CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The ABC’s War on Christianity

Mar 30, 2009

The acronym ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) could as easily stand for the Atheist Broadcasting Corporation. Or perhaps Anti-Biblical Christianity. It is an incredibly secular, leftist and trendy network, pushing almost all the wrong ideologies. A good case in point is its “religious” program Compass aired on Sunday nights.

One can count on one hand the number of programs actually supportive of biblical Christianity on Compass. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is either featuring programs bashing Christianity, or showcasing other religions in a very favourable light.

Consider some recent episodes as well as some upcoming viewing on Compass. On 15 March 2009 we had the “Hand of God”. It is described on the Compass website this way: “This moving personal story about the sexual abuse of a 14-year old altar boy in 1960s America examines the personal cost to one family and their faith.”

Now all child sexual abuse is to be deplored and condemned. But why are we not surprised that this is yet another story about the big bad Catholic Church and abusive priests? How many times will the ABC run this story?

The truth is, for every abusive priest in existence there may well be hundreds, if not thousands, of faithful and committed priests who have only endeavoured to be a force for good, not evil. How many of their stories get a run on Compass?

Then on 22 March we had “Life and Death”. It is described as follows: “Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are two of the three Bali Nine facing execution for drug trafficking. They live each day in hope and fear knowing it could be their last. . . . [T]his program examines how the death penalty extends punishment to the families and friends of the condemned.”

The program was basically one long diatribe against the death penalty. Never mind that capital punishment has clear biblical support. And never mind the hell people and their families affected by deadly drugs have to go through – drugs which the drug peddlers are quite happy to push for profit.

Last night, 29 March, we had, surprise, surprise: “The Atheists”. It featured a completely sympathetic overview of the new atheists. No hard questions were asked and no critics of atheism appeared. It was just an hour-long free ride for the misotheists to continue their war on religious belief in general and Christianity in particular.

One could write an entire article on the silly and convoluted arguments presented on the program, but that may have to wait for another time. Suffice it to say that one can wait in vain for biblical Christians to get such a sympathetic hearing as did these sceptics and atheists.

But wait, there’s more. In the next two weeks (taking us right up to Easter Sunday) there will be a two-part program, “The Real Jesus: The Hidden Story of Jesus”. It is described in this fashion: “British theologian Robert Beckford investigates remarkable parallels to the Jesus story in other faiths; some that predate Christianity by thousands of years. He looks at the stories of Horus, Mithras, Krishna and the Buddha. He also examines the radical differences between the Jesus story in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and seeks to find within this the ‘real’ Jesus. A colourful and lavish two part series shot in locations around the world.”

The way the story was described on air tonight makes one very nervous about this series. Indeed, it is already online but I do not think it is worth spending much time on, for several reasons. First, we are informed that Beckford is a “theologian with a passion for ‘edutainment’.” That’s about right. He is eight parts entertainment, and two parts – at best – education. Indeed, he sounds all rather like Dan Brown.

Also, his CV tells us that he is a Jamaican-born reader in black theology and popular culture at Oxford Brookes University. Before that he was a lecturer in African diasporan religions and cultures, University of Birmingham. His writings include such topics as ‘Black Male Sexual Representation and Christology’.

So he is not a New Testament scholar by any means, yet he will lecture us on who the “real” Jesus is. But given his past track record, we need not expect very much. Indeed, he has appeared on Compass before. And guess what? You got it – it was also at Easter time.

Over the Easter period in 2006, Compass featured his two two-part ‘documentary’ entitled “Who Wrote the Bible?” It was one long challenge to the authenticity and reliability of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. He basically interviewed liberal theologians who slammed the Bible, while ignoring the wealth of conservative biblical scholarship. As a case in point, he declared the New Testament to be a “masterwork of spin written by people who were nowhere near the events they describe, all gathered by powerful editors who kept out ideas they did not like”.

Indeed, it seems that every year at Easter time Compass airs some program casting doubts on the central tenets of the Christian faith. It regularly features heretics, apostates and liberal theologians who are all quite happy to rip into biblical Christianity, challenging all the key beliefs, including the resurrection. And on a regular basis it does so specifically on Easter Sunday, one of the holiest of days of the Christian calendar.

Such deplorable attacks on Scripture, Christ and the Christian faith are of course par for the course for our taxpayer-funded ABC. One should not hold one’s breath to see Compass featuring a documentary highly critical of the Koran, running it during Ramadan. And I don’t think we will see an episode slamming Aboriginal dreamtime spirituality anytime soon.

