I was listening to Glenn Beck’s show yesterday morning, and heard this discussion:
(Note: This may be a first, me linking to Media Matters – but they have the relevant clip – for some reason, it won’t let me post the video directly. If you’d prefer not to visit, my blog has it embedded.)
Here’s a transcript:
22:40: Glenn: “…the Dead Sea Scrolls, you know what they are? Stu, do you know what the Dead Sea Scrolls are?
Stu: Well, of course I do…
Glenn: Now, c’mon, most people don’t.
Stu: Well, I heard of them, I don’t really know
Glenn: You don’t really know. You have no idea why they were there. Sara average person doesn’t know. Any idea, take a guess on why the Dead Sea Scrolls were there, or anything else.
Sara(?): Something religious.
Glenn: Okay, good. Even though I’ve explained this on this program a couple of times, I’m glad to see that even the people that work with me don’t even listen.
So here’s what happened. When Constantine decided that he was going to cobble together an army, he did the Council of Nicea, right, Pat?
Glenn: The Council of Nicea, and what they did is brought all of the religious figures together, all the Christians and then they said, “Ok, let’s put together the Apostles’ Creed, let’s you know, you guys do it.” So they brought all their religious scripture together, that’s when the Bible was first bound and everything else. And then they said, “Anybody that disagrees with this is a heretic and off with their head!” Well, that’s what the Dead Sea Scrolls are. The Dead Sea Scrolls are those scriptures that people had at the time that they said, “They are destroying all of this truth.” Whether it’s truth or not is up to the individual, but at that time those people thought that this was something that needed to be preserved and so they rolled up the scrolls and put them in clay pots and they put them in the back of caves where no one could find them. They were hidden scripture because everything was being destroyed that disagreed with the Council of Nicea and Constantine. That’s what those things are.” 24:37
Okay, let’s count the problems.
1) “When Constantine decided that he was going to cobble together an army, he did the Council of Nicea”
Really? Wasn’t Constantine’s formation of an army well prior to Nicea? Was there an army at Nicea at all? For information about Constantine, from a real historian, see here.
2) “then they said, ‘Ok, let’s put together the Apostles’ Creed, let’s you know, you guys do it.'”
The Apostles Creed is from the century after Christ.
3) “So they brought all their religious scripture together, that’s when the Bible was first bound and everything else”
See this article, discussed later. The first Bible was bound there? Really? I’d love to see some documentation of that. Was there any canon discussion at all? I’d love to see some proof of that, as well.
4) “then they said, ‘Anybody that disagrees with this is a heretic and off with their head!'”
What went on at Nicea is well-documented here. The canons of Nicea are available online, as well. No historian I know of has ever produced a shred of evidence that there were beheadings or executions at Nicea.
5) “Well, that’s what the Dead Sea Scrolls are. The Dead Sea Scrolls are those scriptures that people had at the time.” “but at that time those people thought that this was something that needed to be preserved”
What time is that? As noted on this site, they are dated from anywhere from the third century B.C. to 68 A.D. Glenn is off by at least 250 years.
6) “They are destroying all of this truth.” “They were hidden scripture because everything was being destroyed that disagreed with the Council of Nicea and Constantine.”
First, who? Second, these are the Dead Sea Scrolls. Wrong century. Wrong people. WRONG PLACE. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found where? Khirbet Qumran, near Kalia, a modern Jewish settlement. Nicea is where? Present-day İznik – Turkey.
7) “Whether it’s truth or not is up to the individual”
Very postmodern of him. However: “I was answered that I must join none of them (Christian Churches), for they were all wrong…that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight” (Joseph Smith History 1:19).
Folks, practically everything in this explanation is wrong. It’s mind-boggling. Immediately, I tried to call the show, but the lines were jammed, so I didn’t get through. I did send him an email, however, with a very short list of factual problems with this section above, with my cell #, just in case he wanted to contact me.
In that email, I provided this link: What Really Happened at Nicea? In this article, Dr. White explains the history and proceedings of the Council of Nicea (which was in 325, not in 378, as a Media Matters commenter claimed).
Now, I listen to Beck for a simple reason. He’s a Mormon, and his worldview “bleeds through” quite frequently – and I find it interesting. Especially when, as is more common lately, he speaks about faith and religion. He frequently refers to himself as “Christian” – when he is nothing of the sort. For instance:
The section I’m most interested in is here:
“The enemy of Jesus is not a government. It is the capping of individuals. It is the stopping of people understand what the power inside of you is. The ability to choose between right and wrong. Jesus never took anybody and waterboarded them and told them ‘accept me, accept me, accept me’. He never did that. Religions, when they became about politics, did that. Jesus said ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do’. Jesus said ‘do you not yet understand all this and more you can do’. It’s individual rights. It’s a war that has been going since before time. I’ll save em. I’ll save em all. Just give me the credit, I’ll save em all. I’ll make the choices for them so no one can fail. No, no, no. Let men fail – and I will send a Savior, and He will redeem them for the price that they cannot pay. But let them fail.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
Note: Lucifer’s plan has often been compared, negatively, to Calvinism – which, ironically, is what a Presbyterian is. Like… the Presbyterian author (and seminary president at WTS) he approvingly endorsed earlier in that same show!
So, we’ve established two things.
While Glenn might consider himself a good historian on the founding fathers, he should stick to things he has actually studied.
Glenn’s Mormon presuppositions slip through, and color his viewing of history as well his statements about faith.