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revisionist history?
February 24, 2007 3:37 PM   Subscribe

"In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected --the cornerstone of Christian faith-- and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene."
posted by exlotuseater (169 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
". . .film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family. . . .[James] Cameron is holding a New York press conference on Monday at which he will reveal three coffins, supposedly those of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene. . ."
posted by exlotuseater at 3:37 PM on February 24, 2007


Wendell?
posted by ztdavis at 3:39 PM on February 24, 2007


Obviously, its another of the mongrel Jew's tricks.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:41 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love science!
posted by stirfry at 3:41 PM on February 24, 2007


"Hey Rocky, watch me pull 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' out of a hat!' "
"Agaaaain?"
posted by ardgedee at 3:45 PM on February 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


It frightens me how rabid some of those comments are. I think mathowie should be elected president of the world and "flag it and move on" should become our global motto.
posted by saraswati at 3:46 PM on February 24, 2007


Jesus would be spinning in his grave.
posted by isopraxis at 3:46 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


meh. everybody knows that issa learned yogic powers during his missing decades in india, faked his death through breath & heart control, and returned to india - specifically, the vale of kashmir & ladakh, where the lamas still speak of his teachings.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:48 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Someone should turn this unique idea into a best-selling novel and movie!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:50 PM on February 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


Um... what DNA evidence? That's the bit I'd really like to know about.

And did this hurt anyone else's brain?

Posted by Karen Finley
February 24, 2007
Go to www.choosejesusrightnow.com & click on BUMPER STICKERS.

Posted by Karen Finley
February 24, 2007
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:50 PM on February 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Um... what DNA evidence? That's the bit I'd really like to know about.
Me too--how could they possibly have any DNA evidence? No one can even definitely prove he ever existed at all, no?



Karen Finley????
posted by amberglow at 3:55 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


..and upon reading more of the thread over there, the level of stupid amongst those people makes my blood run cold. These people are allowed to vote, for crying out loud. While I recognize--and will defend--their right to do so, it still scares me shitless.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:58 PM on February 24, 2007


Um... what DNA evidence?

Well, I suppose they could go to a Catholic church and get some of the wine after it has been changed into blood. You know, transubstantiation and all that.

Yeah, that'd probably work.
posted by quin at 4:02 PM on February 24, 2007 [17 favorites]


Karen Finley????

yeah, I saw that too, and I'm thinking "Chocolate-covered bumperstickers?"
posted by exlotuseater at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


If Cameron and Jacobovici believe in the Exodus, how could they NOT believe in the Resurrection? How could they accept part of Scripture, but not all of it? They're speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

Nice.
posted by papakwanz at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2007


"I think the rammaifications are substancial."

Who needs Karen Finley when you've got the smooth spelling stylings of Anonymous?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:10 PM on February 24, 2007


After the reading that Authoritarians book by Altemeyer, I don't hold out much hope that this movie will make any true believers more skeptical. It might thin out their sources of recruitment, however.

The DNA angle reminds me of that book Honk If You Are Jesus.

I, for one, am startled to find out that there ever was a Jesus...
posted by Ritchie at 4:10 PM on February 24, 2007


A Josephus text known as the “Testimonium Flavianum” is found in Antiquities, 18.63-64.(Antiquities was completed in A.D. 93, less than 60 years after Jesus’ crucifixion.) Describing the days of Pontius Pilate, it states: ‘At this time Jesus, a wise man (if it is appropriate to call him a man), appeared. For he was a worker of incredible deeds, a teacher of men who happily receive the truth, and he drew to himself many Jews - and many Greeks, too. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had executed him at the instigation of the leading men among us, those who had first loved him did not give up. For he appeared to them on the third day alive again (the divine prophets had spoken concerning him of these and countless other wonders). And to this day the tribe of ‘Christians’ (named after him) has not vanished.

I could swear that quote from Josephus was much more ambiguous the last time I saw it. Is that a, hmmm, massaged translation?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:17 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


CHRISTIANITY A HOAX! CHRISTIAN PROPHET ENGAGED IN NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIORS WHILE NOT BEING FULLY HUMAN!

Also, grass green. Sky blue. Atheist glances over Jesus story and remarks "Duh." and moves on the more interesting topics.
posted by smallerdemon at 4:20 PM on February 24, 2007


lol silly people with religion amirite
posted by keswick at 4:27 PM on February 24, 2007


The reaction of people before they even see the film tells you everything you need to know about how it will be recieved regardless of content.

Having said that...

Cue public, country-radio-initated burnings of Titanic DVDs in Wal Mart parking lots in 5, 4, 3, 2 .....
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:30 PM on February 24, 2007


OK everybody, cancel Easter, they found the body.
posted by grytpype at 4:32 PM on February 24, 2007 [15 favorites]


OK everybody, cancel Easter, they found the body.

OUR MINDS HAVE BEEN BLOWN!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:35 PM on February 24, 2007


I still can't quite get my head around this comment on that page: "...I as a believer already knew that."

Elohimel Christians.
posted by emelenjr at 4:43 PM on February 24, 2007


I'm curious-- paging all scientists, archaeologists, theologians-- how would one go about using DNA to prove that this is *the* Jesus?

And what is the probability that the discovery would be made by the executive producer of Dark Angel and produced as a TV documentary instead of going through the review process in the journals of more conventional scholars?
posted by honest knave at 4:43 PM on February 24, 2007


Finally! This should put an end to religion once and for all!
posted by tkolar at 4:48 PM on February 24, 2007


how would one go about using DNA to prove that this is *the* Jesus?

oh, they just scrape the dna off the shroud of turin

*rolls eyes*
posted by pyramid termite at 4:49 PM on February 24, 2007


how would one go about using DNA to prove that this is *the* Jesus?

Personally, my theory is that if we have Jesus' DNA, then, when the 2nd Coming occurs, we can kill off that guy too and clone God by combining the divine DNA from each.
posted by boaz at 4:54 PM on February 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Fuck the "discovery". Crucify the editor of that article.
posted by dobbs at 4:56 PM on February 24, 2007


Christ? What an asshole.
posted by wfrgms at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


Dammit, I was hoping for another Kirk Cameron post.
posted by ninjew at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2007


...everybody knows that issa learned yogic powers during his missing decades in india, faked his death through breath & heart control, and returned to india...

Nonsense! Everyone knows Jesus went to Japan to become a garlic farmer and raise his family.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:00 PM on February 24, 2007


From the comments in the linked story:

I've already advised the Discovery Channel that if they air this I will cancel my subscription....they should be lucky that I don't strap explosives around my waste.

I think we're all pretty lucky there.
posted by PlusDistance at 5:19 PM on February 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


Ooooooo ... Plus Distance ... your comment was post #33!

Next one to note is #666?
posted by Surfurrus at 5:26 PM on February 24, 2007


ZING!
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:26 PM on February 24, 2007


Damnit, that was meant for PlusDistance.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:26 PM on February 24, 2007


this claim is hardly "startling". proof of a resurrection - now that would be startling.
posted by bruce at 5:27 PM on February 24, 2007


I've been there, flapjax! I've seen Jesus's grave in Japan. The story there claims that Jesus, after having studied in Japan before returning to Jerusalem at 30, snuck his brother in at the last moment to get executed in his place, and then ran off with the body back to Japan, where he lived to 111 and had a bunch of blue-eyed children. To this day, many of the people in that area of Aomori Prefecture have blue eyes, a trait completely absent from typical Japanese bloodlines.
posted by donkeymon at 5:31 PM on February 24, 2007


I have so much trouble with this kind of stuff. Obviously the whole Jesus rising from the dead this is nonsense but so many of my very intelligent friends and family believe it. I hate be a dick and say, "you know you're making life decisions based on 2000 year old stories written by bronze age sheep herders", but they are. The empirical universe is so cool by itself without adding all kinds of supernatural garbage to the equation I don't really understand why so many people need that to live their lives. Mostly I just smile and try to change the subject.
posted by octothorpe at 5:31 PM on February 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


I know this is just a blog entry, and not necessarily a bonafied, certified Time/CNN-edited press release, but don't you think there's a remarkable number of stupid writing errors for this to be all-the-way-legit? Check it:

1. Cameron's blockbuster was called "Titanic," not "The Titanic."
2. "Starting" claim instead of starling
3. "The Da Vinci Codes" instead of "The Da Vinci Code"
4. This editing leftover: "a Jerusalem suburb. of Jerusalem."
5. "Archologists" instead of archeologists.

