Hearty Heresy

History or Heresy?
February 27, 2007, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Heresy, Jesus, Religion

That’s the title of Newsday.com‘s online article about the upcoming Discovery Channel program “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” As an avowed heretic, I can honestly say that I could care more about the whole business. So what if there’s a tomb that contains conveniently labeled ossuaries for Jesus’ entire family–mom, dad, the wife (Mary Magdalene, of course), and a son (Judah). Since my faith in Brand Xianity has already been shaken to the point where I’m officially an apostate, new findings like this are just old news–just as the Resurrection is old new for me. I tend to agree with John Shelby Spong, who wrote this in Resurrection: Myth or Reality?: “Jesus…was…placed into a common grave, and covered over…in a very short time only some unmarked bones remained. Even the bones were gone before too long. Nature rather efficiently reclaims its own resources.”

I like this perspective not because it has any more historical validity than the Resurrection or “The Tomb of Jesus,” but because it helps me concentrate on the living Jesus as a teacher and spiritual guide. Once the teacher’s living body is gone all that’s left are the teachings. Spending too much time speculating on what happened after the crucifixion is, once again, not the best use of our energy.


5 Comments so far
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I think that all depends. If it is assumed that this life is all we’ve got, then sure, thinking about what happens after death is a waste of time. If, however, one is open to the possibility that an afterlife may be affected by the present life, then some thought should be given to what happens after death.
Christians have certainly overdone it. They focus on the afterlife at the expense of the present. But if some people ruin their brownies by baking in nuts, that doesn’t mean I should give up chocolate altogether.

Comment by ganes

I think that I rather come down on the side of the heretics on this point. To me there doesn’t seem to be much value in continually hashing out the the question of the resurrection as a factual event. I would rather view it as a metaphor for personal transformation and not worry whether or not it actually happened in a physical sense.

Comment by Potterdad

Focusing on the afterlife at the expense of the present is, indeed, the problem, and many religious people seem to do exactly that. I do think it is a subject worthy of contemplation, though, either as a metaphor for personal transformation, or as a way of truly feeling at one with the universe. All that I physically am and ever was has always been here and will continue once I’m gone. The Buddhists have really got this attitude down.

Comment by heartyheretic

But why must we assume a non-physical resurrection? Why is that view given the benefit of the doubt and the other view treated with skepticism? Especially, if this assigning of belief is done apart from actually debating the matter at issue? If I refuse to explore the arguments on either side, shouldn’t I reserve my judgment?

Comment by ganes

I know several very progressive individuals who prefer to believe in the physical resurrection, and from what I can tell it doesn’t adversely affect their view of the teachings of the living Jesus (Love God, your neighbors, care for the least of these, etc.). It may even help inspire them in following the way of Jesus. For me, however, the concept of a risen Christ distorts the person of the living Jesus. The same is true with thinking about a physical resurrection for myself. I’d rather move beyond the notions of self or non-self, physical or non-physical when thinking about what comes next. Of course, that’s hard to do!

Comment by heartyheretic

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