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When Science is Science Fiction and History is Heresy

by Missionary Bill

Many of the oldest channels on cable and satellite TV started off with the best of intentions as far as they were concerned. Channels like The Discovery Channel and The History Channel began with the idea of attracting viewers who wanted to learn more about science and history. Viewers would have to discern how much of the content of their respective programs was fact and how much was theory or conjecture. Most conservative Christians would find that both of these channels tend to embrace the most liberal interpretation of their subjects. However, in my opinion, they have crossed the line between presenting views opposed to conservative Christian theology to total science fiction and history that never actually happened.

Let’s take a look at The Discovery Channel. They have aired a number of documentary style programs that are nothing more than mockumentaries. These include presentations about cannibalistic Hobbits, real Mermaids, living Megalodon and Voodoo Sharks, and Russian Yeti creatures. Even though most of the facts and experts in these special programs are fakes, they are presented as real. Why? Well, I guess it all comes down to dollars and cents. These specials have been the most watched ever on Discovery and its related channels. This is not only bad science that crosses over to science fiction, it is a ridiculous attempt to save a channel that holds on to the historically and scientifically disproved theory that people evolved from great apes.

The History Channel has also found a new set of cash cows in reality, fictitious or highly speculative programming. Their super successful “reality” shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers have been roundly criticized by a number of television critics and reviewers who claim that most of what you see on these shows are staged events. The entire idea for American Pickers was proposed to a production company by picker Mike Wolfe in 2006. At that time the team of Mike and Frank were not cruising the country for “rusty gold.” Frank Fritz was working as a safety and fire inspector and was not a business partner of Mike before the show began. He had an interest in antiques, but I do not think you could describe him as a professional picker.

Danielle, the lovable and much tattooed “manager” of the Antique Archaeology (Iowa store) from American Pickers, was a friend of Mike Wolfe before the show began. She was hired to play the part of the “manager” after the series was approved and (allegedly) has never actually managed that business. And as far as Danielle finding these elusive picks for the guys...well...guess again. Detractors and critics point out that the locations are found by the show’s producers who then pick out certain items in advance, haggle over the prices and pre-pay for them before Mike and Frank ever arrive on the scene to discover all those “honey holes” full of great stuff to buy and resell.

Pawn Stars was once the second most popular “reality” show in American: Jersey Shore was the first. Now, the televised adventures of life and business at Rick’s Gold and Silver pawn shop is (by most ratings systems) the most popular worldwide. It all began with a PBS documentary about Rick’s pawn shop in 2001. After that presentation aired, business boomed at the pawn shop and Rick began shopping around the idea of a reality show about his business. When Pawn Stars began airing on The History Channel in 2009 it became an almost instant hit. But, like American Pickers and so many other “reality” shows, not everything is as it appears to be. Any regular viewer of the series has to know that what they are watching is fun and funny, but also likely staged. Watch the show and draw your own conclusions.

If you visit the Gold and Silver pawn shop in Las Vegas these days you will find it filled up with fans of the show and curious visitors most any time of the day making it more of a local attraction than a business. That is not to say it is not a real pawn shop. The shop recently (and unknowingly) purchased $50,000 worth of gold coins which ended up being stolen and later melted down. The real owner is suing even though the shop is not technically at fault as far the authorities and the State of Nevada are concerned. Who bought them? Who knows, but it was probably not the guys from the series. Thanks to privacy laws the Pawn Stars (Rick, Corey, Chumlee and The Old Man) no longer work the counter (except in segments filmed for the TV show) because they have become celebrities and everyone wants to take a selfie with them. Rick Harrison is not only the owner of the pawn shop, but has become the Executive Producer of the series.

Some former and current employees of the Gold and Silver pawn shop say that Pawn Stars is not a fake reality show, but will not elaborate. Others claim that some of the “historical” items brought in for pawn are fake and were portrayed as real: A case in point was a document allegedly signed by Napoleon Bonaparte that was de-bunked by Gregory Brown (a French History expert and UNLV history professor). If you plan to buy or sell at the Gold and Silver pawn shop, try coming during the winter. During the summer people stand in heat measured in three digits for hours just to get inside. Filming for the series is not continual and only a few sellers or buyers are invited to take part in the show.

