Jesus: Bones and Wounds

The claim that the family tomb of Jesus has been found with his ossuary or bone-box identified in it as … Continued

The claim that the family tomb of Jesus has been found with his ossuary or bone-box identified in it as Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus, son of Joseph) dances along the delicate interface between history and faith.

I do not presume that one can ever make an act of religious faith in the veracity — or mendacity — of an historical fact but only in the meaning, interpretation, or understanding of an historical fact.

I try, therefore, for my own integrity, to distinguish but not separate historical from theological judgment.

First, history.

It is a first-century tomb with six inscribed ossuaries of secure provenance and closed chain of control. The inscribed names are all common first-century ones but this is the question: is this cluster of names so similar to those closely associated with Jesus that it must be his family tomb beyond a reasonable doubt?

Further question: how, why, when, and by whom was this tomb disturbed in antiquity?

Conclusion: go excavate it properly and professionally.

Next, theology. I myself am not convinced — but could be persuaded — that this is the family tomb of Jesus. Were I convinced, it would neither destroy my Christianity nor destroy my faith in the resurrection of Jesus.

I have always believed that resurrection is a metaphor but a metaphor about the body of Jesus, a belief that he was crucified by Rome and raised by God so that, in other words, God is — as always — on a collision course with Empire.

Finding the bones of Jesus would not disturb my faith but finding they bore no wounds — ah, that would be another matter.

More on:

About

John Dominic Crossan was born in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, in 1934. He was educated in Ireland and the United States, received a Doctorate of Divinity from Maynooth College, Ireland, in 1959, and did post-doctoral research at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École Biblique in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967. He was a member of a thirteenth-century Roman Catholic religious order, the Servites (Ordo Servorum Mariae), from 1950 to 1969 and an ordained priest from 1957 to 1969. He joined DePaul University, Chicago, in 1969 and remained there until 1995. He is now a Professor Emeritus in its Department of Religious Studies.
  • C.F.

    We know that the leaders during Christ time wanted to discredit him by finding his body since Jesus had said he would raise from the dead. From the beginning they even posted Roman guards at the tomb. People have been looking for his bones for centuries. His contemporaries were well aware of his family members and this would be the first place for anyone to look to find his body. But somehow everyone during Jesus day and for the centuries until now has not only overlooked Jesus’ bones they have not stumbled over an elaborate, expense family burial site! Ossuaries were for rich people but Jesus’ family could afford not only ossuaries for everyone but they had the money to be buried in an exclusive area? Where did all this money come from? Again, nobody took notice, at the time, even though everyone was trying to discredit Christ as Christianity was just beginning and was a challenge to the established order. The family found a way, under the intense scrutiny of the rulers of their day, to be buried WITH JESUS CHRIST in a nice tidy family site in an exclusive area and with expensive burial gear. All this was done without arousing any interest from the local authorities and no record being made. Give me a break.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Alas, if this were(it’s not) the tomb of Christ, it would DESTROY the religion of Christianity, the Bible says so itself:”And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”But fortunately it’s not true; for one, the odds that Jesus would be buried in Jerusalem may be high, but the chances of Mary, Joseph, Judah, James being buried anywhere other than Nazareth is nonexistant. The same with Matthew, who had no incentive to be buried with that particular family; especially so far from home.It’s ridiculous, it’s the most blatantly stupid and speculative claim of the year; it even plays heavily on the disproven idea of the Da Vinci Code.Why is it getting so much air time?Because it has the abilitity if true(it’s not) to topple Christianity.The Bible is quite clear that we are all sinners in need of a saviour. There is no other religion on earth that addresses the sinfulness of sin nor provides a remotely satisfying atonement besides Christianity. The sins the Bible speaks about are acts of unholiness, acting in disobedience against your better judgement and conscience. The Bible teaches that sin causes death, which is the only plausible hypothesis about death to date. For that reason, sin cannot be allowed into Heaven, or Heaven would become like Earth; fallen, despicable, destroyed, not a nice place.Even the smallest of lies could topple the perfection of Heaven, and therefore lies will not be allowed in, and neither will those with the propensity to tell lies. Besides lies, the acts of stealing, coveting, lusting, hatred, blasphemy; someone who is unrepentant about those acts will not see Heaven for the protection of the Kingdom.Not only so, but the Bible demands punishment for those transgressions. Every human being is guilty, every human beings requires a saviour. Just as if you jumped out of an airplane and became guilty of transgressing gravity, you would need a parachute.That ‘parachute’ came to Earth 2000 years ago, born in Bethlehem of a Narazene family, lived a perfect sinless life, and was murdered on a false charge, taking our sins upon Himself, where He died on a Cross and was placed in a tomb outside of Jerusalem.Everyone dies, that is a fact of life. Christ defeated the greatest enemy of man, that enemy being death and sin, by RISING from the grave. If Christ is not risen, then this preaching is in vain.Because Christ did rise, as was witnessed by multitudes of people and uncontested by the Roman soldiers who faced death for losing the body, it is now possible for us to also defeat death and to enter Heaven. In order to receive this gift so graciously given, the Bible commands that you repent of your sins and place your full trust in Jesus Christ to save you from sin, like you’d trust in that parachute to save you from gravity.Without this resurrection there is no hope, no Living God, and no Christianity. Christ will save you because He did rise from the Grave, in full body, and in full Glory.Please read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15.

  • Brutus

    I think you missed the point of the post Canyon.You’re spouting your beliefs and all the man was trying to do was discuss the grave. Jeez man, get a grip! It seems you hold that Bible of yours a little too tight. Loosen the grip and see what wonders it can do. Christianity does not offer fulfillment. It offers repression and hate, and judgement, and the need to push onto others, as you are doing now.

  • halozcel

    And if Christ has not been raised,your faith is futile,you are still in your sin.1 Cor 15.17.Son of God,Lamb of God,Shepherd of Sheep,Theacher of Chosen Ones shall come back and save those who baptized Mark 16.16,exept cowardly,unbelieving,the vile,the murderers,the sexually immorals,those who practice magic art,the idolaters and all liars Rev.21.8(who left behind) and those who dont baptized shall be perished,seventyfive per cent of world population.In that case,how many people shall be saved indeed?

  • Art

    I enjoyed reading JDC’s comments viz. the possible discovery of Jesus’ remains. Since becoming aware of the discovery, I’ve delighted in asking “the faithful,” “What would it mean/do to your faith if it were proven true?” JDC’s is the 1st response I’ve gotten in which it would have no deleterious effect.The difference, I submit, in JDC’s view & that of the vast majority of believers is that the latter don’t view the resurrection as “a metaphor about the body of Jesus.” [This view may play well in the Ivory Tower, but I've run across it very rarely out on the "front lines."] For the question then becomes, does a metaphorical resurrection accomplish a (mere) metaphorical atonement & thus a (mere) metaphorical admission into heaven?And so my question, to those who’d care to respond, is not the unanswerable “is it true?” [at least unanswerable with the present state of archeological investigation], but one I believe to be a bit more theologically provocative: “What would it do to your faith if it could be proven true, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the remains of Jesus had been found?”"Peace 2 U!”

  • victoria

    because the facts arent in i dont have an opinion about it- but the argument that jesus was poor so it couldnt be his tomb seems negated by the fact that jesus was presumed to be buried in a rich mans tomb to begin with- if joseph of arimithea provided a presumed burial space- why wouldnt he or anyone else have done the same in this case?

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Et Al,Paul raised the words and deeds of Jesus from the dead and forgotten!! Paul’s words nor history nor God raised the physical Jesus from the dead. As noted by Pope John Paul II and St. Aquinas Heaven is a spirit state i.e. there can be no bones there or bodies to include the theological glorified body. So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan’s analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus very possibly would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones. Actually Professor Crossan spends little time analyzing the question about glorified bodies since the physical Ascension, according to his analyses and those of many Catholic universitiy theologians, did not take place nor did the apparitions. See his book, The Historical Jesus.In his book, In Search of Paul p. 343, Crossan did address 1 Cor 15: 44-45, “When buried it is the physical body, when it is raised it will be the spiritual body. There is of course the physical body so there has to be a spiritual body. The first man Adam was a created living being but the last Adam is the life-giving Spirit. “One assumes that a spiritual body or life-giving spirit has no bones. As noted by Professor Crossan, bones or no bones, the Good Word has been spoken and is being practiced by billions and that will not change.

