Secular media explanations of Christianity and Christian doctrine are usually good for laughs. Who can forget this gem from the New York Times covering Pope Francis’s first Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday, 2013:
Correction: April 1, 2013
An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the Christian holiday of Easter. It is the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into heaven.
Now NPR may have destroyed the competition for Biblical illiteracy forever. NPR did a story on whether or not Pope Francis actually said Hell did not exist (see my coverage of that atrocity). In it there is this little gem:
“Easter — the day celebrating the idea that Jesus did not die and go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all, but rather arose into heaven — is on Sunday.”
Where the New York Times description was merely wrong, the NPR effort is wrong in the most relentlessly ignorant way imaginable. Let’s break it down.
Quote: “Jesus did not die…”
This is addressed in several places but the best answer is found in the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
Quote: “did not go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all”
He descended into hell
Many denominations, particularly Catholics and the Orthodox, believe that the descent into Hell was necessary to free mankind from death and to preach the Gospel to the righteous dead who had died before Christ was revealed so that they could be saved.
Quote: “rather arose into heaven “
This confuses the Ascension (39 days after Easter) with the Resurrection.
What is illustrative about this is that the writer felt they were very familiar with Christian doctrine and yet produced this travesty. Unfortunately, that is becoming the norm in the United States.