Sunday, February 25, 2007

We're not in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre anymore, Toto.

What would it take to irreversibly change the way human civilization thinks about itself? I can think of only two potential scenarios that might cause such a radical paradigm shift. Either we could come into contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence, or we could discover scientific evidence that Jesus was man and nothing more. Today the web is abuzz with reports that director James Cameron, usually more interested in the first of these possibilities, believes he has proof of the second.

The Discovery Channel
has announced a new documentary, produced by Cameron, that claims the physical remains of Jesus, his mother Mary, his wife Mary Magdalene, and their son Judah (yes, the grandson of God) were discovered in a tomb in Israel in 1980. They will trot out all sorts of experts, DNA evidence, and a fancy 600-to-1 statistic, all in service of this sensational claim, but I'm not buying it. For starters, the documentary will attempt to tie these findings to the infamous James Ossuary, an artifact that most scholars have concluded is a fake. This tells me that the doc has an agenda, not the least of which, I'm sure, is to cash in on the red hot Dan Brown-inspired Catholic conspiracy gravy train.

Mainstream archeology has a way of preserving itself against tabloid science, so if these claims are as fringe and unfounded as I suspect they'll turn out to be, the people who know what they're doing will tell us. However, if I'm wrong, and the mainstream sees merit in the investigation, then I'll keep an open mind. After 2,000 years of Christian influence, perhaps history could use a major paradigm shift, but I'm still waiting for the aliens.

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