...and that's just the first four paragraphs. What's the deal? Writer too excited about debunking Jesua to double-check the post?
posted by Milkman Dan at 5:33 PM on February 24, 2007


I've already advised the Discovery Channel that if they air this I will cancel my subscription....they should be lucky that I don't strap explosives around my waste.

And blow up my skeptic tank?
posted by joe lisboa at 5:34 PM on February 24, 2007 [8 favorites]


Jesus is magic. Jesus' DNA is doubly magic. How could it not be his after all the miracle healings that have occurred in the vicinity?

/stupidatheists
posted by Sparx at 5:34 PM on February 24, 2007


YAWN.

I mean, is it that time again? Time for another mid-tier celebrity to attach their name to some INCREDIBLE NEW CONSPIRACY with HIDDEN KNOWLEDGE that you can receive for a mere $29.95? Does Dan Brown's exclusive agreement expire on Monday or something?

YAWN.
posted by dw at 5:43 PM on February 24, 2007


Milkman Dan writes: 2. "Starting" claim instead of starling

So you're saying it was birds what actually wrote this here arcticle?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:43 PM on February 24, 2007


I hate be a dick and say, "you know you're making life decisions based on 2000 year old stories written by bronze age sheep herders", but they are.

i hate to be a dick and say, "you know you're going to flunk life in the roman empire 101", but you are

bronze age? ... i don't think so ... also, tradition has it that luke was a physician and matthew was a tax collector ... neither of which can be proved, but they're hardly outrageous or improbable statements for that time
posted by pyramid termite at 5:44 PM on February 24, 2007


So you're saying it was birds what actually wrote this here arcticle?

Fucking birds. Always getting it wrong.
posted by ScreechingEyeballStupidShitboxClownshoes at 5:54 PM on February 24, 2007


Sorry, did I say "starlings?" I meant bluebirds. Damn birdz, I'm always mixing up the species.
posted by Milkman Dan at 6:01 PM on February 24, 2007


Oh Anna, why did you have to go so young? We needed your harmless brand of crazy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 PM on February 24, 2007


It's bad enough I ran around town tonight looking for ice melt for the ice storm tomorrow, but now I have to get ready for a holy war?
posted by MegoSteve at 6:14 PM on February 24, 2007


Milkman Dan writes:

I know this is just a blog entry, and not necessarily a bonafied, certified Time/CNN-edited press release, but don't you think there's a remarkable number of stupid writing errors for this to be all-the-way-legit? Check it:...

...you meant "bona fide," didn't you Milkman Dan?

(sorry, couldn't resist!)
posted by doplgangr at 6:15 PM on February 24, 2007


I've read a good deal about New Testament studies, and while I'm not an expert (I only minored in ancient Roman history), I know enough to say that pretty much everyone has a theory about Jesus, and that pretty much all of them are completely conjectural. As usual, what we actually know is not as big a seller as "OMG BODY OF JESUS (NOT WAFER)" from the guy who called himself "King of the World."

The Gospels (originally circulated anonymously, with the names attached after the fact) are relatively late (written after 70 CE), not terribly consistent with one another, and none of the material has any outside corroboration (the "Testimonium Flavianum" mentioned earlier was either doctored, or it was added from whole cloth, as was sometimes the case with ancient writings). Even if we assumed that Jesus was real (and I've read interesting arguments that say he wasn't, but they're just educated guesses), we couldn't know anything at all about the guy, much less identify a certain body as his.

Most people read the Gospels as, well, fact; most of the sensationalized accounts of Jesus tend to willfully ignore the fact that we know nothing except the claims of religious texts which aren't necessarily reliable.
posted by graymouser at 6:15 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


"....they should be lucky that I don't strap explosives around my waste."

Poo-icide bomber.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:16 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tempest in a Talpiot.

I like how the Testimonium Flavianum, "completed in A.D. 93, less than 60 years after Jesus’ crucifixion," is cited as a rebuttal to this (my emphasis):
All it has is second and third hand accounts writen at least three decades after its supposed occurence by people who didn't witness the event.
The Tomb was the working title. Vision TV's March Highlights says, "James Cameron Presents a Simcha Jacobovici Film, The Lost Tomb of Jesus," a Canadian TV exclusive premiering on Tuesday, March 6. (This Telegraph article has more background (but also gets the title wrong). The documentary's based on The Jesus Family Tomb, by Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino.

October 2002 MetaFilter post on the translation of the ossuaries.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:18 PM on February 24, 2007


So if I get my DNA tested and find out that I'm related to Jesus, can I get reparations from the Romans?
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:22 PM on February 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


bronze age? ... i don't think so ... also, tradition has it that luke was a physician and matthew was a tax collector ... neither of which can be proved, but they're hardly outrageous or improbable statements for that time

Yea, you're right. Iron age would be more accurate for the new testament. But that doesn't make the fact that people are basing their lives on 2000 year old stories.
posted by octothorpe at 6:24 PM on February 24, 2007


The Tomb was the working title.

This is gonna be like that Al Capone's (empty) Vault thing Geraldo did.
posted by amberglow at 6:29 PM on February 24, 2007


...everybody knows that issa learned yogic powers during his missing decades in india, faked his death through breath & heart control, and returned to india...

... everyone knows Jesus went to Japan to become a garlic farmer and raise his family.


You're both wrong! Everybody knows that Jesus came to America so he could bring us Donny & Marie!
posted by amyms at 6:34 PM on February 24, 2007


The Christians should have picked a myth that was harder to disprove, like reincarnation.
posted by tehloki at 6:36 PM on February 24, 2007


So, let's see. The guy who filmed The Terminator says that he's found proof Jesus's dead body, despite the fact that Jeshua was a common name, and could be applied to any one of many people. He has DNA evidence despite the fact that there's no DNA sample to compare any evidence with, and he's done it all without any of the zillions of creditable archaeologists knowing anything about it or being able to study his evidence. Does he also have a perpetual motion machine, or at least some grainy footage of Bigfoot?
posted by unreason at 6:37 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


people are basing their lives on 2000 year old stories

I don't get what the age of the stories has to do with anything. Was it a smarter move when the stories were only 20 years old? If I based my life on Tom Clancy novels, would that be a step in the right direction? The stories are 2000 years old. So what? It's not like age automatically negates them. That's completely beside the point.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:37 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe the rapture came and Jesus was the only one not taken.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:38 PM on February 24, 2007


So if I get my DNA tested and find out that I'm related to Jesus, can I get reparations from the Romans?

Wait, we're all brothers and sisters in Christ? Cha-ching. Check profile for paypal info.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:48 PM on February 24, 2007


Pater Aletheias, you raise a good point, but consider this, in those 2000 years, a lot has changed. Our values on life, women, science, health and a host of other things. It's fair to say that the ideas in the Christians book are still valid, but their implementation into modern life might deserve being re-evaluated. A good example might be the edicts against food found in the old testament, at the time eating shellfish might have been dangerous to followers as treatment for allergies and the other dangers were not known. Eating a shrimp back then could have been a death sentence. Now, not so much. And the complaint people have nowadays is that if that example could be modernized, how many others could you say the same about?
posted by quin at 6:57 PM on February 24, 2007


The stories are 2000 years old. So what? It's not like age automatically negates them.

