The airing of the Discovery Channel show was met with a variety of emotions from Christians, biblical scholars, and archeologists: anger, denial, skepticism, dismissal, acceptance, excitement, resignation …you name it, it roused all kinds of reactions. That was a year ago.
Since then, just this past January, a leading New Testament expert from Princeton Theological Seminary, Prof. James Charlesworth, was intrigued enough to organize a conference in Jerusalem, bringing together over 50 archeologists, statisticians and experts in DNA, ceramics and ancient languages, to give evidence as to whether or not the crypt of Christ had been found. After reviewing the data and examining the materials, the experts are deeply divided between “ no way” to “very possible”. Then this from the article**:
“ There was a revelation of sorts. The widow of Joseph Gat, the chief archeologist of the 1980 excavation electrified the conference by saying: "My husband believed that this was Jesus’ tomb, but because of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, he was worried about a backlash of anti-Semitism and he didn't think he could say this."
They are now considering reopening the tomb which is sealed with concrete on the grounds of an apartment building complex in Israel. No decision has been reached yet.
BUT, here’s the clincher. The Reverend Prof. Charlesworth who organized the reinvestigation of all these experts is already sending a signal. Read this quote from the article**:
Charlesworth, who is also a Methodist minister, says that the possible discovery of Christ's tomb will elicit mixed reactions among Christians. Most, he believes, will view it positively. The faith of some believers, he says, will be buoyed by historical proof that Christ, the son of Joseph and Mary, did exist. "I don't think it will undermine belief in the resurrection, only that Jesus rose as a spiritual body, not in the flesh." He adds: "Christianity is a strong religion, based on faith and experience, and I don't think that any discovery by archeologists will change that."
Say What???? Christians aren’t already convinced there really was a Jesus?? They’ve always claimed they didn’t need material proof, and have rejected all kinds of material proofs of science for so many other things they believe on faith, but NOW they will be “buoyed” by proof??
And lemme get this straight: the doctrine accepted by every Christian on the planet (except Gnostics and JWs) is that Jesus rose body and spirit into heaven, as documented in their sacred book of fable, might possibly be WRONG??? But never mind, it’s only HALF WRONG?? Wow!!! Talk about setting the stage for the greatest apologetics (read: self delusion , denial) in the history of Christianity!
If the proof of the tomb is confirmed, and if Christians buy that transparent and desperate apologetics, and don’t begin to question the efficacy of every other fabled miracle and spiritual myth they’ve ever had shoved down their throats since infancy, then they really, seriously, need to be declared insipid at best, absolute cretins at worst.
** The entire article: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1704299,00.html