Newsweek And (Anti-)Religious Ignorance

Recently, an article in Newsweek has been making some waves.  Whether intended to be “controversial” or “myth debunking,” the reality is it was ignorance revealing (of the author and Newsweek itself).  Since I have not yet even found the time to start taking us through the chapters of Orthodox Constructions, as I said I’d do, I certainly wasn’t about to try to find time to offer a rebuttal.  Thankfully, Fr. Lawrence Farley has done just that.  Already, a shorter version of this rebuttal has been run online.  Here at Red River Orthodoxy, we are pleased to present a fuller version.  His response is worth reading because it is a reminder that the real problem with the Newsweek piece is not the culture wars but biblical literacy, church history awareness, and a willingness to perform honest scholarship (whatever one’s position on a given issue):

Fr. LF Responds to Newsweek Magazine

5 Responses

  1. Michel

    An excellent commentary. It seems to me that the article in question isn’t really directed at the Bible or Christianity per se but at those who use the Bible and/or Christianity for political purposes. The irony is that the author of the article is as ignorant of the complexities of the Bible and the complexities of the history of Christianity as those he attacks. All in all, the entire episode is a testament to the failure of the “Church”, ( by which I mean the mainstream Christian churches, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant), to educate its members, especially its adult members, about the Bible and its own theological history. The continued failure to provide adult education will continue to result in mediocre, erroneous theology being peddled by self-styled, uneducated, “fundamentalist” preachers with the expected results.

  2. carol carlson

    Totally agree with the final sentence re: adult education. That goes for the education offered to children, too. Between preachers using Christ’s teachings to advance their own agendas (political, economic, etc.) and people not knowing what the Bible says and means, the people are ripe for the picking, and how very sad that is.

  3. sid_finster

    Purely as a matter of scholarship, this could be summarized as: Father Lawrence gets medieval on poor Mr. Eichenwald.

    However, folks like Mr. Eichenwald will continue to spout variations on the same narrative, because that narrative fits their world-view, even if the facts and logic don’t line up so good. Newsweek and other institutions will continue to print that narrative, Christmas and Easter, because that is the narrative that the people inside the Newsweek offices have adopted, which so happens to be the same narrative that other Serious People have adopted.

  4. Perry Lee

    I would not worry about the impact of this article too much. I Googled “Newsweek readership levels”, and discovered that there are fewer Newsweek readers than there are Episcopalians, so very very few people will actually see it.

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