Monday, April 02, 2012

History lesson

I was watching a documentary this weekend on one of those Discovery type channels. It was called "Who Really Killed Jesus?" One of the narrator's confident assertions was that, historically speaking, there is no hard evidence that Jesus even existed. There is only peripheral evidence. What a bummer.

They seem pretty sure that Pontius Pilate existed though. They found some kind of evidence, but I can't remember what kind. One of the "authorities" interviewed for the piece (I've never heard of any of them, btw; they all hail from the university of this and that, and are all quite confident in their knowledge; orthodox Catholic theologians seem to be off the radar), a blonde enthusiast from the University of Edinburgh, claimed that Pilate's offer to let the Jews free either Barabbas or Jesus could not possibly be true. It was a mere literary device (to what purpose I can't imagine), since the idea of Pilate allowing such a choice during the most volatile season of the Jewish calendar was simply unimaginable. She thinks that Pilate and Caiphas were in cahoots all along and that Pilate's washing his hands of it all was just good theater. So maybe that happened. It was all very confusing. I think the purpose was to get this idea out of our heads that the Jews killed Christ. The Romans are a whole lot more to blame than they are generally given credit for. Okay, fine. But who, aside from a certain sort of crank, sits around dwelling on that? Most Christians of today seem well aware that their first predecessors were Jews. Jews founded the Catholic Church. Honest, I don't hold it against them that a few in authority couldn't abide the interloper and had him crucified.

I think these Christian authorities they interview for these shows aren't really Christians at all. I think they're professional theorists more in love with theory than with faith. Their purpose in life is to throw around so many hypotheticals that people like me get tired of fending them off. If I get tired enough, maybe I'll become a theorist like them. Theories (especially conspiracy theories) are more fun than certainty because you get to speculate a lot. People who love them are fascinated by possibilities. The truth would spoil it all. The possibilities are manufactured inside their own heads, and the more they manufacture the more they get to admire their own minds at work. It's a form of self-worship.

Well, that's my theory, anyway, about Christian theorists. I'm too old to join them. They can't tire me out because I'm already tired - of theories. And I already know that the world's conspiring against me, so no news there.


Beth Impson said...

Wearisome, indeed. I don't watch or read such things anymore; not worth the time and energy.

Love what you have done here with posting your paintings.

William Luse said...

Thanks, ma'am.

not worth the time and energy.

Yeah, especially since the claim that there's no hard historical evidence that Jesus existed can be made only if one excludes the Gospels as historical evidence. Which strikes me as, oh, unfair. Cheating. Loading the dice.