God's Politics

God's Politics


Scot McKnight: A Boring Box of Bones

posted by gp_intern

I’ll make a confession. I’ve lived long enough to see the emergence, the trend, and now the aging of the genre of Easter ambulance-chasing publishers. Every Lent, as Christians afflict themselves with minor fasting in order to participate more directly in the sufferings of Christ, and as Christians eagerly anticipate the good news called Easter, a publisher announces a new discovery, making the claim that the Christian gospel has neither a good Friday nor some good news. The genre is old, the trick has been seen before, and the American public knows the game.

Still, as a historian of Christian origins, I confess that I spend time each year pondering the new challenge to the Christian faith. Sometimes I slump into a chair, thinking merely that it’s my job to assess such challenges and to be ready when Christians write me or when students ask. Other times I find myself irritated with publishers and with authors because they can’t simply report what is knowable – they must sensationalize the discovery. Every time I give the challenge a fighting chance – it’s my responsibility as a Christian.

James Cameron (of Titanic fame), Simcha Jacobovici (with the flair of a Hollywood gossip and the rhetoric of a neutral observer), and Charles Pellegrino have teamed up on TV, radio, and in a book – The Jesus Family Tomb – to headline the news with an old-genre story. This is my perception of what they are saying: “We’ve discovered not only the tomb of Jesus’ family, but his DNA, his wife’s DNA and his son’s DNA (his name is Judah this time). The Israeli experts,” so they suggest, “saw our discovery back in the early ’80s but were afraid to tell the world what we have the courage to now reveal. Come, see. You can see for yourself. It’s the actual family tomb of Jesus.”

What can we see? No matter how many breaks I have tried to give them, they have failed to report the fullness of the facts. Poor people didn’t have ossuaries and tombs in Jerusalem, because they couldn’t afford such extravagances. Galileans, when their bones were stored in ossuaries in Jerusalem, almost always wrote on the bone box their “address”: e.g., Yeshua from Nazareth. The names found on these ossuaries are so common that they are non-identifiable markers; the authors of this news story can only claim some statistical odds by necessitating that the “Mariamene” of one of the ossuaries be the Mary Magdalene of a 4th century non-Jewish, semi-Christian, apocryphal gospel. These aren’t facts the authors of this new story are willing to explore, and it undermines my confidence in their objectivity. (And some of the scholars they use to support their case are now denying the claims attributed to them.)

Most importantly, I find the claim incredible: We are being asked to believe that a Christian movement – shaped from beginning to end by the claim of both resurrection and ascension (no bones, therefore no ossuary) – was started by a family dynasty of the same faith (Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Judah), and carried on the secret of actually having the bones of Jesus buried in an extravagant and public place while they encouraged early Christians to go to death because of their faith in Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.

Scot McKnight is a professor of religious studies at North Park University and author of The Jesus Creed. www.jesuscreed.org



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Mark P

posted March 9, 2007 at 8:37 pm


Attaboy Scott! Great post, and do keep up the good work. May the grace of God refresh you as you have to rehash the same old battles by the salesmen of lies every year.



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kevin s.

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:14 pm


Well done. If you believe that these are the bones of Jesus, then you cannot be a Christian. The two ideas are incompatible, and good on Sojo for recognizing this fact.



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Sarasotakid

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:27 pm


If you believe that these are the bones of Jesus, then you cannot be a Christian.Since when does belief in a non-physial resurrection disqualify you from being a Christian? I thought we were saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Since when does a “right” understanding of how the resurrection ocurred play into that equation?



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Mark P

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:44 pm


If the resurrection is not physical, Scripture is a lie…. and what faith in Jesus can be represented by an unraised Lord? Without the resurrection I don’t believe you have true Christianity.



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kevin s.

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:56 pm


“Since when does belief in a non-physial resurrection disqualify you from being a Christian? I thought we were saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Since when does a “right” understanding of how the resurrection ocurred play into that equation?” What would a non-physical resurrection entail? For starters, you would have to believe that Christ’s disciples were lying and/or deluded. From there, you can undo the whole thing.Christ’s deity is predicated upon his resurrection. Without the resurrection, you have a Christ that had some nice ideas, but isn’t worth raising a fuss over.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 9, 2007 at 11:32 pm


But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 There are people out there who want to reject Christianity and for them, these ossuaries and Cameron s film will serve them well. For those of us who stand for truth, I don t see that we much to worry about.



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Payshun

posted March 9, 2007 at 11:34 pm


Amen. p



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Mike Hayes

posted March 10, 2007 at 12:24 am


Scot, The thought had occurred to me that it would be unlikely that poor persons at that time would have had the means to bury their dead in such a manner. I’d be curious to know the dimensions of such a storage device and what the practice was if it was too small to contain a body immediately after death… were the bones placed in the storage device after the body had decomposed?



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chad

posted March 10, 2007 at 2:05 am


good to see you posting at God’s Politics Scot! thanks for your thoughts…



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Scot McKnight

posted March 10, 2007 at 2:38 am


Mike, The custom was simple, but the evidence suggests it occurred in the 1st Century and not later. Person dies; body was immediately (within 24 hours) put in a grave of some kind. The wealthy had access to stone dig-outs in stone/rock caves or in natural walls around Jerusalem. The poor were put in a dug-out grave. The family had to have money to afford such a “tomb” and within a tomb there might be several rock-cut tombs withink the larger family tomb. Then, after one year or so, the oldest male had the responsibility of making sure the body had decayed enough that the sinews and tendons had dissolved. Then (the wealthy alone could afford this) they gathered the bones and put them into a box (ossuary). There the bones remained.Incidentally, this probably explains why Jesus thought it was inappropriate for a man to resist his call in order to bury his father. It might take an entire year for the process to be over.



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Scot McKnight

posted March 10, 2007 at 2:41 am


And it is a well-established fact that resurrection in Judaism referred to a body coming back to life. The Greek notion of immortality of the soul, or the soul surviving and moving on with no connection to the body is not what “resurrection” means in the NT. That means what Tom Wright cleverly calls “life after life after death,” that is, an embodied life beyond death wherein the body is enlivened for a new day and a new glorious world. And belief in that resurrection is what Paul is talking about in 1 Cor 15, without which one does not believe in the power of the gospel. (Also take a look at Rom 4:25.)



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RJohnson64

posted March 10, 2007 at 4:59 pm


The idea that a wealthy family would perpetuate a scam on the followers of Jesus? Hey, what would you call the Moonies, Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, or any other of the myriad religious cults that have sprung up over the ages and deceived their followers? If they could scam their followers, why not the the family of Jesus? Or maybe a group of his followers who knew they had a good thing going? The argument seems to be that the find cannot be believed because it doesn’t make sense. It defies what we knew about people of that time. It doesn’t add up against the historical record of that day. Does the resurrection make sense? Does it go against what we knew of people at that time? Does it add up against the rest of the historical record of that time?



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RJohnson64

posted March 10, 2007 at 5:35 pm


But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 ———————————- I see this verse quoted often whenever any questioning of the Christian faith is raised. In essence the argument seems to be:- Without the resurrection the Christian faith would be foolish for me to follow. – Since I’m no fool, the resurrection must be true. The logical conclusion of this is that the only reason you follow the Christian faith is for the reward given in the afterlife. In other words…the verse is an appeal to pride and selfishness, is it not?



