“What do you think about the media and its impact? Do they have a bias that tries to undermine Christians and what they believe?”
In answer I’ d say both yes and no.
We must remember that Christianity is the most widely held religion in the country in which I live (South Africa) as well as in America. This considered, I would argue that the biggest factor would be around sensationalism and controversy. Since, say, America is predominantly Christian it would do well for media agencies to take the anti position where they can. They are sure this way to attract eyeballs and spark a lot of interest. An interesting, and very current, example is an American pastor by the name of Steven Anderson who wanted to visit South Africa for “a soul winning marathon.” However, he has attracted much controversy due to his views towards homosexuals. He not only calls them “pedophiles” (1) but also saying that “gays should be executed” (2). Since his intended visit has been so controversial in South Africa the government has decided to bar him from entering. As a result Anderson alleges that “South Africa is some kind of a demonic stronghold” (3). In other words, we have the rantings of a mad man taken to represent Christianity, and because of this he has been all over the media in South Africa. Its incited debate, dialogue, polling and disagreement. Moreover, we should wonder why Anderson makes headlines whereas the thousands of other hard working and well intended pastors and Christians, both in America and South Africa, don’t. Simple: the latter is just not deemed as newsworthy.
However, I would also argue that there are in fact some representatives within the mainstream media industry who are anti-Christian or will try, at least whenever the opportunity presents itself, to undermine Christianity. So, when a story like Anderson’s pops up they run with it as much as they can. In other words, the tools are available to them and they simply make use of them. But obviously this wouldn’t be limited to Christianity since many within the media industry have anti-agendas against a great many things such as sports, politics, other religions and philosophies etc.
It is also quite odd the people that the media often take to represent Christianity. John Crossan and Marcus Borg, for example, would come to mind. It is strange that they are taken to represent the face of Christianity when both deny Jesus’ resurrection. One can’t be a Christian if he or she denies the resurrection just as one can’t be a Buddhist and believe in Allah. Crossan and Borg are competent historians no doubt but they can’t be said to be the face of orthodox Christianity.
I also think that there is also a victim mentality on the part of many Christians. They’ll often take a handful of cases involving the media putting Christianity in a bad light and extrapolate that to the entire enterprise. I don’t think that is necessarily true in the way that I don’t think that most are out to deliberately get at Christianity. Christianity has also had a fair share of good publicity. This was quite apparent to me in my viewing of God’s Not Dead. The only media reporter in the film is seen to be hostile and antagonistic towards Christianity. The stereotyping and generalizations in the film are effortless to spot. I don’t think Christians should take and nurture this victim mentality.
1. News24. 2016. ‘All homosexuals are paedophiles’ – anti-gay pastor heading to SA. Available.
2. News24. 2016. I don’t condone violence, but gays should be executed – US pastor coming to SA. Available.
3. News24. 2016. US pastor: South Africa a demonic stronghold. Available.