Archive for March 1st, 2007

“The Lost Tomb of Jesus Fails to Make the Grade”

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

This article is too long to post here in it’s entirety, so please take the time to read it. Steve Newell makes an excellent argument, completely debunking the James Cameron film entitled “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” which is scheduled to air on March 4, 2007 on the Discovery channel.

Update:
I incorrectly attributed this post to Steve Newell. It was posted by Chris Rosebrough instead.

Academy Award winning director James Cameron and Emmy Award winning investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici have joined forces and produced a documentary film claiming to have identified the tomb and physical remains of Jesus of Nazareth. The show is entitled “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” and it airs on March 4, 2007 on the Discovery channel.

If true, Christianity as we know it is doomed. In 1 Corinthians 15:14-15 the apostle Paul (who claims to be an eye-witness of Jesus’ resurrection) says, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ.”

In short, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central pillar of proof put forward by the New Testament authors to substantiate Jesus’ claims to deity and the forgiveness of sins offered to humanity through Jesus shed blood on the cross. The Apostle Paul argues that If Jesus didn’t bodily rise from the dead then Christianity is a FALSE religion and should not be followed or observed.

The important question that needs to be answered is “Did Cameron and Simcha find Jesus’ remains, or is their case as ‘unsinkable’ as the Titanic?”

Although the film hasn’t aired, there is enough ‘evidence’ posted on the internet already to begin drawing conclusions.

Here is what we know so far.

In 1980 a tomb was discovered in Talpiot inside of modern Jerusalem that contained 10 stone ossuaries (bone boxes). Six of the ossuaries had names carved on them identifying the occupants.

The names are as follows.
1. Jesus son of Joseph
2. Mary – Written in Aramaic
3. Mary – Written in Greek as Mariamne
4. Jose – a ‘rare’ nickname for Joseph
5. Matthew
6. Judah son of Jesus

At first glance these names have a striking similarity to the names of people from the New Testatment. Although critics are already pointing out the fact that these names were very common names for people who lived in and around the holy land during the 1st century, Simcha and Cameron’s documentary uses DNA evidence and statistical analysis in order to draw the conclusion that this is Jesus’ family tomb. They claim that the odds of it not being Jesus’ tomb are HIGHLY improbable. Click Here to Watch Simcha’s ‘Football Field’ Analogy.

Taken at face value Simcha and Cameron appear to have built a rock solid case against Christianity. However, if you spend even a little time critically analyzing their claims then you realize that Cameron and Simcha have done nothing more than build a Da Vinci Code like house of cards that crumbles as soon as you blow on it.

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The Statical Analysis Falls Apart

The film’s statistical underpinnings also collapse as soon as you properly consider the tomb’s evidence.

The film claims that the probability of the Talpiot Tomb being Jesus’ family tomb is 600 to 1 or 599 times out of 600 it would be Jesus’ Family tomb.

The way they came up with that figure is by determining a probability for each of the names mentioned in the tomb then multiplying those probabilites by each other then adjusting the figure for unintentional biases and all possible first century tombs.

Since neither Matthew nor Judah were ‘explicatively’ mentioned in the Gospels they did not use their probabilities in the statistical analysis.

Here are the probabilities that the filmmakeres came up with for each person found in the tomb.

1. Jesus Son of Joseph – 1 in 190
2. Maria – 1 in 4
3. Mariamne – 1 in 160
4. Jose – 1 in 20

The combined ‘raw’ probability of all of these people appearing in the same tomb is 1 in 2,400,000.

They then divided 2,400,000 by 4 to adjust for unintentional historical biases and were left with 1 in 600,000.

They then divided 600,000 by 1,000 to adjust for all possible first Century Jerusalem Tombs.

Their final figure was 600 to 1 in favor of it being Jesus Tomb.

Sounds convincing doesn’t it?

Yet, notice that they removed Matthew and Judah because they were not ‘explicatively’ mentioned in the gospels. Yet, they are keeping Mariamne in their formula despite the fact that she is also NOT ‘explicatively’ mentioned in the gospels. Their reason for keeping her in the formula is based on “evidence” from a 4th Century ‘Gnostic’ gospel.

This is the equivalent of ‘cooking the books’ with bogus data. As previously mentioned, no 4th Century gnostic text is capable of ‘trumping’ the eye-witness testimony provided by the 4 New Testament Gospels. Sadly for Simcha and Cameron, the first century gospels DO NOT mention a Mariamne and trying to equate Mary Magdalene with Mariamne is intellectually dishonest. Therefore, Mariamne goes.