Pater, his point is that we should bear in mind that people of the same era also believed in merfolk and minotaurs, so we might want to take their belief in resurrection with a grain of salt.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:01 PM on February 24, 2007


The Gospels (originally circulated anonymously, with the names attached after the fact) are relatively late (written after 70 CE), not terribly consistent with one another, and none of the material has any outside corroboration...

MAKE EXACT COPIES OF THIS GOSPEL. Do not change a word or it will bring you bad luck. MAIL YOUR GOSPEL within 48 HOURS AND DO NOT BREAK THE CHAIN. When your name reaches the Number One position, it will be your turn to collect the tithes. They will be sent to you by 8,000 persons like yourself! Please DO NOT BREAK THE CHAIN BECAUSE IT REALLY WORKS!!

SEND YOUR TITHE TO:

Barnabas and Paul, 1119-25St, Antioch, Syria. DO NOT BREAK THE CHAIN, YAWEH IS WATCHING U FRM TEH CIELING!! PEACE OUT!

[remaining signatories redacted.]
posted by five fresh fish at 7:03 PM on February 24, 2007 [13 favorites]


This can only end well for all parties involved.
posted by revgeorge at 7:07 PM on February 24, 2007


And the complaint people have nowadays is that if that example could be modernized, how many others could you say the same about?

Stone him! (Deuteronomy 13:10)
posted by joe lisboa at 7:08 PM on February 24, 2007


Yeah, and if they get Geraldo Rivera to open up the coffins, and the Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix trinity pop up and begin singing a Christian Rock ballad, and Capone's fortune falls out their tattered pockets, and Cameron gives Leonardo a reach around (DiCaprio, not DaVinci) at the most opportune moment so that Leo squeals like a pig for the high notes so exquisitely that Celine (Dion, not the French writer) rips out her vocal chords in horror...then!...then, I'll watch it?
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 7:10 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mere speculation: The DNA tests were used to find out if all the people in the coffins were related. The other evidence supposedly pointed to it being Jesus (and the Fam).
posted by jaronson at 7:13 PM on February 24, 2007


oh, they just scrape the dna off the shroud of turin
Old news. A number of forensic microscopists at the McCrone Institute in Chicago were involved in that project, sponsored (IIRC) by the catholic church. When I was in high school I took a class in microscopy under him and the day he lectured on the topic was very, very interesting.

The upshot was that the blood stains on the shroud of Turin proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Christ had ochre pigment for blood, and died of mercury poisoning.

Well, either that or the blood stains were made using the mercury-laced paints common in the era the Shroud was discovered. Dr. McCrone said that he had no interest in speculating which theory was correct, but he was winking as he said it.
posted by verb at 7:15 PM on February 24, 2007


Yeah, and if they get Geraldo Rivera to open up the coffins, and the Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix trinity pop up and begin singing a Christian Rock ballad, and Capone's fortune falls out their tattered pockets, and Cameron gives Leonardo a reach around (DiCaprio, not DaVinci) at the most opportune moment so that Leo squeals like a pig for the high notes so exquisitely that Celine (Dion, not the French writer) rips out her vocal chords in horror...then!...then, I'll watch it?

Exactly! : >
posted by amberglow at 7:36 PM on February 24, 2007


I know this is just a blog entry, and not necessarily a bonafied, certified Time/CNN-edited press release, but don't you think there's a remarkable number of stupid writing errors for this to be all-the-way-legit? Check it:...

...you meant "bona fide," didn't you Milkman Dan?


Unless he meant "bonified", which is the state in which the bodies were found.

(sorry)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:37 PM on February 24, 2007


Ejacu-speculation.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:41 PM on February 24, 2007


Get this- omg it's crazy- he wasn't god either. Wow, huh?
posted by sydnius at 7:50 PM on February 24, 2007


I wonder if this is related to something I occassionally try to Google:

Many years ago - perhaps a little less than 20 - I was watching the Australian version of "60 Minutes" (they took the US feed and added a little of their own content). They had a segment on an Australian archeologist noted for his work in Egypt and Israel.

Near the end of the segment, he was talking about the difficulty of doing work in the Holy Land, where there was a tendency, even amoung his peers, to see or reject evidence based on religious belief. He related the story of a colleague who had casually claimed during a conversation to have found the 1st century CE coffin of a victim of crucificfion marked ישועHe asked his friend what he had done with such an amazing find. The reply? "Oh, I threw it out. Jesus was resurrected as the Son of God."

I never heard anything more about it - until now, possibly.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:58 PM on February 24, 2007


A similar announcement, of a casket containing the bones of "Jesus, son of Joseph" was made in 1996. Do they just roll these things out of the big warehouse in Raiders of the Lost Ark every time "Holy Blood Holy Grail" enjoys another popularity surge?
posted by brownpau at 8:11 PM on February 24, 2007


Wasn't there already a movie about this - spunky female archeologist, church-appointed priest who loses his faith, evidence eventually destroyed so as not to rock the boat?
posted by unmake at 8:22 PM on February 24, 2007


A previous Jesus-related Cameron production (YouTube)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 8:28 PM on February 24, 2007


We homo sapiens today — who have only been around as a group for about 200,000 years, with functioning civilizations about 6,000 years old, and a belief in scientific evolution only 150 years old — have no insurmountable problems accepting a story currently estimated at some 13.7 billion years old.

Amazing, though, how much time, money, effort (and MetaFilter electrons) goes into trying to discredit another story some 2,000 years old.
posted by cenoxo at 8:35 PM on February 24, 2007


I know this is just a blog entry, and not necessarily a bonafied, certified Time/CNN-edited press release, but don't you think there's a remarkable number of stupid writing errors for this to be all-the-way-legit?

yes, the stupid writing errors are bonafied.
posted by quonsar at 8:41 PM on February 24, 2007


Hi, cenoxo! I'd like to introduce the concepts of "science" and "myth". Both can be used to produce stories - even grand, sweeping epics - but one should not be confused for the other.

Thanks for playing!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:50 PM on February 24, 2007


... and just like that, Jesus vanished in a puff of logic.
posted by dhartung at 8:51 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Science is the new myth. That is, most people believe what scientists say. Myth isn't just stories of old gods and heroes, rather myth is the backdrop on which societies operate and dream. There's no wrong or right to it, just perspective.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus was a kick ass rabbi-physician who probably had children as there was no reason for him not to have. How's that?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 PM on February 24, 2007


I knew a pretty kick-ass rabbi-physician who also played the acoustic guitar in a band comprised of local clergy. I wonder if he was Jesus.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:58 PM on February 24, 2007


James Cameron?
posted by moss at 9:02 PM on February 24, 2007


Also, DNA?
Seriously?
The fuck?
posted by moss at 9:02 PM on February 24, 2007


Amazing, though, how much time, money, effort (and MetaFilter electrons) goes into trying to discredit another story some 2,000 years old.

Only because of the amount of effort that goes into trying to sell it to us, and worse, enshrine it in American law. Otherwise I personally would have no interest in discrediting it. The burden of evidence is on those who wish me to believe it, not on me for not being interested in believing it. Do you spend a lot of time trying to discredit Mithraism or Voodoun, or do you simply see the very idea of believing it in the first place as completely silly? That's how I'd feel about, and behave toward, the myth of magical Jesus if there weren't a fairly powerful demographic sector trying to foist it on all of us.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:05 PM on February 24, 2007 [7 favorites]


quin - ...transubstantiation and all that.

Hmm, transubstantiation is turning wine into the blood of Christ, right? Does that only include erythrocytes (including plasma?) or does it also include immune cells (ie., white blood cells, which unlike RBC, still have nuclei - and hence - DNA)?

Huh - I guess the blood of Christ could save, but one would have to inject it intravenously; the son of God would have a 'perfect' immune system, no? Adoptive transfer is looking to be a promising therapy. Drinking it? Naw, the stomach would kill the immune cells before they did anything.

I'm unclear on transubstantiation - does it only become the body of Christ once you've eaten it (and at which point does it change - once it enters the mouth, or once it gets to the stomach, or when it's absorbed through the lumen)?

