable eyewitness accounts, and I can demonstrate this evidentially.”
Few of these network representatives were willing to talk beyond this response, although most were polite and gracious as they bid us farewell.
At first I was surprised. After all, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s production of The Bible (on the History Channel) and A.D. The Bible Continues (on NBC) have been hugely successful. Given the ratings of these shows, both of which present the Biblical narrative artfully, wouldn’t another faith affirming Christian production be welcome? Not necessarily.
It’s one thing to present the Biblical narratives as stories, another to argue they are true. Networks seem to be willing to air any show that presents what they consider to be mythology, so long as there’s an audience large enough to make it profitable. If, for example, there were more people interested in the Greek or Egyptian gods, the major cable channels would be airing miniseries depicting them as well.
In the end, shows that make a case against Christianity, or even shows that present the “mythological” stories of the Bible, are welcome. Shows that take an evidential approach and argue for the truth of the Gospels and the Deity of Jesus, are not.
As Christians, we’ve exacerbated this situation. Most of us don’t even realize an evidential case could be made for the truth claims of Christianity. Instead, we’ve adopted a cultural notion of “faith” independent of evidence. The unbelieving world is willing to acknowledge this form of belief. People who have blind faith in the Christian god, are no different than people who have blind faith in the Greek gods. Both groups are easy to dismiss. If our ability to defend what we believe as Christians is no better than the ability of those who still believe in Greek gods, we can expect to remain in this position of irrelevance and ridicule.
We can do better.
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