Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Live Blogging the Dateline Program on the Birth of Jesus Christ
11/11/2005 - James WhiteI've decided I might as well live-blog while I watch this thing. Given that it will feature John Dominic Crossan and Scott Hahn...well, it will have to be interesting. Prediction: Hahn will be one of the most conservative on the program. We can hope, anyway. Remember, he was trained as a Presbyterian. :-)
00: Ah, there's ol' Dr. Crossan, "Get over it. It didn't happen." Hey, Hahn's beard looks good trimmed tightly. :-)
01: The aim is not to challenge anyone's beliefs? What a wonderfully post-modern way of putting it. As if the Christian faith can stand without its historical moorings.
02: "It's a parable, dummy!" Hey, anyone who has been listening to the DL over this year, and has listened to the Crossan debate, is ready for this one.
05: Ben Witherington III is the conservative in the group? Well, lovely. "Guesswork." Great---too bad no one there to give a meaningful response.
07: Dom: why not wear a tie? :-)
08: Here's the url for the transcript: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10005045/
09: The nativity scenes ignore the historical context? Uh, why? Could someone explain the assertion? Crossan's statements sure didn't provide any basis for the statement.
10: One thing is for sure: I sure "hear" Crossan's words with a whole lot more clarity than a few years ago. Not sure how someone who hasn't read his works and dialogued with him could really follow him too well, though.
14: Ah, don't you love contrasting a little school play shot on an unsteady camera with the erudite scholars? Yeah, lovely.
16: Here comes the "it was common for folks to believe in men sired by gods" garbage, straight out of Crossan's works. Listen to the cross-examination from our debate for how well that flies in light of the uniqueness of Jewish monotheism.
17: Sure looks like the interviewer has little interest in challenging Crossan's position.
19: The entire thesis against the historic viewpoint is not even being challenged (or allowed to be challenged): the idea that there is prophecy has been dismissed, and the entire assertion is that the gospel writers were making this up as they went along. Hear the interviewer, "That's why, scholars say, blah blah..."
25: Note the constant assumption of so much of modern NT scholarship: when one gospel writer does not mention something, that means he did not know about it---rather than assuming the commonality and widespread nature of the traditions of Christ. Now, there was something unusual: they actually allowed Witherington to contradict Crossan! Wow, that was almost debate like! Can you imagine if the whole program was like that! It might prompt thinking!
28: You would find the story of going to Bethlehem "historically probably true." Glad Hahn said "yes." Of course, I would have said, "Without question." But I'm not a post-modernist.
29: Ah, there's the sun god story again...the interviewer blew that. The date of the birthday of the sun god in the first century was in August, not December. Common errors repeated so often they become "facts."
33: The interviewer is Keith Morrison...sorry to have just called him "the interviewer" before.
35: Hmm, I wonder why they didn't show Hahn when talking about the birth itself---I wonder if they did, but just didn't include the cuts? I bet that's the case. And what is this about angels over the manger? Where do they get that?
36: The gospels were not written as history, they were written as theology. Except in Christianity, God actually worked in history, making history theological. Hahn comes through--this is Scripture, it is history, it is inspired. Nice contrast to Crossan.
38: Have to chuckle a bit---if you saw the Crossan debate, you just heard one of those interviewed refer to Luke's statement that he used eyewitnesses, which was a somewhat humorous part of my debate with Dr. Crossan (see the cross-exam section).
39: Well, so far, I guess it could have been worse. At least Hahn and Witherington are providing some kind of counter-balance, and Morrison is allowing at least some level of credibility to the gospel stories. Call me jaded, but I imagine the folks at ABC are sitting around calling the folks at NBC "fundamentalists." Oh, and so far, I haven't heard Scott Hahn use a single pun. I am truly grateful, I really am. :-)
43: Oh please...the three kings went to Bethlehem? Yeah, OK, so popular piety is way off base.
46: Why does Matthew look like Charlie Manson?
48: Christ's birth is patterned on Moses...leading to the conclusion that it is all fiction. Parallels, yes...but all sorts of differences as well.
49: Americans believe "to a much higher percentage than biblical scholars." A sad commentary.
53: The "differences" (i.e., synoptic issues) have been "combined" and "ignored"? What is that supposed to mean? Crossan pretty much ignores the concept of harmonization as well--though, when challenged as to why, did not provide a compelling response in my opinion.
55: 30,000 variations of Christianity? Oh good grief, Morrison must have talked to Hahn. Can you believe the way in which myths get started?
56: Appreciate Witherington's willingness, on national television, to remain a supernaturalist (over against a naturalist).
57: Kudos, in general, to Witherington and yes, don't faint, Scott Hahn. Yes, I wish Hahn would debate key issues regarding biblical authority, the gospel, the Papacy, etc., but you have to give credit where credit is due, and at least in this instance, he was one of those willing to say 'yes, I believe it is true.'
Well, there's the program. Could have been worse, could have been better. Thanks for reading.