This is just another case of the ABC’s long-standing anti-Christian bigotry. And we tax-payers are footing the bill for this anti-Christian agenda. It is becoming as tedious as it is appalling. Compass of course could show these attacks on Christianity at any other time during the year. But to deliberately place them at this most special of times in the Christian year shows what a bunch of anti-Christian bigots we have working at the ABC.

If you are concerned about this constant, deliberate, provocative and orchestrated attack on the Christian religion, why not contact the ABC and make your complaints heard loud and clear? Use this webpage to contact the good folk at Compass: www.abc.net.au/compass/contact.htm

Please do not just sit back and let another attack on your faith take place. Please stand up and be counted.

[1082 words]

43 Responses to The ABC’s War on Christianity

  • The ‘game’ of comparing Jesus to other ‘Gods’ is in vogue at the moment, seems like it’s the thing to do. If one makes the (small) effort to investigate these claims then they fall apart pretty quickly as the similarities simply aren’t there. For some good information in this regard it might be worth having a look at the this page in preparation for the upcoming Compass episode..

    http://www.thedevineevidence.com/jesus_similarities.html

    Paul Harry

  • Bill,

    Thanks again for a pertinent and provocative expose of what ABC TV does to the Christian worldview. It has been commonplace for the ABC not to give a balanced view.

    When I write to the ABC (which I will do tonight), I’ll ask why there was no interview with Richard Bauckham, professor of NT studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, author of “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony” (Eerdmans 2006). In his recommendation of this publication, Dr. N. T. Wright (a noted NT scholar in his own right) says that Bauckham “draws on his unparalleled knowledge of the world of the first Christians to argue not only that the Gospels do indeed contain eyewitness testimony but that their first readers would certainly have recognized them as such. This book is a remarkable piece of detective work.” I’m working my way through Buckham’s 500 pages at the moment.

    Where were Richard Bauckham, N. T. Wright, and other evangelical scholars in the ABC’s examination of the veracity of the Easter story and biblical Christianity? We can expect the Jesus Seminar heretics to be trundled out around Easter with their skeptical version of the historical Jesus.

    It is that season of the year when we as Christians ought to be writing articles for our local newspapers and critiquing those that oppose biblical Christianity. I’ll set about submitting something this week to local newspapers.

    Thanks for this timely reminder of how anti-Christian the ABC can be in its biased presentations.

    Spencer Gear

  • I stopped watching the ABC 4 years ago for a funny reason – because watermarks drive me up the wall, but now I also don’t watch it because the kind of farcical reaction to The Great Global Warming Swindle make a joke of it. I don’t miss it, and my life is so full now I wonder how I could make time for it. But many do watch, and swallow such drivel uncritically, and importantly – think they are being informed when they are actually being programmed to think a certain way. It is impossible to consume content for an extended time without having it influence you, which is why Christians must know their Bible well.

    But you are right, Bill, the ABC (not to mention, SBS – does that stand for Sex Between Soccer?) has an agenda, a script, and they never deviate from it. From shows uncritical of homosexuality, to never giving the pro-life case opportunity to air their case in their own words (but of course the pro-death people get lovely personal portraits of their ‘crusade’ for ‘women’s rights’), to attack after attack on biblical Christianity, there is nothing that this taxpayer-funded behemoth thinks it has to be accountable for. Almost 12 years ago, I took a few hours to examine an episode of Four Corners that followed Philip Nitschke around, always painting his work and supporters in an emotional and sympathetic light, and only letting his opponents give the odd comment. But dear old Dr Death got about twice the air time (I added it up), and it is not a level playing field to try to succeed against tactics that include bringing out the violins and pulling on the heartstrings. I have no doubt what the producer was trying to make people think. It certainly wasn’t journalism, it was cheerleading.

    Hostings or promo scripts the ABC will never run:

    “Tonight we examine the risks of anal intercourse for the transmission of HIV vs normal sex.”
    “A former abortion supporter tells of her horror experience at a clinic many years ago and how she now rescues the unborn and campaigns to get women to embrace their hard-wired physiology”
    “…interviews with Biblical Scholars from around the world tell of how the Bible has hundreds of times more credibility than other ancient documents and gives us a radical insight into the history of the world and the human race.”
    “We look at how the poor fare in different countries around the world and whether this has any connection with the financial policies of that country.”
    “President Obama might like to paint himself as a moderate with feelgood ideas about the economy and freedom, but his political past reveals some disturbing facts.”
    “Sarah Palin has not got anything to do with an official campaign for 2012 yet, so we won’t be reporting anything about her personal life…”

    I’d love it if the ABC could run Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, or Lee Strobel’s The Case For Christ (I watched both on DVD recently – extremely well produced and very highly recommended) – but like TGGWS, they would likely be hounded to run some kind of balanced ‘panel’ hosted by some so-called ‘impartial’ puppet afterwards.