Let’s see how that affects the statistical results.

The raw statistical computation is now 1 in 15,200

After adjusting for unintentional biases and all possible First Century Jerusalem Tombs the probability of the Talpiot Tomb being Jesus’ family tomb is falls to 3.8 to 1.

When you consider that Jose is probably Jesus father and that his birth name is Joseph and you adjust the probability accordingly to 1 in 8, the statistical chance that the Talpiot Tomb is the THE tomb of Jesus of Nazareth falls to 1.5 to 1.

But wait, it gets worse for the film’s producers.

Original Link.

Middle School Teacher Accused of Sex With Underage Boys

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Yet another teacher has had sex with some of her students. I cannot imagine what makes these teachers believe that doing this is in any way correct and acceptable.
I wonder if it has anything to do with what is taught and represented in our liberal education systems as well as the over “sexualization” of our society. I really would like to know what they are thinking.

CLINTON, S.C. — A small South Carolina town was rocked by accusations Wednesday that a 23-year-old middle school teacher used her classroom — and other locations — to have sex with at least five male students.

Police arrested Allenna Williams Ward after school officials recovered a note containing inappropriate messages, said Clinton Public Safety Director John Thomas.

Ward, who is married, allegedly had sexual encounters with the 14- and 15-year-old boys at various locations, including in the school, a motel, a park and behind a restaurant, from December to through February, according to arrest warrants.

Ward was placed on administrative leave with pay last Thursday, acting district Superintendent Laura Koskela said. A message left by the Associated Press for the school’s principal was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Ward was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor and six counts of lewd acts on a minor, according to arrest warrants. She is being held in jail awaiting a bail hearing, police said.

A phone message left at Ward’s home was not immediately returned Wednesday night.

Original Link.

Sales of Rap Albums Take Stunning Nosedive

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Now who would have seen this coming? You mean people who intone lyrics (I can’t calling it singing, because, well it just isn’t) about rape, killing, marginalizing of females, foul language, drugs and hate, aren’t popular anymore? Maybe people are smarter than I’ve been giving them credit for.

NEW YORK — Maybe it was the umpteenth coke-dealing anthem or soft-porn music video. Perhaps it was the preening antics that some call reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit.

The turning point is hard to pinpoint. But after 30 years of growing popularity, rap music is now struggling with an alarming sales decline and growing criticism from within about the culture’s negative effect on society.

Rap insider Chuck Creekmur, who runs the leading Web site Allhiphop.com, says he got a message from a friend recently “asking me to hook her up with some Red Hot Chili Peppers because she said she’s through with rap. A lot of people are sick of rap … the negativity is just over the top now.”

Original Link.

Germany: Ex-Muslim Says “Islam Inherently Radical”

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

No surprise here. If these people are lucky, they might hide well enough to escape death, at the hands of the so-called “religion of peace” (aka Islam), for a few months. Maybe even a year.

Arzu Toker, deputy chairwoman, used a news conference to announce her separation from Islam: ‘I herewith resign from Islam. That’s it.’

Toker, a journalist who was born in 1952 in Turkey’s eastern Anatolia region, is radical in her criticism of Islam. She does not accept its Sharia system of rules at all, saying they contradict both human rights and the values of the German constitution.

She added that Islam was anti-woman.

‘It humiliates women and turns them into servants of the men,’ she said, adding the Islam was anti-man as well.

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‘Islam is inherently radical,’ she said.

Ahadi described her life to reporters and said, ‘Political Islam has afflicted my life.’ Born in Iran in 1956, her support for human rights had rapidly put her in opposition to the Islamic Revolution. She refused to wear a headscarf and was expelled from university.

Later her husband was executed. She had lived in Germany since 1996.

‘I know all about political Islam,’ she said. ‘It ends up with us being stoned to death, even here in Germany.’

The ex-Muslims asserted they had already been threatened with violence but would not be intimidated.

‘I’m not going to play mouse for the cat,’ said Toker, referring to fatwas which state that apostates from Islam may be killed.

Original Link.

‘Not Possible to Modernize Islam’

Human rights activists have formed a “Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany” to help women renounce the Islamic faith if they feel oppressed by its laws. Its Iranian-born founder Mina Ahadi, under police protection after receiving death threats, talks to DER SPIEGEL about its goals.