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PBA

posted March 10, 2007 at 5:52 pm


Thank you for this enlightening post, Scot, and most especially the very logical and rational last paragraph. Your thoughts help me to explain my own intuitive beliefs about this latest scam. (It’s always good to have logic back up intuition.)



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Scot McKnight

posted March 10, 2007 at 6:17 pm


RJohnson64, I’m not sure you are giving a charitable reading. First, the reason folks quote 1 Cor 15 is to assert the centrality of resurrection and the necessity of resurrection in the Christian faith. Second, I don’t think the logic is as you say. The logic is: I believe the gospel; resurrection is central to the gospel; therefore I believe the gospel. Third, I don’t think it is logical either to say one follows the gospel for purely selfish reasons. However, you’ve got a point and many say all of us pursue what satisfies the self because God made the self to be satisfied by the Godself. If there is a resurrection, and if life is eternal, etc., then I would think it would be incredibly rational and self-seeking (in a good way) to seek that resurrection. On your previous comment. It is not so much that it doesn’t make sense but more that, had that family had a family tomb open for all to view and with Jesus’ bones in it, it would be foolish for them to be declaring resurrection/ascension and urging others to die for that resurrection faith — all the while the bones are there for anyone to sneak in a see. The point is this: it is highly unlikely a family could get by with such a scam.



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RJohnson64

posted March 10, 2007 at 9:50 pm


“On your previous comment. It is not so much that it doesn’t make sense but more that, had that family had a family tomb open for all to view and with Jesus’ bones in it, it would be foolish for them to be declaring resurrection/ascension and urging others to die for that resurrection faith — all the while the bones are there for anyone to sneak in a see.” How many people claim to have seen Elvis, in spite of his tomb being a tourist attraction? And what about the numerous relics of various religions, not just Christianity, that have been shown by scientific investigation to NOT be old enough to have been what they purport to be? And given that the Gospel account speaks of Jesus being placed in a tomb belonging to a wealthy Jewish follower, why is it so odd that similarly wealthy followers of his teachings might choose to honor their teacher at his death with a fancy burial for him and his family? Look at how we bury the Popes of the Catholic faith? The story may well be full of holes. The hole you are seeking can be easily explained away by the generosity and devotion of some followers of status in Jerusalem deciding to honor their teacher.



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RJohnson64

posted March 10, 2007 at 9:51 pm


“First, the reason folks quote 1 Cor 15 is to assert the centrality of resurrection and the necessity of resurrection in the Christian faith.” Why is the resurrection the center of the faith? Why isn’t the life of Jesus the center of the faith?



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kevin s.

posted March 10, 2007 at 10:13 pm


“How many people claim to have seen Elvis, in spite of his tomb being a tourist attraction? ” Not that many. Do you have any historical accounts of people witnessing the corpse of Jesus after the purported resurrection?”And what about the numerous relics of various religions, not just Christianity, that have been shown by scientific investigation to NOT be old enough to have been what they purport to be?” Other religions are, in fact, myth. Which relics of Christianity are not old enough to be what they purport to be? “why is it so odd that similarly wealthy followers of his teachings might choose to honor their teacher at his death with a fancy burial for him and his family?” You then believe the account of Joseph, but deny the rest? On what grounds? If Joseph was a Jewish follower of Christ, he placed Christ in the tomb because he believed him, yes? If it turned out Christ was a fraud, why would the same man arrange for all his family members to receive similar treatment upon their death? That is far from easily explained.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 11, 2007 at 4:33 am


For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 Peace!



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Donny

posted March 12, 2007 at 3:48 am


Wow. Not bad coming from the progressive side of the religious divide. No resurrection no Christian culture worth anything other than laughter or crying. And “they” keep going after Jesus year in and year out. The new Passover Plot. Now it’s time for “progressives” to show the absurd side of of the little college employee Richard Dawkins. This guy takes himself seriously too. I believe in mutants once I read anything from that guy. But, not the improvement kind of adaptation. Dawkins is as dense about Christianity as he is about the origins of all things. His whole life is built around a Passover Plot as well.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 6:25 am


Wow. Not bad coming from the progressive side of the religious divide.God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:24-27 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12 Peace!



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(the other) Brian

posted March 12, 2007 at 2:33 pm


Scott McKnight has done 2 things that are unusual on the God’s Politics Blog: 1. He has defended and promoted the historic, orthodox faith regarding the resurrection over and against a dead Jesus or a Jesus who “rose from the dead” in an immaterial body. 2. He has responded to comments.



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Don

posted March 12, 2007 at 3:14 pm


To (the other) Brian: Thanks for your comments. It seems that some Christians who don’t agree with the politics of this blog are quick to assume that the folks who write for it are less than orthodox in their basic understanding of the Faith. I’m not sure why, except that I have often heard statements from politically conservative Christians to the effect that one cannot be a ‘true’ Christian and also be a Democrat, a ‘liberal,’ an environmentalist, or a (fill in the blank). Some individuals have posted statements on this blog to the effect that Jim Wallis is a liberal-socialist progressive and therefore, it is assumed, can’t possibly be a ‘real’ Christian. One poster even called him a heretic. It’s refreshing, therefore, to see that the fundamental teachings of Christianity are indeed intact here. For myself, I was never in doubt, but maybe this will silence at least some (though probably not all) the doubters. Neuro_nurse’s quote from I Corinthians is most appropriate. We have different gifts, different callings, and different outlooks. God made us this way. I would add another verse: Romans 14:4–“Who are you to judge another man’s servant: To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Peace,



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kevin s.

posted March 12, 2007 at 3:47 pm


“It seems that some Christians who don’t agree with the politics of this blog are quick to assume that the folks who write for it are less than orthodox in their basic understanding of the Faith.” A number of the posters at Sojourners are less than orthodox in their faith. That is not assumption. Jeff Halper is Jewish (albeit self-loathing). Further, I think there has been some glaring omissions in terms of reaffirming the deity and necessity of Christ. “I’m not sure why, except that I have often heard statements from politically conservative Christians to the effect that one cannot be a ‘true’ Christian and also be a Democrat, a ‘liberal,’ an environmentalist, or a (fill in the blank).” I don’t think this is that common of a position, though you surely are aware that the trend toward relativism is frequently accompanied by political liberalism?



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 5:34 pm


i hate to burst the bubbles of those of you saying you must believe in the physical resurrection to be a christian (for starters, i don’t think that is your call) – there are countless people identifying themselves as christians who do not believe in a physical resurrection and countless more for whom the question is not of great significance, though admittedly the number is far from a majority.scot, as you know, the story as we have it in the gospels is from 40-60 years after Jesus’ death and it is clear the gospel writers were not trying to give a factual account of events in the way we would today. the early christian movement was inspired by the life of jesus, his teachings, and his followers experiencing him as God among them, both in life and after his death (which we still do today) – you need no physical resurrection for any of that, though i can certainly accept that there were probably many early christians who did believe in physical resurrection the same way many believed Jesus would physically come back to them in their lifetime. i also take issue with your characterization in your last paragraph of the movement founders deceiving its converts and “encouraging early christians to go to death because of their faith in Jesus’ resurrection and assension.” it was Jesus himself who told his followers to take up their cross and follow him to confrontation with Rome and its priestly collaborators which is precisely what many of his followers (eventually) did.as for the documentary, i will wholeheartedly agree it has its shortcomings, and the filmmaker readily has admitted his limitations as simply a filmmaker but hoped the findings would encourage further study of the evidence by those more knowledgeable than him. yet it appears that so many (scot, you appear ambivalent here) want to dismiss the finding without giving such further study a chance. the fact of the matter is that even if it can be shown one day to a high degree of scientific certainty that this is indeed the tomb of jesus of nazareth, the man who inspired our religion, many christians will not accept it, and i think that is a problem for our faith – that is religion creeping into the realm of science, not the other way around, and it is a grasp for certitude to the detriment of our search for truth in all its many forms (which i think is ideally one of the focuses of any religion). it is entirely up to you whether or not you want to believe in the physical resurrection as a historical event (i will think of you as no more or less of a christian either way – they will know we are christians by our love), but don’t tell me that mental affirmation of a fantastic physical event 2000 years ago is necessary for me to be a christian or a follower of christ or to believe in the divinity of Jesus.