    The internet exists, alternatives for entertainment (not to mention news and comment) abound – it’s time for this monster to be defunded considerably to become – at least in regards to its TV output – a limited news-orientated network with strong accountability to truth – where people get sacked for claiming things like that Victoria’s abortion laws are only for the first 24 weeks of pregnancy (something they claimed twice in six weeks in September and October last year) instead of sending me a dismissive email.

    If I got things like that wrong in my work, I’d be dismissed, but in the ABC, it probably earmarks you for promotion.

    Mark Rabich

  • The ABC is basically an institutionalized false prophet and as such its character and behaviour is graphically described in 2 Peter 2.
    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them … Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. … Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; … these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. … Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. … With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! … For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity …”
    Tas Walker

  • I too have noticed how the ABC and their bed-fellows, who organize the homosexual Mardi Gras, choose Easter for their attacks on Christianity. At least they know that Easter Sunday (Christ’s ressurection) is the most important day in the Christian calendar. To paraphrase a quotation from St Paul. “If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain”.
    Also, concerning the number of child molesters among Catholic priests- if the USA is any guide, the percentage was 5/8 of one per cent. I have been a Catholic all my life and as a child was an altar boy. I came in contact with a lots of priests, in this duty, including mainly Irish, but also many Australians, plus Americans and Lithuanians.Not once in all my days, was there any priest, who ever behaved badly or was any threat to any of us boys. However, on the other hand, I recall a case concerning the ABC,many years ago, where one of their announcers was jailed for child molestation. No one suggested at the time, that this reflected on other employees there.
    When I hear of these “specialists” who come stumbling along two thousand odd years too late to “put us straight” with our Chrirstianity, I recall that those closest to the action, Christ’s diciples, were prepared to sacrifice their lives (usually in a most babaric fashion) rather than renounce their beliefs in Christ as God and Saviour. Would any of today’s “experts” be prepared to give up their lives for the nonsense they peddle with abandon?
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Once one realises that the only religion OK to abuse under any circumstances is Christianity, & that the only religion which may never be abused (or even identified as the religion it inevitably becomes) is Materialist/Naturalist Atheism, the whole situation becomes much clearer.

    This covert prejudice is outright dishonest, which is of course in accord with 1 John 2:4.

    Leon Brooks

  • I’d like to see these courageous individuals at the ABC launch an attack on Islam right around the time of Ramadan. But of course they won’t. They only attack religion that will challenge their ideology as conservative Christians will.

    One only needs to watch Tony Jones or look at the way they stack a panel of ‘experts’ to know how completely lacking in bi-partisanship is the ABC.

    Damien Spillane

  • Bill,

    I just had a glance through some of the past 2 or so years of Compass archives, and at least from that it does not seem like the way you put it in this write-up.

    Can you give some more concrete details rather than rhetoric, “Indeed, it seems that every year at Easter time Compass airs some program casting doubts on the central tenets of the Christian faith.”

    Jurien Dekter

  • Don’t get angry. get excited! This sort of thing HAS to happen before Jesus Christ returns! Getting closer!
    Bit of advice though-turn the crap TV off! That includes most tele evangelists too!
    Lou d’Alpuget

  • Thanks Jurien

    I have already mentioned Easter 2009 and Easter 2006. How about a story on the “three faces of Christmas” – another interfaith push on Christmas, 2007; a three part religion hatchet job by Robert Winston (no friend of Christianity) over Easter 2007; a segment on “the real Mary” (we are told she was the “first apostle”) in Christmas 2004; “Did Jesus Die?” which questions his death, Easter 2004; “Children of Abraham” three common faiths, Easter 2002; “Testing Faith” critics assail Christianity, Christmas 2001; “Lives of Jesus” – another quest for the “real Jesus. Christmas 1999; etc.

    How far do you want me to keep going Jurien? I did not say every year, I said it ‘seems’ like every year. We have at least every second year featuring programs attacking keys beliefs, at both Christmas and Easter.

    Plus many of the archive blurbs only give a very limited description, such a “scholars discuss the life of Jesus” without mentioning the actual scholars. So now I can only go by memory, but I recall many times liberal theologians and radicals like Theiring, Spong and others being the scholars featured, explaining away the key tenets of the faith. Indeed, apostates like Spong have appeared quite often on Compass and other ABC programs over the years

    So my case remains. On a regular basis controversial and provocative programs are deliberately shown at key Christian holy days, seemingly with the sole purpose of undermining credibility in the biblical accounts, raising doubts, and casting aspersions on core Christian beliefs.

