Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis the Season for...Debate?

It is interesting to me how this time of year is one of two times in the year that major media outlets choose to discuss religion. A couple of nights ago, the national geographic channel was showing back-to-back specials which all included Jesus in one way or another. The History Channel also did a special on “Proving God” last week as well. It seems this is also the season in which the network news enjoys turning greeting statements and outdoor displays into overblown debates about the division between Church and State. 
Unfortunately, I feel that possible harm can result if one does not consume this type of media with a critical understanding of media. It has been my experience that the media prefers to tell a dramatic story instead of an accurate one. Scholarly discourse usually includes extremist viewpoints that are not very highly respected in a scholarly community, yet these viewpoints are what make it to the television. I can just imagine that many legit historians and theologians slap their foreheads over and over this time of year.
However, I think this discourse can be valuable, if nothing else, that it might inspire people to think about God and embark upon their own quest to know him. I tend to return to new writing concerning God and science this time of year. As a scientist and a Christian, I think it is valuable for me to be knowledgeable about the topic. 
What kind of feelings do you have about these public discussions? Are they harmful or valuable? Do they inspire you?

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