Only the media are surprised

The rest of non-elite America understands allure of "The Bible"

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It’s a pretty good bet that if the Bible was a new book, the critics would pan it.

Not that the History channel’s Bible miniseries, which also was jeered by the intelligentsia, is any kind of stand-in for the good book.

But the series, which concludes fittingly enough on Easter Sunday, is sufficiently faithful to the Old and New Testaments – and so skillfully produced – that it has become a ratings blockbuster.

“The show’s debut episode attracted 13.1 million viewers,” notes the Deseret (Utah) News, “which was twice as many people as watched any show on NBC in the month of February.”

As the New York Times wrote last month, NBC’s ratings “have dissipated to numbers so small they have not been seen before by any broadcast network.”

Yet, such networks continue to look away condescendingly from programs such as The Bible.

Only the media are surprised when viewers do otherwise.

As the Deseret News noted, critics early on derided the Bible series as a “cheesefest,” as “flat and often tedious” and as “cardboard characters surrounded by (computer-generated) frippery.”

So, when people defied the critics and flocked to see it by the millions, that stunned the supposed experts in the media, who are now calling it a “surprise hit” – “which demonstrates that those who ignore the hunger for respectful religious entertainment can be surprised rather easily,” the Deseret paper opined.

It’s not just religious offerings, either, that are consistently undervalued in Hollywood; it’s wholesomeness in general – even though such movies and shows earn some of the best
ratings and profits.

Nor is this just an entertainment phenomenon: News and feature shows and news networks that consistently show disdain for traditional American and faith-based values are not trending well in ratings.

Cable networks may never be considered synonymous with wholesomeness, certainly. But in airing the Bible miniseries, the History channel has discovered what the big broadcast networks seem long ago to have forgotten: Virtue sells.

The original broadcast channels also have lost much of their dominance as the smaller cable networks exhibit more
agility and creativity in their programming. The big broadcast networks have been running a small number of prime-time themes into the ground – reality shows, talent shows and crime shows chief among them. With big budgets and large legacy costs, they don’t appear willing to take the risks their cable competitors do.

But isn’t it amazing that serving up a respectful retelling of the Bible – undoubtedly history’s runaway bestselling book – is considered one of those risks?

Perhaps only if you can’t see in front of you because you’re too busy looking down your nose at people.

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specsta
6505
Points
specsta 03/30/13 - 02:21 am
5
16
Virtue Sells? Ummm...no.

A ratings blockbuster does not equal good storytelling, acting, direction or cinematography.

It simply means that some folks are so brainwashed, they'll watch anything as long as it has the word "Bible" or "Jesus" in it. Most of what passes for "Christian" entertainment is pure junk. Look no further than the drivel of the "Left Behind" series, which has morphed itself into movies, children's books and video games. It's bad storytelling at it's worst - but some Christians just eat it up.

"Jesus" is a a brand that's guaranteed to make some Christians buy into the various trinkets offered in His name, no matter how silly or mediocre it might be. Step right up! Get your Jesus sandals, your Red Sea energy drink, and your Methuselah tonic!

I am still waiting for an explanation as to why parents who are adult "Christians" would take their young children to see a blood-and-gore filled, R-rated movie, full of torture and violence, just because it was titled "The Passion of the Christ". A true testament to the power of "Jesus" branding.

Maybe at some point, Christians will grow up and not be hoodwinked by everything that has the name "Jesus" or the "Bible attached to it. Then maybe there will be films, TV shows, and other sources of spiritually-oriented entertainment that are excellent examples of creative brilliance - simply because the demand is there for something beyond the mediocre.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 06:39 am
13
3
Thanks specsta

Thank you for helping to prove what I was planning to write. The left goes absolutely beserk when they hear a film of Christian virtue and morals is a brilliant success. For example "Fireproof" and "Courageous", the left attacked these movies, calling them every name in the book; and saying they would lose money. BUT, they were brilliant successes and still to this day are making profit.

It eats them alive (as you can see by specstas' comment) to think faith is still alive and well in this Christian society. Why? Because they are working so tirelessly to move this Country towards secularism. Working very hard and seeing the fruits of your labor fail, is not an easy pill to swallow. That's why they go on attack when they witness such films being successful.