    And since you seem to be an apologist for the ABC, why don’t you go back to your archive search, and inform us all just exactly how many programs offer a vigorous debunking of the Koran, strong attacks on the life of Muhammad, question the virtues of Buddhism, or tell us what hokum Aboriginal dreamtime spirituality is. Or should we not hold our breath?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Lou

    Yes and no to both your remarks. These may well be indicators of end times, but Jesus said we should “occupy” till he comes. We are not to look at each new case of madness with glee and pack our bags, waiting to go home. We are to be actively engaged in extending God’s kingdom, being salt and light, and seeing God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, as Jesus prayed.

    And yes TV is full of crap. But that is not the point. If every single believer threw away their TVs, that would be beneficial for a lot of reasons. But that means all their non-Christian neighbours would still be soaking up the crap, including the anti-Christian bigotry that so often appears, especially on the ABC.

    Part of our calling as Christians is to contend for the faith once delivered (Jude 3), and give an answer for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). We are to rebut false teaching and promote the truth. So simply burying our heads in the sand will not allow us to fulfil these biblical obligations.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,
    Thank you for your article: well reasoned as usual.
    I’m afraid running anti-Christian documentaries has become standard fare for the ABC for a long time. I well remember when Barbara Thiering was the darling of the Corporation back in the late 1980s & early 1990s, until even she became so utterly crackpot in her ideas that even the ABC dropped her. But all her crazy theories were aired at Easter time.

    I believe that the ABC should be privatised: that way they can run with their bile and venom against Biblical Christianity, but WITHOUT taxpayer dollars to support them. Fred Nile has been calling for this for some years, and I believe we all should begin a campaign.

    So then, by all means write to ABC management, and endure their effete replies, but more importantly write to your local MP, and put it strongly that as conservative Christians we are fed up, and if they want to keep our vote (remember Kevvy in 2007 DID assure us all that he was on our side!) then privatise the ABC. It has passed its “use-by” date, and referring to it as “our ABC” is nothing more than a sick joke.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Network 10 can be just as vindictive. On Saturday afternoon 20/12/08 they aired “The tomb of Jesus” in its ridiculous two hour entirety. It’s a wonder they featured ads during it, but then they probably didn’t want to take away the “true” meaning of Christmas. Thanks Bill.
    Anthony McGregor

  • Thanks Anthony

    Yes absolutely, all five of our free-to-air networks can engage in rabid anti-Christian bigotry. It’s just that the three commercial networks are not being funded by our tax dollars. Murray is correct – both the ABC and SBS should be fully privatised.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I rarely watch the ABC and almost never watch anything on SBS. Both are a waste of money. There are so many channells now, with pay TV (Foxtell), which is the only fair and balanced news entity on air, I believe that the ABC & SBS have worn out any usefulness, if it ever existed, They should be abolished and money used for pensions and hospitals.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Dr Adamthwaite is right about privatization. Mr Howard missed his change and it came back to bite him. But it should be obvious: Thomas Jefferson said:

    “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

    This copycat rubbish is refuted at Was Christianity plagiarized from pagan myths?, and see also Atheists Blast Christianity: Yet another misleading anti-Christian assault from Australia’s taxpayer-funded TV station and Catalytic reporting: An Australian science show flags its bias.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I agree with Mark – there’s so much better entertainment available because of the internet.

    TV has been used well to promote racial equality, immunisation, fire safety, democratic participation, water safety, etc… but lately it’s also been used to promote abortion, homosexuality, and making ‘fun’ of Christ (or at the least, making Him look irrelevant).

    TV is like commercial potato chips: enjoyable, but with very little good content, a waste of time and money, and too much makes you sick. With the foul-mouthed rubbish it features, i won’t miss it when it goes the way that newspapers are…

    Alison Keen

  • I find Compass a useful means of obtaining insight into how other people see Christian faith. As terrible it may be, it allows us to prepare careful conversation when next talking to such people, showing them the error of their believe and possibly winning them to Christ.
    David Visser

  • I have noticed for a few years that it is common to trot the anti-smacking campaign out of the closet at Easter on most networks. I am mystified why they think that is important at Easter. It seems to be yet another concealed attack at conservative christian values and the family.
    Lennard Caldwell, Clifton QLD

  • Dear Bill
    In addition to letters of complaint to the ABC, may I encourage all your readers to write letters of thanks and appreciation to the appropriate television networks as and when they do show worthwhile pro-Christian programs, films, etc.
    Not only would this go a long way to combat all the Anti-Christian correspondence the networks must receive but I believe that a show of support would go a long way to encourage continuance and maybe even an increase in the amount of pro-Christian programs shown on free-to-air television. Thank you and God bless you.
    Mandy Varley

  • Thanks Mandy

    Yes quite right. We should not only be diligent in raising our voices to complain about what is wrong in the media, but we should be equally keen to give a bit of praise when something good appears as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill. That is exactly what I was looking for. I am also in debates from time to time and couldn’t defend the statement that the ABC is biased very well without the detailed study for which time often is missing.

