How and why the critics don’t get History Channel’s ‘The Bible,’ even Bill O’Reilly piles on

Audiences embraced the new History Channel miniseries, The Bible, which debuted with an incredible 13 million viewers despite moderate to lukewarm reviews by “The Critics.”

Similar to my initial response to Passion of the Christ, these experts seem to point to all of the wrong things and come across panning Christianity not the show itself. My initial viewing of Passion left me incredibly disappointed and put off by the graphic violence.

Angels in "The Bible" are a point of contention for some critics

Angels in “The Bible” are a point of contention for some critics

Years later, now that I’ve given my life fully to Christ, I have a new perspective on the Mel Gibson film.

Reviewing the criticisms from “The Critics” I feel may be personally separated from the religion or just feel the need to be nitpicking details that are/may be appealing to the audience, especially believers.

“Sometimes it stays true to scripture, but then does things like adds angels with ninja skills to spice things up. That’s one thing the Bible itself really doesn’t need…” writes the THR referring to the cloaked Jedi-like saviors to Lot’s family.

The traditional, effeminate portrayal of angels in classic paintings is quite contradictory to the powerful beings who battle demons and are led by the sword wielding archangel Michael.

This is one of the most talked about scenes from the show.

Even the young Sunday school students will be able to point out some of the inaccuracies, Moses not taking off his shoes when entering Holy ground is one example, but PR News Wire sent out analysis by Dr. Joel M Hoffman who states that the show “distorts the Bible’s original spirit, and does a disservice both to history and to the Bible.”

The article touts their “expert” stating:

He compares the case to a newspaper, with its news, opinion, analysis, comics, etc. “The news can be accurate,” he writes, “even if the comics are not. The same is true for the different parts of the Bible.”


Those “wildly exaggerated ages … suggest that the authors of the Old Testament intended only the third part as history” and that “some of the lifespans in the first two sections are [purposefully] so absurd as to defy literal interpretation.”

It’s pretty safe to say that the liberal minded professor doesn’t take the Bible literally and would sneer at those of us who do.

Bill O’Reilly echoes the sentiment during his interview with creator Mark Burnett on his show and disgustingly turned the attention towards his own project and it became about self promotion – disgusting IMO (see the details below)

Bathsheba, played by Melia Kreiling

Bathsheba, played by Melia Kreiling

Miami Herald used the review as a chance to bash the History Channel for cancelling The Kennedys before bashing the new show.

“With the pace of a music video, the characterizations of a comic book and the political-correctness quotient of a Berkeley vegetarian commune — laughably, the destruction of Sodom is depicted without the faintest hint of the sexual peccadillo that takes its name from the city — this production makes Cecil B. DeMille look like a sober theologian.”

The writer probably won a wordsmith bet by using “peccadillo” (definition: A small, relatively unimportant offense or sin) as a way of targeting the challenge of including gay sex attack on the angels and Lot offering his daughters.

In my opinion, if this was Darren Aronofsky feature, he would be praised for his boldness in tackling the scene.

Just as Passion of the Christ, The Bible presents intense, graphic violence at times, increasingly so during the New Testament era to capture the violence of the Roman Empire in this first century.

A screaming Mary in labor may also shock those who hold her in such high regard and prefer the serene images of Jesus’ childbirth.

Overall, the show seems to capture and visualize many of the Biblical tales accurately, according to the Holy Word without holding much back or worrying about watering down the content for viewers.

As a side note, Vikings garnered a strong showing as well, 6 million in the debut, but seemed like an awkward follow-up, almost suggesting a “Norse God” equivalency to Christianity. Moreover, the Vikings airs countless times more than The Bible with several replays over the course of the week.

Coincidence? Perhaps.

Overall, the series is fantastic for believers, key material to assist with education and teaching in the future.

For example, why was Joseph skipped over…discuss that, it was 14 chapters in Genesis.

The fact that critics are generally panning a religious project show probably encourage Christians. How many of them like any of the Alex Kendrick films?

