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New York Times’ St. Nicholas Picks a Bone With Christ on Christmas

A Commentary By Charles Hurt

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Just imagine it is one of the holiest days of the Muslim calendar and The New York Times decides to “celebrate” the occasion by asking incredulous questions aimed at obliterating the very foundation of the entire religion of Islam.

Was Muhammad really a prophet?

Did he really pray with Jesus, Abraham and Moses, all of whom lived hundreds and hundreds of years before Muhammad was born?

Did Muhammad really ascend into heaven from the Dome of the Rock at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, accompanied by the angel Gabriel?

Perhaps the Old Gray Lady simply fears for her life and does not want her shiny glass louvered building off Times Square reduced to rubble. You remember — “Je suis Charlie” and all that? Perhaps The New York Times believes it is wrong to question the teachings of Islam, especially on a day that is revered by Muslims around the world.

Whatever her prejudices, she certainly has no such qualms about unloading on Christianity on one of the most celebrated days of the Christian year.

On Christmas Day this Sunday, The New York Times took the sacred opportunity of Jesus Christ’s birth to interview a Christian and basically pick apart the entire religion.

Of course, as if the Serpent himself were conducting the interview, the questions were slyly adorned with luring compliments.

“I deeply admire Jesus and his message,” columnist Nicholas Kristof wheezed, “but am also skeptical of themes that have been integral to Christianity.”

After all, how many times have you been sitting in church on Christmas Eve and heard someone say, “You know, I wonder what Nicholas Kristof thinks about Christianity”?

Mr. Kristof’s Christmas message to his readers reveals that he does not believe Christ is the son of God, doesn’t believe in the Resurrection and doesn’t believe that God performs miracles.

OK, fine. It’s a free country. Believe whatever you want.

But then the guy goes on in his Christmas column to ask this theologian he is interviewing whether — despite not believing in the fundamentals of the Christian religion — one could still be considered a Christian. Kind of like investing in the stock market without actually putting up any money. Or joining a club you oppose and then refusing to pay the dues.

We are talking here about a question so stupid that — literally — the simplest child in Sunday School would not ask it. Yet, here is this vaunted genius opining in the august pages of the nation’s most revered newspaper.

Mr. Kristof, it should be noted, was once a widely respected foreign correspondent. Until, that is, he was recalled to the newsroom to report exhaustive dispatches from his navel. And spend Christmas dumping all over the Christian faith.

Now, if you ask me, theologians are not too far removed from the insufferable cloistered scribes of the nation’s greatest newspaper.

The whole profession of theology is just proof that the feebleness of man’s ability to reason is outmatched only by his towering self-regard, which is undeserved.

But this fellow whom Mr. Kristof was interviewing for Christmas, Timothy Keller, answered in what I thought was a very sensible and even Christian way.

He was very nice and gentle and welcoming, but he told Mr. Kristof that if, in fact, you don’t actually believe in Christianity, then, no, you are not exactly a Christian.

But, Mr. Keller said, fear not, there’s still time to turn things around if you change you mind.

All of Christianity will now pause and wait for Mr. Kristof to think things over and see what he wants to do about becoming a Christian. Meanwhile, he is working on his Easter Sunday column in which he asks: “Obviously, the whole crown of thorns and Crucifixion and Resurrection were what we today call ‘fake news,’ but can I still take Communion?”

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.

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