  • Art

    Hey CTCNL;Thanx for expanding on some of Crossan’s views. While we’re at it, are u familiar with 1) his views on whether the Virgin Birth was metaphorical/spiritual, & 2) the implications of Jesus’ metaphorical/spiritual ascension for that of believers?”Peace 2 U!”

  • Eric

    Art: I know you weren’t asking me, but to answer your question:1)Christians believe that the virgin birth was real and, inadvertently, spiritual. The importance of this becomes apparent when we see that in order for Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity, he had to be God. Period. No single man could cover the sins of every other man. Thus, the virgin birth, which states that Mary conceived of the Spirit of God, indicates that Jesus was God-in-man. Take that element away and Jesus was just some dude with good manners. 2) Likewise, Jesus’ rise from the dead in both physical and spiritual form paves the way for the resurrection of the dead on the day of judgment. Jesus’ physical and spiritual conquering of death is the ultimate cornerstone of Christianity (in connection with the other point of his divinity) because it completes the picture. In Narnia, what is the story if Aslan stays dead on the stone table? Where would we be left? In Christianity, the disciples would have gone thorough the rest of their miserable lives as dejected stranglers without the resurrection. Jesus’ physical and spiritual resurrection points to his divinity and the life that we have because of road he paved from death to life.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Some posters here say that Jesus would have been buried at Nazareth, not Jerusalem. Why, then, wasn’t He taken there after having been taken down from the cross, instead of being placed in the Jerusalem tomb?Also, is there not a body of modern scholarship that holds that Jesus never came from or lived at Nazareth? And that Nazareth itself never existed as a settled area?

  • Ba’al

    Believers have faith and they believe by definition. It is hard to be objective from that point of view. As an atheist observer trying hard with an open mind to ascertain what could be ascertained, I have been convinced by scholars that the reliability of the New Testament as a historical document – about even the most basic elements of the life of Jesus – is comparable to that of the tales of King Arthur. I come away from Professor Crossan’s very interesting books with the feeling that his approach would be ultimately hopeless but that his efforts were at the same time truly valuable — just as a negative result in a laboratory can be valuable. Robert M Price convinced me beyond a shadow that Jesus would forever remain a shadow. I am not sure at this point it is possible to know where Jesus would lie on a spectrum that ranges between Hercules (fictional) and the prophet Mohammad (definitely real and attested by diverse contemporary observers). This particular discovery of some bones with common Judean (as opposed to Gallilean) names has no effect on this point.

  • speed123

    Just another attack on Christianity (a la Da vinci) by the liberal media and jewish interests (Israel sent the artifacts to NYC). Nothing new here – money, jealousy and hate are the motives behind the rehashing of “evidence” that has been around for 30 years.Keep attacking Christians – we were told to expect this type of treatment. Liberal media, banks (jews), corperations want to get ride of family and religious tradition so that they can create the ultimate consumes – addicted to sex, personality, TV, and consumer goods. Read a Breave New World to see the future that we are only years away from.Stay strong – protect your children and wait.

  • iFaqeer

    Actually, the media’s busy trying to seel the story it wants to see–of finds more sexy. The producer (or was it the director) said, in at least one interview, that “If Jesus can rise from one tomb, he can rise from the other.” As Victoria and others point out, in the Biblical story, there is a formal tomb mentioned.But to look wider–or maybe narrower, on the specifics–of stories different faith groups hold, what this does challenge is:* The Catholic insistence that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is inarguably the site of the tomb Jesus rose from, and* The Muslim belief (in case anyone is wondering what “Jihadist” is talking about) that Jesus never made it to a tomb and was raised bodilly without being crucified.

  • Scott

    I think many are missing the point of this post. It’s not to debate if the claim is true false. There is significant room for doubt, even for a non-believer such as myself. The question is, what if there was overwhelming physical evidence that proved the tomb was that of Jesus and his family? What impact would this have on your faith?Would you accept a metaphorical interpretation of the resurrection of Jesus in the light of physical evidence? Would you simply ignore it and continue to believe in a literal interpretation of his physical resurrection as claimed in the Bible? Or would this be a “deal breaker” that would cause you to loose your faith completely?

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    “Why exactly would Christ, the Lord and all powerful only metaphorically rise from the dead?”-Because he is not the Lord and all powerful– Sure, Jesus is the Son of God but we all are Sons and Daughters of God.

  • Art

    Having asked a few questions, I’ll take a shot @ answering 1: Why would Crossan posit only a metaphorical rise? I submit because he knows enough about the origins of Christianity, particularly Jesus’ transition (via Paul’s apostleship 2 the Gentiles) from Jesus the (Jewish) Messiah 2 Christ the (Christian) King to posit otherwise. He knows, 4 example, that n Paul’s time, there were many other “risen” saviors spoken of by the Gentile/Pagan masses:For more on the Hellenistic mystery cults, see, for example, William C. Placher’s A History of Christian Theology, wherein he points out: In traditional Judaism, calling someone the “Son of God” might mean only that he served God’s will with particular faithfulness. . . . This [calling Jesus the "Son of God"] did not yet address the full problem [for Paul & the early Christians] of explaining Jesus’ importance to people who knew nothing of Jewish traditions [ie., THE GENTILES]. To do that, CHRISTIANS HAD TO BORROW FROM OTHER CULTURES. THE “MYSTERY CULTS” PROVIDED ONE HELPFUL CONTEXT. . . . Those who joined a mystery cult underwent a secret initiation. There they learned the story of a deity who had died but then RISEN TO NEW LIFE; and they became somehow united with that deity, so that they too would rise to new life after death. The mysteries offered a personal connection with a deity and a hope beyond death, and the emphasis on membership gave people a sense of belonging in a society where many traditional institutions had collapsed. All this provided Christians with an obvious analogy. Join our fellowship, they could say, and become one with Christ, participating in ceremonies of baptism and the sharing of bread and wine, and you, like Christ, will be raised from the dead.So, Why only metaphorically rise? 2 save the metaphorical air traffic controllers of Paul’s day metaphorical headaches from all those metaphorical risen saviors ascending up 2 metaphorical heaven.”Peace 2 U!”

  • Robert B.

    My concern regarding this discovery is two-fold. First, the archaeologists involved in the documentary did not bother to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal, preferring instead to approach the Discovery Channel to produce a documentary. That alone predisposes me to think that these guys don’t have a great deal of faith in their evidence.The second problem came from part of an interview I saw last night on CNN with the director of the documentary (his name escapes me at the moment). When an archaeologist questioned the conclusions that the documentary made, the director essentially countered her by saying, “I’m a journalist, not a scientist.” Again, this comment tends not inspire my trust in the work that he has produced.All in all, I think that this documentary is calculated to make money on the whole “Da Vinci Code” phenomenon. Unfortunately, like that novel and movie, a lot of people will take the material presented in the documentary as (if you’ll forgive the pun) gospel without really thinking critically about it as scientists should…

  • John Dominic crossan

    To continue this discussion as “a thinking moment” (a “what if …” thought process on the borderline between history & faith), may I suggest reading the article by Amos Kloner in ‘Atiqot 29 (1966) 15-22 entitled (neutrally & correctly) “A Tomb with Inscribed Ossuaries in East Talpiyot, Jerusalem.” This is in the official journal of the Israel Antiquities Authority but written not in 1980 after the excavation by the late Yosef Gato but in 1966 after the BBC interest in the tomb. You can order the original from Eisenbrauns (Google them).

  • candide

    We know that Jesus did not rise physically from the dead in any case. Even St. Paul called the resurrection spiritual not physical. In modern terms the resurrection was a delusion found among Jesus’ followers.

  • Norrrie Hoyt

    Speed123,You wrote: “Stay strong – protect your children and wait.”Given your name, I’m sorry for you if it’s the Second Coming you’re waiting for.It will be a long time coming – an infinitely long time.

  • candide

    I meant 1976 years, sorry.

  • candide

    Those delusional Christians never get tired waiting for Jesus to return. You’d think 2976 years would be wait enough.

  • Anonymous

    Still, the Jews waited 2400 years for a Messiah.

  • candide

    They waited, yes, but he never came. Nor will he ever.

  • Anonymous

    Says you.