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kevin s.

posted March 12, 2007 at 5:58 pm


“i hate to burst the bubbles of those of you saying you must believe in the physical resurrection to be a christian (for starters, i don’t think that is your call)” It’s not my call that 2+2=4 either. “there are countless people identifying themselves as christians who do not believe in a physical resurrection” There are countless people identifying themselves as Christians who don’t think Christ ever existed. “and countless more for whom the question is not of great significance, though admittedly the number is far from a majority. ” Regardless of your view on this issue, how on earth could it not be significant? It is insignificant whether the man came back to life or not? “scot, as you know, the story as we have it in the gospels is from 40-60 years after Jesus’ death and it is clear the gospel writers were not trying to give a factual account of events in the way we would today.” How is this clear?”the early christian movement was inspired by the life of jesus, his teachings, and his followers experiencing him as God among them, both in life and after his death (which we still do today) – you need no physical resurrection for any of that,” This is tricky. Everything you say is true, but it is misleading in that it implies that they did not believe in a physical resurrection, which is not true.” it was Jesus himself who told his followers to take up their cross and follow him to confrontation with Rome” Confrontation with Rome? “the fact of the matter is that even if it can be shown one day to a high degree of scientific certainty that this is indeed the tomb of jesus of nazareth, the man who inspired our religion, many christians will not accept it, ” This does nothing to auger your case. Simply because Christians WOULD reject the validity of the evidence does not mean the evidence is valid. If the world were populated with flesh-eating zombies, there are those who would deny the existence flesh-eating zombies. That doesn’t lend one iota of credibility to the idea that there are, in fact, flesh-eating zombies among us.”that is religion creeping into the realm of science, not the other way around,” Well, by any definition of good science, Mr. Cameron’s work isn’t it, so you may have a point here.” but don’t tell me that mental affirmation of a fantastic physical event 2000 years ago is necessary for me to be a christian or a follower of christ or to believe in the divinity of Jesus.” He may not tell you, but he has an obligation to tell others. If this “fantastical physical event” did not take place, then we have every reason to question the deity of Christ. The Bible offers his resurrection as irrefutable proof of his deity. To disbelieve the resurrection is to disbelieve the Bible. If you disbelieve the Bible, then you have no particular cause to be a Christian, and are allowed to fashion a religion of your own making. This is your perogative, but it is not Christianity.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 6:36 pm


kevin, oh great and learned discerner of eternal truth and historical fact, where would we be without your defense of the faith and your exclusion of tricky heretics like me? thank you again for your eloquent if selective parsing of quotes and your witty if unsubstantive one-liner responses. and thank you most of all for reminding us that orthodox doctrine is all-important and that there is absolutely no metaphorical storytelling going on in the gospels but it is all pure fact by jesus’ 4 tag-along objective biographers written as it was spoken (even though the facts often contradict one another, but we won’t talk about that). yes, it’s all about the physical resurrection, without it we are lost and God cannot exist and certainly Jesus could not be God without the physical resurrection. c’mon kevin, finish me off – now that you’ve decisively rendered me a non-christian, put the icing on the cake and tell me i’m going to hell unless i give my mental assent to the physical resurrection. please judge me some more, judge me eternally for foolishly questioning orthodoxy through years of literary, theological and historical study of the faith i am so misguidedly passionate about. nope, no mystery remaining here or anywhere, God put it fact by fact in the Bible for us all to ‘accept by faith’ or burn in the end.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 6:58 pm


To disbelieve the resurrection is to disbelieve the Bible. If you disbelieve the Bible, then you have no particular cause to be a Christian, and are allowed to fashion a religion of your own making. This is your perogative, but it is not Christianity. kevin s. | Homepage | 03.12.07 – 11:03 am | #no, no, no, no. this will be my only substantive response to kevin because it is an absolute crock even more than what he normally says about me. i do not disbelieve the resurrection but clearly understand it differently than you, the same way i do not disbelieve the bible but understand it differently than you. it is my perogative and my relationship with God and my journey, and it is christian, passionately and devoutly christian. but you are free to judge me and others all you want, “This is your perogative, but it is not Christianity.”



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 6:58 pm


kevin s. Good response. At some time during our courtship, my father-in-law to be discussed the five fundamental tenants of Christianity with me. I wasn t taking notes, but I do recall that belief in the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus, belief in the resurrection, were agreed upon by all of the major Christian denominations. (that s why it was okay for his Southern Baptist daughter to marry a Catholic) Unfortunately, a Google search on the topic has produced only arguments against the acceptance of the fundamental tenant of Christianity. I wanted to post a reply similar to yours, but thought it better to let someone else more well-versed than I step up to the plate and you did. One of the things that stopped me from posting a reply was I didn t know how to post the point you made that To disbelieve the resurrection is to disbelieve the Bible. The same has been said about the literal interpretation of the Biblical account of creation. You are correct in saying that Mr. Cameron s work isn t science. I believe that misunderstanding about what science is is too common in our religious and social dialog today. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (159) Does science contradict the reality of the resurrection? Not to my knowledge. I can t think of a way that science could prove that human remains are those of Jesus of Nazareth. The resurrection is a phenomenon that has, so far, occurred only once and was not and is not subject to observation therefore, cannot be proved or disproved. It is intuitive to say that with our scientific knowledge the resurrection and virgin birth are highly unlikely, but by definition, the miraculous is that which does not have an explanation. I m a good liberal, so if nad2 wants to believe that one can be a Christian and not believe in the resurrection, I say, cool, if that s where you are, but I have to disagree with you. BTW, I don t think you burst anyone s bubble here.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:10 pm


neuro, i find it interesting that you can congratuate kevin on a good thought process and call yourself a good liberal all in the same post, but i will just have to give you the same response you gave me, which i apprecaited, ‘cool, if that’s where you are.’ :)



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:17 pm


neuro, you said that you cannot think of a way science can prove jesus did not physically ascend. well, what if, and i know i am asking you to engage in a hypothetical, but what if that tomb and ossuary said ‘jesus of nazareth, crucified’ and ‘mary, mother of jesus and james’ and ‘joseph, father of jesus of nazareth,’ and science was able with much more certainty to say this is almost certainly jesus of nazareth, would you be able to accept it? this is where i see a problem – over-emphasizing a factual event of fantastic scale rather than on the actual life jesus who “came to serve, not to be served” and on our continuing relationship with that wonderful, and to us, definitive revelation of God to us on earth.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:29 pm


nad2 More often than not, I find myself disagreeing with kevin s. and have gotten into a few somewhat heated exchanges with him. He may come off as abrasive, but so do I sometimes. This form of communication lacks the non-verbal elements, as well as moderation that comes with face-to-face interaction. Regardless of my differences with kevin s., he is clearly very knowledgeable and well educated, and I respect him for that. I really don t see any contradiction between my agreeing with kevin s. on this subject and my profession of being a liberal. As liberals, conservatives, and most importantly, as Christians, we stand for our beliefs. This must not prevent us from having a dialog with those with whom we disagree. Correction: The resurrection is a phenomenon that has, so far, occurred only once and was not and is not subject to *scientific* observation. By definition, a phenomenon is that which can be observed.



