Joe Scarborough and Bill Maher

Scarborough Country– Article from 2-16-05

I sometimes enjoy watching Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. I think he tries to be objective and fair. It frustrates me at times however, when I see him engage religious leaders or even anti-religious leaders. As astute as Scarborough is politically, he is theologically naive and ill equipped to address the skeptics.

Last Tuesday evening (2-15-05), Scarborough interviewed another talk show host, the sometimes acerbic Bill Maher. The topic was the current evangelical influence on society, and Maher was livid! He just can’t stand it that Christians are being vocal about their moral values, and voting their conscience in the elections. How dare Christians be so "judgmental." He was particularly vocal about what he called a "false indignation" over Janet Jackson’s "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl last year. He called the public outrage over that event ridiculous. Of course it is now known that Jackson’s malfunction was a pre-planned publicity stunt, intended to shock and offend. Everyone involved lied from the beginning, but hey, it is the Christians that are to blame here for being offended in the first place! According to Maher, Jackson, or any other entertainer should be free to publically expose themselves and nobody should be offended!

Maher kept calling Christianity a "myth" in the same mold as any other "fairy tale," and insisted that if Scarborough, or anyone else, had been raised up in Pakistan or any other region of the country under the influence of Islam or Hinduism, that they would not be Christian but Islamic or Hindu. This supposedly, in his twisted logic, proved that Christianity is not valid. What particularly got me was that Scarborough did not even attempt to offer any logical or reasonable response to Maher. He clearly was not prepared to offer any kind of reasoned apology against Maher’s diatribe.

Unfortunately, Joe Scarborough is not alone. A lamentable reality of modern day evangelical Christianity is ignorance of what the Bible actually says. Fewer and fewer preachers are concerned with serious presentation of the Word, being concerned instead with pop psychology, and making sure their sermons are "politically correct." I hear from people on a regular basis who tell me that in their churches the Bible is never studied seriously. "Bible classes" are for discussion of ball games, social events, and anything and everything but the Word. As for the sermons, well, no need for having your Bible with you, because the preacher never quotes from it anyway!

How in the name of reason are Christians supposed to know how to deal with social issues if Christians do not know the mind of Christ on those issues? And how can they know the mind of Christ without knowing his Word? How are we supposed to know how to respond to critics if we do not know the reason for our faith? How would you respond to the Jewish and Islamic charge that Jesus is a false prophet, and that his own words prove him so?

Peter urged his readers "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, and be ready always to give to every man a reason for the hope that lies within you." (1 Peter 3.15). If Christians do not once again become a people "of the book" it will eventually be said once again, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4.6).