  • Mr Mark

    There’s an easy out here for Xians, and that is to take to heart the writings of St Paul who did NOT espouse a corporeal Jesus, but, rather, a Jesus who fought his battles in heaven before time even began. Paul believed that Jesus appeared as a SPIRIT who was seen in VISIONS, not as a flesh-and-blood human. When Paul recounts Jesus appearing to people after the crucifixion, he is appearing to them as a spirit, not as a corporeal being, just as he was a spirit/vision when he appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. Xians could explain the bones as being those of one of the many Jesuses who were around in that time. They could even aver that the attributes of Paul’s Spirit Jesus were grafted onto some actual living person to give the story a tangible human touch for the early Xians, sort of like NASA sending up the early astronauts to add a human dimension when a remote-controlled, humanless flight would have accomplished all of the objectives of those early Mercury missions. The argument that Jesus was born in Nazareth and would have been buried there is a red herring because there was no city of Nazareth when Jesus supposedly lived. Consider:• Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.• The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.• St Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. Rabbi Solly’s epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.• No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.There was MAYBE a 2 – 3 family enclave of farmers on the spot that we now consider to be Nazareth when Jesus lived, but certainly no city. The writer of Matthew created the city of Nazareth when he misinterpreted the phrase “a Nazorite” which indicated a religious sect that didn’t cut their hair. The actual city of Nazareth didn’t come on the scene until the 4th century when the church decided it needed a tourist stop on their Holy Land tours (see here for an interesting take on the subject: There is no way that scientists could ever prove that the missing bones from these ossuaries were of THE Jesus and his family (unless they want to run a DNA test against a transubstantiated communion wafer), especially as the guy most likely was a complete and utter fiction to begin with. BUT, Xians might be wise to go with Paul’s take on the Spirit Jesus as it would at least remove their claims of this divine being from the realms of materialism, where science continues to shrink the gaps in which their godman exists.On the other hand, considering the source of the Jesus Tomb story (Simcha Jacobovici) it’s most-likely a hoax, the product of sloppy/non-existent science and a pre-disposition to take the Bible as an historical – rather than as a metaphorical – document.

  • E favorite

    Concerned – I thought you were going to stop posting that answeringgenesis link.Ba’al – for a good time, go to the Nazareth website – they have a whole disney-esque “first century village” set up, with everything but first century ruins. Lots of fun for the whole family.Also Bishop Spong has a new book out (can’t recall the name) in which he debunks just about everything but the fact that Jesus existed, based on Nazareth being mentioned so many times in the Bible. He never mentions that Nazareth (unlike other small towns in the area) isn’t mentioned in any extra-biblical records until much later and that “Nazarene” and “Nazarite” have meanings unrelated to the town, but related to religious groups of the day. It’s a disappointment.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    E. Favorite,Oops!! Will do. My reminder to folks about the status of religious foundations never got corrected. It is now.

  • E Favorite

    Eric –ater extensively quoting scripture, you said: “I feel no need to add to this.”Actually, I wish you had spared the scripture and included more original thought. It’s not like Bibles are hard to come by and certainly many people, even if not church-going christians, have heard those verses before.Mr Mark – nice to see you here – I posted my narareth note before seeing yours

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Mr. Mark,References please to your commentary about Jesus fighting spiritual battles in Heaven to include eye-witness accounts??? For a more in-depth review of the history of Nazareth see

  • Kaman

    Christian faith = IrrationalIrrational thinking will always trump logic. To answer the question in JDC’s article above: No, it would not change the Christian faith.BTW, I don’t know if this documentary is true or not. I think it will end up being “inconclusive”. Even if someday there is 100% verified proof debunking JC, irrationality will still prevail.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Bruce Chilton in his book “Rabbi Jesus” pp.7,8-9, 294, paperback edition, noted that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem of Judea but in 1st century AD Bethlehem of Galilee which is seven miles from the current Nazareth. He cited textural references from a later Talmud, the book of Joshua and archeological evidence p. 294.

  • Scott

    Anonymous wrote: “A better question: Why exactly would Christ, the Lord and all powerful only metaphorically rise from the dead?”So I’ll take that as option two? To clarify….. 01. Accept a metaphorical interpretation of the resurrection of Jesus02. Simply ignore the evidence and continue to believe in a literal interpretation of his physical resurrection as claimed in the Bible03. Strongly reconsider or loose your faith completelyOf course, if you have another option, please feel free to post it.

  • Tonio

    I suspect that these graves are part of an elaborate hoax. But even if they were true, maybe this film would lead to Christianity focusing on Jesus’ teachings, instead of focusing on the Resurrection. If someone finds merit and inspiration in the Sermon on the Mount, what difference should it make whether Jesus was mortal or divine?Religions get into these endless disputes over the form or nature of deity. They threaten each other with eternity in hell for having the “wrong” belief about deity, or even for worshiping the same deity in the “wrong” way. I see those disputes as not only pointless but poisonous.I tend to agree with Joseph Campbell – all religions’ teachings about deity and the afterlife are really references to certain ideas about human existence. His point was that believing in a god for the god’s sake is like going into a restaurant and eating the menu. In other words, the important thing is not the symbol but the deeper meaning behind it. Whether someone believes Jesus literally rose from the dead is not important – the important thing is what the person does with that belief, how the person uses that belief to improve his or her life.

  • What if

    What if you being from a remote village had never seen an 18-wheeler before? What if someone told you to stay out of the road because an 18-wheeler might run over you? What if you didn’t listen because you didn’t believe that 18-wheelers exist because of course you had no reason to. The absolute truth of the existance of God and his son Jesus being sent to die for you does not change if you choose not to believe. What if you continue to ignore the truth? What if you die today and woke up to judgement day? Will you wait until the 18 wheeler hits you before you believe? By then it will be too late. http://www.needGod.com

  • Kaman

    The 18-wheeler (God) has never/will never come to the remote village (Earth). That doesn’t mean the 18-wheeler doesn’t exist, it may. The point is that the 18-wheeler (God/Jesus) isn’t going to go out of his way to my remote village (Earth) so he can run over me (send me to hell). The perceived risk of standing on the road isn’t there. In other words, God/Allah/Yahweh/Buddah/Creator/The Force/Intelligent Designer/Midi Clorians/Whatever may, in fact, exist, but the Christian definition of “God” is wrong.

  • Deanna

    E Fave & Mark!!! Nice to read you here!To Norrie Hoyt: You are correct that there is no archaeological evidence for the existence of Nazareth before the 2nd century CE. Even is Jesus were from an area in that vicinity, modern-day Nazareth is more than 60 miles north of Jerusalem. Burying Jesus there would have required several people working on the sabbath and beyond to transport his putrefying remains. Don’t think so. He was reportedly buried just before sundown (the beginning of the sabbath) so his remains would not remain hanging on the cross to desecrate the sanctity of the sabbath.Allow me to second Robert B’s points [Even though I did not see the "unveiling" of the discovery or see the subsequent interview on CNN, I believe Robert B to be a rational man who would not prevaricate.] First of all, why were these findings not published first in a peer-reviewed scientific journal? After all, that is THE accepted, scientifically-correct procedure followed by scientists announcing new discoveries in their field. Certainly, there are public announcements as well, but the documented evidence is immediately available. Also, where were the “world-famous scientists, archaeologists, DNA specialists, statisticians, and antiquities experts” [I'm quoting either Cameron or Jacobovici -- not sure which] when the ossuary was unveiled. It appears the only people there associated with the project were Simcha Jacobovici, the producer [who has a very significant financial interest in this film's success] and James Cameron, the director [ditto on the financial interest (and creator of the "documentary" fantasy hit film, Titanic)]. For an announcement of this magnitude, it would have seemed appropriate to have the “world-famous scientists” et al available in person, by phone, or by satellite link to present support for their findings. BTW, if you’re interested, the scientific evidence supporting Cameron’s claim are refuted point by point at: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1593893,00In addition, Amos Kloner, former head of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the senior on-site archaeologist supervising the original discovery of the tomb was interviewed by The Jerusalem Post and commented in an article printed Saturday, “It makes a great story for a TV film, but it’s impossible. It’s nonsense” … “There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb. They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE.” I say, “Amen, James B!” James Cameron is known for his BIG pictures, but he really gave it all away in his response to the archaeologist’s question, “I’m a journalist, not a scientist.” Probably the most truthful statement he made in the interview, and a telling statement on the provenance of his “evidence.”And to C.F., I say, “Amen. Amen.” [I know you're going to come after me for this one, Mark! I'm relying "your" gospel and some rather simple logic. Bear with me.]The Jesus sect was viewed as a threat to civil order by both the Jewish hierarchy and the Roman occupiers of the Near East in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Both groups were actively seeking to eradicate the movement — torturing, exiling, imprisoning, and killing those who claimed to be disciples of Jesus. If there was a “tomb of Jesus,” I think they would have found it and displayed Jesus’ dead body! The Jesus sect would have imploded and vanished from the face of the earth, rather than growing from a few believers in the 1st century to tens of millions in the 21st century.All four gospels agree at this point, but I will quote Mark as the earliest, “So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council … went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” Mark 15:43 [NIV] The Council referred to is the Sanhedrin, 71 highly-respected men who were the ruling body and supreme court of the Jews. Most of the gospels also report there was another person present when Joseph approached Pilate, although they differ on the identity. Mark claims Pilate summoned a centurion to verify that Jesus was, in fact, dead. Was there no Sherlock Holmes/Hercule Poirot/Miss Marple/Inspector Gadget/James Bond anywhere in Jerusalem or the Near East who could not have interrogated/intimidated/threatened/bribed/seduced a few of those overlooked people always hanging about on the fringe of things? A few pieces of information, and this “tomb of Jesus” would have been quickly located, the body recovered, and the hoax exposed. So why did it take two millenia and two money-motivated movie moguls to “discover” this so-called “tomb of Jesus”?The suppposed presence of the remains of Mary, the mother of Jesus, adds another interesting puzzle to these findings. Scripture tells us that Jesus gave the care of his mother to John, the Evangelist (the beloved disciple). John lived late into the 1st century CE and spent most of his life in exile or imprisoned on Patmos. Biblical tradition holds that John, and Mary, lived in Ephesus for a time. When I visited Ephesus about ten years ago, the tour guide — in all seriousness — asserted that this was, in fact, true — and that Mary was buried at Ephesus. Whether that’s truth or fable, I still have to ask: Why would the Jewish and Roman authorities allow an exiled member of a banned organization to return to Jerusalem with the supposed remains of the alleged mother of the leader of this sect?!!! And even if they had, would they not have followed John, discovered the tomb, and exposed the central hoax of the Jesus sect?Come on, Cameron, there were plenty of opportunities for this tomb to be discovered in the 1st century CE!! It strains all bounds of credibility that it would remained hidden until 100 CE, let alone 2006!Okay, Mark, let me have it!!!P.S. to Mark: Did you receive an e-mail or was my sleuthing unsuccessful? Remember, while I do own a BB gun, it hasn’t been used in years, and I am not an astronaut!Peace and Love,

