Saturday, June 18, 2016

Predisposed to believe in Jesus

As a skeptic, I work hard avoid lazy thinking. It’s not easy, especially when dealing with politics. Religion is easier. As a skeptic and atheist, my first thoughts are often, can you show me the proof?

When The Atlantic published a story by Ariel Sebar called The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife, my first thought was, why is Sebar predisposed to the existence of Jesus? The article is a long look at the authenticity of a scrap of 1,300-year-old papyrus with Coptic text referencing the wife of Jesus. Many people think it is a fraud…

King (Karen L.) called the business-card-size papyrus “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” But even without that provocative title, it would have shaken the world of biblical scholarship. Centuries of Christian tradition are bound up in whether the scrap is authentic or, as a growing group of scholars contends, an outrageous modern fake: Jesus’s bachelorhood helps form the basis for priestly celibacy, and his all-male cast of apostles has long been cited to justify limits on women’s religious leadership.

Sebar is a skeptic too. There is no mention of Jesus. He focuses on the authenticity of the fragment. He digs and digs into the story. It was fascinating.

The story is a great read. The fragment is questionable.