Mombu 2012-04-23 10:25:50
Go to Original
Bible Is ‘Lies and Spin,’ Says C4
By Jamie Doward
The Observer U.K.
Sunday 19 December 2004
‘Sensationalist’ film sparks anger among church groups.
It’s the season for Channel 4 to cause controversy. Each year the
channel strives to whip up a furor surrounding its programming on
Christmas Day. If it is not trying to break the record for the most
f-words (2002), it’s asking Ali G to present an alternative Queen’s
Now it has attracted anger from Christian groups over its plans to
screen a documentary which dismisses some parts of the Bible as untrue
and attacks others as being a ‘masterwork of spin’.
and suggests links between them and the troubles in the Middle East.
They have also expressed concerns about the presenter, Dr Robert
Beckford, a reader in theology at Birmingham University. Beckford’s
critically acclaimed documentary God is Black, which compared white and
black people’s interpretation of Christianity, angered some in the
Anglican church who accused it of ‘racialising’ religious issues.
‘Channel 4 has a record of going for the more controversial take on
religion,’ said David Hilborn, head of theology at the Evangelical
Alliance. ‘They want to go down the more sensational route to grab
Beckford defended the provocative timing of the documentary. ‘To
have faith in the world is to ask dangerous questions. Why not make the
question at Christmas when we hear about this son of God who was born
in dubious circumstances in a place which was the armpit of the world?’
In the new documentary, Beckford, a committed Pentecostal
Christian, describes a journey he made to some of Christianity’s
holiest places to help him uncover the provenance of the Bible. He
calls his conclusion an ‘earth-shattering experience’ and one that made
him doubt some of his most basic Christian beliefs.
Of the Old Testament, Beckford declares: ‘The so-called law of
Moses turns out to be the work of many human hands. What I once thought
was the word of God was now beginning to sound like something out of
He produces archaeological evidence to suggest the Bible’s claims
that the kingdoms of David and Solomon dominated the 10th century BC
were wrong, an error that raises profound claims about the genesis of
He declares the New Testament a ‘masterwork of spin written by
people who were nowhere near the events they describe, all gathered by
powerful editors who kept out ideas they did not like’.
The story of the nativity is also doubted. Beckford argues that
Matthew added the story to fulfill a prophecy made in the Old
One of the most revealing moments comes when Beckford visits the
U.S. state of Georgia to talk to President Bush’s spiritual adviser,
Baptist minister Richard Land. Land dismisses as ‘rubbish’ suggestions
that the Bible is inaccurate and cannot be the basis for political
decisions. ‘When you stand in judgment of scripture, that is a theology
of death,’ says Land, who has called for Iraq to be ‘flooded’ with U.S.
To Beckford such views are deeply alarming. ‘This was what
surprised me most about my journey, discovering how dangerous this
fundamentalism can be,’ he said.
But Hilborn said: ‘People have these wrong perceptions. To see
evangelicals as literalists is not true. It’s a multifarious movement;
you have to give a much more nuanced interpretation.’
Channel 4 defended its decision to screen the documentary. ‘To just
be controversial would neither be interesting nor valid. But when you
have someone as intelligent and intelligible as Robert, you will see
the program is extremely valid.’
: t r u t h o u t 2004
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I love edsels 2012-04-23 10:25:52
and the Koran is worse.
Mombu 2012-04-23 10:25:55
DECEPTION IS AN INTEGRAL OF THE PAULINE CHRISTIANITY
1 Corinthians 9:20 (KJV) And unto the Jews I BECAME AS A JEW, that I
might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, AS UNDER THE LAW,
that I might gain them that are under the law;
1 Corinthians 9:21 (KJV) To them that are without law, AS WITHOUT LAW,
(being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I
might gain them that are without law.
1 Corinthians 9:22 (KJV) To the weak BECAME I AS WEAK, that I might
gain the weak: I AM MADE ALL THINGS TO ALL [MEN], that I might by all
means save some.
By Brian Braiker
Friday 17 December 2004
Billy Graham’s son and heir apparent discusses evangelism, Iraq and why
he feels Christians are ‘under attack.’
Graham: “It would be a sin for me not to share with them my faith.”
(Photo: Stefan Zaklin / Getty Images)
More than 300,000 faithful turned out for the Greater Los Angeles
Billy Graham Crusade over four days at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena last
month. One of those people was William Franklin Graham III, Billy’s
self-described prodigal son, who runs the day-to-day operations of the
Charlotte, N.C.-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Most recently, he spearheaded a Christmas campaign to send gift-filled
shoe boxes to children in the world’s most war-torn and storm-battered
corners. “If you look at the life of Jesus Christ,” he tells Newsweek,
“he is our example, he is our role model. He used his power as the son
of God to bring healing to people’s lives.”