  • Mr Mark

    What if wrote:Well, this is a less-inspired version of Pascal’s Wager, and like Pascal’s Wager, it only works if god accepts a non-believer LYING and saying he believes in god simply to avoid it “being too late” when he dies. Ergo, the wager is null.You said this: “What if you die today and woke up to judgement day?” You need to study your scriptures. Surely you know that no one will be in heaven with Jesus until the second coming and the graves are opened? You die tonight, you molder for awhile. That’s what made Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross so important, “TODAY you will be with me in paradise.” The thief didn’t need to wait like the rest of mankind (although one wonders if he made the 3-day descent into hell with Jesus as well!). Deanna: I didn’t receive an e-mail. You’re doing a good job in your last post, there’s nothing there for me to “let you have it” over. I think that Jacobovici latest “find” is a big hoax, but at least it’s more diverting than arguing over that damn Shorud again.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Deanna,Thanks for your comment.As for the old/new ossuary stories, based on common sense and the commonality of the ossuary names, I conclude that THE Jesus and his family are not involved here.But I wouldn’t cite the Israel Antiquities Authority for that proposition. Whenever the IAA comments on anything archaeological, it’s always operating with a political agenda in mind, a cardinal point of which is always: DON’T UPSET THE CHRISTIANS!

  • E Favorite

    Hi Deanna – great to see you too. I know you’re a fast thinker and typist, but I’m sorry you spent so much energy on the Jesus Tomb thing, because I don’t think any non-believer here needs convincing that the whole thing’s a hoax and a stunt. It has nothing to do with attitudes towards the divinity of Jesus and everything to do with bad science.Tonio – I’m with you on all counts, especially this: If someone finds merit and inspiration in the Sermon on the Mount, what difference should it make whether Jesus was mortal or divine.”I’d go a step further and say, what difference does it make if a guy named Jesus even said it? Well, right now it makes a lot of difference, because the messenger is set up as being more important than the message. As I keep saying – as an optimist, I think this can and will change. It will be a big adjustment – The religious establishment has a lot of explaining to do and regular folks are going to resist losing paradise, but in our modern scientific age, the project might be easier than it would have been even 100 years ago, after the enlightenment was well established. One possible immediate reaction to the Jesus Tomb media extravaganza that I hope for is that REAL biblical findings will get renewed coverage. I’m talking about the well documented, completely academically accepted lack of archeological evidence for major events in the Old testament – Jericho, slavery in Egypt, Exodus. Didn’t happen folks. Concerned the Christian NL and I have copied links all over this forum and rarely does anyone even comment. I don’t know what to think – is it too much too absorb and register? Does it not fit with what you’ve always thought you’ve known? Do you think we’re wackos? Do you wonder why there’s no buzz about it (Could have something to do with Norrie Hoyt’s “Don’t upset the Christians” comment) Now that people are excited the Jesus Tomb story, maybe we’ll get some coverage of the REAL story of the old testament. Got any media contacts?

  • Rev. Robert Semes

    Frankly, I’m not surprised at the news about the three caskets (ossuaries) that are claimed to be the burial boxes for Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their son Judah. Who knows, maybe Dan Brown is right? It doesn’t matter to me anyhow, since I don’t think it makes much difference what happened to Jesus’ bones. Dom Crossan thinks Jesus’ body got heaved into a trench full of bones that had been carrion for the birds of Jerusalem. Maybe someone scooped them out and saved them along with those of his wife, and later, his son. So what? This wouldn’t detract from the fact that he was a great Jewish sage, if he indeed lived. It would, of course, upset all the faithful who believe in supernatural events like a resurrection. That’s all.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    E. Favorite,A&E’s original Mysteries of the Bible series (1994, 1998?) (DVD) was a good start in reviewing the contemporary textural and archeological findings. David Wolpe the rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles was one of the featured commentators in the series. He was a King David scholar and currently serves on the editorial board of the Conservative movement’s Torah Commentary. I believe Professor Crossan was also featured in many of the NT Mysteries of the Bible tapes. IMHO, the Mysteries of the Bible series needs to updated to include findings of the National Geographic Genographic Project. His paper entitled “Did the Exodus Really Happen?” can be found at An excerpt: “However, the archeological conclusions are not based primarily on the absence of Sinai evidence. Rather, they are based upon the study of settlement patterns in Israel itself. Surveys of ancient settlements–pottery remains and so forth–make it clear that there simply was no great influx of people around the time of the Exodus (given variously as between 1500-1200 BCE). Therefore, not the wandering, but the arrival alerts us to the fact that the biblical Exodus is not a literal depiction. In Israel at that time, there was no sudden change in the kind or the volume of pottery being made. (If people suddenly arrived after hundreds of years in Egypt, their cups and dishes would look very different from native Canaanites’.) There was no population explosion. Most archeologists conclude that the Israelites lived largely in Canaan over generations, instead of leaving and then immigrating back to Canaan.” With respect to the topic, no Exodus bones have ever been found in the Sinai.

  • Jihadist

    Ifaqeer,You got me there. I was being evasive about the different Muslim version of the cruxification and ascension. Didn’t want to offend the other People of the Book (both Christians and Jews)with their own versions of who Jesus was, his life and teachings. One group regard Jesus as a rebel, another as a Great Prophet and another as Our Lord. Jesus did exist, just as Buddha and Zoaraster did. We still can’t find their tombs and/or bones. Not even Genghis Khan’s too. If we do find bones, we will have to do DNA tests for verification. As to how, I leave it to the scientists. Any known descendants of Jesus’ family around?

  • Paganplace

    Just personally, I think that if the discovery of someone’s tomb, verifiable or not, would either ‘confirm’ or ‘shake’ your faith, it’s just possible you may have overextended as regards what faith *is* in the first place.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    The question is what happened after the crucifixion. Does anyone really know? The Apostles and other followers apparently ran for their lives.Twenty to thirty plus years later Paul et al started writing about the sayings and ways of Jesus. To make him comparable and competitive to the Caesars, and other Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Persian and Babylonian gods, did they give Jesus some god-like qualities? Miracles and physical resurrection were apparently scribal ways to embellish the lives of gods. There has been much conjecture about the true burial site for Jesus, from mass graves for the crucified, no burial but eaten by wild dogs/crows on the cross, buried in a shallow grave with lime to enhance decomposition and of course the burial in “Joe A’s” tomb. (see especially Professor Crossan’s various books on the NT)What is interesting is that scripturally the number of attestations and their timing gives credence to burial in “Joe A’s” tomb. (as per Professor Crossan et al) see (1) 1Cor 15:4aThe resurrection accounts cannot be verified using the same techniques. If you accept Heaven to be a spirit state (as per Aquinas), Jesus’ bones are not in Heaven so maybe we are about to see the long lost burial vault of “Joe A”.

  • Tonio

    E Favorite, thanks for posting that link. I believe that all claims like this should be analyzed using scientific principles, instead of summarily rejected simply because they conflict with a literal reading of the Bible. Some debates treat the Bible as though it’s either 100 percent true or 100 percent false, when it’s very possible that the book is a mixture of fact, myth and allegory.

  • Art

    Just as an FYI, did anyone check out that Kloner article Dr. Crossan suggested earlier? 1 interesting piece:”Dr. Andrey Feuerverger, professor of statistics & mathematics at the University of Toronto, has concluded a high statistical probability that the talpiot tomb is the JESUS FAMILY TOMB.In a study, Feuerverger examined the cluster of names in the tomb.Taking into account the chances that these names would be clustered together in a family tomb, this statistical study concludes that the odds — on the most conservative basis — are 600 to 1 in favor of this being the JESUS FAMILY TOMB. A statistical probability of 600 to 1 means that this conclusion works 599 times out of 600.”"Peace 2 U!”

  • E Favorite

    Tonio – You’re welcomed – I agree – good science must be done — lie DNA testing on ALL the bones – which could only prove their relationship to each other – but that coupled with the statistical probabilities (Thanks, Art) might say something.Concerned – thanks for the additional links, plus, did you know that Joe of A is Jesus Uncle on his Mother’s side? Un-huh – Mary’s brother — at least that’s according to “tradition” in Glastonbury, England. Apparently Jesus and Uncle Joe traveled there when Jesus was just a kid helping in Unc’s family business – the tin trade.PS – King Arthur and Genivere were buried there temporarily too. Bones are lost – wouldn’t you know.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    E Favorite,I don’t count the Catholic Encyclopedia as a reliable source of information but occasionally they appear to get something correct:”Likewise fabulous is the legend”, continues the Catholic Encyclopedia, that Joseph of Arimathea was the uncle of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and a merchant involved in the tin trade with Britain who took Jesus there at some time in his life.”I wonder though about “Joe A’s” family tree. Maybe it is Joe A in the tomb and not Joe the Carpenter? And that stone slab they used to seal the new entrance the tomb? It looks like it would also fit across the door of the original entrance? And since “Joe A” may have been one of new seventy disciples, I wonder if the tomb is actually the tomb of some of the original followers? From the list of names, it appears that might be a possibility with the two Mary’s also included because of their relationship to Jesus.

  • E favorite

    Concerned – “Likewise fabulous is the legend” — thanks for that. What a great line – it could be attached to many a bible story.Though my gut as well as my intellect tells me the Jesus tomb is a stunt and a hoax, I also consider that if legitimate evidence of a Jesus tomb were ever found, its story could unfold just the way this one has – knowledge of it suppressed for decades, and its veracity derided when finally revealed by less than scholarly sources. Upsetting Christian believers is not the only issue, and may not even be the main issue — a lot of careers and a huge tourist industry are riding on Jesus having ascended into heaven. This does not apply to Professor Crossan, as he explains in his essay, because he already perceives the resurrection as strictly metaphorical. He has said so publicly for years.

  • Joel

    E Favorite and Concerned the Christian Now Liberated:With all due respect, you are both seriously misguided.You criticized Eric’s point by posting: “After extensively quoting scripture, you said: ‘I feel no need to add to this.’ Actually, I wish you had spared the scripture and included more original thought.”You also mentioned “It’s not like Bibles are hard to come by and certainly many people, even if not church-going christians, have heard those verses before.” If the Bible is so well known, why is it so often misquoted, misapplied, and grossly twisted? The fact that the Bible is not well known and understood is obvious by both of your posts to anybody who actually DOES read the Bible. You know and I know that you don’t.Surely you have heard the verse “there is nothing new under the sun,” right? (Ecclesiastes 1:9). You are a fool if you think “original thought” by Eric, you, or me is truly original.And you are even more a fool if you think any of our words on this post are smarter, more interesting, or more worthwhile than the Word of God in the Bible. The Bible is the message of the one who created us. Don’t you think that’s more important than your message, Eric’s message, my message, or anybody elses message? If not, you’re not only a fool, but you’re in a lot of trouble.Eric’s point was that Concerned the Christian Now Liberated clearly stated that Jesus was NOT raised from the dead and supported this proposition by telling us to read the passage in 1 Corinthians “carefully,” as if we would miss that Jesus was in fact NOT raised if we didn’t read carefully. Eric clearly needed to quote the passage so that Concerned the Christian Now Liberated wouldn’t get away with a ridiculous argument. The text speaks for itself. Did you notice that the passage states that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared” to a whole bunch of people numbering over 500? Or perhaps you missed where the Apostle Paul says “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”? Oh yeah, I forgot, you’ve heard it all before. Apparently you DO need to see it again, if you’ve ever read it in the first place. And even more apparently, you didn’t read it even when Eric posted it right in front of your eyes.As far as Jesus’ bones being found? Yeah right. Nobody will ever prove Jesus wasn’t raised because he was. If you knew your Bible you’d know that the Jews had a major incentive to prove that Jesus wasn’t raised, but they couldn’t do it even at the time of the events in the Bible, because he WAS raised. You can’t prove something didn’t happen when it did. It’s logically impossible. Do you suppose 2000 years later we’ll discover that he was actually NOT raised? That’s silly and stupid. If you don’t believe me, time will tell. And I hope you will read your Bible and not take my word for it.

  • E favorite

    Joel – interesting points. you’re right. I don’t read the Bible that much – probably not nearly as much as you do. You mention something I hadn’t heard of before:”If you knew your Bible you’d know that the Jews had a major incentive to prove that Jesus wasn’t raised, but they couldn’t do it even at the time of the events in the Bible, because he WAS raised.”Could you direct me to the place in the Bible where it says this?Thanks

  • Eric

    E fav.Remember that the Jews killed Jesus because he claimed to be God. They had no other reason. If he did, in fact, raise from the dead, then he would, irrefutably, be who he said he was. This is a pretty major incentive to prove that he wasn’t raised. The message of the resurrection, as Paul points out, was circulated well within the lifetimes of people who lived then and there at the time of Jesus’ execution and resurrection. If the could disprove it by showing the bones… they would have!