    Thanks again.
    Jurien Dekter

  • Murray and Jonathan are certainly correct that Howard should have privatised the ABC. It is like the arts community he allowed to be funded by tax-payer’s money whilst they slammed him and any other conservatives with their ‘art’ messages, whilst the likes of David Marr bellowed that Howard had shut up any criticism of him.
    Damien Spillane

  • It’s probably time to admit to something: I have actually worked in the industry we are speaking of for the past 22 years, so I am not just speaking out of hand about things I have no knowledge of. The majority of my time has been in the commercial arena, but there has been the odd foray into the government broadcasters. My passion for the industry when I first entered it in 1986 has waned considerably in the last few years for various reasons which I won’t go into – I still love my work, but too much of the industry just leaves me cold. (Thankfully most of my time is not in those areas.) But I really get irritated by the government still funding the ABC and SBS for entertainment services when the reasons for these existing are based on arguments which may have been valid as recently as a decade ago, but not anymore. And there is a culture in those organizations that badly needs dismantling.

    Reading between the lines of the ABC Charter, one can see that it was set up to plug a massive hole that existed decades ago in terms of the accessibility of video content for entertainment and information. This hole just isn’t even 1% of what it used to be, so why is so much money from taxpayers being poured into it? I can see the need for a government sponsored news service biased towards internet delivery, but beyond this, the justification for other content can only be based on pretentious ideas by the privileged few to protect their jobs and further careers for other like minded people. My feeling is, pull the rug from under them, let them face up to the reality of the marketplace (hey, if it’s so good, you have nothing to fear, right?) and stop living in their cotton-wool Disneyland on our hard-earned. (Care to make a donation to the AFI Endowment Fund? Maybe you want to join Friends of the ABC??? LOL! ROFL!!!)

    And the news service that remains needs to have an accountability system in place with real teeth. Maybe an hour long Media Watch with 2 hosts from opposite sides of the political spectrum could be a start. There are things that should get producers, journalists and chief-of-staffs sacked, otherwise they are just fooling themselves that they hold to some wonderful ideas about ethics and informing the public.

    Now I admit, I have actually worked mainly in Sport, and it sometimes used to bother me that I usually wasn’t doing anything that important in the ‘grand scheme of things’ – or something. Until I realized some time last year that the fact that two opposing teams tend to keep things honest is a marvellous thing indeed. This cheered me up immensely. Imagine a news service which followed this model. We might actually get the truth sometimes! Wishful thinking, I know…

    I’ll admit to something else – I do have a soft spot for the ABC… the way it used to be. I grew up on Dr Who, The Goodies and late VFL replays & transmission switchoffs on Saturday nights – but the broadcast landscape is very different now from the late 70s and early 80s. If I was 13 or 14 now, I would probably not be waiting an entire year – 1981 – for Tom Baker’s last season (for example). I would just bypass their silly schedule at my computer. So sentimentalism is useless.

    Maybe the ABC can morph into a commercial production house, but conventional broadcasting is no longer a novelty that needs tax dollars to support it. The ABC and SBS need a major, major overhaul. In their present form, Australia just doesn’t need their TV services anymore and possibly other parts of the organizations as well. They are a massive waste of taxpayers money. Of course there would be an outcry, but will the world stop turning if the ABC and SBS permanently faded to black? No, God willing, the sun will rise just as likely the next morning. Get over it – they don’t run steam trains anymore either. But people still manage to get around.

    The internet significantly reduces the need for government sponsored terrestrial broadcasting entertainment the same way a large commercial bakery cafe would dismiss the need for a ‘Canberra Cuisine’ lunch sandwich shop with a limited selection. It’s simply a fact. Making such a radical change may even make it possible to create jobs for people with real marketable talent too – I remember a 22 year old girl learning editing saying to me recently – “I hardly watch TV, it seems so retro.” The guy she’s learning off works for the ABC.

    Times have changed, Aunty. Technology has moved on. Jonathan and Murray are right – contact your local MP. Also Rudd, Tanner, Conroy, and Swan. Apparently the government is currently looking at the funding for the ABC in the next budget, so now is a very good time.

    And watch Expelled – it really is exceptionally good.

    Mark Rabich

  • I just want to concur with Spencer’s comments above. I have read Richard Baukham’s book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.” It is a masterful survey of the gospel material, and Baukham uses his wide knowledge of first-century literary conventions to argue persuasively for the gospel records’ reliability and their status as eyewitness accounts.