They must belittle the people that watch such films; such as calling them "brainwashed", in an attempt to marginalize them and the effects of the films. Although, I must agree about the series "Left behind" but for different reasons. I'm not a believer in the pre-tribulation rapture and believe it's a theory created by MEN (mankind); to deceive people and get them to believe a lie. But that's as far as I'm willing to go with the rapture debate on here; because I would have to type a novel.

Maybe one day, secular leftists will grow up and put some critical thought into the reality of creation. A creators fingerprint is ALL OVER this world. They are usually the first ones to call people simpletons, idiots and uneducated, simply because they believe in the Bible. Yet, it's far easier to believe in nothing, than to believe in something. So who are the simpletons? Simpletons are people who absolutely believe in nothing higher than themselves. They believe THEY are the center of the universe and everything evolves around them. What ever they want to do, is perfectly fine. No matter what that is. Why? Because there is no higher purpose. There is NOTHING to answer for. There are no rules and regulations. But that simply isn't the way life is. Our entire lives, there are rules, standards, guidelines and regulations we must follow. I PERSONALLY believe this is one of the main purposes we are here. To LEARN to follow rules and regulations, with our OWN FREE WILL. To discipline ourselves to obey, with a FREE WILL. Those that won't, well thats up to God.

Bodhisattva
6165
Points
Bodhisattva 03/30/13 - 07:54 am
6
11
Who knew there were so many

Who knew there were so many white people in the Middle East 2,000 years ago?

Bodhisattva
6165
Points
Bodhisattva 03/30/13 - 08:01 am
4
10
"this Christian society"?

"this Christian society"? "move this Country towards secularism"? This is a secular country and thankfully was set up that way by our founding fathers. "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." You can thank Darby for making up the rapture stuff in the 1830's.

avidreader
3213
Points
avidreader 03/30/13 - 08:50 am
13
0
Lions 532,897; Christians 1

Why are some people so concerned with Christian-bashing? I was not aware that this TV series even existed, yet I see nothing wrong with Christians celebrating a win now and then. As screwed up as our country is, it would be much worse without Christian standard-bearers who defend morality and family values.

Why not just leave the Christians alone and let them enjoy their freedoms. Logical people should understand how to agree to disagree.

JRC2024
8854
Points
JRC2024 03/30/13 - 08:50 am
10
3
Specsta-I think you are the

Specsta-I think you are the one that has been brainwashed. Look around at all the beautiful things in the world. They have the hand of the creator all over them. They just did not happen. As far as the rapture. I don't know about that.

longleafpine
3689
Points
longleafpine 03/30/13 - 09:07 am
8
4
myfather15

Well said. I truly pity those who don't have Jesus, or faith, as part of their lives. Maybe some day they will see the light.

Contrary to what Bod said, this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, not secular.

Specsta, I pray that you and all other secular-progressives will have your eyes and hearts opened as did Saul on the road to Damascus.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 03/30/13 - 09:19 am
5
15
specsta

Great post! No one should be surprised that the History channel's Bible miniseries has a lot of watchers. Christians, like any addicts, will take their next hit wherever they can find it. Tomorrow, I believe, there are mass drug-ins planned for churches all across the country. Blessed tokin' to all!

ymnbde
9723
Points
ymnbde 03/30/13 - 09:22 am
6
2
the last refuge for bigots

Spectsa, good storytelling, acting, direction or cinematography? On tv? Wow that's a good one.
And brainwashing? Stalin, Hitler, and Mao could not have used tv more effectively than our very own big government useful "low information voter" shepherds herding their little brainwashed flocks along... jerry and elaine are real people! real funny people! george is your friend too! Think like they think! Act like they act!
hey spectsa... just substitute "black" or "homosexual" or "jew" for the Christian terms in your line of drivel and you get a familiar thought pattern... not that there's anything wrong with that... oh, wait, there is...

carcraft
25787
Points
carcraft 03/30/13 - 09:37 am
8
2
I don't need a God fix, God

I don't need a God fix, God manifests Himself to me in many ways,most often in the people I to whom I provide care! The truth of God's word is manifest to me daily. This disparaging of Christians is just one manifestation of the truth of The Word. By belittling the Word people can find comfort in ignoring God's revealed truth!

