Well, another Hollywood producer is taking a stab at Christianity. After 2,000 years the claims keep coming in. Conspiracy buffs grab hold of each new story as if this is the one to bring the giant down. The Da Vinci Code seemed to have all the markings of the ultimate weapon against the Faith, until good scholars simply unraveled the shoddy research upon which it was based.
Now Producer Cameron, maker of the blockbuster Titanic, has a new movie to sink the Faith. He believes that the discovery, 27 years ago, of 10 stone caskets in an ancient cave in a Jerusalem suburb, has finally given the needed evidence. The names on the caskets include Jesua, son of Joseph and Mary, among others. Oh, and they also have DNA evidence, they say. You can read the latest TIME story here ("Jesus: Tales From the Crypt," February 23.)
So what should we make of this latest salvo from the skeptics? Well, first of all, let's not forget that the Faith has been examined and attacked and questioned and doubted and denied for two millenia. And it's still standing. If Jesus had lived and fathered children, then why would we have to wait this long for stone caskets to surface and be noticed? Surely supporting historical evidence long before this would have conclusively confirmed that such a man lived and had a family and was buried in such a fashion. After all, the burial was not a pauper's burial. This man had to have some financial backing to provide for his family in such a way.
Furthermore, we still haven't dealt with the crucifixion. Many have tried to debunk this, and all the theories come up wanting. Or are these skeptics now going to doubt the whole written account of Jesus?
And this issue of the DNA - How on earth is this going to prove anything? Assuming the DNA is viable - and remember we're not talking here of a recent corpse, but a 2,000 year old pile of bones (if there are any!) - how can such DNA be connected to anyone else that will be indicative of who this man is? Do we have a genetic file on record of the line of David to compare the results? Or perhaps a genetic file was kept in Bethlehem and Nazareth of the various clans so that we can compare with those. Or maybe we want to consult the DNA of Mary Magdalene and her blood line kept, say, in the Vatican? Oh, come on now!
The best they may show is that they have the bones of a male, perhaps of Near Eastern descent. Maybe they can show some age. This just doesn't get me worked up.
Finally, the names, as the archaeologists already noted, are very common. There were many boys named Joshua in those days. And Joseph? Or Mary? This just isn't conclusive.
So, I guess we have to weather another attack that will simply rock the faith of those whose roots were shallow. For that I am sorry. Although the story is only days old (Feb. 23), why hasn't the scientific community responded yet? Where are the reputable scholars backing Cameron up? And why did it take over two decades to decipher the names? This should be front page news - if it was credible.
Oh, well. Guess it takes Hollywood these days to get anyone worked up over news that the Faith is a hoax. If that's our only worry, we're OK. The Word of the Lord endures forever.
P.S. If you want a good fictional read that is similar to this story, try Dr. Paul Maier's A Skeleton in God's Closet. Unlike the upcoming movie, his story ends on the Truth!
Oh, and BTW, one more thing: They didn't say they found any bones in those caskets! Wonder why that wasn't reported or commented on. Hmmm..........