    With scholarship like this, it does make one wonder why the ABC does not feature such academics, who after years of hard labour over the relevant texts, have nonetheless concluded that the gospels can be trusted. Where are the Baukhams, Wrights, Dunns and Witheringtons of this world? I can only conclude that having such figures on the ABC’s upcoming documentaries on Jesus could only risk the apparent privileging of one religion over another – and in today’s pluralistic culture, that is the most damnable of all heresies.

    Scott Buchanan

  • Thanks Scott

    Absolutely right. In addition to the four experts you name, there are plenty of other New Testament scholars who could be featured, including Darrell Bock, Craig Blomberg, Rikki Watts, Gordon Fee, Paul Barnett, Craig Evans, Larry Hurtado, D.A. Carson, I. Howard Marshall, R.T. France, Robert Stein, Richard Longenecker, Thomas Schreiner, Richard Burridge, etc., etc.

    If the ABC in general and Compass in particular were even remotely interested in balance and objectivity, they could send a few film crews around and interview some of these world-class authorities, and produce a number of interesting programs. But I somehow doubt they will be so inclined.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill, Your exposure of the ABC stirred me deeply.
    I sent a letter to the press of our nation advocating that ABC show the Jesus film this Easter. The sound has been dubbed into 1050 languaqges; has been seen by 2 billion people, inviting 200 milllion to receive Christ as personal Saviour. SBS has a readily-structered programme in multi-langauges.
    As a survivor of the 2/9 General Hospital at foor of Kokoda Trail, I plead with ABC for a worthy programme to present the historic death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    Harrold Steward

  • Bill,

    I don’t see what the fuss is about. According to the program’s website, “Compass critically examines the world of belief and values, seeking meaning and a sense of purpose in life. It navigates the historical and contemporary, the personal and political, the religious and secular.

    Why should any branch of Christianity expect a free ride on such a program? There are so many conflicts within Christianity that to present a program favouring one particular view, e.g. “biblical Christianity”, would cause offence to the others, who in turn would complain of bias. The ABC couldn’t win no matter what it did.

    As for claims that the program is biased against Christianity, that’s certainly not obvious from a full perusal of recent topics. The program is meeting an educational need by also occasionally examining controversies over the origins of scripture. Very few Christians have much knowledge of how the Bible was created. If they knew more perhaps they would begin to question elements of their faith. Is that what you’re afraid of Bill?

    As for suggestions that the ABC should be privatised, all that would do would be to drag it down to the same redneck common denominator to which the commercial stations currently cater. Then you’d really have cause for complaint. We need the ABC to continue to provide quality programming. It is accused of bias by both sides of politics, so that suggests it might be getting the balance right.

    I think I need to stop reading this blog. It’s just a continuous and depressing series of petty complaints about the world and its inhabitants, apparently catering only to those who need affirmation of their inner anger. Perhaps it should be called CultureRage.

    Bob Hughes, Brisbane

  • You’re right. Beckford is an amatuer confusing the immaculate conception with the Virgin Birth.
    Ian Lloyd

  • Thanks Bob

    No one is asking for a free ride here – simply some balanced and even-handed treatment. We simply do not see the same degree of criticism, vilification and contempt of other religions on Compass as we do of biblical Christianity.

    When the show does a hatchet job on Muhammad – risking the wrath of the Islamic community – like it regularly does on Jesus, then I will ease up on the complaints. But Christianity is a soft target. The cowards at the ABC would not dare to seriously critique the Koran or Islam’s prophet the way they regularly do Christianity, and especially on the most holy days of the Christian calendar.

    As to “petty complaints,” it comes down to one’s worldview. If you think the destruction of the unborn, the global jihadist threat, and the assault on marriage and family – to name a few – are mere petty concerns, then that simply tells us more about you and where you are coming from, than about the importance of these issues.

    And as to reading this site, you are free not to of course.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I think I’ll side with Bob on this one.
    David Visser

  • Bob Hughes has made a false statement that the ABC is accused of bias by both sides of politics. WRONG – the ABC is never accused of bias against the ALP or the Greens. If you went through the staff, you would be flat out finding someone, who at one time or another hadn’t worked for the ALP. If the ABC were on trial for bias against the ALP, there would be insufficient evidence to convict them.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • ABC – Anything But Christianity.
    Doug Holland

  • Bob,

    ‘Compass critically examines the world of belief and values, …’

    I trust you’re not holding your breath on a critique of Islam being aired anytime soon?

