Atheist Ramblings - 2.5

From approximately July 1999

The Empty Tomb of Jesus...

...Occasionally, a well intentioned person will 'prove' the veracity of the bible by pointing to the empty tomb. It goes something along the lines that because the tomb was empty, the story of him being resurrected must be true.

...This, of course, totally ignores the fact that the stories themselves are not necessarily true... Or as a variation, since we can't find the tomb now, that is proof that Jesus didn't exist.

...The stories of the empty tomb could be accounted for by any number of things. For one, they are stories. And from the conflicting tales reported in the gospels, they were miss-told stories anyway.

...But there is also a nagging problem. Jesus was basically a run-of-the-mill rebel and criminal (to the state's eyes at least). From the stories in the bible, he had a small following, but nothing huge. A couple of hundred people followed him, a few hundred more knew of him.

...Historical records indicate that Jesus lived in a turbulent time when many so called 'saviours' walked. To the powers that be, Jesus would have been merely another crackpot.

...Would a rebel of this stature really warrant a tomb with an armed guard? It is very likely that he got the same burial as a common criminal - that being a mass grave outside of town with no marker. Since he had no family to claim his body, it likely was just dumped in. The idea that the government wanted to somehow protect the body to keep people from taking it is silly and doesn't jive with historical records of how the Roman government treated criminals.

...So is there an empty tomb? Well, baring any actual tomb to investigate, no one can really know... but based on other evidence, it is a silly conclusion to jump to.

Evidence that also Demands a Verdict

...Josh McDowell loves the empty tomb as proof. It is one of the assorted wild claims he makes in his apologetic book Evidence that Demands a Verdict (more aptly called 'Preconceived answers looking for evidence', but that's another ramble). But in either case, I wanted to draw a parallel.

...In the 15th century Vlad the Impaler ruled with an iron fist. He slaughtered thousands and enforced incredibly strict moral laws on his kingdom (btw: his moral laws were drawn from xtian doctrines, including bans on theft, lying, adultery and premarital sex).

...Anyway, his existence can not really be denied. He was seen by thousands and documented many times over in many different stories and books. Pictures of him survive to this day.

...One of the popular stories told of him is that he was a vampire. Well, he certainly fit the bill. He was blood thirsty and vengeful. He often dined surrounded by dead and dying victims. Stories indicate he was a strong and imposing man with a very deep gaze.

...When he died in 1476, he was buried on Snagov island in Bucharest (at a monastery he frequented, apparently he kept in touch with god throughout this). When his tomb was later exhumed, it was found to be empty. Since we all know that vampires can look dead and sneak around at night, he must, therefore, have been a vampire. He got up and moved somewhere else. The proof is the empty tomb...

...So next time you think about Jesus' empty tomb and think it may be proof for anything, think again about Vlad's tomb (and perhaps pick up some more garlic at the store next time you are out).