When the “Vikings” scripted series began airing on The History Channel it became an instant hit just like Pawn Stars and American Pickers. However, that does not mean that it is an accurate depiction of life among the raiders. The eighth century Vikings already knew about Britain. That conflicts with the story of Ragnar Lodbrok having a dream about an island or lands to the west and wanting to raid there much to the dismay and disapproval of Jarl Haraldson, the earl or monarch-like leader of that group or settlement. In reality, the Vikings had a political system that represents one of the first experiments of true democracy in the world, rather than the hierarchy of semi-royal bullies and leaders featured on the TV series. Everyone had a say or a vote.

Similar problems involving historical accuracy and the real people portrayed on the show plagued Sons Of Liberty, another scripted series airing on The History Channel. That caused the channel to place this disclaimer on their web site: “SONS OF LIBERTY is a dramatic interpretation of events that sparked a revolution. It is historical fiction, not a documentary. The goal of our miniseries is to capture the spirit of the time, convey the personalities of the main characters, and focus on real events that have shaped our past.” That is a nice way of saying that The History Channel has changed and revised history and the truth about historical figures believing that they would make their series more enjoyable and interesting to viewers if they did. I believe American History is interesting enough without any changes, revisions or alterations.

While it bothers me that the History Channel has taken to sensationalistic programming to make a buck and keep the lights on, I never expected much else from them. Like The Discovery Channel, they almost automatically feature programs with themes or information that is at odds with what most conservative Christians believe in an attempt to attract the largest number of viewers. Ancient Aliens is a good example. This series presents pseudo-experts who make claims that are not only at odds with real history and science, but Biblically inaccurate. For example: There is a repeating theme that aliens visited our planet in ancient times and caused the human race to be formed from DNA altered animals or other beings. They misquote scriptures like Genesis 6:1-4 (KJV):

[1] And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
[2] That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
[3] And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
[4] There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

They believe that these verses indicate that beings from other planets came down and had sexual relations with human females to create a super race which included giants. What these verses actually say is that fallen angels came down and had sexual relations with human females creating people who rebelled against God as pointed out in verse 5:

[5] And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

In fact, this lead to the tradition of women covering their heads when they pray or attend services so that their beauty would not attract the unwanted attention of fallen angels. Instead, we are reminded that men and women are the only ones that should be allowed to mate. This is all made clear in 1 Corinthians 11:

[8] For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
[9] Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
[10] For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
[11] Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
[12] For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of god.
[13] Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

Instead of quoting reliable historical documents or scientific sources, Ancient Aliens turns to old fables and bad science to try and prove that Aliens not only created mankind, but were also responsible for building most of the great civilizations of the past. Likewise, series like History Decoded, Secrets Of World War II and America Unearthed are often questioned for their historical accuracy by legitimate researchers and experts. History Channel shows about the Bible almost always present miracles or actual events in Scripture as over-stated stories, misunderstood scientific phenomenon or mere myth. Others portray Jesus as nothing more than a mad prophet who was likely married with children. This theory is constantly espoused in an even more forceful way by Scott Wolter on the America Unearthed series.

Wolter makes an argument that The Knights Templer came to America to hide their treasure and for various other reasons. Scott tries to prove his theory by examining often spurious ancient writings and artifacts. He also claims that the Knights Templer believed that Jesus fathered children (perhaps with Mary Magdalene) and created a genetic line that may continue to this day. In fact, proving this false and ridiculous claim about Jesus Christ has become the mainstay and central theme of America Unearthed during the past two seasons compared to the first when Wolter only tried to prove that giants once existed in America or that Vikings came here and settled throughout North America. Well, it seems that he has more problems with the truth than just presenting what amounts to bad, false and misleading historical facts.

After appearing on the popular alternative and paranormal subjects radio show, Coast To Coast, the show’s web site listed a claim that Wolter made on his own web site: That he received an honorary Master’s Degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota at Duluth in 1987. The problem is that no such degree was ever given to him and the last Honorary Degree that the school presented to anyone was given out in 1956. Wolter calls himself a “forensic geologist” and has a bachelor's degree in geology which was awarded to him in 1982. Add to all this the fact that even some of the “experts” he features on the series often disagree with his interpretation of historical facts and artifacts.

I have watched these channels and the programs I have mentioned on and off for years. What I have never seen is a simple and honest portrayal of Biblical and conservative Christian history, theology or facts. Instead, I have observed a constant attack on the beliefs of conservative Christians. If you want more people to watch and respect your programming, present all sides of science and history rather than using a series of shows to reduce the inspired Word of God to nothing more than myth, outrageous conspiracy theories and unsupported historical or theological facts.

Read more articles and ebooks by Missionary Bill at You can Trust God Article and Ebook Directory

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