The Roots of FaithMay 20th, 2006
Sign on the Marquee of a local church. "Debunking the Da Vinci Code."
Why? What is there to debunk? "It's a work of fiction!" they will decry from the pulpit. I can learn that at the bookstore. The Da Vinci Code is found in the fiction section. No one has ever claimed it was anything but fiction.
Dan Brown has built himself a compelling little, well not so little, mystery novel. Sure he talks it up big. Dan Brown has books to sell, money to make. However, it is never claimed to be fact. Is clearly based on a lot of speculation, some of which is plausible. But here is the clue, none of which is important.
Was Jesus married? It would have been unusual for a Jewish man in his day and age to not be married. Jewish men got married in 1st century Judea. They got married and fathered kids. In Talmudic tradition sex is the right of the wife. That is; it is the duty of the husband to give his wife children. For Jesus to not have a family would have been more remarkable than him having a family. I could argue with good cause that the absence of any mention of the family, or of a lack of a family, is better evidence for there being a family. That would have been the unremarkable norm. Jesus being a single man would have been worth noteing and passing down.
A more important question: Would it matter one wit to the teaching of the Christian faith for Jesus to have been a husband and father? No. A flat no. The teachings of Christianity do not demand a celibate Jesus. It neither enhances the message, nor does it detract from the message. Likewise a married Jesus neither enhances nor detracts from the core message.
I am of the opinion that those threatened by this idea are of a small faith. Everything must be as they wish to perceive it, or their world crumbles. Jesus with a wife? Horror. Mary a mother of many? Disaster! However, given our state of knowledge concerning the society of Ancient Judea, both are far more likely than not. Indeed the Bible mentions Jesus' "brothers and sisters". There is no reason to see this as allegory, or the result of a first marriage by Joseph to a now dead woman. Joseph and Mary were man and wife in a time when birth control was unheard of, and big families were the norm. So Joe and Mary had a few kids. Indeed if Joseph failed to give Mary children he would be denying her spousal rights under Jewish law. Jesus could have been married. Could have. There is no proof for or against. Any speculation is just that, speculation.
Does of this change the basic message of the Christian faith? Again, no, it does not.
So the question comes back again. What are they afraid of? Why are they threatened by this? Oh they of little faith.
"Always examine possibilities on their own merits, even if they challenge your faith, always if they challenge your faith. If your faith cannot withstand the challenge of new possibles, or even new facts, then you need to reexamine the faith, not the facts. Facts are, truth is what you find within the facts, faith is what you take from the truth." -- The Tao of Phoenix
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