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Re: [XTalk] The Discovery Channel is distancing itself from the Tomb

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  • Zeba Crook
    ... I guess that s technically possible, but I don t think that s what happened here, and I don t think that s what the religious right in the US thinks
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 9, 2007
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      Bob MacDonald wrote:

      >--- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Zeba Crook <zeba_crook@...> wrote:
      >> I find it a terribly sad commentary that Discovery Channel is caving
      >to religious fanaticism.
      >
      >What if it is simply bad science, bad mathematics, and bad reading of
      >polluted archeological evidence not to mention selective credence of
      >Biblical evidence. I can't even see it as good film-making.
      >

      I guess that's technically possible, but I don't think that's what
      happened here, and I don't think that's what the religious right in the
      US thinks happened either. As flawed as YOU might think the
      documentary is, I'd be surprised if Discovery had not happily shown
      repeats of shows that were more flawed but perhaps less contentious.

      Cheers,

      Zeb

      >Bob MacDonald
      >http://bmd.gx.ca
      >
      >

      -----------------------------
      Z.A. Crook
      Assistant Professor, Religion
      Carleton University
      1125 Colonel By Drive
      Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
      613-520-2600, ext. 2276
      www.carleton.ca/~zcrook
    • Jeff Peterson
      Zeb, I join the overwhelming majority of Christians (including evangelical, conservative, and fundamentalist Christians, and including the leadership of every
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 9, 2007
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        Zeb,

        I join the overwhelming majority of Christians (including
        evangelical, conservative, and fundamentalist Christians, and
        including the leadership of every Christian group larger than Fred
        Phelps's "church") in condemning any threats of violence directed
        against James Tabor or anyone else connected with the documentary.
        Such widespread condemnation of violence and intimidation is a point
        of distinction between Christians in American society and a large and
        publicly vocal number of Muslims in Europe and elsewhere. I would
        think your comparison fair if American Christians were rioting
        outside the Discovery offices as we saw Muslims rioting over
        cartoons; and one should note that the documentary was more
        provocative vis-à-vis the Christian religion than the cartoons were
        for Islam, more like a documentary alleging discovery of first drafts
        of the suras of the Koran.

        Religious freedom under the first amendment involves the freedom a)
        not to be forced to contribute funds to someone else's (via a public
        "establishment of religion") and b) to engage in expressions of one's
        own religion as one sees fit. I don't see how either of those
        provisions has been compromised by the business decision that
        concerns you. By the logic of your argument, freedom of religion is
        being compromised by (e.g.) the fact that Joel Osteen's religious
        broadcasts are only shown once each, so a viewer who misses his one
        substantive sermon (supposing he ever preaches one) has missed it
        forever. The freedom in question is freedom to express, not to be
        guaranteed a seat in the venue where the expression occurs; the
        documentary-makers have enjoyed the freedom accorded under the 1st A,
        and indeed, there is good evidence that this email discussion about
        their work is being received and read across the US (even in the non-
        contiguous states!).

        A person who can see no significant differences as to freedom of
        speech and religion between US and Saudi society (and is not merely
        asserting this equivalence for rhetorical effect) has failed to
        process a lot of relevant data. To the extent that this failure is
        typical of his/her powers of observation, I do not see why (s)he
        should be trusted as a guide to ancient society or modern.

        Best,

        Jeff




        On Mar 9, 2007, at 6:44 AM, Zeba Crook wrote:

        > Jeff,
        >
        > Your point was well made about freedom of speech, and death threats
        > notwithstanding (surely you're not surprised by that news) I'll take
        > speech over violence any day. But as I said, I wasn't drawing
        > parallels between the methods, but the motivation. It makes perfect
        > sense that in the US Christian over-sensitivities rule, just as it
        > makes sense that in Saudi Arabia Muslim over-sensitivities rule. I'm
        > just glad I don't live in either society because I don't see the
        > differences between them. And it's disingenuous to suggest there is no
        > harm done: in this case, NON-Christians in the US (you do have Freedom
        > of and from Religion there, don't you?) are being denied the chance to
        > see the doc. if they missed it the first time.
        >
        > Cheers,
        >
        > Zeb
        >
        > Chris Weimer wrote:
        >
        > >Jeff,
        > >
        > >James Tabor has admitted to receiving death threats. I don't doubt
        > >others did as well.
        > >
        > >Chris
        > >
        > >--- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, peterson@... wrote:
        > >> Zeba,
        > >>
        > >> I'm not aware of any violence by any Christians in respect of
        > the tomb
        > >> documentary, and the conservative Christians among whom I live
        > and work
        > >> would not hesitate in condemning such if it occurred. As to speech,
        > >surely
        > >> the First Amendment permits those who adhere to a religion the
        > >freedom to
        > >> speak their mind as well as those who question it.
        > >>
        > >> The Discovery Channel is in the business of getting people to watch
        > >> advertising on its programs; to mazimize that audience in a country
        > that
        > >> self-identifies as majority Christian, it rather makes sense not to
        > >adopt
        > >> a consistent policy of antagonizing adherents. So Discovery
        > broadcast a
        > >> documentary and reaped considerable profits, then concluded that
        > >> rebroadcast might lose them more goodwill (and profit down the
        > road)
        > >than
        > >> it would gain them.
        > >>
        > >> The program got aired, and if tomorrow archaeologists discovered an
        > >> ossuary that incontestably contains the bones of Jesus there is
        > zero
        > >> chance that information would be suppressed in the American media;
        > >where's
        > >> the harm?
        > >>
        > >> Jeff Peterson
        > >> Austin Graduate School of Theology
        > >> Austin, Texas
        > >>
        >
        > -----------------------------
        > Z.A. Crook
        > Assistant Professor, Religion
        > Carleton University
        > 1125 Colonel By Drive
        > Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
        > 613-520-2600, ext. 2276
        > www.carleton.ca/~zcrook
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Rikk Watts
        Zeb, Much appreciate your sane report on the documentary. Thanks. It might be a small point, but as someone who tries my best to adhere to the teachings of
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 9, 2007
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          Zeb,

          Much appreciate your sane report on the documentary. Thanks.

