Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


EVIDENCE THAT CHRIST NEVER DIED ON CROSS

The gospels say that a miracle healing man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. Certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them as a resurrected being.

 

EVIDENCE FOR A LEGEND

 

The Gospels claim that the cross was forecast in the Old Testament centuries before Jesus was fastened to it.  If this forecast is down to misinterpretation or lies then that is evidence and a strong indication that Jesus was never nailed.

 

There is no evidence that Jesus had feet with nail holes apart from a passage in Psalm 22 dubiously translated as they have thrust through my hands and feet and I can number all my bones that the Bible never says means Jesus.

 

The Bible uses bits of the Psalms as alleged prophecies and discards unsuitable bits even when they refer to the same person so the fact that some bits of the Psalm were taken to be about Jesus does not mean that the whole lot was. People on a diet like Jesus’ could surprise you with what they can do despite serious wounds (The Turin Shroud is Genuine, page 139).


Is Psalm 22:21 which reads in the King James as “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou has heard me from the horns of the unicorns” a good reading? It is poetry so you cannot pay too much attention to the wording being strange. The subject is in danger from wild animals and so is not Jesus Christ. Unicorns may mean oxen not the mythical creature. If it does mean the latter then the psalm has no credibility as a prophecy for it cannot get the present right so why trust it with the future?

 

Luke says the risen Jesus showed his friends his hands and his feet but here could have been rope marks or anything on them. The ropes would cut into the flesh with the endless pushing up and down on the cross to relieve the lungs and the muscles.

 

Luke never says that the Lord was nailed which is a strange omission for a gospel that endeavours to prove that Jesus rose. Luke is probably inferring that he was not nailed. And many were often just tied to the cross. The apostles had nothing to do with any gospel that fails to prove that Jesus was dead for that was their job to prove that and to verify the resurrection.

 


Zechariah has a text that could have been used to bolster up the nail wounds or piercing legend.  Translators do not agree on if Zechariah 13:6 means wounds on the chest or hands. Or just the body.  So why do Christians and gospellers ignore that text and why was it not used instead of the Psalm or alongside it?  The wounds are got in the house of his friends.  Maybe if Jesus had been attacked in the Temple or murdered by his own disciples.   That is what put them off.  It did not fit the intended plotline.

 

THE SKELETON OF GIVA'AT HA-MITVAR, JERUSALEM

 

Charles Foster writes Jehohanan the name of the crucified man who has left remains was nailed in the ankles and had not been nailed at all in the forearms. "Presumably Jehohanan's arms had been tied in place. Tying is known to have been common" (page 49, 68 The Jesus Inquest).

 

No remains of a crucifixion victim were ever found until this man's were.  This alone shows that despite the countless victims of that method of death the chance of a shroud for Jesus turning up are slim.  The bones were in a burial box.  He was about 5 foot five inches tall.  He was in his twenties.  He had broken shins which seems to remind us of John's gospel saying that the soldiers broke the legs of men who were taking too long to die on the cross.  The nail was found in the ankle and was bent like it had hit a knot in the wood of his cross. We do not know how he came to be taken from his cross or buried.  We don't know how his arms were fastened to the cross. He could have been tied.

 

The remains seem to show us that a seat or sedile was used for the victim to sit on. This took the form of a board to sit on or it could have been a bar jutting out that the groin rested on. If Jesus had had a seat, if his feet were fastened to the cross by being crossed with a board with a nail in it which did not touch the feet or which did them no serious damage he could have survived the crucifixion easily. The board crossing the feet would have ground down his flesh leaving a slash perhaps down to the bone on the top of the feet. Jesus’ marks in the feet might have been minor which would satisfy the prophecy in Psalm 22 where someone seems to say the subject will have his hands and feet wounded.  Psalm 22 pictures its subject as walking and praying with the people later without any hint of a resurrection so his feet were relatively fine. It was not a nailing then it had in mind.


HOW WAS JESUS NAILED?

Let us see how Jesus’ position on the cross gives us grounds for suspicion.

 

Jesus could have been nailed facing the cross which would have made him harder to recognise for his face would have been covered by the vertical post and the crossbeam and maybe by the strange sign that Pilate put up. It could have been somebody else.

