Kennedy's 'Postcards from
The war on Easter
Jonal entry 970 | Friday, April 14, 2006
Some years ago I noticed that one of the mass media outlets in the United Kingdom published the results of a survey that found that about a third of the clergy of the Church of England didn't believe in the resurrection of Christ. It was surpassingly naive of me to think that the story there was that a third of Anglican ministers were denying a fundamental tenet of the religion they were being paid to represent and preach in their pulpits. This year I'm less naive, because having seen the American media gang up, en masse, against the Christian religion as their way of "observing" what most Christians call Holy Week has opened my eyes. Though I still don't doubt the findings of the British poll regarding their clergy, the real news is the secular humanist media's crusade to destroy Christian faith. Why would the British media make and release the results of such a poll near Easter? How better to confirm the general malaise the English (and most Europeans) feel toward the religion their parents baptized them into than to remind them that there's no point in going to those Easter services because even your priests/ministers don't believe the Easter shtick.
We've been hearing about the "war on Christmas" for several years running now, as we've discussed here in the past. But that crusade has been waged by department stores, public schools, city and town governments, the ACLU, "People for the American Way," and their leftist cohorts. If anything, it could be argued that the media downplay the war on Christmas (many editorials and columns suggesting that the right is manufacturing "the war" to get sympathy or to sell books or keep the chat shows buzzing) whereas it is the media themselves who are crusading against Easter by digging up, reporting, and even manufacturing "news" that clearly seems aimed at undermining the faith of churchgoers who lack education in biblical and church doctrines and history. Besides headline after headline touting the release of The Da Vinci Code movie in theaters early in May for weeks already, within the past week we've seen headlines like: "Missing link fish with legs proves evolution"; "Scientists find that Jesus walked on ice, not water"; "Prayer makes no difference in rates of healing," and the biggest bombshell, "New Gospel of Judas shows that Judas was Jesus' closest disciple."
It's not likely that you've missed the headlines especially about the finding of the Gospel of Judas, as it was both front page headlines and the topic of editorials from newspapers from the New York Times to the Podunk Gazette. And then it was introduced up close and personal in a Sunday evening National Geographic TV mocumentary. Not only did this nationally respected magazine report the finding and the translating of the Gospel of Judas, National Geographic spent a million dollars to piece together the fragments of the fourth-century papyrus allegedly found by an Egyptian farmer in a field in 1978. Maybe the National Geographic Society was waiting until they were convinced the American population had become so ignorant of Christian basics that it would be safe to introduce this now nearly 30-year-old "find of the century"?
An article on the newly rehabilitated "Gospel" in the Washington Post last week actually had the headline, "Ancient 'Gospel of Judas' Translation Sheds New Light on Disciple." despite the fact that Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, Gaul (now known as France) wrote in A.D. 180 that the Gospel of Judas was a Gnostic fiction. If it was fiction (and anyone who knows anything about the First Century Church and its founders has no doubt that it is), how could it possibly add any new light on the real Judas (as opposed to the fictitious Judas in the phony gospel which no one tries to argue was written within two centuries of when Judas committed suicide after betraying his Lord)? Perhaps I'm not the first observer to bring this point to the Post's attention, because later in the day the article was posted the headline was changed on their webpage to, "Newly Translated Gospel Offers More Positive Portrayal of Judas."
Philip Jenkins, "Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies" at Pennsylvania State University and the author Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way, and other books, writing under the heading "All gospels are not created equal" in Beliefnet says, "The reason that many scholars and members of the press have characterized this ho-hum Gnostic document as a momentous leap in our understanding is that it fits in with their model of early Christian history as a battle between competing understandings of who Jesus was. The Christians who called themselves "orthodox" had the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that appear in today's New Testament. Other Christians, including the Gnostics, had their own gospels, but neither the orthodox nor the Gnostics had truer insights into Jesus. The orthodox just happened to win the battle."
That explains the motives of post-Christian "biblical scholars," like Elaine Pagels who writes for the New York Times and is a professor at Princeton, who enthused in the Times that the Gospel of Judas and other Gnostic gospels "are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse—and fascinating—the early Christian movement really was." In other words, Christianity began as a big tug of war between the people mentioned in the Book of Acts and the Gnostics and somehow the Apostles got the upper hand.
Brian Saint-Paul, editor of the Catholic magazine Crisis, wrote to his email readers yesterday, "the Gospel of Judas...is being promoted by National Geographic as a bombshell that could destroy the very foundations of Christianity. The pressgoing for sensationalism over fact has jumped on the story, intoning solemnly that new light has been shed on the life of Jesus, and that the traditional biblical accounts have been thrown into question. In reality, this latest episode says less about Christianity than it does about the media's profound ignorance of ancient history."
And it says even more, I would add, about the press's general antipathy to Christianity and its fear of the power of the resurrection.