          It might be a small point, but as someone who tries my best to adhere to the
          teachings of Jesus, I am always appalled when some people who call
          themselves Christian behave in ways utterly incommensurate with Jesus'
          teachings. Based on my decades of experience across a range of Christian
          groups around the world I doubt very much that these death threats are in
          any way representative of the vast majority of Christian responses. Everyone
          has their sensitivities, whether Christian, Muslim, Gays, Atheist, Greens,
          etc. Since I'm not sure this is necessarily wrong, I'm willing to accept
          that reality within certain bounds. If so, the issue is not sensitivities
          per se but what one does with them. So, I wonder Zeb if in the interests of
          fairness and accuracy we might do what the media readily does re the Muslim
          world and recognize that assuming these threats have come from Christians
          they are no way representative of US Christians en toto. I for one don't
          particularly appreciate being tarred with that brush ;)

          Thanks friend,
          Rikk


          On 9/3/07 4:44 AM, "Zeba Crook" <zeba_crook@...> wrote:

          > Jeff,
          >
          > Your point was well made about freedom of speech, and death threats
          > notwithstanding (surely you're not surprised by that news) I'll take
          > speech over violence any day. But as I said, I wasn't drawing
          > parallels between the methods, but the motivation. It makes perfect
          > sense that in the US Christian over-sensitivities rule, just as it
          > makes sense that in Saudi Arabia Muslim over-sensitivities rule. I'm
          > just glad I don't live in either society because I don't see the
          > differences between them. And it's disingenuous to suggest there is no
          > harm done: in this case, NON-Christians in the US (you do have Freedom
          > of and from Religion there, don't you?) are being denied the chance to
          > see the doc. if they missed it the first time.
          >
          > Cheers,
          >
          > Zeb
          >
          > Chris Weimer wrote:
          >
          >> Jeff,
          >>
          >> James Tabor has admitted to receiving death threats. I don't doubt
          >> others did as well.
          >>
          >> Chris
          >>
          >> --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, peterson@... wrote:
          >>> Zeba,
          >>>
          >>> I'm not aware of any violence by any Christians in respect of the tomb
          >>> documentary, and the conservative Christians among whom I live and work
          >>> would not hesitate in condemning such if it occurred. As to speech,
          >> surely
          >>> the First Amendment permits those who adhere to a religion the
          >> freedom to
          >>> speak their mind as well as those who question it.
          >>>
          >>> The Discovery Channel is in the business of getting people to watch
          >>> advertising on its programs; to mazimize that audience in a country
          > that
          >>> self-identifies as majority Christian, it rather makes sense not to
          >> adopt
          >>> a consistent policy of antagonizing adherents. So Discovery broadcast a
          >>> documentary and reaped considerable profits, then concluded that
          >>> rebroadcast might lose them more goodwill (and profit down the road)
          >> than
          >>> it would gain them.
          >>>
          >>> The program got aired, and if tomorrow archaeologists discovered an
          >>> ossuary that incontestably contains the bones of Jesus there is zero
          >>> chance that information would be suppressed in the American media;
          >> where's
          >>> the harm?
          >>>
          >>> Jeff Peterson
          >>> Austin Graduate School of Theology
          >>> Austin, Texas
          >>>
          >
          >
          > -----------------------------
          > Z.A. Crook
          > Assistant Professor, Religion
          > Carleton University
          > 1125 Colonel By Drive
          > Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
          > 613-520-2600, ext. 2276
          > www.carleton.ca/~zcrook
          >
          >
          >
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        • Bob Schacht
          ... I agree with this emphatically. I got the impression in reading Zeb s messages on this subject that he was essentially pushing the syllogism, People
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 9, 2007
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            At 05:31 AM 3/9/2007, Rikk Watts wrote:
            >Zeb,
            >
            >Much appreciate your sane report on the documentary. Thanks.
            >
            >It might be a small point, but as someone who tries my best to adhere to the
            >teachings of Jesus, I am always appalled when some people who call
            >themselves Christian behave in ways utterly incommensurate with Jesus'
            >teachings. Based on my decades of experience across a range of Christian
            >groups around the world I doubt very much that these death threats are in
            >any way representative of the vast majority of Christian responses. . . .

            I agree with this emphatically. I got the impression in reading Zeb's
            messages on this subject that he was essentially pushing the syllogism,
            "People advocating {violence, odious behavior} are Christians,
            Therefore (all) Christians advocate {violence, odious behavior} "

            In other words, the odious behavior of a few is used to tar us all.
            This is an easy method to use because there are so many people claiming to
            be Christians, so that makes it easy to find obnoxious examples.

            Bob

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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