GiantsAllDay
9580
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/30/13 - 10:07 am
5
12
Putting the Bible on the

Putting the Bible on the History Channel is like putting unicorns on Animal Planet.

allhans
23620
Points
allhans 03/30/13 - 10:08 am
6
2
In the beginning I was a

In the beginning I was a little critical. Jews, Egyptians with light hair and blue eyes..Samson as a black man...
Then the story came through..loud and clear..I am entranced...A truly great movie of our beloved Christ.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 03/30/13 - 10:39 am
3
6
carcraft

I too provide care for many, many people. I do it because it makes a difference in the lives of those people, and brings me personal satisfaction. In my interactions with the people I help, the idea of a God is a total irrelevancy. If you like to believe your work is the fulfillment of someone else's desires or expectations, go for it. I refuse to share whatever good I may do with some ethereal phantom; I am proud to take all the credit for myself.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 10:52 am
7
2
As always

With the leftists on here; when you don't have a logical argument, call names, demean and belittle people. The VAST majority of the world believes in God, yet the atheists claim they are the only smart people on the planet. The rest of us are idiot simpletons, void of critical thinking, huh? Do you ever for one second think it could be the other way around? Oooh no, of course you've never considered that, since you guys are too brilliant to believe in such non-sense.

Regardless of what you guys believe in, you seriously need to get some help for you anger. If not to help you in the next life, to help you be happier in this life. You guys need to release all that pent up anger and you will see how free you breathe then. It's a wonderful feeling. Again, you don't have to agree with us, just stop hating us.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 11:00 am
5
2
@bodhisattva

Coulple things; THIS Country WAS founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy, including the belief in FREE WILL; which was the greatest gift God every gave us. It's been proven over and over. For every 1 or 2 personal letters you can cite to prove differently, I can probably quote 5 that back up this fact; and please don't hit me with some letter to a muslim country declaring we aren't founded on Christian beliefs. That was just a politician, playing politics. He was just playing it safe but not bringing up Christianity.

Also, thanks for the lesson on rapture; I guess you told me that to show how super smart you are. Again, believing yourself to obviously be higher educated than us simpletons. BUT, I'm VERY familiar with Darby and Margaret McDonald as well. But thanks for the info.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 03/30/13 - 11:16 am
5
3
myfather15

"Again, you don't have to agree with us, just stop hating us." Oh, the irony. Can't even estimate how many times I have heard or read of gays and lesbians asking the very same thing of Christian fundamentalists....

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 11:17 am
4
2
See, this has been the

See, this has been the problem since the very beginning and it just keeps repeating itself over and over again. PEOPLE (God's creations) refuse to be happy and content that God created them and gave them a wonderful life to live. They must think of themselves a super special and ALL KNOWING, such as the leftist posters on here.

This has also been the problem with Communism throughout history. These are MEN who believe themselves to be super smart and ALL KNOWING; so they believe they know better how to take care of other people than even God. So, if they believe THEY know better than God, then certainly they believe themselves smarter than us simpleon right wing Christians. This is ALWAYS where communism goes awry and MILLIONS of people lose their lives.

In each instance of Communist Countries murdering millions of people, it boils down to one thing usually. An individual person believing themselves to be capable of higher thought and ALL KNOWING, and a large faction of the people believing in him; and for the dissenters, it usually spells death.

This can simply NOT be seperated from the Word of God. Lucifer was simply another creation of God's; BUT, he certainly THOUGHT himself to be a higher being, even attempting to take over God's throne and millions of God's children followed him. Much like millions of people today follow their party in this mainline two party system. Some follow one side, others the other side and MANY right in the middle; same as then.

The VAST majority of the athiest left wingers favor some sort of socialism or communism because they believe THEY know how to better take care of people. They are VASTLY smarter than us and should be solely in charge. They believe if THEY were completely in charge of this Country, everything was be smooth and everyone would be happy.

Sound familiar??

