Monday, February 26, 2007

What if the tomb wasn't empty?

Faith and facts have almost nothing to do with one another. Sure now and then someone will claim that they do. But at the core they are in completely different universes. For the true believer in Jesus there is no fact that will convince them that they were in error. As has been said, you can’t reason someone out of a belief if they weren’t reasoned into it in the first place.

Now and then I’ve asked Christians what piece of evidence it would take to convince them that their religion was false. I’ve never received an answer that was close to coherent.

Now I don’t know if the following theory is true or not. It really doesn’t matter if it is. And please note that all the information I use here comes from a Christian web site.

Basically “a panel of experts, as well as producer and Oscar-winner James Cameron” have said that they have discovered what they believe to be the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

Now it is difficult to prove the theory. But the evidence does begin to add up. First the tomb did belong to a man named Jesus. Not uncommon. But he is also “Yeshua bar Yosef” or Jesus, son of Joseph. That is not common at all. While tombs belonging to someone named Jesus have been found before none had this connection. And in tomb was his mother, a woman named Mary. Again it is getting a little too close for comfort.

Two other males were found in the tomb and believed to be brothers to the owner of the tomb. We do know that the New Testament said Jesus had brothers. In fact the author of the book of James is said to be one of them. All in all this is still not quite there. It could be one massive coincidence. But there is one more body as well.

And this one is interesting. It is identified as belonging to Mariamene e Mara and the experts say this means Mary Magdalene. And that brings up another problematic issue for Christians. Under the customs of the day only family members could be buried in the family tomb. So this Mary Magdalene would have to be a relative or the wife of the tomb’s owner. They could check the mitochondrial DNA and determined that woman was not related to the tomb’s owner via the material bloodline.

That doesn’t prove they aren’t related via the paternal bloodline but this is another coincidence that is starting to get rather astronomical.

Another body was also found in the tomb and this one was identified as “Judah, son of Jesus” which would also indicate that the other female body belong to the mother of Judah, or the wife of Jesus.

One archeologist who helped excavate the tomb says he doesn’t think that this could be the tomb of Jesus because “They were a very poor family...” and wouldn’t own a tomb. But this doesn’t mean the tomb wouldn’t have been bought or donated by followers of Jesus. And the New Testament speaks of that happening.

But we don’t know if that every took place. We don’t know if Mary and Joseph were poor. The New Testament says lots of things which are not necessarily true. Maybe it is all one massive coincidence and maybe it isn’t. Everyone involved says that far more investigation has to be done before any definitive conclusion is reached.

But here is what I contend. Even if the tomb were discovered and the body was still attached to the cross Christians would find a reason to ignore it. The evidence is not important.

And I suspect there are some very nervous officials in Israel doing their best to assure that the evidence comes out against this being the tomb of Jesus. As long as all this is 2,000 years in the past it is better for everyone. But if officials from the Israeli agency that investigates archeological sites were to come out and say this was the tomb of Jesus all hell would break out. Many Christians don’t like Jews as things stand and if Israel or Jewish officials are involved in debunking the resurrection there will be hell to pay.

So while I think Christians will ignore this story, even if the evidence continues to mount that it is Jesus in the tomb, I suspect the opposite will happen it the evidence goes the other way. If the consensus is that this probably isn’t the tomb of the Jesus of the New Testament they will seem to find that a verification of the story of the resurrection.

If this isn’t the Jesus tomb that is not proof that the tomb doesn’t exist somewhere. And if there is no tomb that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grave, perhaps one of the countless graves that have been discovered over hundreds of years with no name at all. So this one tomb can only disprove the resurrection. It can’t prove it. But logic and reason don’t work well in the realm of faith. So in the end it won’t matter to the Christians.

But here is what we do know. The tomb was real and the boxes containing the remains were genuine. The names attached to the boxes are not disputed and statisticians says that the odds of the tomb belonging to another family with the same names is about 1 in 600.

It is noted that 71 tombs belonging to a man named Jesus have been discovered in Israel. But none said he was the son of Joseph, none had him buried with his mother Mary and none indicated that a wife, buried with him, would be Mary Magdalene. It will be interesting to watch. I think the evidence is interesting but not fully persuasive myself. But as I said I don’t think it will matter to believers even if the evidence were indisputable. They will find a way to ignore it. They do with everything else.

Photo: This is the tomb in question.

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Blogger Indioheathen said...

Here's an informative blog on this subject:

February 27, 2007

Blogger Ethereal said...