I wonder if I could get some CIHR NIH funding injecting wine from Churches into people infected with HIV (or would Jesus not be able to fight off HIV)?
posted by porpoise at 9:09 PM on February 24, 2007


In the october 2002 thread about this someone sarcastically said:

And if you believe that, perhaps you'd like to buy this watch I found with the inscription "Bobby, son of Joseph and brother of John" -- the statistical probablility of that refering to anyone else but Robert Kennedy is extremely slim!

This really bothered me, as it showed the complete lack of math instinct that people (I'm going to come right out and say it: particularly people believing in things like xtianity) have.

If you assume Kennedy's mother had the MOST popular female name (as robert and john are the MOST popular male names of the time) and add the mother's name to the inscription my back of napkin calculations are that you could be somewhere between 99.95% and 99.999% sure the watch was Kennedy's. And that's assuming a very generous percentage of males getting gifted with a watch bearing an inscription listing their family.

It really bugs me that people are so very very wrong in their instincts about simple probabilities, yet so confident in those instincts that they will publicly scoff at and belittle people who actually take the time to do the math.
posted by lastobelus at 9:10 PM on February 24, 2007


Burhan - that's wonderful and poetic, but wrongheaded. I don't wish to derail a fun thread, but I'd point out that a good number of people don't believe in science, and have little comprehension of it. To some extent they'll use what practical tools science provides, but their understanding is extremely poor. For example, about 25% of Americans believe that the sun goes around the Earth.

I do agree with you that societies have myth - shared belief, if you will. But those beliefs have very little correspondance with reality.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:12 PM on February 24, 2007


NOTE: in my above example my rough probabilities also assume you can place the watch as originating in Boston, to correspond well with the Jesus-Mary-Joseph-Judah tomb situation.
posted by lastobelus at 9:14 PM on February 24, 2007


Burhanistan - Science is the new myth.

True, while a reasonable definition of myth is "a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people or stories that explain the origins of current phenomena," there is an important distinction between myth and science.

You can't test myth.

Once upon a time, the only light in the world was hoarded by a mean old Chief who was not disposed to share it. RAVEN, bored of fluttering around in the dark, decided this would not do. So he turned himself into a cedar leaf and sneakily fluttered into the chief's dwelling....RAVEN spread light throughout the world and so the Chief's daylight saving scheme came to an end. He was very disgruntled. His recorded comments contain very strong language in the Tsimshian dialect.

When science suggests something, anybody (with the equipment and background knowledge) can test the conclusions themselves and they should be able to reproduce the results. Can anyone reproduce getting some raven to steal daylight from some old dude?

In short, fuck you.
posted by porpoise at 9:18 PM on February 24, 2007 [6 favorites]


There's no wrong or right to it, just perspective.

Care to explain, then, the efficacy of the "electron myth" behind your ability to post a message remotely via computer for the rest of us to read versus that of sacrificing bulls to Zeus and hoping very, very hard that He broadcasts your thoughts to others? Maybe Hermes would be a better choice, now that I think about it, but whatever.

I'm no positivist (in just about any sense of the term, I know it's over-broad), and I'm as wary of "scientism" as you seem to be (in the sense of fetishizing natural science as exhaustive of human knowledge or interest or whatever), but I don't think we need assume every web of belief(s) has equal truth value (whatever that means) in the interest of preserving epistemic humility. I wonder how much of the perceived tendency of "science" to claim a monopoly on truth is a product of competition for public acceptance: when the shaman offers "The Whole Story, Inerrant and Unchanging" and all you've got is a tentative but admittedly successful empirical method that is (on paper) willing to revise just about any belief in light of new evidence, I can understand the temptation to stoop to their absolutist level (though it doesn't excuse it, of course).

I guess I just wish all players involved would recognize intellectual humility as the virtue I believe it is. Sorry for the semi-derail, but I fell for Burhanistan's bait. Now I'll sit back and have another beer and wait for Gyan to show up and take me to task. :)
posted by joe lisboa at 9:26 PM on February 24, 2007


.
posted by pruner at 9:28 PM on February 24, 2007


You took something out of context and entirely too personally. There was no point in you doing so.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 PM on February 24, 2007


porpoise writes "Hmm, transubstantiation is turning wine into the blood of Christ, right? Does that only include erythrocytes (including plasma?) or does it also include immune cells (ie., white blood cells, which unlike RBC, still have nuclei - and hence - DNA)?"

Holy shit, man, you have no idea how deep this particular rabbit hole goes. The Roman Catholic Church is run by a bunch of pretty smart people, and of course the theologians of that church realize that the wine does not become blood in any conventionally recognizable way. So what they do is this: they say that all things have a "substance", and the substance of a thing is not accessible to any empirical observational investigation: it is divorced completely from that thing's physical properties. So even though it still looks like wine, and tastes like wine, and there are no cells when you put it under a microscope, it's substance has been transformed from wine-substance into blood-of-Jesus-substance. And the substance of a thing, of course, is more important than any of the physical properties of a thing. So it's really blood, when you get down to it.

I shit you not.

Now, this is all rooted in some pretty involved ontology (which the Catholic theologians are of course intimately familiar with). You might look into the ontological (and epistemological? I'm not a philosopher) ideas of substance and bundle theory.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:42 PM on February 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


joe lisboa writes "Care to explain, then, the efficacy of the 'electron myth' behind your ability to post a message remotely via computer for the rest of us to read versus that of sacrificing bulls to Zeus and hoping very, very hard that He broadcasts your thoughts to others? Maybe Hermes would be a better choice, now that I think about it, but whatever."

Actually, I posted that last comment by sacrificing a goat to Dionysus. So you were close.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:43 PM on February 24, 2007


porpoise : In short, fuck you.

Harsh. But in your defense:

Burhanistan : Science is the new myth. That is, most people believe what scientists say. Myth isn't just stories of old gods and heroes, rather myth is the backdrop on which societies operate and dream. There's no wrong or right to it, just perspective.

No. People believe what scientists say because science is, by definition, provable. And universal provability has led us to a world where technology based on provable and repeatable scientific findings has allowed us to have this conversation.

Science is absolutely not a myth. What we can do with science might have mythical implications, but by it's very definition a myth is an unprovable legend. Science is the exact opposite of that.

Your point was very poetic and well phrased; the sentiment was nice. Unfortunately, it was also exactly wrong.
posted by quin at 9:46 PM on February 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


/bets no one else can use the word 'provable' more in a coherent comment.

/realized I might be wrong about that.

posted by quin at 9:49 PM on February 24, 2007


Well, I was going to explain that further, without rebutting scientific evidence. But to enter into further dialogue with someone who has a kneejerk "fuck you" reaction would be a waste of time.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:50 PM on February 24, 2007


I suppose it's way too late in the thread to say here we go again.
posted by longsleeves at 9:54 PM on February 24, 2007


IM IN UR CAVE DISCREDITING UR RELIGIONZ.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:05 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


mr_roboto - I shit you not.

OoooKay. So should I approach the pope (one of my former professors who I hobknobbed with some, who keeps reminding me that he's chatted with the pope multiple times - should I hit him up for a recommendation for a blind date with the pope?) and see if he's willing to bankroll me injecting wine into people to cure their HIV infection from not using condoms? ;)

Burhanistan - But to enter into further dialogue with someone who has a kneejerk "fuck you" reaction would be a waste of time.

I agree that you should save your self-righteous time. I understand that lots of people in the world are under-educated, or even mis-educated and can't think for themselves and would emotionally and instinctually agree with your glib remark.

My animosity is against your perpetrating that loathsome position of confusing myth and science and confusing the definition, means, and purpose of scientific inquiry.
posted by porpoise at 10:10 PM on February 24, 2007


Burhanistan, Yeah, like I said, I thought the conclusion in that response was a bit harsh. But you need to understand, America seems to be on the verge of turning science into some kind of enemy, all the while reaping it's benefits. Calling scientific theory a 'myth' (or mythos, which might have been what you were going for) is a fast way to piss off a very technical community.