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 03/30/13 - 11:19 am
4
3
myfather15 encore

"The VAST majority of the world believes in God...." Yes, and not so long ago the vast majority of the world believed the sun circled the earth. Fortunately, old myths eventually are discarded. The theology myth may take longer, but its day will come.

scoopdedoop64
2366
Points
scoopdedoop64 03/30/13 - 11:27 am
5
2
What Else Is New

I don't have cable so I haven't watched the series but all my friends have been very objective about their feelings on the movie, some just love it, some say it leaves too much out or the actors don't match up to what they think they would look like. But most have been very positive and gives a proper picture of the Bible stories. As far as the critics: What else is new? The world hated Jesus and crucified Him. Are we to expect anything less from the media and lost people? No, we should just keep marching on doing the best we can to share the love of Christ for mankind. The article makes it clear that the critics of Jesus and the Bible will never give him a fair trial and that is consistent with Jesus' trial and crucifixion. The entertainment world say they base everything on ratings and revenue and most of the time they do except where Christian values are concerned. At that point they are most hypocritical because they pass up movies and ratings in order to put forth their filth because they also want to influence the world with their agenda. Jesus said that they hated him and the servant is not greater than the master. If they hated me they will hate you to. The world loves its own but you are not of this world.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 03/30/13 - 11:30 am
3
6
hate or condescend???

Reading these posts, I see many of you Christians are confllcted about the views of non-believers. Do we hate you, or do we condescend to you?
Of course it could be both, but in my experience, very little anti-Christian sentiment is motivated by hate. I have found condescension to be much more widespread. We have lots to fuel our condescension. The images coming from Rome the past few weeks, of old, mostly white, men wandering around in silly looking costumes, meeting from time to time to hold "secret votes," the winner getting down on his knees to kiss the feet of a couple of very young women, are too weird and ridiculous to believe.
Munching stale bread and sipping cheap grape juice in church is a close second. Condescension? You bet.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 11:32 am
3
2
@ELL

Hhhhmmm, last I checked; I don't hate anyone and you should be able to detect that in my posts. I DO NOT call people demeaning names, I DO NOT call people idiots, I DO NOT call something someone believes deeply in, a "fantasy".

Although I disagree with muslims, I don't call Allah a "magical sky fairy" as I've seen several posters on here do to the Christian faith. I DO NOT refer to homosexuals in ANY derogatory term. I have several friends who are openly homosexual and like them very much. I treat EVERYONE with respect, period.

The simple TRUTH is, YOU believe we hate simply because we disagree with the lifestyle and do NOT want to legalize gay marriage. Thats what you base your entire allegation of hate on. It HAS to be because I've never disrespected a homosexual person in ANY other way. YOU say I hate because I don't agree with them getting a piece of paper that says marriage license. If THAT is the only thing you can base your allegations upon, it's a pathetic argument.

I'm basing my allegations upon the NUMEROUS hate filled disgusting posts, MANY on the left post here daily. They are constantly calling demeaning names and propping themselves up as highly enlightened, more educated persons; simply because of their beliefs. Have you ever seen ME claim someone else isn't as intelligent as I? Declare if you know!! You can't because I haven't MADE THAT CLAIM. But the leftists do it DAILY!!

So, if you're going to claim Christians HATE homosexuals, please come with something stronger than our opposition to gay marriage; because thats a pathetic, weak argument to show someone HATES.

The athiests PROVE their hate with their own words.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 11:34 am
3
2
@ELL

Correction; HIS day shall come and remove all doubt; but WOE unto the doubters.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 03/30/13 - 11:48 am
4
1
Condescension "Patronizingly

Condescension "Patronizingly superior behavior or attitude." Condescension is bred out of hatred for that which you are displaying condescension for. It is because you have no clue why these "white, men wandering around in silly looking costumes" or why a man would humble himself enough to kiss or wash the feel of the poor. And it is impossible for you to understand the significance of partaking of unleavened bread and drinking wine or juice. Until you have had a personal experience with Almighty God, you will never understand and probably couldn't care less but condescension is bred out of hate and fear. My prayer is hopefully some day you will hear the voice of God and recognize it.