I think that they have found the tomb of Jesus. But the believers will ignore it and will fight to prove that it is false.

Just like with slavery, christians have no problem with it.


February 27, 2007

Blogger IConrad said...

There are supposedly valid historical contradictions with this having been the tomb of Jesus. Even if they are invalidated, however, the simple fact that there is and has been doubt will prevent this from having great impact.

If Scientologists can buy that crap about Xenu, then the "tomb of Jesus" ain't gonna do squat.

March 01, 2007

Blogger Publius II said...

Good gracious!!! It absolutely amazes me what you come up with sometimes. It really does. You start by bashing Christians for ignoring facts, and then you give a report on this topic that is so weak it's laughable!

Here's where you're flat out wrong in this article.

1. You rightly state that Jesus was a common name, but then claim that Jesus, son of Joseph would be uncommon. Jesus and Joseph were two of the most common names at that time. It would not be uncommon at all to see Josephs with sons named Jesus. It's like Johns who have sons named Michael. Uncommon? I don't think so. The fact that they haven't found any tombs with with the name Jesus, son of Joseph is not all that surprising either. They were common names for common Jews. Out of the few thousand tombs that have been found, the ones that were found were the well-preserved tombs on the wealthier Jews of the day.

2. The article says “Mariamene is the name of Mary Magdalene,” said the Titanic director. Either this guy is a complete moron or the quote was taken out of context. There is no reason whatsoever that the real name of Mary Magdalene is "Mariamene", other than because they found this box next to somebody who was also coincidentally "Jesus, so of Joseph."

3. And you completely fail to mention this point, which is a pretty solid one that contradicts this whole thing.

“The filmmakers are therefore suggesting that the body of Jesus lay decaying in a family tomb in Jerusalem at the same time the early Jerusalem church was expanding because of its belief in a resurrected Messiah,” Guthrie said in a statement released by Union following the Monday press conference. “Yet, we have no evidence from any ancient document, Christian or non-Christian, that points even to rumors that the body or bones of Jesus were there in Jerusalem.”

Guthrie added that both biblical and extra-biblical sources point to the brothers of Jesus, most notably James, as among the Christians of the first century.

“Yet, would James and the others not known of this family tomb and the body of Jesus there?” Guthrie asked. “As believers, his family members confess the resurrected Jesus. No opponent of Christianity points to the tomb. No followers of Jesus revere the tomb. There is no evidence – beyond the circumstantial evidence of exceedingly common names – that points to this as being the tomb of Jesus’ family. The name associations are interesting, but the evidence does not bear the weight of the proposition.”

4. And you seem to imply that Christians think when this crackpot story is debunked, then it will somehow prove the resurrection. Where and when has this ever been claimed?

March 07, 2007

Blogger GodlessZone said...

Publius: Yo u don’t pay attention. Hard to with God whispering in your ear. If you follow any of the links I provided in the article you would find the information you say I’m wrong about.

Archeologists say that numerous tombs belonging to someone named Jesus were found. None of them every showed a Jesus, son of Joseph. That is what archeologists claim. Since God doesn’t inform them the same way he informs you perhaps you can direct them to the tombs that show this.

You misquote. The source for the Mariamene claim is not Cameron he merely repeated what academics have concluded from other early Christian texts that were found where that name is used for Mary Magdalene. I have read old Jewish texts which said Jesus was buried near Jerusalem which Christians dismiss so to say they never existed is false. The Christian church did not thrive in Jerusalem though there were some followers we don’t know how many or what they believed. Most Christians of the time were converts of Paul outside of Palestine.

And I did not say this tomb was the tomb of Jesus -- for all I know he was buried in the sand. I said that if it was the tomb of Jesus it wouldn’t matter one bit to people like yourself. As I said even if he were found in the tomb still nailed to a cross you wouldn’t believe it because you can’t.

March 08, 2007

Blogger Publius II said...

What old Jewish texts? I'd be very interested in seeing them.

And you have no grounds to make the claim that I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge evidence. I've looked at every piece of evidence that you've put in front of me, and I'm always willing to give it a fair chance.

But this whole story is clearly a filmmaker trying to boost the likelihood of making money on a project. These tombs were found in 1980. The filmmakers have chosen an opportune time to make these claims, due to the large amount of hype that surrounded "The DaVinci Code."

You claim that Christians blindly follow what they're told, but what of all the people being played by these filmmakers?

March 09, 2007

Blogger Publius II said...

I've gone ahead and posted some thoughts from Dr. Kostenberger on my blog. Here's the link.

March 09, 2007


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