Perusing Hulu this morning I saw a National Geographic series “Mysteries of the Bible“. Considering the source is National Geographic I didn’t have much hope for the accuracy of the show but I started watching the first available episode anyway.
Episode 2 purports to investigate the historicity of the nativity narrative.
With an authoritative voice, the narrator begins a list of “fact” after “fact” intended to disprove the majority of the story of the birth of Christ.
Using phrases like “most historians” and an awful lot of “but’s”, the show, in the first 5 minutes, proceeded to claim that because only two gospels mention the nativity narrative and those two mention different aspect of the narrative, they must be disagreeing.
Just a thought experiment here: If my wife and I were to describe a trip we took together and I mentioned how beautiful the scenery was on the drive and she mentioned how pleasant it was at the lake we visited as our destination, would our two stories, through their difference, contradict each others?
I thought not.
Apparently, because one the the gospels only mentions the shepherds and another gospel mentions the wise men, and only one of the gospels mentions that there was a census that prompted Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem, those stories must be figments of the minds of the individual writers.
Using interviews with only a couple “experts” looking and sounding so very authoritative with their reasonable words, the show uses shoddy historical research. Actually I take that back, the show doesn’t even bother checking the historical proofs. The only document they use to support the nativity narrative is the Bible, which they’re trying mightily to disprove. If they can taint the Bible, they’ll have won the argument without a fight.
The problem is that there are a plethora of authoritative sources besides the Bible which can corroborate the historicity of not just the bare fact of Jesus’ birth, but the additional and critical details as well.
National Geographic knows the average viewer will not notice the lack of factual analysis. They know the average viewer tunes into the TV and turns off their mind, accepting anything and everything reported as fact, as fact. There is no critical thinking, no analysis.
This is a cherry picking attempt to discredit the Bible and one of the core narratives it contains. And it may end of shaking the faith of some credulous souls.
For my part I could only stomach 10 minutes of the show, and the logical fallacies, the complete and utter lack of historical data presented, the lack of alternate opinions presented all pointed to this being a hack job so overwhelmingly I couldn’t push myself to watch the rest.