Jesus' Tomb Found: Christianity False!

According to James Cameron (yes, of Terminator fame) the tomb of Jesus has been found. The Discovery Channel will have a special giving us all the info on it. Apparently this tomb in question was discovered around 1980 - and in it there are ossuaries with names like Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. They've also done DNA tests to prove they've actually found the Jesus' remains! (Don't ask how that works.)

Here are a couple things you might want to read on this topic, which I think will get some buzz in the coming months:

The Discovery Channel Site

The Internet Monk's post on this - he keeps updating it and adding resources. Go there.

A Jerusalem Post story with the following quote:
But Bar-Ilan University Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, on Saturday night dismissed the claims. “It makes a great story for a TV film,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “But it’s impossible. It’s nonsense.”

Kloner, who said he was interviewed for the new film but has not seen it, said the names found on the ossuaries were common, and the fact that such apparently resonant names had been found together was of no significance. He added that “Jesus son of Joseph” inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years.

“There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb,” Kloner said. “They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE.”

An NT Wright page on evidence for the resurrection. He doesn't claim it's enough to convince every skeptic that the resurrection must have occurred. But he does make a good, effective, historical case for the essential portions of the resurrection account. Worth looking at.

HT: imonk, BHT



I am spending today, as I spend most Mondays, up at school. I'm on my long break between classes trying to get things done. I just spent the last few hours (three straight hours) reading through books on the literary qualities of Zechariah, and why the vision in Chapter 3 may or may not be included in the numbering of the visions through the book. The project this is for is taking a lot more work/thought/effort than I originally thought it would. I'm feeling a bit overloaded with the numerous things I have to get done this week...coupled with the fact that I am sick and have to visit the dentist for some extensive work again on Thursday...ugh.

Pardon my whining.


A Miracle! Or not...

I read today that a 17 year-old student who collapsed in his P.E. class and was on life support for four days all of a sudden had his heart start beating again.  It hadn't been beating for four days and it started up out of nowhere.  One of the doctors at the hospital called it a "miracle."

This is, of course, a pretty amazing happening.  There is no particular reason the boy's heart should have started up again.  It was stopped and he was being kept alive via life support.  The doctor's didn't do anything to get it going again - it just started beating.  To some, this is a miracle and some sort of divine intervention.  To others, it's a random occurrence and it's stupid to declare it an act of God.

Sometimes I am asked why God doesn't do stuff like He did in the Old Testament (or even the New Testament).  There we see things like miraculous healings, pillars of fire, gigantic plagues, and so forth.  All sorts of incredible things going on.  Some skeptics even go so far as to say if God were to show Himself to them, they'd believe.  But because they have no good reason to believe there's a God they don't.

My response to the question generally has two parts.  One, assuming that Old Testament times were some sort of miracle-wonderland is a mistake.  If you consider the scope of history, the events recorded in the Bible span a very short period of time.  Not only that, it is generally considered a record of God's involvement with the world.  Naturally it would have a lot of acts of God in its pages.  But it doesn't necessarily bother having pages and pages of "nothing that special happened today."  So of course the Bible is replete with acts of God - that's the point of it.  That doesn't mean that in bible times the Middle East was a land of magic and dragons.

Second, I think God tends to act in ways that will say something to the people at hand.  The aftermath of this boy's heart "reboot" is a perfect example.  This is a pretty incredible thing.  It's not supposed to happen and there's no good explanation for why it did.  To some this is proof of God and to others it isn't.  I tend to think any sort of "miracle" God did to prove Himself to a particular kind of person would always meet with skepticism.  If you're committed to a naturalistic worldview then everything will happen via natural means.  Even "unexplainable" events cannot be considered evidence of the supernatural - the naturalist is more comfortable saying "things just happen sometimes" or "I'm sure there's an explanation for this."

As an aside, I do think it's just as silly for a theist to say "we can't explain it, so it must be God!"  And I tend to be on the skeptical side when people say God did things. 

My whole point here is this - and it's nothing particularly new or profound - but to some, no evidence could ever be enough to suggest there is such a thing as God.  Now, some people don't require any evidence at all (which I believe is a foolish way to go about things).  But to demand God perform miracles or expect them is, in my view, a bit of a copout when it comes to reasons to be an atheist.  You'll probably find another way to explain it anyway.  Also, I do think God still does miracles.  But I think He saves them for the people with whom they will actually have an impact.  And I think we are probably surrounded by miraculous occurrences every day that we have no idea about.  I just don't feel comfortable identifying them.


mooninites terrorize boston

I'm not sure if you've heard, but some relatively big stuff went down in Boston the last couple of days.  Basically a PR firm hired some people to put together a viral marketing campaign in some major US cities, Boston among them.  The campaign was for a cartoon called Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and the guys went around hanging lite-brite version of the mooninites (pictured here) around the city.  Some city officials mistook these things for potential bombs and the city of Boston was practically shut down for a day as city officials sought out and actually detonated many of these devices.  Two guys were arrested for this and it's a big part of the cable news networks right now, talking about these guys.  I have a couple quick thoughts on this.

First, it's very funny seeing stuffy news anchors say "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."  Watching some of the news coverage is almost surreal.  It's like a clash of two cultures.  At the news conference, the "suspects" only talked about 70's hairstyles.  The press doesn't know what to do with them, and is calling them "goofballs" and "stoners."  Both of those things may be true, but how can they not see the real story here is the overreaction of the Boston officials and the completely different climate we're living in today?

Second, the city of Boston is completely overreacting.  They are prosecuting these guys and saying they intended to cause fear.  It's ridiculous that these guys would be brought up on charges.  Who can't recognize a freakin' lite-brite?  Yes, a lot of city resources were wasted, but the city has nobody to blame other than themselves. 

Third, the "terrists" have won.  To think people would be prosecuted about something like this happening - it's a sign of the stupidly litigious nature of our culture and the "we don't want it to be our fault" atmosphere.  I know we need to operate a little differently in this post 9/11 world, but this is out of control.  If stoner geeks can't hang lite-brites of cartoon characters in major cities without causing a ruckus and being prosecuted, what has this nation come to?