But Graham, who is 53 and goes by Franklin, is also no stranger to
controversy. A man who often says just what is on his mind, he drew
fire from around the world when, IN THE WAKE OF 9/11, HE CALLED ISLAM
“AN EVIL AND WICKED RELIGION.” TODAY HE TEMPERS HIS REMARKS ABOUT
ISLAM, but he is outspoken in his condemnation of homosexuality and of
s** in the media. His liberal critics charge that in addition to his
charity work in Iraq, HE IS OUT TO CONVERT MUSLIMS, undermining the
Bush administration’s claims to respect Islam. Graham, who is also
president of Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical
Christian program founded in 1970 that serves the poor, refugees and
others at home and abroad, recently spoke with Newsweek about his work
in Iraq, gay marriage and the role of evangelism.
You were quoted a couple years ago as calling Islam an “evil and
wicked religion.” Would you care to revisit that comment?
Those comments started a debate in this country. I don’t know what
I can add to it. I respect the people of the Islamic faith that have
come to this country. I have Muslim friends. But that doesn’t stop me
from wanting to help them. That doesn’t stop me from loving them. I
certainly don’t believe the way they believe, and they don’t believe
the way I believe, either. That doesn’t make me dislike them, and I
love them very much. I want to do all I can to help them. In Khartoum,
we have been working for years in a mission in the south. I want to
demonstrate to those Muslims that my love for them is sincere. I want
them to know about God’s son, Jesus Christ. I want them to know but I
certainly don’t want to force it on them. I would like some day for
Muslims to know what Christians do.
April 11, 2003
Franklin Graham: Spiritual Carpetbagger
Military Battlefields as His Personal Mission Field
by MAS’OOD CAJEE
Franklin Graham is a spiritual Carpetbagger and war profiteer who
trades in souls. Those are near-fightin1 words for a Southern boy from
Boone, North Carolina who delivered the invocation at President Bush’s
Like the Yankee Carpetbaggers who flocked to the South for political or
financial advantage after the Civil War, Graham plans to go to Iraq in
the wake of the current war to win Muslim souls.
Like the despised Carpetbaggers of yore, Graham plans to exploit the
humanitarian crisis for his own calculating gain, by subjecting
vulnerable Iraqis to his Faustian Christ-for-food program.
Graham, who has called Islam “a wicked religion”, views the US military
and its wars in the Muslim world as the perfect vehicles for missionary
work in the difficult “10/40 Window”. The 10/40 Window is evangelical
Christian-speak for the rectangle with boundaries of latitudes 10 and
40 degrees north of the equator; encompassing most of the Muslim World.
Graham and his Samaritan’s Purse organization have a record of
exploiting wars and preying on victims for their own missionary ends.
They rode with IDF convoys into Lebanon during Israel’s 1982 invasion
to reach Palestinian refugees, preached pretentiously to Kurds fleeing
Saddam’s forces in 1991 and sheltered and proselytized young Bosnian
Muslim girls who had been raped by Orthodox Christian Serbs.
A thought that struck Graham in the Spring of 1991 shortly before the
Kurds were betrayed by America and slaughtered in droves by Saddam’s
military is telling:
“What a time to preach the gospel to these people! America is number
one with them right now. They’re eager to listen to anything we have to
Graham and his group have repeatedly used the heightened vulnerability
that war brings to target those in uniform, POWs, refugees, and
civilians with physical assistance and “spiritual ammunition”.
“I think we need to do all we can to use [the US military] presence,”
Graham urged his followers during the 1990 Operation Desert Shield , ”
to share with the people of that region the faith that our nation was
During the Persian Gulf military build-up in 1990 and ensuing war in
1991, Graham made creative use of “embedded” fundamentalist Christian
sympathizers in the chaplain corps, officer corps, and rank and file.
Under the Cover of Operation Dear Abby, in which the advice columnist
urged Americans to write letters of encouragement to anonymous
soldiers, Graham’s followers mailed over 200,000 Arabic-language
Christian tracts to US troops based in Saudi Arabia.