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kevin s.

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:31 pm


A couple of clarifications. 1. When I said belief in the resurrection, I meant belief in the physical resurrection.2. If it were certifiably true that these were the bones of Jesus, I would most certainly have to re-evaluate my faith. But they aren’t, so I won’t. 3. To say that you are incorrect is different from judging you.



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(the other) Brian

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:43 pm


I really think that those who doubt the resurrection happened in a physical manner should check out Bishop Tom Wright’s well written and thought-out book The Resurrection of the Son of God.I’m not going to argue the fact here, however. To do so would have me buy into a Cartesian view of knowledge and “facts”, a view to which I do not subscribe. I think it stands well enough that the Church through out her history has never held the ever modern and fashionable notion that Jesus was not resurrected in a physical manner. As Wright points out, denying this is an eschatological mistake and leads to skewed notions of life after death, material, the “end of time”, heaven, salvation, etc.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 7:44 pm


nad2 I may be wrong, but the scenario you present does not sound like reasonable scientific evidence.Scientific conclusions are based on statistical analysis of the data examined. Perhaps someone could design a study to test the hypothesis that an ossuary was that of Jesus Christ, but with my albeit limited knowledge of statistics, I think it would be very difficult to provide a reasonable degree of certainty to support or fail to support that hypothesis. In other words, the study authors would have to present an overwhelming amount of evidence other than that you suggested to make a convincing argument. It may sound like a cop-out to you, or a contradiction of my acceptance of science, but please refer back to the scripture I posted here 03.10.07 – 9:38 pm.



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carl copas

posted March 12, 2007 at 8:29 pm


neuro-nurse: “I really don t see any contradiction between my agreeing with kevin s. on this subject and my profession of being a liberal. As liberals, conservatives, and most importantly, as Christians, we stand for our beliefs.” I echo neuro-nurse. My politics are progressive, and kevin s’s political opinions stick in my craw all the time. BUT I don’t doubt for one second that he is my brother in Christ. As for Christ’s resurrection, I don’t understand it either. But I know that He lives and that He aids me in trying to spread the Kingdom of God.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 9:06 pm


kevin, telling me you think i am not a christian seems to me like a judgment, and a very uninformed one at that, both generally concerning differing views among the church and specifically my life and relationship with the eternal. carl, i don’t doubt for one second that all of you are my brothers and sisters in christ but apparently because i approach our faith from a differently informed perspective than many, i have gotten the impression that others would doubt that i am their brother in christ and i think that is dangerous. i can and do affirm the resurrection, but not as a physical event, or at least i do not think it is significant whether it happened physically or not. i agree with you, i don’t understand it, but i know he lives, how that transpired (physically or spiritually) does not seem to me of great import, yet what is important is that he lives. if any of you want to believe it happened physically, that is fine, again i think no more of less of you as a christian for it. all i am asking is that the same humility of mind and spirit be afforded me. neuro, yes it was a non-answer, kevin did answer and told me he would have to re-evaluate his faith if the body of jesus was found, something i have done from once being dug-in on the same side of almost every issue as him, but not because i believe the body of jesus was found, but because i have a broader exposure and understanding of this faith than i once had. if such evidence does ever become known, you may have to re-evaluate your faith, but you do not have to abandon it. i think i have grown immensely in my faith since my ‘re-evaluation’ though obviously following a different path than before, both of which i believe are heading in the same direction, and both have jesus and god and the cross and resurrection as their focus.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 9:23 pm


and for the record, my comment about complementing kevin and being a liberal in one post was an attempt at some ironic humor that obviously fell flat.



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imjessietr

posted March 12, 2007 at 9:26 pm


I could only watch a little of that “documentary”. The whole thing seemed silly. Like the names are the only thing to investigate in that matter. Not once does anyone mention a forensics investigation to see if “Jesus” was tortured and crucified. In fact, the documentary acted like the bones were quickly re-buried, which I find a little convenient. I’m not convinced His ossuary has been found, but it would entertain me if it’s true.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 9:47 pm


imjessietr That’s a question I had – is there any evidence of crucifixion found on those remains? nad2 Are you a member of a particular church? My question is not intended to be condescending. You obviously have a system of beliefs. You state you have a broader exposure and understanding of this faith than you once had. Are your beliefs specific to the doctrine of a Christian denomination? And for the record, yes, if the physical body of Jesus could be found I would have to reevaluate my beliefs. I just don t see that happening ever.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 10:17 pm


neuro, i am a lifelong united methodist, grandson of a methodist preacher, though i am not sure if that is going to get you anywhere if you are trying to imply that i am in some way not mainline. one need only look to bishop sprague in the methodist church and bishop spong in the episcipal church to see that even people of great leadership positions in mainline denominations share an approach similar to mine. i am not, nor are they, products of some new age church that sprung up last week, but are products of a wonderful and creative god and a life of thoughtful reflection and study of this beautiful faith. christianity generally and united methodism particularly are big tents with room enough for you and me, though that scares many people who would rather say that i am not a christian (and by implication neither are many of the leaders in their churches!) christianity of mainline seminaries is much different than christianity in most churches in terms of certitude and literalism on biblical matters such as this one, but few have the guts to preach it or at least allow for such discussion because it makes folks angry.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 10:59 pm


I’m asking because I’m curious. I don’t know much about the Methodist church. Thanks for your input. As I wrote earlier, my father-in-law is a Baptist pastor who has a sermon on and lecture about the five fundamental tenants of Christianity. It was my understanding that belief in the physical resurrection of Christ is one of those, but as I said, I wasn t taking notes that day. Peace!



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kevin s.

posted March 12, 2007 at 11:14 pm


“christianity of mainline seminaries is much different than christianity in most churches in terms of certitude and literalism on biblical matters such as this one, but few have the guts to preach it or at least allow for such discussion because it makes folks angry.” To be honest, you seem rather more angry than I am about this. The problem with what you say about the physical resurrection of Christ is what it implies the rest of the gospel. If we believe that Jesus was never resurrected, then we believe that the gospels are inaccurate. Further, we believe that the disciples were either intentionally deceptive, or themselves deceived. As such, it then becomes impossible to discern fact from fiction in the Gospel texts.So, while I cannot say whether you are a Christian or not, I can point out that you are logically incosistent insofar as you are placing your faith in something that you have no reason to believe is accurate. At minimum, that is puzzling. That many people think as you do tells me that there are a number of Christians who are unwilling to buy into what they consider to be fantastical. They (I’m speaking broadly) remain faithful, only insofar as they have not applied the study or prayer necessary to resolve the internal dissonance that comes with believing something that you know not to be true.



