CHRISTIANS REACT TO THE ‘JESUS SCAM’

The ‘Tomb’ of Jesus?
As expected, the opening of the exhibit in New York of caskets found in Jerusalem, sparked much debate and anger throughout the Christian world. The caskets were reported to hold the remains of Jesus and His immediate family. This, according to the producers of a documentary film soon to be aired on television. Statements from prominent archeologists declared that this was nothing but a cheap publicity stunt and a scam.
This type of scam should not go unpunished, it is an insult to the belief of millions of people, some way should be found to bring these liars to justice.
The following is a report from today’s New York Times on this situation, be sure to click on the links as well…..

Raising the Titanic, Sinking Christianity?
By Tom Zeller Jr.

With no film in the running this year, director James Cameron seems set on muffling the post-Oscar rhapsodizing by loosing the publicity hounds on his latest project, which strikes at the foundations of Christianity and already has Church authorities upset.

It looks like things really got rolling, buzz-wise, with a TIME magazine blog whisper on Friday, which outlined details on 90-minute documentary in which Mr. Cameron, along with journalist Simcha Jacobovici, say they have uncovered the burial cave of Jesus and his family — along with enough DNA evidence to establish, they say, that Jesus wasn’t resurrected and that Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.
The story was picked up over the weekend, and although the documentary will not air for another month (on the Discovery Channel), and an accompanying book co-authored by Mr. Jacobovici, “The Jesus Family Tomb,” is not quite shipping from Amazon.com yet, the condemnations have already started to fly.
“Every Christian knows that Jesus the son of God and man died and rose again on Easter Sunday,” a New York Archdiocese spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, told The New York Post on Sunday. “No alleged DNA test or Hollywood film is going to change that.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Cameron is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11:00 a.m. in New York, at which he will reportedly unveil the burial boxes that he and his colleague say once contained the bones of Jesus.

In a statement issued this morning,
the president of the National Clergy Council, the Reverend Bob Schenk, discredited Mr. Cameron’s bona fides:

“Over the years, Hollywood has attacked and mocked Christianity, providing only negative portrayals of people of faith. It has produced films that undermine moral culture. Hollywood’s production of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ sensationalized a conspiracy theory that the Catholic Church engaged in a cover up of the real story of Jesus operating in the manner of a crime syndicate.

“According to Cameron, his film is no mere speculation, but historical fact. By claiming the remains of Jesus returned to dust along with other members of his family, the Hollywood filmmaker is denying the divinity of the Son of God and his victory over death. Cameron clearly intended to drive a stake into the heart of Christianity, since without the Resurrection, Jesus was only a mortal man.

“Media outlets should exercise restraint in reporting Cameron’s Hollywood fiction masquerading as scientific fact. All of Jesus’ contemporaries recorded Christ rose after being dead for three days and ascended into Heaven. For 2,000 years people of faith along and countless scholars have pored over the Scriptures, confirming their veracity. A Hollywood director is the least qualified to render any determination of Biblical truth.”

Clearly, the press conference — and the next month or so — should be interesting.

Early reports indicate that while the evidence the filmmaker and the journalist have brought to the table are by no means definitive, it is compelling.

The ossuaries — or burial boxes that purportedly contain the bones of Jesus and his family — were discovered in a 2,000-year-old cave in 1980, during excavation for a housing project south of Jerusalem. They are now in the stewardship of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Bet Shemesh, outside Jerusalem.

Here’s some of the intriguing stuff, from Canada’s Globe and Mail:
The boxes bear the names: Yeshua [Jesus] bar Yosef [son of Joseph]; Maria [the Latin version of Miriam, which is the English Mary]; Matia [the Hebrew equivalent of Matthew, a name common in the lineage of both Mary and Joseph]; Yose [the Gospel of Mark refers to Yose as a brother of Jesus]; Yehuda bar Yeshua, or Judah, son of Jesus; and in Greek, Mariamne e mara, meaning ‘Mariamne, known as the master.’ According to Harvard professor François Bovon, interviewed in the film, Mariamne was Mary Magdalene’s real name.

The bones contained in the boxes have long since been reburied, according to Jewish custom, in unmarked graves in Israel.

If the evidence adduced is correct, the bone boxes, and microscopic remains of DNA still contained inside, would constitute the first archaeological evidence of the existence of the Christian savior and his family.

Tests on mitochondrial DNA obtained from the Jesus and Mariamne boxes and conducted at Lakehead University’s Paleo-DNA laboratory in Thunder Bay, show conclusively that the two individuals were not maternally related. According to Carney Matheson, head of the lab, this likely means they were related by marriage.

The Globe and Mail also notes that “nothing in the film or book directly challenges traditional Christian dogma regarding the resurrection,” but the concept of the ascension, which holds that Jesus ascended to heaven in both body and spirit 40 days after the resurrection, could be challenged. If DNA research were to link Jesus and “his brother” Yose with Mary, the newspaper noted, it would undermine he concept of the virgin birth, which sits at the bedrock of Christianity.

Scholarly analysis of the documentary and the book are still forthcoming, of course — and skeptics have already turned up on CNN noting that the names on the boxes were rather common at the time, and are therefore thin evidence of anything.

But wherever the academics ultimately come down, there’s no mistaking where at least some members of the clergy already stand: “This is nothing more than a modern day circus sideshow,” said The Rev. Schenk. “At best it is pure presumption. At worst, it is pure chicanery.”

2 Comments

  1. Robin said,

    February 26, 2007 at 17:34

    Hi Steve,
    This story intriques me on one front, what will the duty bound Christian Zionist’s reaction be to the Israeli Antiquities Authority lending these ossuaries to a carnival exhibition opened by James Cameron who in this so-called “documentary” is attempting to prove that Jesus died and was buried just like any normal human being and that he had children born of Mary Magdalen contrary to any Christian belief. The film itself does not offend me on a personal level. Any yahoo can make any film he wishes and it is up to the public to disect it. But the mere fact that the Israeli Antiquities Authority has lent these coffins to be put on display along with the appearance of James Cameron is a DIRECT hit at Christianity by the Israeli government in my mind. Can someone please explain to me what good this is going to do other than inflame Christians? For me, it’s not the film, but that aspect that makes me the angriest. Also, the James ossuarie (found in the same excavation) was found by the IAA to be a fake http://www.tfba.org/news.php?newsid=16
    It’s interesting that that particular ossuarie is not part of this display. So, I am awaiting the reaction from the Evangelical Christian Zionists on this matter. THAT should be interesting.

  2. DesertPeace said,

    February 26, 2007 at 17:42

    Robin, I am sure that the ‘Christian’ zionists will react in the same way as any other zionist, they will whitewash the stoy and lie about it. The, they will call anyone that is upset by the situation an anti Semite…. they are themselves so brainwashed by Israeli politics that their actions are very predictable.


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