“Let them know you are praying that God will protect them,” Graham
instructed participants in his grassroots letter-writing campaign to
send Christian tracts to Saudi Arabia. “Subtly drop the hint that while
they are in Saudi Arabia, they may have an opportunity to share it with
In December 1990, Graham followed with a bolder campaign. His
Samaritan’s Purse organization helped send over 30,000 holiday gift
packages to men and women in uniform that included a New Testament in
Graham was later “touched most deeply” by a letter from an A-10
Thunderbolt “Tank-killer” pilot. “Just two weeks earlier I had been
trying to kill those guys,” the pilot told Graham. “Then I found myself
in an army hospital talking with an Iraqi POW. I gave him the Arabic
Graham’s activities had attracted the attention of the Saudis and US
General Norman Schwartzkopf, who ordered a military chaplain to
confiscate all of Graham’s Bibles and tracts and return them.
Disturbingly, the chaplain later confided in Graham that he and others
largely ignored 3Stormin1 Norman2 Schwartzkopf’s orders. Instead, the
Saudi-based chaplain brazenly requested Graham send more
Arabic-language Bibles because he had befriended a “believer who has
organized a distribution system for the tracts and the New Testaments.”
In the current war in Iraq, an evangelical Christian chaplain has been
using coercive Graham-style tactics at Camp Bushmaster near Najaf. Army
5th Corps chaplain Josh Llano, apparently exploiting a water shortage
which has forced soldiers to go without bathing, has used a 500-gallon
pool of pristine, cool water under his control to gain converts.
“It’s simple,” Llano told a Knight-Ridder reporter. “They want water. I
have it, as long as they agree to get baptized.”
For his part, Franklin Graham has been trying to be low-key as he eyes
Iraq from his base in Jordan. This week, most likely responding to a
storm of criticism, Samaritan’s Purse softened language on its Web site
about planned operations in Iraq.
“As American and allied troops roll into Iraq, Samaritans Purse has a
well-equipped team already on the ground in the Middle East ready to
help thousands of suffering families in the name of Jesus Christ,” a
statement on the group’s Web site read last week.
This week: “As war continues in Iraq, Samaritan’s Purse has a
well-equipped team already on the ground in the Middle East ready to
help thousands of suffering families.”
Poised and ready to exploit war-weary Iraqis, Franklin Graham continues
his Carpetbagging, war-profiteering ways.
Mas’ood Cajee lives in Cambridge, Mass. He serves on the National
Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Email: email@example.com
1man4all 2012-04-25 03:47:56
Although I am a Muslim, I think this TV program is unfair. Regular
television documentaries about any religion tend to present a one sided
secular view (usually very critical of religion) and in one hour or so
cannot adequately possibly cover complex theological and historical
issues, thus leaving totally false impressions in the minds of viewers.
What they need to do is to host a debate, giving each side equal
access to present their point of view, as that would be more
educational and fair.
Mike craney 2012-04-25 03:48:01
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Quite so. The media is secular, and approaches matters of religion as if
they were textbook studies, which any intelligent person can understand
the nuances of given a few days to hit the books. In fact, religions
create sociocultural paradigms through which adherents view the world.
It takes both immersion in and acceptance of the belief system for some
extended period of time in order for someone to “get” it completely.
Jerry gamarsh 2012-04-25 03:48:05
The question is academic. The major broadcast networks-CBS,NBC and
ABC-in league with the ACLU are trying to eliminate God from the world.
Their opinions are irrelevant.
Count cottonta 2012-04-25 03:48:09
You say that ” … [ list of right-wing fundie boogie men ] are trying to
eliminate God from the world”.
Do you ever actually consider the words you say or do you just say them ?
Count cottonta 2012-04-25 03:48:12
I think it’s more a matter of economics than politics or religion.
“Hot” TV makes more money than “cold” TV. Political dialog which is so
essential to a working society has become political entertainment in
America. like baseball or wrestling. Why should religious belief escape the
frantic drive for higher ratings by the American media ?
PBS has given several scholarly and balanced treatments of the origin of the
New Testament and early Christianity. Few people watched it, I presume,
because it wasn’t entertaining enough.
The politicization of religious dialog may be an idea who’s time has come,
the final low point of American pop culture ( or pop Coulter perhaps ? ).
