Some things just strike me as funny. Funny because they are mildly absurd in a fascinating kind of way. (Much of my own behaviour fits into this "absurd" category too, so it's a good thing I can occasionally laugh at myself too).
This morning it's the whole Jesus Tomb "controversy". There are several things funny about it.
First, even though James Cameron's claims were dismissed by journalists and archeologists as "debatable conjecture" and "trying to connect dots that didn't belong together" (quoted from a Time article on the subject), an Australian TV channel played it a week ago as if it was new, groundbreaking and a danger to the "faith of a billion people".
To which I simply say "meh."
Second, the frantic reaction of some of my fellow Christians who become threatened by this. When the Davinci Code suddenly became the next best thing, I'd already read the book nearly a year earlier, thought "Yeah, good story" and moved on. Suddenly it became the nexus for discussion of "Is the Christian faith true?" and I was having conversations with people on both sides of that one for several months (without me bringing up the issue).
Neither "side" responded positively whenver I said "Dan Brown wrote a novel." (particularly when I repeated it like a good little smartass). To one side, it was more than a novel, it was enlightenment (they're kind of the new Trekkies in a way).
To the other side, it was an affront to God and to Truth, it threatened the stability of "Christendom", it was bad because it encourages people to not believe in Jesus Christ and also to tell Christians we are deluded.
Well, "meh" to all of that. (People already didn't believe in Jesus, felt free to tell us Christians we're idiots and personally if I'm threatened by a novel, I need to take a good hard look at myself!)
When the Davinci Code thing erupted there were churches everywhere scrambling to launch bible study groups examining its claims and refuting them, making money off the back of it by writing Why The Davinci Code is Wrong books, a preaching "topical" sermon series on it. The anxiety was thick on the ground. Watch the same thing happen with the Jesus Tomb...
Fellow believers, here's why I'm not bothered by either Cameron or Brown's claims:
- If the Jesus Tomb is largely based on finding a family burial plot where the names Mary, Jesus, Jude etc were inscribed, well duh. That's like finding one in Melbourne where the names Peter, John and Jane are inscribed or a Korean grave with the name Kim on it. These were very common names. The name Jesus is the name Joshua. How many Joshuas are still around? And what about the other Jesus Tomb in Kashmir? Which one is the real one, folks?
- James Cameron is the director of movies that I love such as Aliens and Terminator 2. But he is also responsible for Titanic. In my mind that destroyed his credibility forever! :)
- Dan Brown stole his ideas from ... ooops, I meant to write: borrowed heavily from the 1980s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail ... which itself was largely based on the invention of the whole Merovingian (love that word) story by 3 French nerds in the 1950s. For more, you could start your reading by clicking here)
- Neither Brown nor Cameron are the Antichrist. They just know how to sell books and movies.
There's just a few reasons why the serious ansgst over these kind of controversies is truly funny.
Let me return to my chuckling. The 3rd reason for laughing, is that here I am so taken with the whole thing that I too am up on my soapbox... Maybe there's a book in this for me...