Newspaper panders to fundamentalists
I know people talk about the "liberal" bias of the media (by which they don't mean liberal at all but left-wing). But what I've seen in the US is some real pandering to the fundamentalist nutters. I have seen shows that present as "history" Christian theology. Theology is theology and history is history. Sometimes they meet and most often they don't. For instance it is the theology of some that Jesus is a god. But that doesn't make that a historical fact. Yet the US media routinely presents theological opinions as history.
As I have repeatedly said, we don't know a lot about the history of Jesus. We have no reliable documents on which to base an opinion. There are numerous things we can't say with any certainty and very few things which we can. And what we can say is of little importance to Christians. None, I repeat, none, of the differing theologies regarding Jesus have any historical documentation of any reliability to back them up. It is all guess work.
The DaVinci Code is a work of fiction that creates an alternative mythology about Jesus. It is clearly false since it is a work of fiction. And the "factual" books it uses as it's foundation are worthless pieces of rubbish when it comes to history. So it is easily debunked. The visions of Jesus that Christians hold, on the other hand, are pure inventions and there is nothing to substantiate them. One is easily proven false and the other has never been proven true -- in other words there is no reason to believe it based on the evidence.
USA Today newspaper decided to get alternative views on The DaVinci Code. To do that they went to people who are biased and trained in theology -- in other words they are experts at fairy tales. Thes story is useless trash from a historical viewpoint but it tells the religious fanatics in their revival tents "we're with you".
These alleged news story asks about the concept of the divinity of Christ. Now this is a doctrine that has always split Christians. And the view that he was won out because holders of that view did not hesitate to murder Christians who disagreed with it. The answer from the journalist, cum theologian, was that "Bishops settled numerous theological disputes at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, but they always considered Jesus to be divine."
False. What was "settled" at Nicea? Nothing really. Some bishops got together and voted on what they believed. Losers went off still believing what they believed before. Winners got the state to impose those beliefs and eventually stamp out most differences of opinion. One of the issues "settled" there was the divinity of Jesus. Now consider the contradiction. If they "always considered Jesus divine" as this journalist says why did they have to settle difference of opinion? There is strong evidence that the divinity of Christ was a doctrine invented by Paul, a man who never met Jesus.
This article, of course goes to fundamentalists only on this matter. They have quotes from three people, all of them fundamentalists, asserting that Christians have always believed Jesus was a god. The paper quotes a Southern Baptist Theologian, a president of a Southern Baptist seminary and the pastor of a fundamentalist church. Typical by the way. When newspapers want a diversity of views on some environmental issue they speak to competiting sects within the Green cult and then pretend that is a balanced viewpoint. Theologians who deny that Jesus claimed deity for himself or was a deity were ignored.
The article again contradicts the assertion that there was no dissent and that Christians always believed Jesus divine. It says that at Nicea the church branded "as heresy a teaching that Jesus was not the exact same substance of God." Why was that necessary if they all agreed that he was a god? They did it because they didn't all believe the same thing.
The paper asks if Jesus married and then quotes a professor of history from a Catholic university to answer. She says, "there is no historical evidence, archeology or letters --and no evidence is sin No. 1 for historians --- that Jesus married Mary Magdalene or had child with her, or that she went to France." True, absolutely true. Just as there is no historical evidence that he was a god, that he resurrected from the dead, etc. We have no historical evidence that the New Testament is divinely inspired and plenty of evidence to show that is not. We have historical evidence that the New Testament is accurate and plenty to show that it is not.
We don't know if Jesus was married or not. Why should we care? The only "document" floating about that purports to tell us much about this man is unreliable. And every book about him since then uses this unreliable and inaccurate book as its foundation.
Finally the newspaper asks if Opus Dei, the ban guys in the novel really do exist. It says they do but that a spokesman for the grouop "says there's nothing true about its portrayal in the movie." A film, by the way, which he could not have seen when he made the comment. But I would expect a spokesman for the group to say there is no truth to the portrayal. I don't know if there is or not. And the newspaper only presents one side to the debate so it was useless on that matter. And I've not had time to research this group to find out if anything in the book is true or not. Personally I would neither be surprised if it is true or if it is not.
And when the paper asks if there are other gospels such as those discussed in the film they rush back to the Southern Baptist fundies for an answer and the fundie they ask says "Most date to the early fourty century, much later than the four biblical gospels..." Well, yes and no. First we don't have an accurate date for the four main books of the New Testament. The earliest is thought to have been written around 70 years after the time of Christ. We don't know who actually wrote them but it's pretty clear that the men usually ascribed the position of author never saw the manuscripts. And while there are numerous gospels dating all over the place some of them go back much further than the date set by the fundamentalist. The Gospel of Judas is thought to go back further than various books accepted in the New Testament. It was mentioned in other documents in the year 180 so it had to be earlier than that. And it is suspected that it could go back to the year 130. If that were so it would put it on par, time wise, with the Gospel of Luke.
Other "gospels" such as the Gospel of Peter predates the New Testament's Gospel of Matthew.