 

The first representation and description of the crucifixion, a picture drawn on a pillar in Rome from 193 to 235 AD mocking Jesus, shows Jesus with a donkey’s head standing on a shelf while on the cross. Some say his hands must be nailed for no ropes were drawn but it was a quick drawing and the details about nails and ropes would have been left out. A Roman would know how Jesus had been crucified. The earliest description comes first. If his feet were nailed to a shelf they would not have been seriously harmed for the victim would not be pushing up and down on the hand wounds making them worse and unbearably painful. So if Jesus’ hands were nailed they would have been fine apart from being very painful. However, there no cause to assume that any nailing at all took place in regard to Jesus.

 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses think that Jesus was nailed to a post without a crossbar. Their reason is that the cross was a religious symbol even in pre-Christian times. It is just prejudice. The Bible says that Jesus was nailed to a tree (Acts 13:29) but a crossbar could still have been used. If the tree was alive its leaves would have been a good cover for the victim if he was impersonating Jesus or any other form of trickery.

THE NAIL WOUNDS

Is the picture we have of a Jesus who was nailed hand and feet to the cross accurate or another unwarranted legend?

 

Only the John Gospel seems to say that Jesus had nail marks in his hands and was nailed. The other gospels only say he was crucified and most victims were simply tied to the cross. Jesus was probably tied if the modern scholars who think that Pilate was in a catch-22 situation (that he wanted to save Jesus but was forced to decree his crucifixion) are right. Pilate may have wished to prevent Jesus dying quickly so that he could be taken down if his fans came out in force. The gospel reports that Thomas said he would have to see the wounds and Jesus showed him his hands. This seems to make it probable that John means that Jesus showed him the nail marks unless Jesus was sure Thomas would not want to see any more or be cruel. It seems unlikely that John would be simply reporting that Thomas thought there were nail marks not knowing that the only marks Jesus could show him were rope-marks but maybe John did not know what kind of marks Thomas meant. Jesus was a carpenter since childhood and one would expect him to have nail-marks from accidents. These could have been the wounds Thomas was looking for. They probably were for John never mentions a nailing to the cross which is strange since he details the stabbing of Jesus on the cross. Anyway if I am wrong, only Thomas bears witness to the hand wounds and he was an unreliable witness for he had previously scoffed at the apostles’ testimony and we have in John’s gospel what could be a second hand or third hand or even hundredth hand testimony that Thomas saw the wounds. And it is not said that Thomas ever said he saw the wounds. This story is full of the hallmarks of fraud and deceit for it has no concern for real evidence or honesty nor can it refer to anything that is verifiably a document from Thomas. You will see the same pattern in the entire New Testament which suggests strongly that Jesus never existed for the evidence had to be fabricated and had to blatantly break the rules for what evidence should be so it should not count as evidence at all.

 

 

John only says that Thomas said that he could put his finger in the nail marks (John 20:25, RSV, Catholic Edition) which does not mean he thought he could push the finger right through the hands.  The soft flesh of the finger would press a tiny bit into the mark. Touching the mark firmly would be described by many as putting your finger into the mark and it is in a sense.

 

The feet were probably just tied to the cross for the gospels would not be able to resist telling us about the nailed feet. They knew nailed feet would make it a bit more likely that Jesus really died.

 

The women who grabbed the risen Christ by the feet in Matthew 28 would not have done so had there been nail wounds in them. This would mean that the man was an impostor or an illusion if Jesus had been nailed in the feet.

 

Even if he had been nailed hand and foot these injuries should not have killed him. He could not have bled to death. It was asphyxiation and not the loss of blood that crucified people died from. The suggestion that Jesus would have died of bleeding or of cold on the cross or in the tomb is mere conjecture.

 

Suppose the Thomas episode does show Jesus was nailed by the hands.  Why is the only reference this Jesus coming from a vision? The fact remains that this reference John 20:25 alone mentions nailing and even then we are not told for sure Jesus was nailed to the cross alive. What if he was roped on and somebody said, "He is dead up there a few hours. Nail him." What if his enemies realising he was not nailed asked for him to be nailed as a desecration? A vision is no ground for holding that Jesus was nailed to the cross. Why did even John not tell us he was nailed when he was going into such other detail about the passion of Jesus?
 
WAS JESUS FATALLY WOUNDED IN THE SIDE? 