But maybe I’m only saying that in a desperate effort to get the attention of
an audience and repair my own declining ratings. 🙂
Mombu 2012-04-25 03:48:15
THE APOSTLES’ FIRST REACTION
TO THE ‘RESURRECTION
OF JESUS CHRIST’
And their words seemed to them as IDLE TALES,
and they _B_E_L_I_E_V_E_D_ THEM NOT.
but these words appeared to them
AS _N_O_N_S_E_N_S_E,_ and they would
_N_O_T_ _B_E_L_I_E_V_E_ THEM.
and put my hand into his _s_i_d_e,_
I WILL _N_O_T_ BELIEVE.
well, this was precisely how the apostles REACTED initially when told
of the resurrection. it was really strange, if not incredible to begin
with. but more importantly, the scripture also shows:
HOW THE APOSTLES’ TOTAL DISBELIEF
_E_V_O_L_V_E_D_ INTO A FULL-FLEDGED
NOTION OF RESURRECTION
& AN IMPORTANT PILLAR OF FAITH
and that, despite jesus’ own painstaking PREPARATION for this the,
PREORDAINED blood sacrifice and redemption for mankind as well,
PREPARATION of his apostles by him in advance — all was for NAUGHT in
the end and when it counted the most.
more to follow shortly!!!
Pastor dave 2012-04-25 03:48:21
On 20 Dec 2004 12:32:16 -0800, while scaling the Mt.
Everest, email@example.com pontificated:
Really? Is that why they believed? Thomas was the
Pastor Dave Raymond
“I have more understanding than all my teachers:
for thy testimonies are my meditation.” – Psalm 119:99
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of
the Spirit, which is the word of God:” – Ephesians 6:17
1man4all 2012-04-25 03:48:25
If that’s the case, Presidential-style debates on controversial
religious issues would be much more entertaining, don’t you think?
That’s a good point, but I still think that if there were genuine
debates in those programs, not just boring commentaries, people would
have been lot more eager to watch.
I’ve had this idea of a 24-hr Debate Channel for a long time, on which
all kinds of controversial topics can be discussed from a variety on
angles: Global Warming, Middle East peace, abortion, death penalty,
stem-cell research, current affairs etc, etc. I can just imagine
Catholics debating Protestants, Jews debating Muslims, Chinese debating
Tibetans_ possibilities are endless. The more controversial an issue
the better for prime-time viewing. Television crews can also travel to
college campuses, state assemblies_ in fact all over the world_ to film
You may not agree, but I see a great hunger for honest_ uncensored but
moderated_ debate in this country, and I think Debate Channel would be
a huge success. It would also kill Talk Radio.
for a small fee or with the payment of royalties;-)]
What has happened in American society is the decline of a great
American traditional value, called ‘modesty.’ Until a few decades
ago, when people didn’t know something, they asked people that they
could trust. Now in the Internet age, everybody has become an expert
with an attitude. And that is why there is a cheapening of dialogue.
Academics who are truly knowledgeable now have to compete with
propagandists, Think-Tankers, lobbyists, or bloggers to get their
voices heard. But what’s truly shocking is the latest cultural twist
in which sophisticated, nuanced speech is bad and half-witted speech is
considered good. This deliberate dumbing down of American culture is
dangerous and would eventually ruin this country.
I am proposing this Debate Channel is to elevate the level of public
discourse, to give a platform to academics rather than to mean-spirited
political operatives, and to educate the general public that has so far
been misinformed, misguided, and often beguiled.
Rhyme 2012-04-25 03:48:29
It would degenerate into a slanging match and probably a brawl. There
are programmes like this on TV. I suppose it could be called “Jerry
Springer does Global warming…” or whatever. You’ve only got to look
at newsgroups to see what it would be like 😉
Is a _moderated_ debate uncensored?[SNIP]
Oh I see. You want people to rely on learned folk to dish out
information to them instead of working it out for themselves and making
up their own minds?
Mike craney 2012-04-25 03:48:32
It’s an excellent idea. You get set of great moderators (Jim Lehrer, for
example) and it would be fascinating.
In a scholastic sense, yes.
You’re assuming that all people have the intellectual gifts to work
things out in the same way? Or the same aptitudes? Or the same
interests? The type of “legalitarian intelletualism” you assume is the
*cause* of the dumbing down of the West, not its solution.
Mombu 2012-04-25 03:49:29
Like Constantine, George Bush has borrowed the language of
Christianity to support and justify his military ambition. And just
like that of Constantine, ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ the Christianity
of this new Rome offers another carefully edited version of the Bible.
Once again, the religion that speaks of forgiving enemies and turning
the other cheek is pressed into military service.
Empires Prefer a Baby and the Cross to the Adult Jesus
By Giles Fraser
The Guardian U.K.