An Iranian human rights activist living in Germany has formed a “Central Council of ex-Muslims in Germany” with 40 others and has received anonymous death threats after declaring she wants to help people to leave the religion if they so desire.

Iranian-born Mina Ahadi, 50, said she set up the group to highlight the difficulties of renouncing the Islamic faith which she believes to be misogynist. She wants the group to form a counterweight to Muslim organisations that she says don’t adequately represent Germany’s secular-minded Muslim immigrants.

Ahadi has been put under police protection in recent days. Renouncing Islam can carry the death penalty in a number of countries including Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Mauritania. In other countries people who turn their backs on the faith aren’t punished by courts, but they are often ostracized by family and friends. It’s a difficult subject among Muslim communities in Europe too.

Ahadi said she wants the new organization to help women who feel oppressed by the rules of the faith to find a way out. The Council will hold a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday to outline its goals.

“PURIM THOUGHTS” by Fern Sidman

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Two points in Megilat Esther are not clear. Firstly, what brought on the decree to destroy all the Jews, and secondly, what suddenly happened that caused the decree to be canceled? To understand this, we will look at the story of Purim.

Like a bolt of lightning, the decree “to destroy to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day” fell upon Persian Jewry. The reaction of the Jews to this edict was quite puzzling. The Megilah says that the “City of Shushan was in consternation”. Consternation? Certainly, a more normal reaction would be to shout or cry. But “consternation”?

But if we take a glimpse at the of situation Persian Jewry at the time, we would see that consternation is the reaction we might expect after all. For it never entered their minds that such a thing could ever happen. They were the biggest patriots! They were the most loyal to Achasverosh! That is why when Achashverosh (nine months earlier) sent out invitations for the 180-day feast, the Jews were the first ones to confirm their attendance. All this despite the protests from the “extremists” such as Mordechai, who warned against their participation in such a feast, since it’s intention was to make the Jews assimilate. But the Jews wanted to prove that they are not different than the rest. Thus the reaction of consternation upon hearing the shocking decree.

But then the Megilah continues: “And Mordechai knew all that was done…” He had no illusions, and understood fully what caused the decree. He knew that the assimilation – precisely what the Jew thought would ease anti-Semitic tensions, was the very cause of the decree! For the rule was learned since our days in Egypt: Whenever the Jew tries to water down his Judaism and be accepted by the gentile, the latent hatred (which is always there) of the gentile towards the Jew outwardly manifests itself.

If so, why was the decree annulled? Because immediately upon receiving word of the decree, Mordechai, as we mentioned, knew the reason for it, and did not give up. He also did not go on a boot-licking campaign to plead the case of the Jews to the king or his cabinet, despite the fact that he was no stranger to the palace and had connections there. What he did was to undergo a last-ditch effort to awaken the Jews to understand the real cause of the problem – that precisely their effort to shed their uniqueness as Jews and to blur over their Jewish identity and be like goyim is what brings upon them bad times.

Indeed, it is not easy to convey such a message to a Jew, when he is so caught up in having the goy love him. Because such a message seems to contradict all logic. But in Shushan, a great miracle occurred, and it is the real hidden miracle of Purim – the Jews did “Teshuva”! And not just “Teshuva” of talking without backing it up, but rather one of deeds. Instead of continuing to grovel to the Persians and bring down barriers as most Jews naturally react, they made themselves subservient to the truth of Mordechai only, admitting to their original mistake of participating in the forbidden banquet. This was the significance of the mass fast which was declared. It signified a genuine “Teshuva” to G-d.

By the way, now we can see why the Name of G-d does not appear in Megilat Esther, despite the fact that the theme of the story is “Teshuva to G-d”. It is to tell us that when there is distress, one should not just rely on G-d to solve our problems in some miraculous fashion. Rather, we must prove by our actions that we understand the reason for the distress, and then do the right thing, even if it appears to be “illogical”.

This should give us encouragement for today. For the problem of today is the same: Our need to copy the gentiles, to blur over our uniqueness as a people, and our absolute dependency on the world. At times it seems there is no hope. Can our people ever understand that America won’t save us? And behold, we have a precedent in our history where from great distress, the Jewish People were able to wake up and to cling to the truth of Hashem. May we see the same awesome “Naha-Fochu” (a turning of the tables) quickly.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.