    Doug Holland

  • Frank Bellet, the ABC certainly criticized the previous Labor government — but only because it wasn’t Left enough.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • The ABC resembles the BBC which was recently exposed by an enquiry as stacked with a totally unrepresentative clique of inner-urban trendies. This has also been the case with the ABC since the student radical days of the 1960s and 70s. The radicals recruited in their own image. As a result of this cloning procedure (why do they oppose the virgin birth when they’re so parthenogenetic themselves?), the ABC is as much of a living fossil as the coelacanth. As for the ABC claiming that it equally offends both major parties, the ABC attacks both the Coalition and the ALP from the same direction – the trendy left. If it was really impartial the ABC would regularly criticise the Greens with their quack science, Mickey Mouse economics and new-age theological mush that is less than the sum of its parts. Instead, the ABC overwhelmingly fawns over them and anybody trendy.
    David Elder

  • Hi Bob,

    It’s totally irrelevant to consider the “quality” of programming at the ABC. (Not to mention purely subjective.) Even if everybody in Australia agreed that they showed the best material, there is no longer the mandate to have the government fund entertainment this way when so many alternatives for delivery to the consumer exist. Why fund such a limited handful of broadcast streams, when it is possible to have access to a wide range of content? It’s the 21st century and a TV programmer has less and less say on when and what people watch. You should see the raw numbers of people watching TV – the conventional terrestrial broadcast industry is struggling across the board. Parents aren’t saying about their kids – “Oh, he spends too much time watching TV” as much as “He spends too much time on the computer.” These kids are getting older every year. It’s already 3 years since spending time on the internet outstripped time watching TV in the UK. You can still watch whatever you want, it’s just I don’t see why such a massive amount of tax dollars should be spent on funding what is increasingly becoming someone else’s entertainment, as well as propping up a closed shop system of making programs. The simple fact is, that if you don’t subscribe – or at least kowtow in some respect – to certain leftwing politically correct (and often, extremist) ideas, you will never get a cent for your project from either ABC or SBS. I absolutely know that that is true. The problem Bill highlights is actually just part of a bigger picture of what happens when people get their hands on cushy government money and they have direct access to tell people how bad it would be if that dollar stream were cut. No wonder the starry-eyed celebrity-culture soaked sheeple (and defenders of the ABC have their own idols, believe me) bleat similarly, it’s all they hear. “Well, the good folk at Compass tell us they’re not biased in any way, so that’s good enough for me!” Baaaa. Meanwhile – behind the scenes – “Has that Canberra money arrived yet?”

    You needn’t be concerned – if enough people truly want what you consider “quality'” entertainment, it will still be produced if there is a market for it, it’s just that the delivery methods are different. Technology has moved on, the market is changing. The world won’t stop if the ABC and SBS have their TV broadcast services curtailed. It would actually almost certainly open up the market in Australia for a truly diverse range of program makers because they don’t have this behemoth getting in the way – effectively being a distraction. Program makers are actually being hamstrung from connecting with their potential audience the way the current system works. But too many people want to protect their government-sponsored jobs and those of their mates, so it’s probably better just to pull the rug out from under them overnight and reinvent the paradigm totally. They’re the ones who will squeal about this the loudest because they will lose money. But the market brings a level of accountability to content that the system currently lacks, and I can tell you Australia’s entertainment industry is poorer for it. You may consider it ‘dumbing down’, but if there is demand for what you might consider intellectual content, then someone will fill that need – and almost certainly do it better than the ABC currently is now, since they are actually more likely to be accountable to their audience. You know the phrase, “license to print money”? It actually came from the granting of one of the first TV licences (to ITV in the UK) decades ago. But read this:

    http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/602265

    So the ownership of a TV licence is no longer a novelty, and the ABC is not immune from the reality of this.

    Here’s an analogy: the current system of government TV broadcasting is like walking into a bookshop and – although you can see lots of books behind the counter (and you even hear rumours about some particularly good ones!) – the person at the counter decides what books you get to read, and they get offered to you (to everybody simultaneously, no less) one by one for ‘free’. And many of the books you get offered are pretty similar. You might suggest some different ones but usually get ignored or even laughed at. Wouldn’t you rather go to a bookstore where you get to decide what you want even if you have to pay a bit more for that? It’s important to note that years ago that second bookshop had books that were way too expensive for most folk (hence the need in the past for the first store), but now they’re mostly quite affordable.

    I find it funny to listen to arguments that we “need” the ABC when I’ve pretty much ignored it completely for over 4 years now (apart from the two news bulletins I mentioned above) without any noticeable loss in my life and more importantly than that, I actually earn a crust from the industry. If people want entertainment or information enough, that creates a market and keeps people like myself employed (if we’re good enough). There is no simply no need for the government to continue to sponsor entertainment or program makers the ABC TV (or SBS) way. I say, let the people decide where their money goes.

