I'm sitting here watching "Banned from the Bible II" on the History Channel. You know right away from the tendentious title that the show is going to be slanted against Christianity. What sense does it make to say that some ancient manuscript was "banned" from the Bible? If you make an anthology of Science Fiction and don't include anything by Asimov, does that mean that Asimov was "banned" from the anthology?
It's a ridiculous term, chosen to imply dogmatic and intolerant rigidity. The show also uses the word "suppressed" to mean "didn't include a book in the cannon" and the combination is clearly intended to give a flavor of forcing religion on other people. But didn't the compilers of the Bible have the right to chose which books were consistent with their faith and which weren't? And what sort of sanctimonious prig thinks that he can tell people of another faith what books should be part of their religion?
So, I wasn't surprised when the speakers in the show gave unflattering speculations about why the particular books weren't included in the cannon. But there is no need to speculate, since the arguments around the Christian cannon are well-documented. And for the Jewish cannon (the show is also anti-Jewish) the unflattering speculation is not supported by anything except negative stereotypes.
Some of the unflattering speculation was even self-refuting. There is a story of Lilith, who was supposedly the first woman created. But she defied both God and Adam and became a demon who causes still births and molests young men in their sleep. One speculation given for why Lilith was not included in the canon is that she was an independent woman who refused to submit to her husband. But does that makes sense? If their purpose was to make sure that women remain submissive to men, what better way than to say that defying your husband makes you like an evil demon that causes still births?
But how about a simpler reason for leaving the story of Lilith out? How about that it was clearly more gentile than Jewish in content? The Jewish religion doesn't have the sorts of gods and demons that Lilith represents. They didn't have demonic explanations for natural phenomena such as still birth and wet dreams. That was gentile religion. Why ever would the Jews include such an obviously gentile-like story in their religious cannon?
The church fathers supposedly left out a couple of books because those books endorsed celibacy, but not simply because the fathers wanted to exclude books that taught wrong doctrine. No, that would not be unflattering enough. The reason that the church fathers "suppressed" these books was because so many Christians of the time believed in them and the church fathers wanted to ... ah ... I'm not sure why they wanted to deliberately anger half of Christendom and make it less likely that the cannon would be universally accepted. There must be some reason, though, because there has to be some mean-spirited motivation behind their decision.
Right at the end of the show, one guy gives a speech about how Christianity was never one religion and how the Catholic Church won the war and then "rewrote history" to make it look as if their beliefs were always the main beliefs. But this is silly. A large part of what we know about the early heresies are because they were recorded by the church fathers. If the church fathers wanted to write these heresies out of history, shouldn't they have, like, not recorded them for history? And if their purpose in creating the cannon had no other purpose than to prop up their own splinter cult of Christianity, why doesn't the cannon contain any support for the contentious and flaky parts of Catholicism? I'm thinking of things like saint-worship, Mary-worship, idolatry, the priesthood, the church hierarchy, confessions and rosaries among other things. Surely they could have dug up a few fraudulent writings to support these things. But the church fathers were (for the most part) too honest to include anything that didn't have a clear historical connection to Christ.
This could have been an interesting show. They could have talked about the Jewish belief in prophets and their inspired writing, and the similar Christian belief about the apostles and other disciples of Christ. They could have explained how early Christianity was influenced by Greek mystery cults and how the church fathers argued against the cults. They could have been more honest about the dates of the various canonical and non-canonical texts. In general the canonical texts are much earlier.
But it clearly isn't the purpose of this show to enlighten us about the history of the Bible. Their purpose is to discredit the Bible.