MeFi likes it's science like it likes it's bricks, hard and cold. Even better, something you can build with. Diminish that concept in any way, and you are likely to get the odd 'fuck you' or worse.

I don't think what you were going for is what you got, and I'm sorry for that. Chalk it up to a lesson learned.

This coming from someone who has learned the same way. People take this kinda shit personally here.

[on preview, what porpoise said. And more concisely. I might add.]
posted by quin at 10:12 PM on February 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I understand that lots of people in the world are under-educated, or even mis-educated and can't think for themselves and would emotionally and instinctually agree with your glib remark.

we can't all come up with incisive gems of wit and brilliance such as "fuck you"

what i will say is that the idea that science can explain everything and should explain everything is a myth ... and that we cannot be absolutely sure that ANY of our observations are actually objective, although we can get useful results from assuming they are

you're welcome to prove otherwise
posted by pyramid termite at 10:37 PM on February 24, 2007


mr_roboto - Now, this is all rooted in some pretty involved ontology (which the Catholic theologians are of course intimately familiar with). You might look into the ontological (and epistemological? I'm not a philosopher) ideas of substance and bundle theory.

The nicotine has burned off 'the piss running in my blood' (with props to quin - quin; you weren't harlquine, where you? oh Cthuhu, I did a GIS on harlequin ... and, well, any belief in a benevolent entity overlooking us went kaput. I don't recommend anyone doing a gis on that - congenital keritinosis; fatal in a very bad way).

Ontological - the search for what is 'real.'

Epistomological - how 'real' is human understanding of the nature of reality, ie. how 'true' is our knowledge.

My view would be that the epistomology is flawed in our belief understanding of transubstantiation. Ontologically, I can accept someone saying that the wine and the little dry waffer become the body of Christ because the concept of Christ is exactly that, a concept. By taking the bit of blood grape concentrate they can experience and in a kind of cathartic way be Christ-like in the same way that someone could be closer to achieving nirvana by being Buddha-like.

Ok, nevermind, Christians and anti-christians are going to burn me at the stake because I'm drunk.

If Jesus was around today, I'd like to think that he'd be a lot more tolerant (and more open to experiencing mind-altering-substances, and disparate viewpoints) than the people who think that Jesus was q blue eyed and blonde would be.
posted by porpoise at 10:44 PM on February 24, 2007


I'm only interested if Jesus gets to paint Mary topless prior to the dramatic death scene.
posted by purephase at 10:54 PM on February 24, 2007


pyramid termiite -
what i will say is that the idea that science can explain everything and should explain everything is a myth ... and that we cannot be absolutely sure that ANY of our observations are actually objective, although we can get useful results from assuming they are


Did I say that science explains everything? Do I come across as being the 'final word?' Science (a friend of mine's younger sister had homework where she had to define what 'scientific method' means; uh... there isn't really such a thing as "scientific method," but there are METHODS of science...) might not mean what you think it means.

If so, I suck. I do not know the answers and I'm not authoratative.

I try to communicate what I know, and what I can back up. If I can't, then I try to impress that something is only my own opinion.

re: observations being objective, regardless of their predictive value.

I'd really appreciate if you could share some examples so I can challenge prejudices that I may not know that I have.
posted by porpoise at 10:57 PM on February 24, 2007


Myth! Myth! There'th a fly in my thoup!
posted by LordSludge at 12:21 AM on February 25, 2007


Um... what DNA evidence? That's the bit I'd really like to know about.

No Y chromosome?
posted by msittig at 1:16 AM on February 25, 2007


This is a sequel to this thing, right?
posted by EarBucket at 5:16 AM on February 25, 2007


Did I say that science explains everything?

it's not all about you

Do I come across as being the 'final word?

"fuck you" seemed pretty final to me ... whether you realized it or not

Science (...) might not mean what you think it means.

condescending, too

I'd really appreciate if you could share some examples

it would be an obvious waste of time with your attitude
posted by pyramid termite at 5:25 AM on February 25, 2007


quin (and porpoise for that matter): No. People believe what scientists say because science is, by definition, provable.

Sigh... you're not a scientist, are you? Certainly nuclear physics is a science, and has been since anyone started practicing it, but does that make the Bohr Model "provably" correct? How about the "plum pudding model" and Rutherford model of the atom, both of which it superseded? If any of these were provably correct, what then of the quantum mechanical model now used?

No, the scientific method is an iterative system of observation and provisional explanation, where further observations are devised to refine and test previous explanations. No scientific theory is provably correct at any time, and your leap to make such an assertion shows how profoundly right Burhanistan is, as permanent truth and correctness are truly the province of myth, and could not underly any evidence-based system.

Now I agree with you vehemently, quin, that the foundational persuasive force of science - its basis in a chain of logical deductions - is far superior to that of myth, which basically breaks down to a series of appeals to authority. And certainly, anyone with access to equipment and sufficient training in its use, as well as some underlying scientific theory, can go right ahead and test that theory. But in an age where most American newspapers read on something like a 10th grade level, and TV news is even more vapid, the important scientific advances take place in supercolliders, gas chromatographs, and scanning-tunneling microscopes that require about 8 years of postsecondary education to even understand and operate competently, let alone use to probe the boundaries of a scientific theory.

And so that's why I agree with Burhanistan, except for his charming idea that it's "new" for most people to approach science as a myth. If someone is incompetent to deeply understand a scientific theory's empirical foundations - simply through lack of education, not stupidity - and even marginally adequate "dumbed down" explanations are few and far between, they only way they can approach science is by essentially taking an authority's word for it. Which, as you'll notice, is precisely the problem with myth and religion; that people are uncritically taking some authority's word for it. So if you want to argue that they're fundamentally different, that the deep practicioners of each are doing radically different things, fine. But piling on Burhanistan for saying that most people in society approach both the same way is quite naive, or deliberately obtuse.
posted by rkent at 7:24 AM on February 25, 2007 [5 favorites]


Jesus loves you, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak, but he is strong.

(You're welcome!)
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:42 AM on February 25, 2007


2 4 6 8
time to transsubstantiate!
posted by bruce at 8:35 AM on February 25, 2007


Thank you rkent - maybe I think where Burh is coming from. The Bohr model is certainly 'wrong' but it's a convenient lie.

I wonder if myth makers understood that even they didn't understand the phenomenae they were trying to explain.

I feel that's what's the most galling is science seeks to find the truth - and is willing to accept changes to those truths when presented with evidence, while myth seems to be 'find an explanation the shut-up the dumb ones in the clan and hold power over them' and 'that is the final answer and that is that and can never change.
posted by porpoise at 8:55 AM on February 25, 2007


You mythed the point.
posted by tighttrousers at 9:29 AM on February 25, 2007


Oh, Lord, please don't burn us,
Don't grill or toast your flock.
Don't put us on the barbecue,
Or simmer us in stock.
Don't braise or bake or boil us,
Or stir-fry us in a wok.
Oh please don't lightly poach us,
Or baste us with hot fat,
Don't fricassee or roast us,
Or boil us in a vat,
And please don't stick thy servants Lord,
In a Rotissomat...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 AM on February 25, 2007


Do James Cameron's friends call him JC?
posted by scheptech at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2007


Science.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2007


Until we can answer "why" we are here at all, what good will it do to try put a final analysis on the event? Unless, you were there, do you really know anything? Maybe there are reasons we should not prove some things at all - perhaps the smallness of man couldn't handle the truth.

Science is smug and answers little questions as we go, but until they can answer the fundamental answer as to why we exist at all, it's just something to keep us occupied in the meantime.

Perhaps Science WILL prove we should not exist at all, and we can all dismiss that life is a perfect waste of time and we can just go ahead and destroy ourselves and get it over with.