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 11:21 pm


neuro, from a baptist preacher point of view (or at least the southern baptists i know) mental assent to a physical resurrection is most probably a requirement, though christianity as a whole is far from being of one mind on this or any subject. i would take that to mean ‘the 5 fundamentals of christianity according to your father-in-law’ or maybe even ‘the 5 fundamentals of christianity according to baptists,’ but i certainly don’t want to over-generalize when we know the lord engages us each so differently. and i certainly don’t want you to take my views as being generally those of the methodist church. hey, if president bush and i can call the same demonination home, it is a big tent w/ alot of different views!



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neuro_nurse

posted March 12, 2007 at 11:38 pm


I m Catholic. If you re interested in what the Catholic Church teaches about the resurrection, look here: http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt1sect2chpt2art5p2.htm Outside of what the Church teaches and what I ve learned from other sources, id est, books I ve read and what I ve been taught by a variety of pastors, including my father-in-law, I don t claim to know a lot about other Christian denominations. Others who have posted, besides kevin s. also seem to believe that belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus is one of the essential tenants of the faith. I looked at the UMC website but there wasn t anything specific that I could find that outlines what Methodists believe about the resurrection. As I wrote earlier, this form of communication lacks the very important non-verbal aspect. I ve tried to remain civil with you, but once again, I agree with kevin s. that you are the one who seems to be angry here. I apologize if my posts have seemed hostile to you. Have a great day!



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nad2

posted March 12, 2007 at 11:58 pm


“And don’t criticize What you can’t understand” -bob dylan kevin, you are either incapable or unwilling to wrap your mind around the idea of metaphor as truth and/or the difference between factuality and truth, which is strange because the one you worship SPOKE IN PARABLES! he did this to convey truths metaphorically because it is so effective in getting at truth even though the stories he told were not factually accurate. what makes you think his followers would not engage in similar storytelling about him? i hear them telling me ‘this may not be exactly how it happened (the gospels are far from in agreement about facts and theology), but let me tell you some real truths about the most amazing person that ever lived, indeed God-incarnate – Jesus of Nazareth.’ i do not believe the gospels are not truthful, quite the opposite, but anyone who reads them has to conceed that at least one of them must contain factual innaccuracies because they are inconsistent. i am not logically inconsistent in any realm of thought other than yours and while i could go down that rabbit hole with you and those who hold a purely literal view of the bible i will not because i won’t, not because i can’t, but because i won’t – i won’t try to break-down your faith because that is not my place. but let me say all of your comments are condescending in a very uninformed way. kevin, i gather from your posts that i used to be alot like you in both my theology and politics, and to your surprise it was precisely applying ‘the study or prayer necessary to resolve the internal dissonance that comes with believing something that you know not to be true’ that has now led me to abandon where you are and end up here. do i buy into things fantastical? you bet, i am humble enough to believe anything is possible, including God revealing itself to us through a man.



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nad2

posted March 13, 2007 at 12:03 am


neuro and kevin, would you be angry if someone, especially someone who didn’t know you, said you were not a christian or said you have not prayed or studied enough to really get things right?



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nad2

posted March 13, 2007 at 12:08 am


me: if any of you want to believe it happened physically, that is fine, again i think no more of less of you as a christian for it. all i am asking is that the same humility of mind and spirit be afforded me. kevin: see above



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kevin s.

posted March 13, 2007 at 12:19 am


“he did this to convey truths metaphorically because it is so effective in getting at truth even though the stories he told were not factually accurate. what makes you think his followers would not engage in similar storytelling about him?” Jesus spoke in parables, and the Bible makes that clear. The Bible also ultimately explains his meaning. There is nothing to suggest that the story of the resurrection is a parable, or that disciples engaged in telling parables. I am perfectly capable of getting my mind around metaphor, but Christ’s resurrection was not metaphorical. If you believe that Jesus was the son of God, why are you convinced that the resurrection never literally happened.” i do not believe the gospels are not truthful, quite the opposite, but anyone who reads them has to conceed that at least one of them must contain factual innaccuracies because they are inconsistent” These inconsistencies are not sufficient to call their veracity into question. If you believe this, then there is no case for believing that any of hte scriptures are true. In this case, you have the grounds to simply form your own religion.” but let me say all of your comments are condescending in a very uninformed way.” Where am I misinformed as to your beliefs? I am not condescending, but rather treating taking seriously your claim that the resurrection is not literal, and examining your logic, which is found wanting in this case. Disagreement and condescencion are not the same thing. ” kevin, i gather from your posts that i used to be alot like you in both my theology and politics,” This, on the other hand, is condescending, framing my viewpoint as one that is held previous to a certain awakening, but I digress. “‘the study or prayer necessary to resolve the internal dissonance that comes with believing something that you know not to be true’ that has now led me to abandon where you are and end up here. ” Again, I wasn’t suggesting you didn’t engage in study or prayer.



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kevin s.

posted March 13, 2007 at 12:21 am


“would you be angry if someone, especially someone who didn’t know you, said you were not a christian or said you have not prayed or studied enough to really get things right?” No, though I reiterate that I was not suggesting you have not prayed or studied.



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nad2

posted March 13, 2007 at 12:35 am


i am not convinced that the physical resurrection never happened, though i put this in the same category of the virgin birth – their meaning in story and theology are far more important than if they really happened. for me, jesus lives, jesus is resurrected, this is central, not whether the molecules of his fleshly body actually physically went to heaven (does this mean heaven is a physical place in the universe where matter can reside? if not, where did that matter go? such questions would not have concerned the early followers because they didn’t use scientific ways of knowing). again, i will not go into what were limitations for me of how you believe, but yes, 10 years ago i was where you are. that is not a knock on where you are but a matter of fact. i have moved on from there which is not to imply that that is the proper move for you, but it is recognition that God informs me differently than you and that spiritual growth can take on many forms. for me, where i am now is better but i would never say you need to be here, but that seems to be clearly what you are saying to me about how you believe.



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Hali

posted March 13, 2007 at 2:31 am


With regard to who is, and who is not a Christian, my faith is between God and me, not between another human being and me. (I know, that is a very Baptist sentiment. I was reared in a Baptist church.) I think that a faith that necessitates a certain literal reading of scripture to the exclusion of all other interpretations and possibilities is pretty weak. Whether the resurrection was physical or metaphysical, the resurrected Christ is with us (even during Lent, really). Why does it have to be a physical fact in order for you to believe? Blessed are those who believe without seeing, no? We know that Jesus was not a biblical literalist. Why do we require that of each other?



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kevin s.

posted March 13, 2007 at 6:26 am


“I think that a faith that necessitates a certain literal reading of scripture to the exclusion of all other interpretations and possibilities is pretty weak.” What do you mean by “literal”? Do you mean to suggest that holding to Biblical inerrancy is a sign of spiritual weakness. To which other “interpretations and possibilities” are you referring?What if you interpret, for example, that there is no God. Can you then be a faithful Christian. If no, then am I interfering with your faith by pointing out that you are not? “Why does it have to be a physical fact in order for you to believe? ” Because if it is not a physical fact, then either the scriptures are deceptive, or the disciples were.”Blessed are those who believe without seeing, no? ” I believe, but did not see. This has no bearing on the discussion. “We know that Jesus was not a biblical literalist. Why do we require that of each other?” Again, it depends on your definition of Biblical literalism. Jesus did not find fault with the scriptures, if that is what you are implying.



