Why Antithesists Should Be 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
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
“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).
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.
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?
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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.