For that matter, if WE exist...why not aliens? why not ghosts? why not angels or demons? etc. etc....
posted by queenofthegeeks at 12:20 PM on February 25, 2007


MAURY POVICH: This is Jospeh. Now Joesph is engaged to a woman named Mary. He was devastated when he found out that Mary cheated on him. But what makes the situation truly devastating is the fact that Joseph is here because he doesn't know if he's the father of their baby son Jesus...
posted by mazola at 12:42 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Science is smug

And religion is ever so humble?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:06 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


queenofthegeeks: "Until we can answer "why" we are here at all, what good will it do to try put a final analysis on the event?"

Science is working on that, and has some pretty cool theories. Unless your quotes mean that you're looking to science for the meaning of life, which is a bit like asking an pizza deliverer to solve a robbery investigation: if she was in the area she might have some helpful information but in general it's not in her job description.

"Unless, you were there, do you really know anything?"

Well, you can make a theory, then use that theory to make predictions, and then test those predictions, and then keep fine tuning that theory until it makes predictions that, when tested, fail. Or you could apply a disproportionate burden of proof to people who "only have a theory" but decide that faith is proof enough for your own beliefs.

"Science is smug and answers little questions as we go, but until they can answer the fundamental answer as to why we exist at all, it's just something to keep us occupied in the meantime.

Perhaps Science WILL prove we should not exist at all, and we can all dismiss that life is a perfect waste of time and we can just go ahead and destroy ourselves and get it over with.
"

So science is useless because it isn't philosophy?

"For that matter, if WE exist...why not aliens? why not ghosts? why not angels or demons? etc. etc...."

Who says they don't? I find it hard to believe aliens don't exist, I find it equally hard to believe that they've visited Earth. I also find it hard to believe that ghosts, angels and demons exist as popular culture describes them, because there are simpler explanations for them that don't rely on the existence of something that is undetectable.
posted by revgeorge at 2:23 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I meant to ask "who says aliens don't exist?" I say ghosts, angels and demons don't exist, so don't worry about finding a source for that.
posted by revgeorge at 2:25 PM on February 25, 2007


Come ON.

Unless, you were there, do you really know anything?

This is what you want your second comment on MetaFilter to be? You obviously went to college - this is the sum of what you learnt?
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:51 PM on February 25, 2007


This one is good for all of us to remember.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:48 PM on February 25, 2007


Why do I bother listening to any of this shit?
posted by kyleg at 4:21 PM on February 25, 2007


rkent wrote: If someone is incompetent to deeply understand a scientific theory's empirical foundations - simply through lack of education, not stupidity - and even marginally adequate "dumbed down" explanations are few and far between, they only way they can approach science is by essentially taking an authority's word for it. Which, as you'll notice, is precisely the problem with myth and religion; that people are uncritically taking some authority's word for it.

But this is where your idea fails. See the great thing about the scientific method and science's approach to explaining their results is that they explain how they got there. Yes, its true as you say many people don't have the education, knowledge, money or even motivation to replicate the same research/experiments/what have you . . . however, there is a community of peers that do. That's why papers get published in journals and not Fox News. Other scientists review the findings and call 'bunk' if necessary.

True, that means the average person is probably still trusting the "authorities" but anyone with a basic high school education is going to understand that the answers they're being presented with were thoroughly tested AND reviewed. At least I would hope (though the state of discourse regarding creationism makes me think otherwise.) And anyone, anyone, can review scientific papers if they're so motivated and decide for themselves. They may not have the knowledge to, but they know others do.

It does still put us back in the position of trusting the authorities. But there is one huge difference between trusting "science" and trusting a myth - with science you know there is the whole world watching and waiting for someone to screw up, catch them on it, and try to correct it. Myth is just left up to someone's imagination.

I guess if you're suggesting that science isn't perfect and shouldn't be believed 100% then your right, there are flaws in the system. But claiming that people's trust in science is as misplaced as belief in mythology - that's absurd.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:31 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


My point is, what is the logic of destroying something that gives many people hope? Will it truly make the world a better place? I do not believe we can live without scientific process, but theories are as often wrong as they are right.

People on the opposite side of Science can be equally as smug that they "know" the answers as well.

What would destroying the divinity of Christ actually accomplish? That Christians are stupid and Science is smart. Okay, then what?

If there is no concept of heaven or hell or any afterlife accountability - why have morals at all? That is yet another question to ponder.

And what if the joke's on us and all the Middle East Radicals have it right?
posted by queenofthegeeks at 7:21 PM on February 25, 2007



What would destroying the divinity of Christ actually accomplish?


How could that be possible, if you believe? A corpse said to be that of Jesus would actually do that? I thought faith was much deeper/stronger than that. It would have that much power over Christians? (i don't think so)
posted by amberglow at 7:59 PM on February 25, 2007


Oh, Lord.

Okay. Queen, I'm going to assume that you're a nice, non-trolling person who's new to posting. The questions you're asking have been addressed here, and in 2500 years of philosophy, and I'd encourage you to look further into that, if you're interested. What I'll provide is a poor alternative. But.

My point is, what is the logic of destroying something that gives many people hope?

I'm going to use an analogy: let's say you have a security blanket. It was the bestest, warmest blankie you had a child. You felt warm and safe when it was around, and became extremely anxious when it was taken away from you.

You've grown up, but the blankie is still with you. Part of you recognises that the blankie is ragged and maybe kinda stinky. It has holes in it, patches in places. But the seperation anxiety when you are parted from it is now extremely strong. You get extremely angry at anyone who suggests that maybe it's time to let the blankie go. You can't understand people who don't have blankies of their own - how do they get through life on a daily basis? Those non-blankie people think they're so smart. The blankie is the source of all that's warm and good - how could you live without it in a universe that otherwise seems cold and uncaring?

Does this sound at all familiar? There's nothing to destroy. There's just things to put away - with respect, and caring, and maybe a little reverence.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:02 PM on February 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow, I don't think I've ever read a comment that summarized the patronizing attitude of the anti-religious crowd better than that one.

Well done, BHG.
posted by tkolar at 8:55 PM on February 25, 2007


it's not that bad--i would have left it as the ragged comfort thing (without the putting it away part tho).

Many do hold on to religion and faith and those beliefs for comfort in a strange and incredibly quick-changing world. We've lost many community things too, and faith/religion may be all many have.

/someone still with that kind of blankie, but has it on a top shelf in the back and just is comforted that it's back there--no facts could make me throw it away--not even moths or crypts or anything.
posted by amberglow at 9:07 PM on February 25, 2007


and---most importantly--there are very very few of us without some sort of blankie like that--things that help us cope and rationalize and deal with life.
posted by amberglow at 9:09 PM on February 25, 2007


[clever name]: See the great thing about the scientific method and science's approach to explaining their results is that they explain how they got there.

Certainly.

Yes, its true as you say many people don't have the education, knowledge, money or even motivation to replicate the same research/experiments/what have you... True, that means the average person is probably still trusting the "authorities"...

You have just conceded my point.

But claiming that people's trust in science is as misplaced as belief in mythology - that's absurd.