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John

posted March 13, 2007 at 6:30 am


Hey Nad2, great arguements! Have really enjoyed your perspective. I’ve come to much the same kind of understanding as I sense from your writing after many years of hearing orthodox positions preached and taught. I just cannot get excited about all the orthodoxy that persists in the christian church today. It keeps us from a joyful expression of the heart of the gospel..The good news that God is here among us, and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. If christians really believed that, and even if they believed nothing else, this would be a better world and perhaps closer to what Jesus imagined.



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kevin s.

posted March 13, 2007 at 4:55 pm


” I just cannot get excited about all the orthodoxy that persists in the christian church today.” What does this mean, exactly? “It keeps us from a joyful expression of the heart of the gospel.” How so? I find that Christ’s death is central to the joyful expression of the gospel. It reminds us that the joy is not of this world, but in our abilty to transcend this world. “The good news that God is here among us, and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves.” No, the good news is that, even if we do not love our neighbor as ourselves, we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ. For those who do not have that faith, there is little by way of good news.”If christians really believed that, and even if they believed nothing else, this would be a better world and perhaps closer to what Jesus imagined.” What, precisely, does Jesus imagine? He talked of wars and rumors of wars. Doesn’t seem like he has much envisioned for this world.



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Another nonymous

posted March 13, 2007 at 8:59 pm


All right, I’m going to muddy the waters a bit. Kevin S. and nad2 clearly represent two largely irreconcilable views of the meaning of the Resurrection. Can I reconcile them? No, and I’m not going to try. However, while I do believe that Jesus was resurrected physically, I acknowledge that this raises questions that are simply irresolvable in terms of the modern world view. Where is He? Where did He go? Science offers us no place in which to locate His physical presence, so what does it mean to confess a belief that He “ascended into heaven?” To me, these questions, rather than undermining belief in the physical Resurrection, actually deepen its mystery and significance. They require us to reimagine reality, and to do so beyond the convenient categories by which we are used to structuring the rest of our lives.



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t.mc.cool

posted March 13, 2007 at 9:18 pm


“Or maybe a group of his followers who knew they had a good thing going?” Why does this arguement continue to be paraded as a “reason” for Jesus’ followers to perpetuate a “myth?” What “good thing” did they have going? Jewish religious leaders were rounding them up as heretics. When they preached about Jesus, they were run out of town in fear of their lives. This continued for decades – centuries! What “good thing” were they trying to protect by concocting a story about Jesus’ resurrection? How is persecution and death “a good thing?”



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nad2

posted March 13, 2007 at 10:04 pm


you are absolutely right that we represent different views of the resurrection (and more broadly two different paradigms within christianity). i have no problem with that and i think there is certainly room in our tent for both views, but clearly kevin does not – he started this thread off by saying you cannot be a christian if you do not believe in the physical resurrection (which he denies is a judgment) so he, kevin s., is telling me, nad2, i cannot be a christian. don’t people of all stripes of christianity have a problem with a believer telling others they cannot be christians without giving their mental assent to certain factual aspects of doctrine? who is he to ever say that? can God not engage me differently than him within the same tradition? is it not truly about the relationship rather than the mental assent? such certitude (aka mental arrogance) scares the hell out of me and it should scare you too because it is not that different in degree or kind from the certitude that allows people to blow themselves up in anticipation of that heavenly reward they are absolutely 100% certain will follow. they will argue you tooth & nail for their brand of islam the exact same way kevin will argue his brand of christianity but with even more conviction. such certitude presumes personal omnipotence and leaves no room for humility or entering the kindgom as a child. i am anxiously awaiting a good ole fashioned mini-quote / vague counterpoint response from kevin to me calling him a terrorist because he believes in the physical resurrection which i am quite sure will be how it is portrayed. just get as close as you can to the meaning of what i write when you respond kevin, don’t bother to start now with actually accurately portraying what i say or anyone you disagree with says when you reply.



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nad2

posted March 13, 2007 at 10:12 pm


also, and probably most important, such certitude limits god to being one-dimensional, and it is conveniently the one dimension in which god has been revealed to you.



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Hali

posted March 13, 2007 at 10:25 pm


“What do you mean by “literal”? Do you mean to suggest that holding to Biblical inerrancy is a sign of spiritual weakness. To which other “interpretations and possibilities” are you referring? ” Kevin, I said, “I think that a faith that NECESSITATES a certain literal reading of scripture to the exclusion of all other interpretations and possibilities is pretty weak.” I can’t imagine having my faith shaken by some fact of the material world that is in conflict with my interpretation of scripture. If Jesus left behind a box of bones, you wouldn’t believe in the resurrection any more? Wow. “What if you interpret, for example, that there is no God. Can you then be a faithful Christian. If no, then am I interfering with your faith by pointing out that you are not? ” Some of the best Christians I have known have been atheists. But again, my faith is MY business, not yours. “Because if it is not a physical fact, then either the scriptures are deceptive, or the disciples were.” The disciples reported their experience of the risen Christ to the best of their ability in the language and context of their time. Reality is not limited to the physical world. EVERYTHING physical is transient. Even the bones that Jesus would have/might have left behind were not the same ones he was born with. “I believe, but did not see. This has no bearing on the discussion.” If you are requiring a manifestation in the material world, it is not really believing without seeing (IMO, of course). “Again, it depends on your definition of Biblical literalism. Jesus did not find fault with the scriptures, if that is what you are implying.” Those of us who are not Biblical literalists do not necessarily “find fault” with the scriptures. On the contrary, we find truth beyond the simple story that is being told. It is a shame that Christians have largely abandoned the Jewish Talmudic tradition. Jesus was a Jew, and he and his disciples were familiar with it.



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nad2

posted March 13, 2007 at 10:28 pm


kevin, i think you need a break from sojo. i readily admit i check in here regularly because i enjoy the perspective and i engage in these posts from time to time if i feel my perspective would be a contribution to the overall discussion, but you, you are everywhere on here all the time, plus i imagine your own blog is pretty time consuming. i don’t understand how you have time to live your life away from here. plus, as with your posts to me here, i think you have spent so much time defending your particular theological positions that you have now come to believe they are absolutely correct to the exclusion of others. in other words, ‘if nad2 is saying god is informing differently than me, nad2 must just be mistaken, misguided, or being deceitful, so i need to correct him.’ maybe stepping back for a few days would do you some good. tell you what, i’ll take that hiatus as well.