 

The assertion of many that if Jesus was alive when stabbed with the lance the lance savaged Jesus's pericardium which would have finished him off. The pericardium is around the heart and blood and water will appear if it is stabbed. The objection to this being certain is that John did not get the witness from a soldier but said it himself. It is like a man asking you to listen to him instead of sending you to the policeman who was there. Another bigger objection is that John would not have been allowed to stand that close to see.  How good was his eyesight?  It would take very close inspection. Blood mixed with water is hard to make out most of the time.  And the pericardium scenario is only one of many - including some non-fatal - possibilities. 

 

DID PASSION KILL JESUS?

 

If Jesus died on the cross that would have been a miracle for unless he was poisoned there was nothing done to him that need have killed him.

 

Jesus said that he was sorrowful even unto death in the garden prior to his arrest (Matthew 28:38). He meant that the sorrow could kill him. But he does not say it would kill him. If cancer could kill you and you do something about it, it could and couldn’t kill you at the same time. The agony in the garden gives us no reason to suppose that it led to Jesus’ premature death on the cross. The scholars who suppose that Jesus had had a heart attack in the Garden under the pressure are merely assuming. Jesus recovered well enough to endure his scourging and the mocking and to carry the cross a bit, his health was fine.

 

The scourging at the pillar need not have made Jesus die faster on the cross for it was part of the standard procedure and many lasted for several days on a cross after it. Pilate probably would have made the men go easy on Jesus if the gospels are right to say that Pilate wished him no harm. Some say that the scourging could have been worse than that that was usually meted out for Pilate hoped to make the Jews pity Jesus and relent. The gospels would tell us if it was for they liked to present the Jews as monsters and anyway it was not hard to make a scourging look worse than it did especially when the people would have seen Jesus on a balcony at a distance. Jesus was scourged and Pilate sought to release him after it. Pilate who knew that the Jews who believed in stoning people to death would not have been that easily manipulated. They had made up their minds that they wanted Jesus to die a cruel death.

 

If Simon of Cyrene really helped carry Jesus’ cross for him then that would have made Jesus strong enough to survive the crucifixion.

 

We have no evidence that Jesus took a heart attack or was poisoned or nailed or seriously injured and that that was why he died. These possibilities have to be ignored for they are only speculation. We have to work on the records.

 

Jesus yelled before he apparently died. He should have died of suffocation if he should have died at all. Crucifixion killed its victims by the pressure it put on the chest and they kept having to rise up and down on the cross to relieve the pressure and eventually they got too exhausted to do that and asphyxiated. But back to Jesus, then he could not have yelled. This suggests that the death was merely a faint. It certainly suggests that he wasn’t nailed and or that he had a sedile to rest on for he would have died of suffocation then and been unable to shout.

 

The gospels never say the Romans who crucified him wanted him dead and it is admitted that Jesus had at least one ally among them who would certainly have wanted him to make it.

Resurrection is anastasis which means standing up.  It describes what happens when you have been raised and the word for that is egeiro.  So raising and resurrecting are not the same thing.  Please read Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment.  Other scholars notice a difference too.  The word translated resurrection or resurrected is anhistemi which means to wake up (page 201, Jesus Lived in India). You do not need to be dead to wake up so there was no inevitable death. The word anastasis for physical body coming back to life was not used at all in the New Testament which does not fare well for Christian theology (Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? from the www)

 

John records that Jesus crucified handed over his spirit to God praying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” But the living do that too. It was a quote from the Psalms and this Psalm was written for a man offering his life to God WITHOUT any notion of dying. Is this a clue that Jesus never died? Jesus said he would lay down his life to take it up again (John 10:17) which could just mean he would do it on the last day.

 

John has Jesus telling the apostles that he will go away to prepare a place for them and come back for them. The Church interprets this as referring to preparing a place in Heaven for them after he goes away from the world by dying on the cross. But Jesus has no need to take time to prepare a place for God who empowers can make a place just with a snap of his fingers. Moreover, Heaven should be prepared already like a B&B that is ready for anybody who is suitable to avail of it. What Jesus is saying is that he will survive the cross and where he goes to hide after the apostles will follow. He will go to live far away and they will join him.