Friday 24 December 2004
Every Sunday in church, Christians recite the Nicene Creed. “Who
for us and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate
of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried;
and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures.” It’s the
official summary of the Christian faith but, astonishingly, it jumps
straight from birth to death, apparently indifferent to what happened
Nicene Christianity is the religion of Christmas and Easter, the
celebration of a Jesus who is either too young or too much in agony to
shock us with his revolutionary rhetoric. The adult Christ who calls
his followers to renounce wealth, power and violence is passed over in
favour of the gurgling baby and the screaming victim. As such, Nicene
Christianity is easily conscripted into a religion of convenience, with
believers worshipping a gagged and glorified saviour who has nothing to
say about how we use our money or whether or not we go to war.
Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire with
the conversion of the emperor Constantine in 312, after which the
church began to backpedal on the more radical demands of the adult
Christ. The Nicene Creed was composed in 325 under the sponsorship of
Constantine. It was Constantine who decided that December 25 was to be
the date on which Christians were to celebrate the birth of Christ and
it was Constantine who ordered the building of the Church of the
Nativity at Bethlehem. Christmas – a festival completely unknown to the
early church – was invented by the Roman emperor. And from Constantine
onwards, the radical Christ worshipped by the early church would be
pushed to the margins of Christian history to be replaced with the
infinitely more accommodating religion of the baby and the cross.
The adult Jesus described his mission as being to “preach good news
to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and to set at liberty
those who are oppressed”. He insisted that the social outcast be loved
and cared for, and that the rich have less chance of getting into
heaven than a camel has of getting through the eye of a needle. Jesus
set out to destroy the imprisoning obligations of debt, speaking
instead of forgiveness and the redistribution of wealth. He was accused
of blasphemy for attacking the religious authorities as self-serving
In contrast, the Nicene religion of the baby and the cross gives us
Christianity without the politics. The Posh and Becks nativity scene is
the perfect tableau into which to place this Nicene baby, for like the
much-lauded celebrity, this Christ is there to be gazed upon and adored
– but not to be heard or heeded. In a similar vein, modern evangelical
choruses offer wave upon wave of praise to the name of Jesus, but offer
little political or economic content to trouble his adoring fans.
Yet despite the silence of the baby, it should be perfectly obvious
to anyone who has actually read the Christmas stories that the gospel
regards the incarnation as challenging the existing order. The pregnant
Mary anticipates Christ’s birth with some fiery political theology: God
“has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the
lowly, he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away
empty”, she blazes. Born among farm labourers, yet worshipped by kings,
Christ announces an astonishing reversal of political authority. The
local imperial stooge, King Herod, is so threatened by rumours of his
birth that he sends troops to Bethlehem to find the child and kill him.
Herod recognised that to claim Jesus is lord and king is to say that
Caesar isn’t. Christ’s birth is not a silent night – it’s the beginning
of a revolution that threatened to undermine the whole basis of Roman
Little wonder, then, that influential U.S. Christian commentator
Jim Wallis created a storm earlier in the year when he penned an attack
upon “Bush’s theology of empire”, helpfully illustrated with a picture
of Bush made up to look like the emperor Constantine. “Once there was
Rome, now there is a new Rome,” argued Wallis.
Constantine was converted to Christianity by a vision that came to
him on the eve of the battle of Milvian Bridge: “He saw with his own
eyes, up in the sky and resting over the sun, a cross-shaped trophy
formed from light, and a text attached to it which said, ‘By this sign,
conquer’ “. Soon the cross would morph from being a hated symbol of
Roman brutality into the universally recognisable logo of the Holy
Roman Empire. Within a century, St Augustine would develop the novel
idea of just war, trimming the church’s originally pacifist message to
the needs of the imperial war machine.
Like Constantine, George Bush has borrowed the language of
Christianity to sup port and justify his military ambition. And just
like that of Constantine, the Christianity of this new Rome offers
another carefully edited version of the Bible. Once again, the religion
that speaks of forgiving enemies and turning the other cheek is pressed
into military service.
The story of Christmas, properly understood, asserts that God is
not best imagined as an all-powerful despot but as a vulnerable and
pathetic child. It’s a statement about the nature of divine power. But
in the hands of conservative theologians, the Nicene religion of the
baby and the cross is a way of distracting attention away from the
teachings of Christ. It’s a form of religion that concentrates on
things like belief in the virgin birth while ignoring the fact that the
gospels are much more concerned about the treatment of the poor and the
forgiveness of enemies.
Bush may have claimed that “Jesus Christ changed my life”, but
Jesus doesn’t seem to have changed his politics. As the carol reminds
us: “And man at war with man hears not the love song that they bring, O
hush the noise ye men of strife and hear the angels sing.”
The Rev Dr Giles Fraser is vicar of Putney and lecturer in
philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford.