Tuesday, February 27, 2007


For those who still care there are a number of blogs talking about the Jesus Family Tomb: Titanic Stupidity by Mike Aquilina at The Way of the Fathers; The Tomb that dare not speak it's Name and "Jesus' family tomb": how blogging helps by Mark Goodacre, Associate Professor of New Testament in the Religion Department at Duke University, at NT Gateway Weblog; Tomb of Jesus Discovered? by Michael Joseph, BA Philosophy and Theology, MA Historical Theology, at Evangelical Catholicism; Dog/Filmmaker Bites Man/Christianity! by Carl Olson, Masters in Theological Studies, at the Ignatius Insight blog; among others.

The quality of the anti-Christians seems to have declined considerably over the last couple of decades. Or is the public they're selling to just less and less discriminating?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent and Penance

So my blogging software (MarsEdit) has been given a minor update and it's an excuse to write something after the long silence. The traditional Catholic observance of Lent consists of one or more of: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

But in recent years a fourth penitential observance has been added: putting up with radical, new, startling discoveries that will completely de-bunk the traditional Christian view of Jesus. Putting up with this nonsense is our new cross to bear.

Why Lent? Well, debunking Jesus at Christmas gets you into a conflict with people's natural love for little babies, not least the Christ-child in the manger. But after childhood memories have faded, adults, woefully ignorant of their Christian heritage and lacking basic reasoning skills, find the Crucified and Risen Lord a hard pill to swallow and silly, improbable stories easy to believe. Well, for a year or so, anyway.

So every year (or so it seems to me) someone has a book or a movie (a plus this year--it's both) to flog that has the unwitting all atwitter. So just a couple of comments from someone who has a high school diploma: Jesus of Nazereth and Mary of Migdal (Magdalene to us) lived where? Oh yes, in Galilee. Assuming they were persons of wealth (a rock-cut tomb was very expensive in those days), where would they have been buried, assuming they were married: Galilee--not Jerusalem.

And the evidence for Jesus' surviving the Crucifixion and his subsequent re-burial: it starts with German theologian Karl Friedrich Bahrdt in 1780. Oh wait, that's speculation from the Eighteenth Century. Nobody in the Ancient World knew of such a thing. There is, in fact, no evidence whatsoever for this absurd hypothesis.

And since the historical evidence, as distinct from speculation, supports neither Jesus' and Magdalene's wealth nor their marriage, this is hopelessly conjectural. You have to hold your breath for a long time to keep this house of cards from falling down under it's own weight.

But it will cause quite a stir, make a name or two, and quite a bit of money. And we Christians have another (admittedly light) cross to bear this Lent. But what of the unlettered dupes? Do we have an obligation to them? Well, consider this a down-payment for those who need help from a fellow ignoramus.

Now on to the more serious and laborious works of Lent.