Recently multiple news outlets have reported on Dr. Ben Carson's theory that the Egyptian Pyramids were used for grain silos.
There is little reason to give credence to Carson's theory, which is an extreme minority position. All the archaeological evidence seems to point toward the pyramids being built as monuments to rulers. In a presidential election, it's fine to point out the weird ideas of people that have put themselves on display.
What is inexcusable, however, is the fact that multiple news outlets are reporting that Carson's theory is drawn directly from the book of Genesis.
In their original report (which may be updated any time now) Forbes wrote:
When I found this, I wondered if the ignorance was isolated. However, when I looked at the illustrious reporting of CNN, I found that while their article was correct, the original report required a correction:
I stopped looking at two sources. Most likely the error was in the original news service story that the other outlets subscribe to.
I'm glad that CNN caught the mistake. However, it is telling that the original authors of the article was so ignorant of Scripture that he or she believed that Genesis talks about using the pyramids for grain storage. This also made it through the editorial process.
It isn't like this is information buried in someone's diary from the 17th century in an obscure monastery library in the Alps. No, this is information that is readily available online in multiple languages and versions. The team of individuals responsible for these reports lacks a basic literacy in Scripture, and yet was too lazy to take a few minutes to proof their information.
Remember this artifact as you read news article reporting on what people are supposed to believe and have said. While one example does not prove that all such reporting is bad, it does give an indication that the authors and editors may be well out of their depth.
Application for Christians
Christians should also recognize the significance of this error. We assume an awful lot of baseline knowledge when we talk to each other and to others. If I asked a group of school age kids at most local churches if Joseph had stored grain in the pyramids they would have given me an incredulous look. Yet, here is a group of adults so unfamiliar with Scripture that they could make such a blatant gaffe in published work.
Think about that when you present the gospel to someone. You can't assume they know the background. And, really, the notion of the substitutionary atonement is pretty crazy apart from the background of Scripture and an understanding of the Ancient Near Eastern culture of the Hebrews. It probably takes more explaining than what has been expected in previous decades.
We are no longer in a culture where we can assume the basics of the gospel. The ignorance is astounding. However, ignorance is not a sin.
The solution to ignorance is information. This means that we need to get the gospel message out in a way that is comprehensive and intelligible. We can't afford to assume that anyone knows the rest of the story. Likely they have never actually heard it told well at all.