 
St Sebastian was tied to a post and shot with countless arrows by the experts and left for dead. Irene found he was in fact alive and rescued him and nursed him back to health.  He was met by his enemies when he was out for a walk and was battered to death and dumped in a sewer.  If Sebastian could survive worse than Jesus then Jesus could have survived the cross.

 

JP HOLDING

 

Theologian JP Holding argues that when assessing if Jesus was dead the Romans would have checked for an absence of body heat which is a sign that the heart has stopped working (algor mortis). They would have been looking for rigor mortis which appears in about two to four hours after death. The blood will settle at the lowest points of the body causing discolouration in about a half an hour or more.

 

All that is rubbish.  Holding knows nothing about the circumstances in which the soldiers worked.  And since when did they act like doctors?  All Holding's speculations do is show how the evidence that is critical for determining that Jesus was dead is just not there.

 

Worse, Jesus was supposed to be buried soon after he died!!  And John is clear that the spear thrust was the only test undertaken.  His gospel says the soldiers saw Jesus was dead before the other two.  The tests that Holding describes would imply Jesus had been dead virtually as soon as he was nailed.  For the tests that Holding wants to be valid, the soldiers must have nailed a corpse to the cross!

  
Conclusion: There is no evidence that Jesus really died on the Cross. It is possible that he was taken from the cross alive or was never in fact crucified. Or he may have been crucified but not nailed. Legend says Andrew the Apostle survived on the cross two days and we know Pilate reacted with shock at Jesus dying so quick.  No wonder he was able to show up again soon after! But it could be that Jesus did not die on the cross and was taken away while some or all of the appearances of him were just religious delusions.  We can assume any one of these without saying that there are errors in the Bible but just saying that its interpretation of what happened was right.

 

 Revelation 5:6 New International Version (NIV)  "Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth."  As the eyes were obviously working our Lamb was very much alive!
 
WORKS CONSULTED
 
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
In Search of Certainty, John Guest Regal Books, Ventura, California, 1983
Jesus and the Four Gospels, John Drane,ion Books, Herts, 1984
Jesus Lived in India, Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Jesus the Evidence, Ian Wilson Pan, London 1985
Mind Out of Time, Ian Wilson, Gollanez, London, 1981
Mother of Nations, Joan Ashton, Veritas, Dublin, 1988
The Bible Fact or Fantasy? John Drane, Lion Books, Oxford, 1989
The Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten and Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Messianic Legacy, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1987
The Metaphor of God Incarnate, John Hick, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1993
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element Books, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Truth of Christianity, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
The Turin Shroud is Genuine, Rodney Hoare, Souvenir Press, London, 1998HoarHo
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Vatican Papers, Nino Lo Bello, New English Library, Sevenoaks, Kent, 1982
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Raymond E Brown Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montefiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve, Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing Cumbria, 1997
Why People believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997
 

BIBLE VERSION USED
The Amplified Bible
 
THE WWW
 
Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker debates Mike Horner.
www.ffrf.org/debates/barker_horner.html

A Naturalistic Account of the Resurrection
http://www.phlab.missouri.edu/~c570529/PhilosoStop/resurrection.html

Earliest Christianity, G A Wells, Internet Infidels
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/earliest.html

A Resurrection Debate by G A Wells,
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/resurrection.html

Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till,
www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/1/1sink97.html

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story, by Richard Carrier
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/index.shtml

The Resurrection by Steven Carr
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/resr.htm
 
The Evangelical Apologists: Are They Reliable? Robert Price
www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/beyond_born_again/chap5.html

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker versus Mike Horner www.ffrf.org/debates/barker_horner.html
 
Jesus Slept! This page asks if Jesus could have been doped on the cross meaning that the explanation for the resurrection was that he was never dead.
http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/146%20mandrake.schtml
 
Beyond Born Again
http://www.infidels.org//library/modern/robert_price/beyond_born_again/chap6.html
 
Did Early Christians use Hallucinogenic Mushrooms? Archaeological Evidence. Franco Fabbro.
http://people.etnoteam.it/maiocchi/fabbro.htm
 
Blessed Easter
www.mindspring.com/~bab5/BIB/lessons.htm
 
Craig’s Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/indef/4e.html
 
The Case For Christianity Examined: Truth or Lies?
www.askwhy.co.uk/awstruth/ChristianCase.html
 
Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsThree.htm#Twelve