DanK
779
Points
DanK 03/30/13 - 12:31 pm
5
0
Apples and Oranges

The Bible has been a big hit. Special event Christian programs often do well.

The traditional networks have lost ground in several programming niches. ESPN has erodes the dominance of the Big 3 networks in sports. HBO, AMC and other cable networks have been producing successful series that appeal to adults. Disney's group of channels provides a lot of family programming. Fox and CNN have cut into the news viewership of the Big 3 networks.

So attributing the decline of ABC, CBS and NBC to their failure to air special, one-off religious mini-series is really over-generalizing. History channel, HBO, AMC and other cable channels can score ratings wins *occasionally* with special programming like The Bible or Game of Thrones. But it's not just family fare and Christian programming that draws eyes on cable TV.

And huh? The only criticism of The Bible worth quoting is a source that nobody has ever heard of called "Deseret News"?

ymnbde
9723
Points
ymnbde 03/30/13 - 12:30 pm
2
1
the Chronicle's visual aids came out

not very many, though... and tv has so corrupted the minds of eel, bodhisvatta, spectsta, and gad that they have a deaf ear to just how bigoted their posts sound. Ah, those Christians. The safest target for the new bigots.

carcraft
25787
Points
carcraft 03/30/13 - 12:51 pm
4
2
Effete Elitist Liberal

You miss my point. In caring for people I encounter God, Often in the most startling ways. Like I said, I get my God fix from the people I take care of. God surprises in the most unusual ways. Of course since you are blind you won't see it, which is very sad, because none are so blind as those that won't see

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/30/13 - 01:53 pm
3
1
@scoopdedoop

You're exactly right; they hated Christ so much they crucified Him and for what crime? What did He do so bad they wanted Him dead? He simply taught the truth, which didn't fit into the mainstream. He was "throwing a monkey wrench" in THEIR system.

And to this day; that is exactly why they still hate Him and those who follow Him. They HATED his teachings and His ways then and they still HATE them now; and they voice that very loud. It's the same group of people, or maybe their offspring.

Fiat_Lux
15410
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/30/13 - 03:24 pm
5
1
@ EEL, 10:49 am

The difference between you and us Christians is that while everybody loves and does good for the people they choose to bestow that love and mercy upon, Christians love and show mercy even to people whom they find repugnant and who would harm or even kill them if they could.

Somehow, pagans and those who consider themselves atheists don't seem to understand the reason for that, and even think we Christians are beyond stupid to lay down our own safety, and even own lives and those of our family in doing that. You can't understand how anybody could do such a thing for someone who would never be considered worthy of that kind of sacrifice.

But we do it, many at the cost of their lives, because we are the Body of Christ, we are His eyes looking at people He loves and died to save, we are His hands and it is our role, our responsibility as Christians to share His love, in the hope that they will see Him and choose to follow Him too.

The reward for us and for anyone who chooses to follow Him, is not in going to heaven, but in pleasing Him. We're already going to heaven.

I know, all you can focus on is our "no" to abortion and homosexual sex. That doesn't make us haters, despite the ranting and raving that it does. It means that we understand making some choices closes the door on others. It doesn't mean we don't care for someone who engages in such behaviors, any more that we don't care for someone who deliberately chooses any other sinful act or way of life.

Our "no" won't change to "yes", and that is what makes non-Christians and social liberals so angry at us, no matter what good Christians do.

Fiat_Lux
15410
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/30/13 - 03:32 pm
3
1
And another thing for the so-called atheists

Those of us who have had an encounter with God can hardly deny He exists, any more than you could reasonably deny that we exist who battle for and with you here.

I'm just sorry that you haven't had the same experience, but it's very rare that He reveals Himself to people who reject His existence without ever having searched for the Truth. That is what anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism really looks like.

KSL
129199
Points
KSL 03/30/13 - 03:32 pm
6
3
what I cannot understand

Is why those who profess to be atheists cannot tolerate believers or even agnostics. It is like they are intimidated and have to lash out to defend their beliefs. Giants, eel? If you choose to be atheists, that is just fine with me. Why can't you return the favor without insults?

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