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kevin s.

posted March 13, 2007 at 11:23 pm


“he started this thread off by saying you cannot be a christian if you do not believe in the physical resurrection (which he denies is a judgment)” I don’t think you can be a Christian if you believe there is no God, either. Is that a judgment? Certainly not in the biblical sense. I don’t look down on you. You are simply mistaken.”don’t people of all stripes of christianity have a problem with a believer telling others they cannot be christians without giving their mental assent to certain factual aspects of doctrine” Depends on what those factual aspects are. Relegating the question of whether Christ came back to life simply a certain factual aspect seems absurd. “is it not truly about the relationship rather than the mental assent?” I would be curious to hear how you can explain belief in a way that precludes mental assent. “such certitude (aka mental arrogance) scares the hell out of me ” So, my arrogance scares the hell out of you? That seems a smidge judgmental to say. Certitude and arrogance are not synonymous, and it is not arrogant to hold certain facts as true. “they will argue you tooth & nail for their brand of islam the exact same way kevin will argue his brand of christianity but with even more conviction.” But militant Islam is not notorious for it’s conviction. In fact, I would say that many Muslims are admired for their conviction. It is brainwashing and influence that results in suicide bombing, not absolute faith. “such certitude presumes personal omnipotence” How so? “i am anxiously awaiting a good ole fashioned mini-quote / vague counterpoint response from kevin” In what sense have I been vague? But yes, here is your mini-quote response. ” to me calling him a terrorist because he believes in the physical resurrection which i am quite sure will be how it is portrayed” This implies that my responses have been disingenuous. If that is the case, how so? You did, however, compare by certitude/arrogance to that of a terrorist. However that was a variation of argumentum ad nazium more than anything. “also, and probably most important, such certitude limits god to being one-dimensional, and it is conveniently the one dimension in which god has been revealed to you.” I disagree completely. Having the absolute knowledge that the Bible is accurate allows me to believe that God keeps his promises, and the rebirth is literally possible with his grace. If I disbelieve that Biblical narrative, then I resign God to the status of myth, which to me makes him a distant figure.



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kevin s.

posted March 13, 2007 at 11:26 pm


“i think you need a break from sojo. i readily admit i check in here regularly because i enjoy the perspective and i engage in these posts from time to time” I appreciate the sentiment, but I suspect the concern is somewhat less than genuine.” i think you have spent so much time defending your particular theological positions” They are not all that particular. They are no more particular than this original post.



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nad2

posted March 14, 2007 at 12:25 am


well, it appears we are at an impasse, i don’t doubt kevin is a christian, that is really only for him and god to judge in my mind and christian tradition, but he obviously thinks it is his call for me as well and that i am not a christian which is sad. i am quite sure the sadducees and pharisees thought jesus was not jewish either for breaking sabboth and purity laws, etc, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was. kevin, it is not the fact that i can’t respond to your little one-liners or explain how they are vague and either not on point or mischaracterize what you quote, it’s that it is just plain exhausting. its like trying to reason with a person with dementia. plus it takes the conversation that is supposed to be for everyone further down an irrelevant side-street and i don’t think it is fair. with that, i will take my own hiatus. yes i was quite sincere, both about hoping for you personally that you would take a break & the fact that such certitude shares the hell out of me because of what too often can accompany it – if not physical destruction, then personal destruction and destruction of the bonds of commonality amongst christians and all humanity as well. you ask how such certitude presumes personal omnipotence, yet you then answer your own question later by speaking of your “absolute knowledge that the bible is accurate.” omnipotence, absolute knowledge…in closing i will agree w/ john who wrote earlier – such orthodox doctrine really takes the joy out of this faith for me when being pushed so heavily by the likes of you. it may not take the joy out for you (to the contrary i am gathering) and you may disagree all you want that i am a christian, but fortunately i don’t need your assent or consent for either to be true.



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nad2

posted March 14, 2007 at 12:34 am


above – “scares the hell out of me,” not “shares the hell out of me,” wonder what that would entail? adios,



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Lonnie

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:13 am


I broke out laughing when they claimed that because the DNA was unrelated (maternally) this was indeed Jesus & Mary and they were married. Because my dog doesn’t have horns he is indeed Gabriel.



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nad2

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:16 am


kevin, and that comment about dementia, it was not meant to be an attack, i’m sure you probably feel the same way about getting your point across to me. isn’t god interesting?! ok, i am off for good now, just didn’t want to leave with an obvious point on which to be misconstrued. jesus lives, and i wish the blessings of seeking and encountering him to all,



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Payshun

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:50 am


Nads2, thank you for your eloquence. I enjoy reading your point and I agree w/ you. If they found “jesus” it would not affect my faith. It just would not. p



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Hali

posted March 14, 2007 at 1:55 am


” I broke out laughing when they claimed that because the DNA was unrelated (maternally) this was indeed Jesus & Mary and they were married. Because my dog doesn’t have horns he is indeed Gabriel.” Lonnie, I found their methods (or lack thereof) to be simply appalling. They took a conclusion and then worked backwards, looking for ways to force all the evidence to fit it. Definitely a good example of why we need good science education! :P



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Ted Voth Jr

posted March 14, 2007 at 5:57 am


I read somewhere that the inscription on the ossuary might read ‘Mary and Martha.’ That’d be a kick!



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Amazon Creek

posted March 14, 2007 at 7:18 am


Amen, Neuro Nurse! For RJohnson: No..it doesn’t stop there. But it starts there. Jesus’ resurrection was God’s stamp of approval on the fact that Jesus was sinless. It means our sins are paid for. It means the power of sin is broken over us. And do you know what THAT means? That those of us who have put our hope in Jesus’ payment for our sins are free to live a whole new life of beauty and service to others – and of wholeness. Oh no…it doesn’t end there – with the afterlife. It is the difference between the struggle in Romans 7…..vs…..the victory in Romans 8. Now…we can choose God’s way.



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Linden Malki

posted March 14, 2007 at 10:54 am


Remember that the church in Jerusalem was a small, underground, persecuted group who left Jerusalem after the murder of James and the beginning of the revolt against Rome in 65AD; and what we know about Jesus’ family does not indicate ANY connection with Jerusalem as a “hometown”; and that Jerusalem was a large enough town that even long odds of that combination of common names still leaves a large number of possible family groups–add those odds up and you get a vanishingly small chance of there being a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of there being any connection, apart from the theological implications.



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Demetrios

posted March 14, 2007 at 4:19 pm


I am constantly amazed at the lack of self-critical perspective on the part of Christians. To illustrate the point, Professor McKnight, who must admit that he is not a critical scholar, since he is personally committed to an already written “script” for the understanding of Christian origins (i. e., all questions are simply not open for him) or else it would be highly unlikeky that he would be given a teaching position in biblical studies at a school such as North Park University (check out the mission statement and employment application), confesses, “I find the claim incredible,” referring to the hypothesis offered by the film in question. Let’s get real! Which claim is by nature the more extraordinary and beyond reasonable credibility, that a Jewish preacher, executed by the Romans, had his bones recovered at some later point and re-buried by his family or followers in a family plot outside their headquarters in Jerusalem, a plot that could easily have been funded by the community Jesus’ family came to lead, OR that a corpse, looking like the stereotypical zombie with wounds still open, walked out of a tomb and hung out with its associates for 40 days and then levitated into the sky? Has the orthodox claim become so embedded in our cultural mindset that we don’t even see it for what it really is, namely the most unlikely claim in history? Christians can believe the fantastic by choice, but they cannot claim that they believe because of cleverly constructed claims to historical likelihood, the first option actually takes faith, the second only requires desperation and fear.



