Monday, February 26, 2007

Dem Bones

Ah, the pleasure of predictability. James Cameron et al. come across with the startling (and, methinks, insupportable) claim that they have found "the bones of Jesus and his family" retrieved from what they say may be the final tomb of Jesus. An AP story, with photos, is (among many other places) here. The most salient line in the story is this: "The claims have raised the ire of Christian leaders in the Holy Land."

Do tell. And only in the Holy Land, you think?

Well, The Lost Tomb of Jesus--Cameron's account of the discovery, which is to air next month on, naturally, The Discovery Channel--sounds like interesting speculation...but how could it every be anything but speculation? Much is made of "DNA evidence" from the ossuaries, but I fail to see how that could prove much beyond whether the various bones belonged to people who were related to one another. It would certainly be impossible to show that they belonged to the Jesus and family, for the very simple reason that we have nothing to compare the DNA to.

So it's all a bit of a tempest in a teacup, and yet here comes the Christian Ire. And why? Because this speculation doesn't jibe with the account given in the New Testament, that's why, and as we have previously noted, there is something in the psyche of "good" "Christians" that cannot permit them to allow anyone to have a different point of view, or speculate on a different idea, or just not believe. It is seemingly impossible for these folks to simply shrug it off, dismiss the other guy as misguided, or nuts, and move on. matter what, they always rise to the bait, bless 'em.

Interesting, too, how they adopt the position that the biblical account is "fact," and therefore any other idea is fiction (or, if you like, heresy). Here's a telling tidbit from John Gibson's "My Word" column at Fox News--or, more accurately, Fox "News":

..."There aren't supposed to be any bones of Jesus around. After all, he ascended to heaven, didn't he? Well, yes that is the history billions of Christians have believed true, and, in fact, the documentary doesn't much debunk that history because no bones were found in these boxes, called ossuaries."...

Did you spot it? The New Testament account of the Ascension is portrayed by the fair-and-balanced crowd as "history." Obviously a new definition of history that is not to be found in a standard dictionary.

But then for literal-factual interpreters of the Bible, it and it alone is "true"--true science, true history, true everything down to the Nth degree--and so any "evidence" of anything else must, by definition, be false.

No room for faith in there, from what I can see.

And that, for me, is the ultimate test. So James Cameron and Co. think they may have found the bones of Jesus (contradicting the Ascension story...not "history"), and not in the grotto beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where tradition (not "history") says Jesus was laid after the Crucifixion. So what? He can't prove it...and even if he could--so what? Is our faith such a fragile and shaky thing that anything that suggests a hint of an innuendo of a deviation from the story (not "history") portrayed in the Bible causes it to collapse? I hope not!

So maybe Jesus' tomb was at Point A and not Point B. So maybe he was married. So maybe he had siblings. So what? Does any of it detract one iota from his sacrifice or his saving message?

And if

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