No, that was not what I said at all. I mean that most people's perception of science is akin to their perception of myth, that they experience both fields in much the same way since the equipment and process needed to actually verify any scientific theory is so attenuated from most people's day-to-day experience as to be like a religion for them. In fact, you again concede my point in this sentence - the position most people take towards both science and myth is "trust." I definitely agree that it's better to trust, say, evolution than whatever creation myth. But I think the fact that people approach both topics with attitudes of "trust" or "belief" (due to inadequate education and whatever else) explains a great deal of the skepticism towards science that's been exacerbated lately.
posted by rkent at 9:20 PM on February 25, 2007


I wonder how much the need for a historically-proven Jesus is connected to the long history of relics and things, and the statues that heal and stuff--needing concrete things to connect it all to?
posted by amberglow at 9:46 PM on February 25, 2007


or is it that Christians/Catholics here have absorbed more science than they think? And put just as much stock in facts and evidence and proof because of that?
posted by amberglow at 9:48 PM on February 25, 2007


What would destroying the divinity of Christ last unicorn actually accomplish?
[how uncouth!]
posted by five fresh fish at 12:27 AM on February 26, 2007


How could that be possible, if you believe? A corpse said to be that of Jesus would actually do that? I thought faith was much deeper/stronger than that. It would have that much power over Christians? (i don't think so)

Paul would disagree with you, actually:

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

That's assuming, of course, that this body could be in some way proved to be that of Jesus. I'm interested to hear what Mr. Cameron has to say, but the idea of proving Christ's identity through DNA tests strikes me as deeply wacky.
posted by EarBucket at 4:23 AM on February 26, 2007


Oh, Lord.

call on someone you think exists, please

I'm going to use an analogy: let's say you have a security blanket.

i'm going to use another analogy: let's say you go around the rest of your life thinking you're smarter than most of the people you meet ... let's say they don't care ... let's say that it doesn't get you anywhere ... let's say you spend the last years of your life venting your frustration at living on a planet with such stupid, stupid people ... let's say you die and some moron misspells your name on the tombstone ... let's say that kids get drunk every friday night on your grave, etch pentagrams in the marble and piss and puke on your mortal remains, occasionally conceiving people who will be just as stupid as the people you think are stupid now ... and let's say that instead of being dead, you actually get to watch every minute of it, unless the worms are crawling in front of your eyes ... let's say they play pinochle ... badly ... so badly that merely watching them is eternal torment in itself ... let's say that eventually you are mere skull and bones ... let's say that archeologists of the 30th century dig you up and stand you upright in a museum with a blanket and a placard explaining that "21st century man's life was so stressful and upsetting to him that he would carry a blanket around to comfort himself with" ... and let's say that the blanket says "i love jesus" on it ... and let's say that you're STILL fully cognizant of all of this

yeah ... now THAT'S an analogy
posted by pyramid termite at 4:57 AM on February 26, 2007


The body of Jesus would freak some Christians out. Kind of like the way Einstein freaked physicists out.

So what if it were proved Jesus had a mortal body? Newtonian gravity still works mostly, doesn't it?

Some would find a mortal Christ totally devastating. Others would pick up the pieces. The formula of faith is no less valid taught by a mortal.

From the teaching of Jesus and his Apostles, I followed a path. That path led to experience. The back story is not the basis of the experience. It may or may not inform the language I might use to describe that experience.

Before the world was, I am.
posted by Goofyy at 5:53 AM on February 26, 2007


Paul is so the ruin of xianity. He suuuucks.

Body of the Naz guy? Nothing to see here people, nothing to see.

You go your irrationals, your rationals, and your rationals, ltd.

Xians are irrationals. Only irrationals argue with irrationals.
posted by ewkpates at 6:43 AM on February 26, 2007



You got your irrationals, your rationals [...]


Ooh, when can I meet a "rational"? I've been around 38 years and I have yet to run into one.
posted by tkolar at 7:55 AM on February 26, 2007


tkolar: [re: security blanket analogy] Wow, I don't think I've ever read a comment that summarized the patronizing attitude of the anti-religious crowd better than that one.

Certainly, I can see how that patronizing attitude is offensive. But let me ask: How would you feel about adults who still literally (actually) believe in Santa Claus? (speaking for myself: patronizing and/or a bit incredulous)

How would you feel if a LOT of people believed in Santa Clause, and they passed laws restricting your actions and spent your money based on that belief? (speaking for myself again: frustrated and a little angry, depending on the laws and money spent)

That's where we're coming from.

Then again, does setting aside a belief in Santa Claus make an individual a happier person? What if they really feel that Santa Claus helps them run their life better? What if the Santa clubs on every street corner actually try to help the community -- while spreading the Word of Santa, naturally. Does any of this negate the fact that Santa Claus is a myth?

I used to be quite religious, FWIW, so I've been there, done that. I can't say that I'm *happier* now, but at least I'm honest with myself. It's was ethical decision, I suppose.
posted by LordSludge at 8:20 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


This really bothered me, as it showed the complete lack of math instinct that people (I'm going to come right out and say it: particularly people believing in things like xtianity) have.

If you assume Kennedy's mother had the MOST popular female name (as robert and john are the MOST popular male names of the time) and add the mother's name to the inscription my back of napkin calculations are that you could be somewhere between 99.95% and 99.999% sure the watch was Kennedy's. And that's assuming a very generous percentage of males getting gifted with a watch bearing an inscription listing their family.


I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to see your napkin to know if you're full of it or not. You do know that names cluster don't you? If you didn't take that into account, I think you're assuming a spherical cow here. You make it sound like when a guy named Joe marries a girl named Rose they choose their sons names at random (weighted by the frequency of each name in their population). Do you really think there's only been one Joe and Rose in Mass. with sons named John and Bobby?

Even if you're right about the rarity, I don't think it shows some "lack of math instinct" but rather ignorance of the naming conventions in ancient Palestine (or Mass). For all we know, there could have been a cultural thing where guys named Joseph always named their sons Jesus and James. Or there could have been a taboo against sons with the same first initial, making the Jesus/James thing very rare.
posted by straight at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2007


I fell dumber for having skimmed the thread to this point.
posted by everichon at 9:09 AM on February 26, 2007


Ah. Here's your DNA link right here...

In 1996, when the BBC aired a short documentary on the same subject, archaeologists challenged the claims. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.

"They just want to get money for it," Kloner said.

posted by schmedeman at 9:23 AM on February 26, 2007


I would classify most people who've got an undergraduate degree in a hard science and list themselves as agnostics or atheists as rationals.

Don't confuse being a rational with 1) being smart; 2) knowing everything, or even very much; and/or 3) seeing the big picture.

Rationals are those people who go to a rational causality rather than an irrational one. Your irrationals are those who take their horrorscopes seriously, most church-goers even Unitarians, people who worry more about global warming then about the Federal budget deficit.

I'm not saying rationals don't worry, they just do it more... rationally. I think you should set your goals a little higher... hope to meet a rational, ltd.
posted by ewkpates at 9:26 AM on February 26, 2007



Certainly, I can see how that patronizing attitude is offensive. But let me ask: How would you feel about adults who still literally (actually) believe in Santa Claus?


I'd feel the exact same way I do about adults who believe in Jesus.

Does any of this negate the fact that Santa Claus is a myth?

And his being a myth matters why, exactly? The concept that humans are in some way "meant" to live in a strictly rational world just doesn't hold water. For example, in support of your arguments you say that the behaviour of Christians makes you "frustrated and a little angry." This is a strong argument solely because I feel compassion (an abstract emotion) about your emotional state. Rationality has little to do with it.

How would you feel [if] they passed laws restricting your actions and spent your money based on that belief?

The same way I feel whenever any law is passed that I disagree with, or for that matter when my workmates all want italian for lunch when I'm craving chinese: compromise is the price we pay living in an organized society.

One thing I would *not* do is attack my workmates' cravings for italian food. There is nothing intrinsically "right" about my preferences, and people who prefer italian food (or, god forbid, french) are not children to be educated.

Respect, first and foremost.
posted by tkolar at 9:34 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


about the names thing: there is a tradition in Judaism in taking the first initial of a living relative for a child's name as an honor--or using a variation of the name itself (we don't do juniors or repeat exact names from living relatives)--i don't know how far back it actually goes tho, and it doesn't account for the other members of his family. Were we doing that back then? When did that start?
posted by amberglow at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2007


that Joseph in the crypts (and others too) might have simply used the J and picked his son's names that way--the New Testament Joseph too.
posted by amberglow at 9:37 AM on February 26, 2007


ewkpates wrote...
Your irrationals are those [...] people who worry more about global warming then about the Federal budget deficit.

Whoa, dude. I thought I was following your definition of irrationals right up to that point, but now I'm all confused.

