In August of 1999 my family took an unforgettable trip to Israel with other members of our church to visit some of the many interesting archeological and historical sites in that country, the birthplace of the Christian faith. It was very good to learn more about the time and places of Jesus’ life and ministry in context. I came away with a renewed appreciation for the historical significance of my faith and a lasting desire to learn more.
One of the best places on the Web for news of an historical nature about the Holy Land is Todd Bolen’s Bible Places website and blog. They are a great educational resource. It has been especially helpful in setting the record straight on sensational news media controversies like “The Tomb of Jesus” and 60 Minutes’ recent treatment of the James Ossuary. It’s interesting to see how the popular media take sides in each of these cases; how much more skeptical they are of the authenticity of the James Ossuary than they are of the Jesus Family Tomb. The common slant is one to undermine the historical basis for the Christian faith. This seems to be their way of observing Easter for us. From these accounts the bias seems deliberate, not due to ignorance or sloppy editing of interviews. I wonder how much damage this sort of thing does to the public opinion of Christianity. Discovery Communications (who bills itself as “The number-one nonfiction media company“) and CBS certainly command a wider audience than the rebuttals ever will, but those of us with any stake in the truth will always dig deeper. For those who do, sad to say, it’s not surprising that there is so much distrust of the popular news media these days.