  • Joel

    E Favorite:I am happy to show you what I mean by the Jews having an incentive to prove Jesus wasn’t raised but couldn’t do it.For some background, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are replete with examples of how the Jews conspired against Jesus and tried to discredit Jesus and Him ministry throughout Jesus’ life. Of course, the central piece to Jesus’ claims and Christianity is His resurrection. If the Jews wanted to trap him and discredit him so badly, why couldn’t they prevent people from believing he was raised from the dead as he had promised? Here are just a few examples, only from the book of Matthew, of how the Jews and authorities hated Jesus and attempted to destroy both Him and his ministry. Keep in mind that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were Jewish groups (some were teachers of the Jewish law from the Old Testament, etc.). Matthew 12 tells of the Pharisees attempting to corner Jesus on why He was working on the Sabbath, and after Jesus stumped them, the “Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus” (12:14). The Pharisees accused Jesus of getting his power to drive out demons from the Devil in 12:24. Jesus angered the Pharisees and teachers of the law in 12:38-39 when the Pharisees challenged Jesus for a sign and Jesus called them a wicked and adulterous generation. When Herod, the ruler over the region, heard of Jesus’ miracles, Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life (14:1-2). Herod had hated John the Baptist and ordered John the Baptist beheaded (14:3-12). The Pharisees again accused Jesus of breaking tradition in 15:1-2, and the Pharisees were offended at Jesus’ response calling them hypocrites (15:6-7, 12). The Pharisees and Sadducees again tested Jesus in 16:1. Then Jesus told his disciples in 16:21 that he would “suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” The Pharisees again challenged Jesus in 19:3-9. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were indignant against Jesus in 21:15 after Jesus had healed the blind and the lame and turned over the temple tables in anger that his temple was being turned into a “den of robbers.” The chief priests and the elders of the people challenged Jesus authority to heal and perform miracles in 21:23-27, and when Jesus’ response turned out to be a scathing criticism of them, they searched for ways to arrest him in 21:46, and only didn’t because they were afraid of the crowd of people Jesus was healing. In 22:15 and following, the Pharisees “laid plans to trap him in his words,” but of course were stumped again (22:22). The Sadducees again tried to outsmart Jesus to no avail in 22:23 and following, and after the Sadducees had been silenced by Jesus (22:34), the Pharisees piped up and tried to discredit Jesus, but “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions” (22:46). Jesus continued to preach obedience to the teachers of the law and Pharisees, but said “do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (23:3), rather, Jesus called them “hypocrites” and “blind guides” (23:15, 16). In 26:3-5, the cief priests and elders of the people “plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him.” Then when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, it was the chief priests who paid him thirty silver coins (26:14-16), and later the crowd that arrested Jesus was sent by the chief priests and the elders of the people (26:47). Jesus was taken to Caiaphas the high priest where the teachers of the law and chief priests and the elders and the Sanhedrin (Pharisees) “were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death” (26:57-60), even using many false witnesses. When they crucified him for claiming to be the Messiah and the Son of God, the chief priests and teachers of the law and elders mocked Him and denied His deity even while he was hanging on the cross (27:41-44). The Jews believed Jesus was a blasphemer because Jesus claimed to be “the Christ, the Son of God” (26:63-65). Based upon all of this background, it is easy to see that the Jews and other authorities did not want people to have reason to believe in Jesus or what he prophesied (including being raised after three days). In fact, they hated him and wanted to kill him.After Jesus was buried, the Pharisees and chief priests “went to Pilate,” the governor, and said, “we remember that whle he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. THIS LAST DECEPTION WILL BE WORSE THAN THE FIRST,” 27:62-64 (caps added). So Pilate ordered the tomb to be made “as secure as you know how,” posting a guard, which consisted of a number of soldiers who stood watch, and putting a seal on the stone (27:65-66). The Jews were very worried that Jesus would rise again, or that somebody would steal the body and make people believe Jesus rose again. So they obtained maximum security for the tomb.Then, after the miraculous resurrection, where the soldiers were so afraid that they “shook and became like dead men” (28:4), they reported everything to the chief priests (28:11). “When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep” (28:12). Of course, anybody that heard that excuse who knew anything about how things worked would have a hard time believing the excuse, because a guard who quit post or fell asleep would be penalized with death.Later in Acts 2:23, Peter’s sermon to the crowd (including Jews) included the statement that “you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” The Jews in the crowd could have destroyed Christianity by producing Jesus’ body that very moment. Of course, that didn’t happen.In Acts 25:19, when Paul was imprisoned and being charged by the Jews with all kinds of offenses, the key issue was “a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.” So it was obvious that the Jews did not want Paul’s message to succeed about the risen Jesus. They could have stopped Christianity right there if they had simply produced the body or some evidence that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Now, 2000 years later, we are producing the body? Yeah right.There are plenty other proofs for the resurrection (you can read “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell, who is a former atheist).Please feel to read the Bible for yourself. It is a free country after all. I highly recommend it.

  • Eric

    Concerned…I think you missed the point Joel was making. He did not say that the Bible is inspired because it says so. If he had, then you are right, his logic is a loop and is self-defeating. Rather, he pointed out that the Bible is inspired as a fact, independent of itself. If I put my hand in a fire, I will get burnt. My mom telling me this does not suddenly make it true or not true. My mom may tell me that, but the fact existed before she, or anything else, told me so. Now, a lot of people claim facts that are not true. E.g. x=Pat RobertsonWhat makes the difference between a claimed fact and an actual fact? Well, then we have take some logical steps to verify the truth. Like any logical person, I do not believe in the Bible because it tells me to. Nor do I because I have been taught to by someone else… no I believe in the Bible because it is logical to do so. On the one hand, the historical validity of the Bible has been proven and proven again throughout time. Modern and athesitic historians have pointed to Luke and admitted that he was a first-rate historian in his method and recording of facts. Interestingly, his facts align perfectly with those of the writings of Matthew and Mark, two of the apostles who also recorded the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. If you are interested in hearing more of my logics, please say so. I would be happy to discuss with you why belief in Jesus as Lord is easily the most sane and rational thing to believe taking simply the facts and basic logical principles.

  • Joel

    Concerned the Christian Now Liberated:You’re right that we get our doctrine from the Bible. My belief that the Bible is the Word of God comes from reading the Bible. So what? Why should I read the Koran to learn about the Bible? Are you implying I am foolish for trusting a document that was written over a period of 1600 years by 40-some authors that is in complete harmony with itself and has no contradictions? A document that has more manuscripts by leaps and bounds than any other document you could ever study? That has had more scholarly research than anything else in the history of man? That’s trustworthy. Give me something that’s MORE trustworthy than the Bible. What–Darwin’s writings a hundred years ago. Have fun with that.And if you find a contradiction in the Bible, you’re wrong. It will mean you haven’t studied enough. I’ve checked out a lot of alleged contradictions, and they’re not. I hope you’re prepared to defend your refusal to trust God’s Word to God Himself when he asks you one day. You can’t say you weren’t told.Yet I still challenge you to prove the Bible false, and do so honestly, thoroughly, and academically. I know that when you do that, you’ll become a Christian. Josh McDowell did. He was an atheist trying to prove the Bible false, and he did it honestly. And failed. So he believed Jesus. You should do the same.

  • E favorite

    Joel – thanks for all the info.I guess one way to look at it is that the Jews were conspiring against Jesus and another way to look at it is that Jesus was convicted as a criminal in his native country – like any American who is convicted of a crime in the US. After all, it happened in Jerusalem and most everyone involved was Jewish – the people, Jesus, all his disciples, the criminals who were crucified with him. The only aliens were Romans – Pontius Pilate who condemned him and the soldiers who nailed him to the cross. I wonder why Italians haven’t been blamed along with the Jews for their role in crucifying Jesus. They actually carried it out.As I read through Matthew – which I haven’t done in a long time – I realize how much of it sounds like a fairy tale – dead people coming out of their graves and waling around town, the veil of the temple torn in two. I wonder if the place where the temple split in two is now a tourist hotspot in Jerusalem. I’ve never been there, but haven’t heard people talking about visiting it either. I know the temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, but with all the digging they have going on over there, you’d think there’d be some evidence of the destruction caused during the crucifixion.

  • Joel

    E Favorite:Jesus was guilty of no crime, and nobody I have ever heard of says Jesus deserved the death penalty he was given. The only thing they could come up with is that He claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for based upon prophesy but didn’t believe He was the One. So no matter how you look at the situation, Jesus didn’t deserve the penalty He got. But I’m glad it happened, don’t get me wrong, because that was God’s plan all along for salvation. Note that Pilate didn’t even want to crucify him, and was unconfortable with it, because he knew Jesus was guilty of no crime. Pilate’s wife told him that day “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19), and after the crowd demanded Jesus be crucified, Pilate told the crowd “Why? What crime has he committed?” (Matthew 27:23).Also, good Christians realize that the Jews have a special place with God. God revealed the law through Moses to them, God brought them out of slavery and into the promised land, made covenants with them, and Jesus came through their lineage. So the fact that Jews killed Jesus is not a source of anger for understanding Christians. Recall that when Jesus predicted his death to His disciples in Matthew 16:21-23 and Peter said “Never, Lord!”–I’m sure with good intentions–Jesus told Peter “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Likewise, those who hate Jews for killing Jesus do not have in mind the things of God. Jesus had to die for our sins, according to His plan. Just thought I’d clarify.Also, you’re not the only one that was surprised by Jesus’ miracles, and all the amazing events that transpired. Everyone that saw these things were amazed too. One of the purposes of Jesus’ miracles and all the amazing things associated with His life, death, and resurrection was to prove He was who He claimed to be. But let me ask you this: Do you think that if there were a God who created this world and everything in it that he could come to earth in bodily form and heal some of the people that he had created? Do you think He could cause an earthquake when Jesus died on the cross? Could the God who created the world raise His Son Jesus from the grave and roll the stone away? Maybe your issue is that God created anything. Because if you think God exists and that He created everything, it’s actually not amazing that all the stuff recorded in the Bible happened.You just have to ask yourself if you’re going to believe in God, or in the big bang. Either way this world is pretty amazing. But it makes a lot more sense to me that the world had an Intelligent Designer. And if you believe that, it’s not hard to believe He could do things with His creation that we don’t normally see.And if you want to study the historicity of Jesus’ life and His crucifiction, there are a lot of external sources of evidence other than the Bible itself that you can study if you are so motivated.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    To reiterate:Keeping “religious bones”/books in perspective: (as noted previously in an analogous commentary)And what has history, scriptural text reviews and archeology taught us about these bones or lack thereof?1. Abraham is the reported founder of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Based on all we know now, Abraham was at best a combination of three separate individuals with 1.5 million Conservative Jews no longer believing he existed at all. (ditto for all the characters in the OT).2. The founders of Christianity and Islam were both illiterate. i.e. neither one proof read or approved the NT or the Koran so we are taking the word of scribes and embellishers with their own agendas.3. Christianity is based on gossip about the sayings and ways of Jesus, the whim of Pilate, the false prophecy of the imminent second coming, and the sword of Constantine. references: NT exegetes and their conclusions/books from the last two hundred years.Conclusion: The Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths have very little foundation (or spiritual bones/books) to rely on.

