Media bias

FAKE NEWS: Media gets it wrong about the Bible getting it wrong

This past week, newspapers and other media outlets published articles about how a recent find had disproven the Bible. The Telegraph, The Independent, Express, and the Daily Mail and others told readers:

  • Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out
  • Bible says Canaanites were wiped out by Israelites but scientists just found their descendants living in Lebanon
  • The Bible was WRONG: Civilisation God ordered to be KILLED still live and kicking
  • Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out: Study says their genes live on in modern-day Lebanese people

The story even made it to at least one Chinese website under the headline:

Is the Bible wrong? Gene evidence that the blood of Canaanites is still flowing in the Lebanese

So what was it that the Bible was supposed to have gotten wrong?

The articles reported on the work of Chris Tyler-Smith and an international team of geneticists and archeologists who had dug up bones from five ancient Canaanite bodies, estimated to be more than 3,600 years old. The bones contained enough DNA for them to make comparisons to the genomes of 99 living Lebanese. They found that the modern-day Lebanese shared about 93 per cent of their ancestry with these ancient Canaanites. In other words, the ancient Canaanites live on in the Lebanese.

But, according to the researchers that contradicted God’s order to Israel (Deut 20:17) to completely wipe out the Canaanites. As the researchers wrote:

The Bible reports the destruction of the Canaanite cities and the annihilation of its people; if true, the Canaanites could not have directly contributed genetically to present-day populations…

How could there be modern day Canaanites, if God ordered them all killed? After all, if God told Israel to do something, they always did it.

Right?

The media wanted to expose the Bible’s inaccuracies, but only exposed their own biblical illiteracy. Yes, Israel was ordered to wipe out the Canaanites but they disobeyed again and again. One example occurs in Judges 1:21 where we read:

But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

The rest of the chapter is an account of Israel’s disobedience, and how the Canaanites lived on. So these new findings don’t disprove the Bible, but even compliment it.

A day or two after it was first published The Telegraph article was corrected. And The Daily Mail piece, despite a headline that claimed, “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim,” acknowledged near the end that it did no such thing. But who reads more than the headlines these days? And who re-reads an article days after it first hits the web? This devilish attack has already done its damage.

So what can we do to counter this type of attack? We need to expose the media’s biblical illiteracy and their journalistic incompetence by sharing rebuttals like this one (or a more in depth one like Gary DeMar’s here).

There is an old journalism saying that “if it bleeds it leads.” News stories like this one show that, whether they say it out loud or not, there is another credo many reporters live by: “If it is a Bible attack, we won’t worry if it’s fact.”

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