Jason B. Ladd

Ask the Questions. Embrace the Answers. Make the Leap.

Why Antithesists Should Be Digging Jesus’s Bones

antitheist digging jesus's bones

Everybody has a stumbling block when it comes to accepting the truth about Jesus Christ. After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he was charged with spreading the good news of the resurrected Christ to first the Jews, and then the Gentiles.

The Jewish leaders of the day had been following the road to Yahweh but stumbled over the cross of Christ. The Romans tripped over the notion of a narrative more glorious than their city and its gods. And the Greeks in their pursuit of knowledge dismissed lore of the Nazarene as foolishness.

Some antitheists today are tripping over something else:

The reality of the historical Jesus

(ARTICLE: Top Ten New Testament Archaeological Finds of the Past 150 Years)

Despite overwhelming historical evidence, some antitheists refuse to believe that a person named Jesus actually walked the earth. This flies in the face of virtually all scholarship on the historicity of Jesus. Not even the New Testament scholar and notorious secular agnostic Bart Ehrman dares make such a foolish claim. Though Ehrman rejects claims of any historical written references about Jesus, he reminds skeptics:

“This does not mean, as is now being claimed with alarming regularity, that Jesus never existed. He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees, based on clear and certain evidence. But as with the vast majority of all persons who lived and died in the first century, he does not appear in the records of the Roman people. “1

antitheist digging jesus's bonesEven Richard Dawkins acknowledges the reality of Jesus-the-man:

“When the gospels were written, many years after Jesus’ death, nobody knew where he was born.”2

If Jesus died, then he obviously lived.

The incarnation of God in the person of Jesus is what makes Christianity falsifiable.

It’s what separates Christianity from the woo of popular New Spiritualists. Paul says is best in his letter to the Corinthians:

“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor 15:14, NIV).

Antitheists will have trouble accomplishing their objective–the falsification of Christianity and the demonization of its proponents–as long as they play on the theist’s turf (namely theology and philosophy).

(ARTICLE: 6 significant discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2013) 

They should be searching for the smoking gun.

They would have more success if they collaborated on a concerted effort to find the bones of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s very possible to find the bones of a first century historical figure. In 1990, archaeologists discovered the Caiaphas Ossuary, a relic which may have contained the bones of the High Priest who lives during Jesus’s time.

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Caiaphas Ossuary

A more important question for the seeker is whether Jesus still lives today.

The words of Paul to the Corinthians serve as a 2,000-year-old warning of the mockers and scoffers who troll the internet today, unaware that even the leaders of their own movement acknowledge the reality of the historical Jesus:

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Cor 1:18-25, NIV).

Go ahead, Christians: throw down the gauntlet.  Admit that there is one discovery that could destroy everything you believe in.

And then find rest in your assurance that the bones of Jesus are not rotting beneath the rubble of antiquity. They are risen.

Are you digging Jesus’s bones?

antitheist digging jesus's bones

Related Briefs

1 Bart Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God (New York: Harper Collins, 2011), 256-257.

2 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 118.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / CC BY SA / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ossuary_of_the_high_priest_Joseph_Caiaphas_P1180839.JPG

About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

15 Replies

  1. From Ignostic Atheist: It is good that you are willing to admit a condition that would falsify your religion. The directive for anti theists to go hunting for the bones of Jesus, though, is a bit underwhelming. Where to look is quite uncertain, as the gospels are fairly clear that the body did not remain in the tomb. If they were to be found, in what way would they be undeniably shown to belong to Jesus?

    1. I am sure that verifying the remains of Jesus would be challenging. However, when have scientists ever shied away from a challenge? But before we get that far, I have to ask another question. If you are willing to trust the “fairly clear” reliability of the Gospels regarding the fact that Jesus’s tomb was later discovered to be empty, why should you not trust other things that the Gospel authors were extremely clear about, such as his existence, his death, and his post-resurrection appearances?

  2. From Not-a-Scientist: Doesn’t seem like there’s much of a point to it.

    The existence of Jesus is not terribly important. The truth of the claims about him are what’s important. And those claims have zero good evidence backing them up, whether the man existed or not.

    1. Which arguments from which Christian scholars or New Testament historians do you diagree with?

      1. From Not-a-Scientist: What do you mean ‘arguments’?

        That a person could perform various forms of what can reasonably be called magic tricks and then be resurrected from the dead.

        Fine story. No good evidence to think it’s true.

        1. I’m glad you believe in truth. Some people stumble over that before everything else. Physical evidence is a good precondition for belief, and so are good arguments. My default position was agnosticism/atheism before I learned of the powerful arguments for the truth of Christianity. This book is very well written, if you’re interested in why I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist anymore. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581345615/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1581345615&linkCode=as2&tag=jabla-20

          1. From Not-a-Scientist: “Physical evidence is a good precondition for belief, and so are good arguments.”

            Sorry, but ‘good arguments’ are not good enough to demonstrate the truth of extraordinary claims. If they were, then we’d all believe that people are actually routinely abducted by aliens.

          2. If your rejection of the power of an argument is going to pull any weight, you are going to have give me an example of a strong argument for theism, and then provide your counter-argument. Lambasting the testimonies of alien abductees does nothing to discredit coherent arguments from reputable authorities with the best explanatory power

          3. From Not-a-Scientist: “you are going to have give me an example of a strong argument for theism”

            Sorry, but I don’t know of any. If you have one, by all means present it, and I’ll explain why I think it fails.

          4. Here are a few arguments that strongly point toward the existence of god: the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the teleological argument, and the argument from reason. These are covered in the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (link provided in a previous comment). If you have never heard any good arguments for Christianity based on reason and logic, I encourage you to look into these. I think that you will find that in the end, Christianity passes the three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance.

          5. From Not-a-Scientist: ‘Here are a few arguments that strongly point toward the existence of god:’

            I understand you think so. Having read and heard them, I find them completely unconvincing.

            Strange, though, that what I’m actually looking for is evidence. Not arguments. I can argue that my invisible dragon really likes hats, and make that argument rational and logical. But as long as I have no other evidence, you should not believe in my dragon.

            Which is why I don’t believe in your god.

          6. In the spirit of good fun, will you give me your rational and logical argument that your invisible dragon really likes hats?

          7. Hah. No, I don’t think I will. My point was merely that something being rational and logical does not mean that it also exists.

            To return to my earlier comment, aliens abducting humans for study is rational and logical. As long as you already believe they exist.

            Your god, I’m sure, is rational and logical…provided one believes it exists. But we have to get to believing it exists before anything else. And you haven’t achieved that, yet.

  3. arkenaten

    The incarnation of God in the person of Jesus is what makes Christianity falsifiable

    This I would love to see you demonstrate.