  • Joel

    Concerned the Christian Now Liberated:Apparently you think the sources from your most recent post (reiterated) are vitally important and you’re willing to base your entire belief system on them.Will you just answer a couple of questions for me?(A) In your point #2 you accuse the “founder” of Christianity to have had his own “agenda.” Do the authors of the websites you have cited, and any authors mentioned on those cites, have THEIR own agendas? What might they be? Similar to yours I suspect.(B) Do you know who the founder of Christianity really is? It’s not Abraham. It’s Jesus Christ–hence the name CHRISTian. I assure you he was not illiterate, and even if He had been I’d still trust Him.(C) In your point #3 you state several bases for Christianity. I’m not sure where you are getting your ideas, but you’re certainly not researching the bases for Christianity for yourself. And you’re really off base. I highly suggest you don’t allow your faith to stand or fall based upon a website with an “agenda.”By the way, the Bible as a whole definitely DOES have an agenda. It’s to show us that we are sinners and need a Savior, and tell us the story about how a Savior was provided in Jesus Christ so that when we trust in Him we can know our Creator once again and meet Him after we die.This is about all for me as far as these posts, because if you can make the conclusion you do based upon the reasoning presented in your post with the silly sources you quote to supposedly nullify the unbelievably convincing history of the Word of God that you have utterly failed to research for yourself, further posts by you will not be dignified with a response and I hope you see the light.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Joel,I recommend reading the some books about the historical Jesus. There is great listing at Again, the Bible is not god inspired. If it were, there would be no mythical figures like A & E or global floods nor would there be four gospels and related epistles with such varitions in events and single attestations. e.g. one of the greatest “miracles” of Jesus, the changing of water into wine, only appears in John’s gospel.

  • Tonio

    I believe that trying to dismiss the Resurrection as a hoax is somewhat irrelevant. It assumes that the only value of the Bible is in a literal reading.For a secular analogy, look at the King Arthur legend. I would guess that no one in England has believed in the Lady of the Lake or Merlin or Morgana Le Fay for centuries. Scholars have concluded that the legend originated with a real Briton chieftain who sought to rally his people against the Anglo-Saxon takeover. But the legend has grown and endured over centuries because it evokes feelings of national pride. Plus, it’s one hell of a story – action, romance, betrayal, tragedy.

  • E favorite

    Hi, Joel –I don’t think Jesus deserved the death penalty either, but that according to the story, that’s what he got. Regarding God’s capability to perform miracles. Sure, if there is a God, I think he could probably perform miracles. I think, though a loving God would do something helpful to humanity – instead of raising some people from the dead, causing an earthquake and rending the temple in two. The purpose of those miracles seems to be only to impress people with how powerful he is and how angry that they killed his son. This is confusing, considering that He set the whole thing up in the first place.And if he can forgive sins, why not just forgive them? Why send his Son, and have him cruelly murdered? Sorry, this is barbaric. Any father who did that today would go straight to jail.And what’s the deal with Christians celebrating this by eating his body and drinking his blood? That’s downright cannibalistic! I know – Jesus said it in the last supper. But why say such an awful thing. The Jewish Sabbath ceremony involves sharing bread and wine, just like Christians do, but it’s regular food and drink – not body and blood. Yuck. Why do this even symbolically. Have you thought about that? Let’s just call it sharing a communal meal and I’ll be the first one back at the communion rail.Tonio – good example in King Arthur – it’s a pleasant myth, a good story, with some useful meaning attached, but like other good stories (Greek myths, etc.) nobody thinks it’s true. No one is fighting or dying over it and no one’s demanding that it be used as a moral code for the modern world.

  • Tonio

    “No one is fighting or dying over it and no one’s demanding that it be used as a moral code for the modern world.”E Favorite, that is exactly my point. What would happen if there was no such thing as “scripture,” meaning that no book was regarded as the literal or inspired word of deity? Would people still kill each other over beliefs about deity or afterlife? Separating beliefs from actions for a second, what bloody difference should it make to other people what someone believes about deity or afterlife?

  • Joel

    E Favorite, Tonio, Concerned the Christian Now Liberated:E Favorite seems sincere about questions and concerns posted, and at least honest intellectually. It seems like you may be willing to go where the evidence leads, and for that I commend you. However, you are still reacting to Scripture without first understanding it. For example, the temple was not torn in two–it was the massive, thick, beautiful curtain inside the temple that was torn in two. The curtain separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The presence of God was in the Holy of Holies, and nobody could enter but the priest like once per year, and if he wasn’t right and didn’t do all the procedures correctly, he’d be struck dead (so they attached a rope to his foot when he went in). When Jesus died on the cross and the curtain was ripped in two, it was something that could not be done physically by human hands, and symbolized the fact that when Jesus died for our sins, we are no longer kept out of the presence of the Holy God–rather, through Jesus’ sacrifice atoning for our sins, we can enter the Holy of Holies so to speak, and be washed clean of our sins and once again be in fellowship with our Creator as He intended originally.As far as communion, non-believers should not take it. You have no business doing so. It is only for believers who understand that by their trust in Jesus as their Savior, they partake in the blood of Jesus that washes over the believer’s sin, making him clean in the eyes of God. That symbolism is beautiful to the believer. Since you’re not a believer, it doesn’t really matter if you think it’s gross or not, because you shouldn’t take it anyway.Further, E Favorite should be careful not to appoint him/herself as God by questioning whether God should have sent His Son to die a cruel death. That was His plan. And if you could only see that He died that death for YOU, so that you could be saved, you would be much better off.Concerned the Christian Now Liberated is much further along at appointing himself God, since he has apparently declared Adam and Eve and other Bible stories as myths. Congratulations, you have appointed yourself the center of the universe. Have fun there, for awhile. Then he uses his own declaration to prove the Bible is not God inspired. You will see someday, as the Bible predicts that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.And Tonio, the problem is that there IS such thing as Scripture, and you must deal with it one way or another. If you’re on the fence, you reject it. You have to take action. Sadly, you don’t seem prepared to do so.seem to have an agenda and I will not waste time responding to their baseless attacks of Christianity.

  • Joel

    My last post was cut off, but I think I’m signing off.I hope you three in particular will read your Bible a little more and fully understand it before attacking it. Read Matthew, and understand Matthew. And I hope you will stop rejecting Christ out of ignorance.If any of you are foolish enough to think you can single-handedly discredit the Word of God on this post, or perhaps with the help of a few books and websites, you’re a fool. And I mean that. So does the book of Proverbs.I hope someday you will all look to Jesus for forgiveness for your sins as I have. I can tell you it is the best thing I ever did, and the only thing that has lasting significance for me.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Joel,What is being taught these days at major Christian universities:”The story of Adam and Eve is only symbolic.” Satan and devils do not exist.”Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly — earth bound distractions. (no bodies allowed).i.e. Christ ‘s and Mary’s bodies are not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformedThe physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s

  • Jihadist

    You know Concerned,Now that you are talking like this in your recent postings in the On Faith threads, I am learning a lot more from you:)Best regardsJihadist