    As for questioning the “origins of scripture” – LOL! I think I can safely say that every reputable biblical scholar would jump at the chance of discussing that question fairly, since the answers to this are especially so strongly in favour of the historicity of events surrounding a certain man from Galilee who lived 2000 years ago, not to mention plenty others. (Watch or read Lee Strobel’s The Case For Christ if you don’t believe me) But you will probably never see that on Compass. You’re probably right, it might offend someone other than Christians, and there’s no crime worse than that is there now?!? And that is the real, unspoken belief of those who produce Compass. Most of them are probably not even aware that they believe it, or how dangerous that belief is, for error can live and even thrive because it can continue to hide behind someone’s outrage and never be challenged. That also makes for a generally boring concept for a show.

    Sorry about the length of the post(s), you can probably gather I have strong views about this subject. 🙂

    Mark Rabich

  • Hi Bill,
    I’ve read your Blog, and others views. I guess the reason that Compass (and other TV shows) don’t tell the truth about Jesus at Easter (or any other time) is because they don’t know Him as their saviour and friend. This is so sad as they have missed the whole purpose of the life which He has given them, because without Jesus there is no real meaning to life.

    But the Bible has already warned us that God hides Himself from the wise and intellectuals of this world and reveals Himself to those who humbly seek Him. TV is the world’s propaganda. To know Jesus, we can spend more time reading what He said, and less time listening to what the world’s media says.
    God bless
    Ruth Tomlin

  • Hi Bill,
    Appreciated very much your insight and comments about Compass. I went to Catholic school with Geraldine Doogue. I’ve been concerned about the ‘fellow travellers on a wide road’ approach taken by Compass which seeks to push Christianity off the road altogether. (In reality that’s cool because we’re on the narrow road anyway)
    However as you gave such a balanced critique of the programme I thought it was too good to not let them read it themselves so I included most of the article on their comment page with a personal letter of introducation to Geraldine. Don’t know if she’ll get it or have direct input over programming matters, but either way, hopefully the ABC will get the message. 1 Corinthians 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? Keep sounding the trumpet Bill – many are tone deaf and need a clear clarion call.
    Michelle Shave

  • After looking at the programme I started looking for answers. However I realize now that if one follows up Paul Harry’s suggestion then there is no need. That website covers it all. I hope he has also joined the discussion at the Compass site.
    Katherine Fishley

  • Hi Bill,

    I’ve just finished watching “The Hidden Story of Jesus” from the Compass website, and then found your blog by googling “hidden story of jesus criticism” to find a balanced assessment of this rubbish that masquerades as balanced/real theology. Having found your site, I am impressed with your writing/comments, and intend to work through as many of your articles as I can.

    If I can make one simple observation, it would be that Dr Robert Beckford has obviously “sold his soul” to the interfaith movement, and that his research and documentaries are clearly laden with an unspoken agenda to make all religions one. As he himself said at the end of Part II, [and I paraphrase] “The dogma, the theology, the traditions (of which he included the cross and the resurrection) DON’T MATTER. What matters is the teachings of Jesus that promote peace.” To anyone with an even vague idea of critical scholarship, Beckford said many things that simply sounded stupid and naive; often leading his interviewees to a predetermined conclusion. Clearly, his main aim was not to “find the real Jesus”, but to soften up unthinking consumers to the interfaith message.

    Watching this is never going to make me stumble in my faith, but it is a very interesting and pertinent view of how a “Christian” is promoting the false gospel of interfaith universalism.

    Danny Polglase

  • Thanks Danny

    Yes quite right – this was nothing but interfaith mumbo jumbo served up with a heavy dose of trendy liberal theology. It is standard fare for our ABC unfortunately.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • In response to Bob,
    Bill is right to say that you won’t see hardly any programs trying to debunk the core of Islam and Mohammed. It would be politically incorrect to say anything harsh or critical of other faiths other than Christianity. It often appears that Christianity is the favorable faith to pull apart.

    Your statement of Christians arguing amongst themselves about theology and the bias towards “biblical Christianity” on air would not be an issue here. The more liberal Christians who don’t necessarily place the same emphasis on the bible may not really mind what goes to air on the ABC programs concerning the bible. Overall, most Christians would stand united and simply love to have Compass run a program that has a balance of interviews, including some of the most renown defenders of biblical Christianity. Perhaps it is the ABC and the program producers that are scared to have “the truth” uncovered if they interview intelligent Christian’s scholars.

    I also believe you have underestimated a lot of Christians. Most Christians I know have enough biblical knowledge, and of its origins, that would allow them to see through the absurd and so called “findings” about the origins of the bible.

    Lucas King

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