When The Media Talks Religion

Flipping through the channels recently, I came across a program on The History Channel that caught my attention. The program focused on archaeological discoveries in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah. These were then compared to the Bible record. “This could be good,” I thought, and settled in to expand my understanding.
Within five minutes I had abandoned all hope of being edified by this program. Instead of strengthening my faith by pointing to corroborative findings, the show was pulling out all stops (it seemed) to weaken a person’s faith. The Bible was treated as a collection of fables that might have a shred of reality, but certainly not to be taken seriously.
It has happened on numerous other occasions. A Hallmark presentation a few years ago depicted the story of Noah. When Noah’s ark was shown being attacked by a ship commanded by Lot, I knew something was seriously awry in their version of the truth. Truth, of course, wasn’t their objective; entertainment value was.
Christians should brace themselves anytime a program is offered on television on Biblical events. Magazine covers promising to reveal “the whole truth” about the historical Jesus should be viewed with great skepticism. There have been a few fairly accurate portrayals of Biblical events in recent years, but very few.
Paul pointed to a fact that ought to be the basis of anyone’s faith. In Galatians 1:11,12 he wrote, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (NKJV). For anyone desiring to know the true faith of Christianity, this has to be a bedrock principle.
Far too many depend on humans to tell them what God has revealed. The problem is that humans are imperfect. Though they may have several academic degrees, they still hold a bias that may intrude into their teaching. Though they have no intention of harming anyone’s faith, by their imperfect knowledge they can lead many astray. People may mean well, but their ability to accurately teach truth is less than perfect. (That applies to the one writing this article.)
We must each honestly ask, What is the source of my faith? Has it come from man, or from God? We won’t receive the truth exactly as Paul did; Christ won’t confront us in a blinding light as we travel down the highway. But the Bible is God’s perfect revelation of truth (see 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:3,4). As long as my beliefs rest ultimately on the revealed will of God, then I’m likely going to know the truth.
The cover of the latest issue of your favorite news magazine promises to enlighten you on what the Bible really teaches about a sensitive issue. Be skeptical. Remind yourself that only God is always true.
“Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).


To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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Tim Hall

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