Friday, October 17, 2008

The James Ossuary - a Clever Fake?

An interesting article in Time magazine examines how the owner of the James ossuary, an ancient (60 A.D.) container of the bones of the brother of Jesus, the Apostle James, came to be accused of forgery. Interesting. Not sure I liked the science vs. belief angle from the author, Nina Burleigh. The conclusion one should supposedly derive from this article is that The Faithful are the real dupes, while The Doubtful and Skeptical are vindicated in their skepticism.

As Burleigh describes it, the debate over the authenticity of these sacred items pitted scientists against believers. She writes: "The faithful - those who believe in a higher, supernatural power that leaves a material record of itself for man to literally hold and behold - must also confront and grapple with the painful presence of doubt."

The facile criticism of evangelicals hardly veils the suspicion that People of Faith somehow depend on physical evidences for their faith, and that when they don't have them the faithful become the gullible. Another problem with this line of thinking is that science is somehow devoid of such faith impulses and is by definition skeptical in the arena of belief. How sad.

But the owner of the ossuary - being tried in an Israeli court - is innocent until proven guilty, and the trial is nowhere near finished. So, this is a lot like calling the game over at halftime. We'll see.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.

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