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Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Remember the TV series, The West Wing? Maybe not. It aired from 1999 to 2006. It featured Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet, a left-wing Democrat. There is a famous episode where President Bartlet lets loose on a visitor, a Dr. Jenna Jacobs, played by Claire Yarlett, who is playing a conservative talk show imitation of Dr. Laura Schlesinger. He singles her out in the crowd and asks her about her position that homosexuality is an abomination.
I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you are here. I am interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it OK to call the police? Here’s one that is really important because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions would you?
Zing! Well, he sure put her in her place, didn't he?

Now, as it turns out, Dr. Jacobs has no comeback and Hollywood wins the day, and that's because this is what the writers wanted. And because the president was so pithy and so effective, lots of people have used those very same arguments ... you know, as if they made sense. No one asked the president, "So, you're opposed to Old Testament laws. If you're against Leviticus 18:22, I suppose then that you're in favor of adultery (Lev 18:20), incest (Lev 18:6-17), bestiality (Lev 18:23), and sacrificing babies (Lev 18:21)? I mean, well, you're in favor of sacrificing babies to the god of convenience and you're opposed to Old Testament laws, so I just figured you'd want to be consistent." No one asked, "Excuse me, Mr. President, why do you assume that 'homosexuality' and homosexual actions are the same thing?" or "If you assume that planting mixed seed (Lev 19:19) is punishable by death, do you also assume that tripping a blind man (Lev 19:14), slander (Lev 19:16), or bearing a grudge (Lev 19:18) are equally worthy of capital punishment (since nothing in the text calls for it)?" Most conveniently, not one single person mentioned, "But, Mr. President, it was Paul who wrote 'Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.' (1 Cor 6:9-10)." In other words, Mr. President, your serious misrepresentation of Scripture doesn't make your case.

Still, to lots of anti-Christian, anti-Bible folk, President Bartlet was brilliant.

Not to be outdone, The Big Bang Theory is a show that has been popular for some time. The primary personality is Sheldon Cooper, a character both brilliant and foolish. He earned his PhD at the age of 16, but can't seem to figure out the basics of normal human interaction. In one of their Christmas episodes, we were treated to this exchange.
Penny: Hey Sheldon, are you and Leonard putting up a Christmas tree?
Sheldon Cooper: No, because we don't celebrate the ancient pagan festival of Saturnalia.
Penny: Saturnalia?
Howard Wolowitz: Gather round, kids, it's time for Sheldon's beloved Christmas special.
Sheldon Cooper: In the pre-Christian era, as the winter solstice approached and the plants died, pagans brought evergreen boughs into their homes as an act of sympathetic magic, intended to guard the life essences of the plants until spring. This custom was later appropriated by Northern Europeans and eventually it becomes the so-called Christmas tree.
Well, now, hey, if Sheldon said it, it must be true, right? I mean, he is smarter than anyone else, right?

Except that he's not. For instance, the Biblical Archaeological Society suggests that the celebration of Christmas on December 25 does not have its origins in Saturnalia. Indeed, early church fathers complained that Saturnalia was stealing from Christmas, not vice versa. (Note the feast of the birth of Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun, was not established until 274 A.D by the Roman emperor Aurelian.) The custom of the Christmas tree was not from notions of "sympathetic magic" in the pre-Christian era, but from 16th century Germany. One story is told of a missionary by the name of Boniface who, preaching the gospel to the Germanic people who worshiped trees, chopped down a sacred oak tree to demonstrate that their worship of the tree was false. The oak fell on a pine sapling which bent under the load, then sprang back to life. He called the tree the "Christ tree" because it symbolized Christ's supremacy over false gods. There was an ancient custom of a Yule tree as described by Sheldon, but there is no evidence of any connection between the Yule tree and the Christmas tree. So while Sheldon's rant sounds wise and demolishes Christmas, it's actually not factually correct.

Still, to lots of anti-Christian, anti-Bible folk, Sheldon Cooper was brilliant.

Look, I'm not surprised that people buy this stuff wholesale without even examining it. Sin rots the brain (Rom 1:28). The default condition of the unbeliever is hostility toward God (Rom 8:7). In fact, we all like to hear things that support our position. So this isn't really about anti-Christian, anti-Bible folk, homosexual behavior, or Christmas. It's about you and me. You see, we are equally susceptible to this "They said what I wanted to hear" kind of thinking. I know people who latched onto the whole "NASA found Joshua's Missing Day" story as if this proved the Bible. It didn't. It wasn't even reasonable. So we're all susceptible to this. Don't do it. Don't buy into things without examining it. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)

1 comment:

bob said...

but hey what about those ancient aliens? you see if you cannot believe in God and you have no explanation for the wonders of creation, there is the fallback position, "ALIENS DID IT"
Look even the book of Ezekiel has space ships. so there. of course there is that little annoying question about who made the aliens. but i digress. there is nothing so satisfying as filling the minds of fools with useless information. i remember one phrase that Hollywood taught us to use when we were in trouble, DO NOT GO INTO THE LIGHT. do you see how effective they were in teaching us to hate the light? Because the light is BAD. John said: to the children of God, we should walk in the light as He is in the light" so according to Hollywood" light is bad and darkness is good. that's OK i am sure that the aliens wont mind because they have night vision...