  • Eric

    Concerned…I found it interesting that you called God barbaric for sending his son to die for the sins of the world. I believe your understanding of this is flawed, however. Some background knowledge: God, by nature, is holy — a word that literally means “set apart”. People often think that God can do “whatever he wants,” but this is a flawed logic. God can do whatever he wants while abiding by his nature. Because he is Holy — set apart from evil — he cannot abide in the presence of evil. When evil developed in heaven with Lucifer, Lucifer was cast out of heaven because God could not abide by his presence. God, by nature, is just. God always acts within the bounds of justice, bringing justice in all situations — even if it is out of our vision or ability to understand. Do not confuse this to mean that every time something bad happens, God is bringing justice. This is not the case. That is for another post. What it means is that God cannot, “just forgive sins” because that would be overlooking his nature of justice. God, by nature, is loving and graceful. The Bible witnesses that “God is love” and the apostle Paul attributes everything worth having to Love (1 Cor 13). Note: love and justice are not mutually exclusive. If you love your child, you discipline him to make him into a better person. So, why did God send his son? When God created the world and humanity, he did so in a way that was perfect. Humans were and are the pinnacle of creation. When God created the light and dark, the land and sea, the birds and fish, etc… he said about each that “it was good” and when he breathed life into man, he called him “VERY good.” The peak. Man was created to be in a relationship with God from the beginning. Unfortunately, when man choose to disregard God’s command, he brought sin into the world. With this sin, God, by nature, could not abide in the presence of his beautiful creation. As a result, he had to make a plan for redemption. In the Old Testament, a system was created in which the sins of a person could be laid on an animal (from which we get the word “scapegoat”). Ultimately, this was not something that God intended to last. Rather, it was a means of preparing the way for the finale. The Old Testament and the covenant therein is impossible to abide by. There was reason for this. God wanted his people to see that they could not do what was necessary to attain holiness. As it is written “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” When it became clear that they had fallen short and could not do it on their own, God continued with his plan to redeem his beloved creation. Jesus, who was God-in-man, conceived of the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, came by his own volition to pay the price for sins. You see… Romans tells us “the wages of sin is death.” In the garden of Eden, God made this clear by telling Adam and Eve to not sin (in the only way possible then) or they would surely die. From Adam’s fall came the fall of man as a whole institution and sin, death, murder, rape, slander, hatred, etc entered when the door for sin was opened. As a result, all of mankind from then out is condemned to die, because that is the just penalty for sin. Here is where God steps in. Out of love, God sacrificed his own son as the ONLY ONE who could truly cover the sins of all of creation. This is what Aslan represents in The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. Edmund sins and is condemned to die, but Aslan takes his place… not only does this free Edmund, but it breaks the hold of death and the witch altogether! In the same way, Jesus’ death gives the opportunity to every man to accept his act of love and grace and be cleansed of their sin. With Jesus’ death, God gained a way for justice to be served while also creating a means for allowing for his nature of grace and love. This is not barbaric. It is not barbaric to take a bullet for a friend, to die for a just cause, to dedicate your life to others. There is nothing barbaric about giving up what you value and love the most for the sake of humanity. Nothing barbaric about loving enough to give everything you hold dear. No. Barbaric is knowing what people need and turning your back. Barbaric is dodging the bullet to let your friend die. Barbaric is refusing to stand up for a cause worth defending. Barbaric is quitting on something more valuable than life itself to save your skin. Barbaric is fearing the thing that must be done to pave a way for others to live. God is anything but a barbarian. No, he is a father. He is Holy. He is Just. He is Graceful and loving. He is Abba. My Abba. And he deserves all respect, love, and adoration. My God’s bones cannot and will not be found in any tomb today or any day. My God’s body sits today on the throne in heaven and I await the day that I might meet him there. In the meantime, I will serve. I will follow in his steps taking bullets, sacrificing, giving, loving, hoping, persevering, and believing. Most of all, I will share this. I will yell it from ever mountain top and proclaim it in every city. Christ Jesus is risen, Amen, AMEN!

  • Joel

    Eric:Outstanding post and explanations. I will stand with you.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Added common sense:JD Crossan notes in his book, Who is Jesus:”Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us.”

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    More common sense:As per Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary Christian theologian, God does not know the Future. From his book, Church: The Human Story of God,”Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    More common sense:As per Somerville, “Religion is our vehicle for the journey. Once arrived, it will be left at the door” i.e. there is no religion in Heaven.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    More common sense:from Father Edward Schillebeeckx: Church, the Human Story of God:”Christians must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history” . “Nothing is determined in advance: in

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    More common sense:From the history of humankind:There is no archeological evidence that the Moses of the OT ever existed. The scribes who wrote the OT, embellished many old Jewish tales/legends/myths to fit their concept of Monad and to keep the general tribal communities in line with oral tradition/guilt. The trails/trials of Noah, Abraham, Job and Moses were concepts for tribal nomads/peasants/shepherds/ordinary folk living in the age of illiteracy, short life spans, hardships, diseases, and “dirt poor” living conditions. Mankind has advanced and these concepts although wise for the ages, are not historical.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Some questions: Is Pilate, although not the founder of Christianity, the “necessary accessory” ?And Constantine would also be considered another “necessary accessory”??Adding this to God not knowing the future, is there any God involvement in the foundation of Christianity or any religion for that matter?Might it simply be that Christianity and the other contemporary religions are the result of human evolution away from the “dark> side”??

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Final observation:Every Christian has their own interpretation of the Word of God. Four different books, at least five auxiliary books/epistles, competing theologians/sects/protests, and competing stories just in the original set followed by translations and embellishments followed by countless interpretations, hidden codes and raptures. IMHO, God needs to have another visit to a mountain top to get the mess cleaned up. Of course, there are the other religions that have the same God but different authentic Words. Very strange that our God could create such confusion don’t you think? The whole cacophony smells of politics and economics.I will stick with Mark’s Gospel, the seven authentic epistles of Paul and the twelve Commandments along with the evaluation of these by modern biblical scholars to get some semblance of what God is trying to communicate realizing that good people of other faiths or no faiths are also God’s chosen ones.

  • Jihadist

    Concerned,You said:”Of course, there are the other religions that have the same God but different authentic Words. Very strange that our God could create such confusion don’t you think? The whole cacophony smells of politics and economics.”Amen/Amin to that. regardsJihadist

  • Eric

    There comes a point in these things in which you are simply enjoying the argument. Your common sense statements are common opinions in the atheist world. When common opinions equal common sense, there is a serious problem.Now… I am in a predicament. As it is, I feel that you are not seeking truth but trying to pollute truth your own way and having fun with it. As a result, my time here is wasted unless there are some who are reading this while actively searching for truth. Because I have no evidence of this, I am rationally assuming that it is not so. As a result, I will take my leave now. I understand that one of two things will be said here. In my leaving, you may say that I couldn’t respond to your latest witticism and you have defeated me. Otherwise, you would say that I am ending with the last word and copping out. I do not care what you say about me, honestly. My purpose here was not for my own advancement, but for the advancement of truth and the upholding of my living God. More than one in the bible there have been accounts of men whose hearts were hardened beyond any willingness to hear. Jesus came to give a chance for all to soften their hearts… to “replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh” as it is written. Ultimately, however, you do choose. You have chosen. All that is left for me to do is pray for you. We have evoked scripture, I have invited you to ask me about my logic for belief in God, which you did not take up. Either because you did not read the post, you were already thinking about what you wanted to say, or because you didn’t care. Any of the above point to you being an arguer, not a seeker of truth. In this case, then, I take my leave. I pray that some day what we have said here may take seed in your heart and that you might share in the very real truth that I partake in, the true joy and love that I experience, and the hope that I have. I never wished to put you down, but rather to bring you up. I hope that God reaches you someday, some how.

  • E Favorite

    Eric doth protest too much, methinks.PS, that’s Shakespeare, not the Bible.

  • Art

    Is there a difference???

  • Eric

    Ezekiel 36:26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

  • Random guy

    I see the God haters are piling on whatever Eric says. Boy, do I feel sorry for you guys (E Favorite, Lindizw).Lindizw:Your post (“buy viagra”) and that of E Favorite (“Eric doth protest too much … that’s Shakespeare”) is known as an ad hominem attack. If you had any intelligence you would know that’s an irrational response. Good luck with that God hatred.

  • Kaman

    I actually thought Eric’s March 6th (7:09) post was very well written. He represented his side well, without quoting scripture too much, which is always a deal breaker in trying to convince a non-believer. The “good guys” are lucky to have him on their side. But it still falls short and lands in one of three outcomes. I’ll be presumptive and arrogant and call this “The Kaman Aphorism”.1. God is evil. (He created evil to inflict torture on his creations.)OR2. God is apathetic to evil. (He created Lucifer, who then created evil. God knew this would happen but created Lucifer anyway and then let him go.)OR3. The Christian definition of God is wrong. (If #1 and #2 aren’t true, then the definition of God is flawed.)This is so old, I don’t even know if anyone will even read this.

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