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Elle Shepard

posted March 14, 2007 at 6:07 pm


Hummmmm…I love it when someone comes out with a book or a documentary or a film that questions the origins of the Christ, the Christian faith etc. Christians come flying out of the sunrise like so many Kamikazes, firing wildly at any theory that might shake the foundations of Christianity.For a religion that is one of the largest in the world -with so many followers and so many churches and so much wealth (let’s not forget the enormous wealth) it has always been curious to me that one thing Christianity lacks is “faith”. yeah- you read that right. Never mind the intolerance factor – the “holier than thou” factor, the uncharitableness factor (Oh, and please don’t bother pointing out all the charitable organizations with Christian store fronts- we all know that is “simply business as usual”.) Not to mention the rabid interference with personal lives and choices and how easily so-called Christians shut the door of those who need them most.I won’t even mention the extrodinary imbalance of sexual problems such as pedophilia, spousal abuse, suicide, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and a penchant for prostitutes. Is this normal in other religions? Probably… but Christians seem to think that simply being called “Christian” absolves them from examining anything other than the “accepted”. So what does this have to do with finding a tomb that “may” contain the bones of Jesus and therefore a slightly altered religious history? Just this- Even if every word were true, why would that “shake the Christian religion to it’s foundations”? Does it mean he suddenly isn’t everything he was to all Christians simply because he may not have ascended into the wild blue yonder? Be serious… Clearly he was an extraodinary man with an extraodinary message – One that when followed without external embellishment, was simple and good and very clear. I can’t see that the details of his life- whether he was even the “son of god” ( I often wonder why Christians need so much drama in thier lives) , was ressurected or walked on water has a thing to do with the man or his message or his great faith in the human race.It takes so little to send Christians screaming into the darkness, wringing their hands, wailing and gnashing their teeth, setting up juries to condemn, setting religion against religion, brother against brother, parents against children, science against theology it should be clear to even the simplest among us – they have no real faith. They do, however, possess and extrodinary amount of FEAR – in it’s worst form…under the guise of rightiousness. AS a Christian, NOTHING could shake my faith – not a box of bones, not a new theory, not the notion that Jesus may have lived a a man and married and even had children – I would either shake my head in amusement at each new theory or smile and say-” Wow, I wonder if that happened”… how nice to know Jesus was secular as well as our teacher and saviour. All this rubbish makes Christians sound as if anything less than that poor man suffering horribly for most of his life and never having known anything other than the adoration of his (sometimes less tham faithful) followers invalidates his worth as a Rabbi and priest and founder of the Christian faith. How fragile is the faith of his followers – How sad if he see’s all this now. I’d love him either way!



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kevin s.

posted March 14, 2007 at 8:02 pm


“Christians come flying out of the sunrise like so many Kamikazes, firing wildly at any theory that might shake the foundations of Christianity. ” There are myriad theories that would (if true) shake the foundations of Christianity. Some happen to have ample funding. There is nothing wrong with thoughtfully explaining why the theory is false, especially if the science or logic behind it is incoherent. “it has always been curious to me that one thing Christianity lacks is “faith”. yeah- you read that right.” Christianity, as a religion, is incapable of having or not having “faith”. Christians, as individuals, have varying degrees of faith. Either way, it is not faithless to label junk science as such.”Never mind the intolerance factor – the “holier than thou” factor, the uncharitableness factor” What about these factors? “(Oh, and please don’t bother pointing out all the charitable organizations with Christian store fronts- we all know that is “simply business as usual”.) ” What is business as usual? Samaritan’s purse, for example. garners excellent ratings from charitable review boards, if you are insinuating across-the-board impropriety.”I won’t even mention the extrodinary imbalance of sexual problems such as pedophilia, spousal abuse, suicide, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and a penchant for prostitutes.” Are these elements more prevalent within the church than outside of the church? What do you mean by imbalance? “Does it mean he suddenly isn’t everything he was to all Christians simply because he may not have ascended into the wild blue yonder? ” Um… Yes. “was ressurected or walked on water has a thing to do with the man or his message or his great faith in the human race. ” His faith in the human race? This statement is utterly ignorant of the gospel texts. “It takes so little to send Christians screaming into the darkness, wringing their hands, wailing and gnashing their teeth” No offense, but you seem to be screaming, or at least ranting, more than anyone who has posted here.”setting religion against religion, brother against brother, parents against children” Well, that’s kinda what Christ said would happen.”AS a Christian, NOTHING could shake my faith” Nothing? What if you died and went to hell? A number of people have made this, or similar statements. If your faith is not shaken by evidence that the tenets of that faith are false, I think it is fair to wonder exactly where your faith lies. Christianity is rendered an abstraction, which may or may not be true.”how nice to know Jesus was secular as well as our teacher and saviour.” You mention that he is your savior. What makes this so? What did he do that makes him your savior? If he was not rescued from death, and was, in fact, capable of sin, then what does his death symbolize.”All this rubbish makes Christians sound as if anything less than that poor man suffering horribly for most of his life” For most of his life, he was a carpenter. No indication as to what suffering that entailed.”How sad if he see’s all this now. I’d love him either way!” You’d love him whether he was the son of God or not? Then what does your love mean? That you are in love with his words? His wisdom? His politics?



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Hali

posted March 14, 2007 at 10:53 pm


Elle: “I can’t see that the details of his life- whether he was even the “son of god” ( I often wonder why Christians need so much drama in thier lives) , was ressurected or walked on water has a thing to do with the man or his message or his great faith in the human race. ” Whoa, you can question the physical facts of the resurrection all you like, but don’t imply my homie wasn’t a surfer!:) Seriously, I don’t think Jesus’s message was that he had *faith* in the human race so much as he had *compassion* for it, all of us, knowing that we’re all imperfect (and especially those who make a big deal about being holy). Kevin: “You’d love him whether he was the son of God or not? Then what does your love mean? That you are in love with his words? His wisdom? His politics?” Well, yeah! Aren’t you?



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kevin s.

posted March 15, 2007 at 1:47 am


“Well, yeah! Aren’t you?” Not if he isn’t the son of God.



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M. J. G.

posted March 15, 2007 at 9:21 pm


I had a rather unexpected reaction to the documentary. My love for Christ was renewed and intensified. Whether or not this really is Jesus’ family crypt, the possibility and the depiction of the human side of the Son of God moved me profoundly. If I am not mistaken, history tells us that James, Jesus’ brother, did not buy into the resurrection story–Paul was the one who insisted upon it. Some of us believe in a physical resurrection, and others believe in a spiritual one. The Bible has been edited many times over the centuries, although it certainly deserves to be our most sacred text. God’s truth is still all around us and we were given discerning, intelligent minds to seek it out.



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HASH(0x11b9bc5c)

posted March 16, 2007 at 7:20 pm


“Not if he isn’t the son of God.” That’s not exactly unconditional love :/ What would you reject about him?



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Jaun Angel

posted July 4, 2007 at 7:27 pm


Wake up and catch up!
It’s not about yesterday or tomorrow. It’s about now!
What the world needs now are being’s that want to change the order of things for the good of all. People with vision (inner vision). Discussing the past is like flogging a dead horse.
Speak of creating something that that will negate disease, cancer and death. To seek the solutions of the human condition is a path worthy of cosmic rewards.
Dont limit yourself or anyone else. GOD BLESS! I Love ALL.
Johnny Angel



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ANGEL ANGEL

posted July 4, 2007 at 8:05 pm


WELL I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT. I THINK YOU ARE A LITTLE WRONG ABOUT THE BONE THEY ARE A DECOY BECAUSE JESUS WAY RISIN WITH HIS WHOLE BODY. THAT IS WHAT THEY CALL THE ASCENION. YOUR WORK IS GOOD KEEP BELIEVING IN JESUS AND HAVE FAITH.



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