The documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” hadn’t even aired yet and many Christians were already in a panic. Just the suggestion that someone found Jesus’ bones in a limestone box had believers by the droves shaking their fists or sticking their heads in the sand in a don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts posture.
Apparently, many Christians don’t even need to see the evidence to pass judgment. When one Evangelical web site polled its visitors with the question, “Do you believe the ‘Tomb of Jesus' documentary, which denies the resurrection of Christ?” 97% said no. This was three days before the documentary even aired. Blind faith is so convenient, isn’t it? You never have to actually confront your critics.
Then there’s the bullies. One media watchdog demanded Discovery “cancel this slanderous ‘documentary.’” Another prominent Evangelical organization composed this letter for their constituents to hammer Discovery with:
I resent the Discovery Channel's attempt to demean and belittle Christianity by saying it is based on a lie. It is hard for me to believe that The Discovery Channel would dare do such a “documentary” on any other religion.
It may turn out that you have done Christianity a favor by awakening millions of Christians to your anti-Christian bias and bigotry. Perhaps they will no longer stay silent.
This kind of bullying is profoundly embarrassing to me, a follower of Christ, and should be discomfiting to every thoughtful Christian. It is not only a dismal retreat from a legitimate challenge that must be answered; it’s obscurantist.
Look, if the Bible says it and you believe it, that might settle it for you, but it doesn’t settle it for millions who might be interested in your ideas and are waiting to hear a thoughtful response to what appears on the surface to be a fair challenge.
There are good reasons to doubt the conclusions of this documentary, but no one will ever know them if Christians pull up the drawbridge and bellow from the parapet. Having seen the documentary, here are some problems that quickly come to mind:
Gregory Koukl is founder and president of Stand to Reason, an organization devoted to a thoughtful and engaging defense of classical Christianity in the public square. He is also a radio talk show host and author of Relativism—Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air.
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