My sister and I were talking about the headline on the front page of our local paper last week. No, the headline on the front page wasn’t about Iran and nuclear weapons, marching for illegal immigration, or the new government in Iraq. It wasn’t even about a local issue. It was Judas: Traitor or Loyal Disciple? (Broken link, active April 11, 2006) (Alternate link here (Broken link, active April 11, 2006) if it is not working.)
Now why is this front page news? Why is this the main headline? Cal Thomas calls it the gospel of unbelief: every year, at Christmas and Easter, the media trumpets ‘discoveries’ that cast doubt on anything having to do with the veracity of Jesus or the Scriptures. Can you imagine a news piece debunking the Koran running a few days before Ramadan? Of course not, that would be insensitive and hateful. And the fact that the media moves these items from the religion section of the paper to the front page just shows how badly they want the ‘news’ to be true.
Cal mentions the recent New York Times article (subscription only) in which the missing link between fish and land animals was supposedly at long last found. Answers in Genesis has already countered the hysterical speculation with science. Cal next mentions the story my sister and I were discussing, the discovery of the so-called gospel of Judas. The fact that Judas hanged himself immediately following his betrayal of Jesus, and therefore was not around to write an alternate gospel — making this discovery a work of fiction — does not bother the skeptics in the least. (The ‘gospel’ of Judas, like the ‘gospel’ of Thomas before it, is a darling of the Gnostics, the bane of early Christian orthodoxy. The Christian Research Institute maintains an excellent paper about Gnosticism at its website; part two is here. The links require Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
And finally, there is the Da Vinci Code. Never mind that the book is a work of fiction, sold in the fiction section of the bookstores. Never mind that its premises have been debunked as fiction again and again and again. It has been turned into a major motion picture, and the Hollywood types are praying it makes a boatload of cash to stick it to The Passion of the Christ! Well, maybe it will. This is the culture, after all, in which The Saw II was a top movie.
If the movie is successful — it will have to succeed without me; I am not going to go see it — we can use the movie’s success to segway a conversation about the veracity and historical accuracy of the Scriptures. That is my plan. My favorite books for these issues are Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, and Many Infallible Proofs by the late Dr. Henry Morris.