Which one do "rational" people worry about more again?
posted by tkolar at 9:38 AM on February 26, 2007


This fellow seems to think there's not a lot of credibility to the story.
posted by EarBucket at 9:53 AM on February 26, 2007


some more news-y links, just to keep you updated.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:46 AM on February 26, 2007


tkolar, we seem to have a preference for critiicing each other's analogies. :-)


And his being a myth matters why, exactly? The concept that humans are in some way "meant" to live in a strictly rational world just doesn't hold water.


Ha! Eat my screaming eyeball clownshoes!

I don't believe that anyone here yearns to live on Vulcan. Irrationality has given us the Jaberwocky, surrealism and psychedelica, good things all.

The point is that we recognise those things as irrational. They're fun, even insightful, but we don't use the Jaberwocky as a guide to daily life. We recognise it as fiction.

...or for that matter when my workmates all want italian for lunch when I'm craving chinese.

I'm sorry, but that's a poor analogy. To take it further for a moment: we've had, right in this thread, a person who professes that those who don't eat pasta every day must be evil, or (at best) morally misguided. That if you don't partake of noodly goodness, there's no point in living life. That perhaps forcing people to eat pasta is the best thing for society - and if they don't agree, killing them.

This part of the thread (and I do appreciate the updates on the original story, earbucket and exlotus) has become an interesting parallel to eriko's comment in this thread about the NRA. Irrationals - particularly authotarian irrationals - do not start from a basis of compromise or understanding. They tend to see issues, and people, in very black or white terms. You're either in the group or out of it, a true believer or a heretic. Of course most of them play nice - but when it comes right down to it, they'll spurn you as an unbeliever (see: polls showing Americans attitude towards atheists, one of the most despised groups in the US today).

Respect? I'll respect your right to worship what you will in private, as I respect every consenting adult action under the same circumstances. You lose a portion of my respect when you try to defend your beliefs as rational. You lose all my respect when you try to make your irrational beliefs the basis for a community with me in it.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll respect your right to worship what you will in private

while making passive/aggressive "analogies" about security blankets ... some respect
posted by pyramid termite at 2:22 PM on February 26, 2007


but pyramid, making analogies about things or even being dismissive about things is not at all comparable to making laws and organizing society around them. One actually materially (and all other ways) harms others--everyone not of that group.
posted by amberglow at 2:54 PM on February 26, 2007


How would you feel about adults who still literally (actually) believe in Santa Claus?

Only this Santa Claus, instead of bringing little children presents every year, kills them with bears.
posted by Sparx at 3:05 PM on February 26, 2007


Only this Santa Claus, instead of bringing little children presents every year, kills them with bears.
Aw, that's only the really bad boys and girls! ; >
posted by amberglow at 3:21 PM on February 26, 2007


amberglow, it's all one big straw man ... especially on a site where people have been temporarily banned for expressing opinions the community found offensive ... (cf konolia and her rather backwards opinions about gays)

someone thought harm was being done with that

but people can say anything they want about the religious here ... and magically, there's no harm done

and before anyone says, "but we're not going to force people into following what we think like they do", my only answer is that people with similar opinions have done it in the past and i'm not so sure that people who express these opinions wouldn't "make laws and organize society around them" ... i've seen people catagorized as stupid, as security blanket toting children and read calls to "exterminate them" on this site

so you'll have to excuse me if i don't believe that everyone here is as tolerant and respectful of others' rights as they claim to be and that they wouldn't follow a robespierre or a stalin ... and people who write disrespectful things while claiming they respect people aren't helping with that

(yeah, i was disrespectful, too ... but i didn't lie about it later)

(and while we're at it, i'm not sure that those who are self-congratulating themselves as being "rationals" are being honest with themselves or understand themselves ... especially when they're dishonest about what they write ... but that's something they'll have to deal with, not i)
posted by pyramid termite at 3:44 PM on February 26, 2007


Wow, 160+ comments. Why all the fuss? It's just Another Roadside Attraction.
posted by AtDuskGreg at 4:00 PM on February 26, 2007


but people can say anything they want about the religious here ... and magically, there's no harm done


I'm not sure that this is quite accurate. I think in the main the "criticism" leveled at religion that you're objecting to is that it isn't logical or rational. I'm not quite sure why you would insist it is otherwise, given that at its heart is "faith." Kirkegaard regarded this as the very essence of belief, the leap of faith across the chasm of irrational, unprovable darkness. This leap is the very opposite of rational, scientific thought. I know there has been great effort by great minds put into making belief in god rational, but at most these efforts have yielded not a moral, anthropomorphic god, but rather the need for a prime mover or creator, close, I suppose, to what the deists would believe.

(yeah, i was disrespectful, too ... but i didn't lie about it later)

Way to go.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:25 PM on February 26, 2007


so you'll have to excuse me if i don't believe that everyone here is as tolerant and respectful of others' rights as they claim to be and that they wouldn't follow a robespierre or a stalin

There's a vast vast gulf between disrespecting another's religion or speaking agaiinst it, and legislating against it and forcing others to live by it and killing for it. First of all, many of us have religion and faith, and we still criticize other religions and faiths. Why? Because some of those religions want to force us to live by their rules, and some say we shouldn't have rights, etc. Others don't do that. Religion is not above criticism of any sort--nothing is. It's how you do it, and whether you at least make an attempt to understand why people do have faith and why they do cling to religion. The comfort/blankie thing is very true, and is not at all that disrespectful in the scheme of things.
posted by amberglow at 4:30 PM on February 26, 2007


I'm not sure that this is quite accurate. I think in the main the "criticism" leveled at religion that you're objecting to is that it isn't logical or rational.

no ... i've seen people catagorized as stupid, as security blanket toting children and read calls to "exterminate them" on this site is what i wrote

nice straw man

There's a vast vast gulf between disrespecting another's religion or speaking agaiinst it, and legislating against it and forcing others to live by it and killing for it.

it's not as vast as you think ... sometimes, such as 30s germany, it turns out that there's no gulf at all

The comfort/blankie thing is very true, and is not at all that disrespectful in the scheme of things.

wrong on both parts ... it was blatently condescending sophomoric straw man building

but it's obvious that your prejudices have blinded you to this so i won't bother with this anymore ... the level of denial here is amazing
posted by pyramid termite at 4:50 PM on February 26, 2007


it's not as vast as you think ... sometimes, such as 30s germany, it turns out that there's no gulf at all
Those of us legislated against and demonized daily are very well aware of that, thank you. Many of us also are quite familiar with what was done to people thruout history simply because of religion. I'd say those reasons you allude to are one of the most important reasons why many of us do speak immediately and often against those who would make us less-than and segregate and discriminate and demonize and beat and kill--all because their religion says it should be so. There really is not much of a gulf when it comes to the uses any belief is put--any kind of belief.

Don't try to turn the victimized into the victimizers--it doesn't work when the religious right does it, and it won't work here. Cry "persecution" elsewhere, because it's not happening here. No one is silenced because of their religion here. No one is silenced because they don't have the right one. No one is silenced because they don't have one at all. You are not the Jews of this situation nor are you the Christians being fed to lions in Rome. It's not happening.

amberglow, it's all one big straw man ... especially on a site where people have been temporarily banned for expressing opinions the community found offensive ... (cf konolia and her rather backwards opinions about gays)
Her homophobic and hateful opinions are just that--it wasn't because of the reasons underlying her opinions--it was her insults and hostility and refusal to refrain from demonizing others. Her ascribing them to God and her brand of Christianity were just her rationalization for why she thought she could just blithely treat others badly. People have gotten permanently banned here for insults towards fat people and black people, etc, too--your point is?
posted by amberglow at 7:32 PM on February 26, 2007


To get BOT, here's a few rebuttals to The Lost Tomb of Jesus:This story first received media attention (and many of the same criticisms) back in 1996.

Remember that James Cameron (and the Discovery Channel) are first and foremost in show business the audience-gathering business: in that they have succeeded.
posted by cenoxo at 5:41 PM on February 27, 2007


...the attempt to fuel the strange and tedious cult of the merely human Jesus. ... ?
posted by amberglow at 5:58 PM on February 27, 2007


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