Fox News anchor and best-selling author Bill O'Reilly contends "a lot of the Bible is allegorical" and that the New Testament Gospels contain contradictions.

Fox News anchor and best-selling author Bill O’Reilly contends “a lot of the Bible is allegorical” and that the New Testament Gospels contain contradictions.

During Bill O’Reilly’s show: O’Reilly then turned to Burnett, the well-known Hollywood producer of shows such as “The Voice,” “Survivor” and “The Apprentice.”

“Look, a lot of the Bible, Mr. Burnett, is allegorical, and we know that in creationism and things like that,” O’Reilly claimed. “So what you’re doing here, I assume, is just telling the story the way that the prophets put forth, without any commentary in it. Is that correct?”

“That’s exactly correct,” Burnett responded. “Right down the middle, telling the Bible as written. As fact. Five hours Old Testament, five hours New Testament.”

O’Reilly followed up by asking, “Are you telling people that they should believe in Adam and Eve? That they should believe in Noah’s Ark? Jonah and the whale? Are you telling people that this is the way to go?”

“We made this as a great drama, as a beautiful, beautiful, expensive drama, and you feel the stories,” Burnett said. “People will believe what they want to believe. The worst thing would be to try to preach to people and tell them how to feel about these stories. People will love these stories.”

O’Reilly brought the questioning back to Burnett’s wife, saying: “Ms. Downey, I’m writing a book, ‘Killing Jesus,’ about why Jesus of Nazareth was executed. It’s a history book. But obviously, the Gospels that discuss this were involved with that. But there are some contradictions among Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And then it’s my job and Martin Dugard, my co-author, to cut through the contradictions and to try to give a narrative of what actually happened to Jesus, because he was executed. When you were producing ‘The Bible,’ there are some things in the Bible that are obviously allegorical as I just mentioned. Did you take that into account?”

Downey explained: “We worked from the position that the Bible was a true story. We haven’t taken a position on that except to bring the stories to life meaningfully. We have filmed the passion of Jesus, we’ve taken it right through resurrection, the conversion of Paul and through to Revelation, and that episode will be on Easter Sunday evening.”

O’Reilly never elaborated on the contradictions he alleges exist in the New Testament, but he did predict secular media would be critical of “The Bible” miniseries.

Burnett responded by noting, “We love the story. It’s the most important book in the history of the world. We’ve discovered in the last four years of working on this, amazing biblical illiteracy. I really, really believe the Bible should be taught in public schools. It’s sort of embarrassing for young Americans [who are] gonna go overseas in their mid-twenties after college, doing business in Rio de Janeiro or Berlin or Paris and not know who David and Goliath were. It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“It is,” O’Reilly agreed, “and certainly the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, have been played down in this country.”




About the Author

Brandon Jones writes for several websites, particularly Examiner.com where he covers several topics, but no focuses on The Global Dispatch and keeping truth in the news.

He began ‘blogging’ on CrazedFanboy.com before it was called blogging. DeskofBrian was formed as a collaboration and grew in popularity. Brandon publishes his Pop Culture articles (“Splash Page”) and the heavier “State of the Nation” which deals with religion, politics, economics, here on The Global Dispatch.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Roland says:

    Trying to keep this pithy. Thanks Brandon. After a dozen years of watching O’Whiney, I’m finally done and free of him. Praise God.

  2. Dr Robert Jeffress crushes Bill O’Reilly on ‘allegory’ assertions of the Old Testament - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] of the History Channel’s miniseries The Bible are targeting the interpretation of the Old Testament as literal and not an allegory. Even Fox News host Bill O’Reilly affirms this on his […]

  3. marcia hornok says:

    Thanks for great quality reporting that tells the truth and lets the reader decide. So glad you write for examiner.com. As a fellow believer I want to subscribe to your articles and link them to mine when appropriate. I’m the Taylorsville Biblical Truths Examiner and pastor’s wife of Midvalley Bible Church. Keep up the good work.

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