So, My Friends, How Does It Feel...
by Gerald A. Honigman
...to at least partially walk in another man’s shoes?
Before I begin, let me first state that I don’t want to ruffle the feathers of my Christian friends, but it would be nice if they treated others the same way. You’ll see what I mean shortly.
An AP story on February 27th announced that the Discovery Channel would air “The Lost Tomb Of Jesus” on Sunday, March 4th.
The program deals with two ancient stone boxes from Roman-occupied Judaea which Oscar-winning director, James Cameron, and some researchers claim holds the bones of the Christian Messiah/Son of G_d /G_d incarnate--Jesus of Nazareth--and his human family. Of course, the mere assertion brings into question sacred Christian doctrine of the divinity of Jesus and his essential resurrection. Without the latter, he was just another dead Jew, one of thousands crucified by Rome in its conquest of the region--Judaea included. The Arch of Titus stands tall in Rome to this very day in honor of that conquest.
As expected, many Christians are quite upset, and some are trying to pressure the Discovery Channel from airing the program. I, as a Jew who grew up with Christians knocking at my door telling me I was going to Hell because I did not believe as they do, can understand their feelings quite well…actually better than they themselves do.
While the odds of these ossuaries actually holding the remains of the Jesus and Mary Magdalene are very slim, there is still much good history that such a program potentially offers to its viewers.
Arabs, for example, love to proclaim that Jesus and his followers were “Palestinian Arabs” and not Jews.
The program’s harshest critics argue that Mary and Jesus were very common names of Jews found on many other ossuaries and in other places as well during this time period…not really “news,” but in this day and age--with Israel constantly vilified--such a reminder is timely and worthwhile.
While some contest the translation of the Hebrew names found at the site, if they are indeed correct--which they may very well be--then we do have, at the least, an interesting find placing a Jesus, a Mariamene, a Judah son of Jesus, etc. in the same family grave.
Will the producers and such make money from this? Of course--like everyone else does with projects of interest.
So, this all begs the question…
Why should the Discovery Channel’s program be axed, but not the hundreds of television and radio programs all across America and elsewhere dedicated to converting Jews and proclaiming that their faith is lacking and deficient? Not to mention the forced conversions Jews were constantly subjected to by Christians over the ages before television existed. Perhaps these paraphrases can help explain…
“Ye do not get to the Father except through the Son”; “Why do you not hear the words I tell thee? It is because you are of your father, the devil, and you do your father’s deeds”; etc. and so forth--right out of the Christian New Testament. Not that long ago, a prominent Southern Baptist leader proclaimed, “G_d almighty doesn’t hear the prayer of a Jew.” His views are still shared by numerous millions today.
While many Christians protest abuses and intolerance within Islam, they really do need to reflect upon their own history and current beliefs and actions as well. The road to Auschwitz was carefully paved over the millennia by such Christian beliefs. One of the first pictures of a Jew that we know of in Europe was entitled, “Aaron, son of the devil.” Does that sound familiar?
As I frequently like to point out, a reading of the Roman historians, who wrote right around the time of Jesus, is very useful to see the Jews’ problem with what Christians made of Joshua--Jesus--of Nazareth.
Here’s Tacitus (Volume II, Book V, The Works Of Tacitus ), writing after the Jews took on the Roman Empire for their freedom and independence:
“The Jews acknowledge one God only, and conceive of Him by the mind alone, condemning, as impious, all who, with perishable materials, wrought into the human shape, form representations of the Deity. That Being, they say, is above all, and everlasting, neither susceptible of likeness nor subject to decay. In consequence, they allow no resemblance of Him in their city, much less in their temples. In this way they do not flatter their kings, nor show their respect for their Caesars.”
Read the above carefully, my dear Christian friends.
It’s not that Jews are stubborn, blind, and such--as you constantly claim. How about less so-called “love” and a bit more respect for the very people who gave the world the very knowledge of G_d in the first place?
For the Jew, no human--no matter how great--could be equated in any way with G_d. That is something pagans all around the Jews did…not Jews. In fact, Jews bent over backwards to show the imperfections of even their greatest leaders--Moses and David--to avoid any semblance of deification…just as Tacitus pointed out above. In any of their surrounding neighbors’ lands, both men would have been turned into gods.
Many a program has been devoted to the historicity of stories associated with the Hebrew Bible--known as the Old Testament to Christians. They aired without demands by Jews to squash the message.
Watch or don’t watch the Discovery Channel program, love it, hate it, critique it, or whatever.
But also learn to walk in your brothers’ shoes.