PHOTOGRAPH BY KAREN L. KING
Published April 10, 2014
Did Jesus have a wife? A controversial papyrus scrap making that suggestion dates to the eighth century A.D., assert a series of just-released scientific reports, which may point to earlier Christian beliefs.
Announced at a 2012 conference in Rome by the Harvard Divinity School's Karen King, the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife"—a scrap of papyrus with Coptic writing—contained some intriguing lines. (Related: "Jesus May Have Had a Wife, Ancient Text Suggests.")
The words "Jesus said to them, My wife . . . she is able to be my disciple . . ." are written on the center of the fragment. Initially dated by King to the fourth century, the message from the past resonated with ongoing debates about the role of women in Christianity, as well as echoing themes from Dan Brown's popular thriller, The Da Vinci Code.
The claim also attracted skepticism from religious scholars, who saw the fragment as a likely forgery. But in the series of reports released by the Harvard Theological Review, various experts report analyses of the chemistry and ancient handwriting of the fragment. They conclude that the fragment's ink is consistent with ancient inks and that its papyrus fibers date from the seventh to eighth centuries. King suggests it is a copy of an earlier text.
"All of the evidence points to it being ancient," King said in a telephone briefing. "As historians, the question then becomes, what does it mean?"
The new results say nothing about whether the historical Jesus indeed had a wife, King notes. But similarities to other papyrus gospel texts from the centuries after Christ point to the long-running debate on the role of women in churches.
And the results do not conclusively prove the papyrus isn't a very clever forgery, caution the scientists. Instead, they remove previously raised objections to the text, finding no evidence of it being a fake.
Yet there is still skepticism. One report in the journal, by epigrapher Leo Depuydt of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, claims grammatical errors dog the text and concludes, "The author of this analysis has not the slightest doubt that the document is a forgery, and not a very good one at that."
King refutes those criticisms in a response in the journal, arguing that the grammar errors are misinterpretations by Depuydt. She also argues that writings similar to the Gospel of Thomas were then prevalent in the eastern Mediterranean, so words from that gospel would not necessarily be a sign of forgery.
Troves of ancient papyrus documents have long emerged from sites in Egypt, seen as the likely source of the fragment, which is only 3.2 inches wide by 1.6 inches tall (8 by 4 centimeters). But its origin and author are a mystery, as it is owned by an unnamed private collector, with bills of sale going back only to 1999, according to King.
King says the owner may donate the fragment to Harvard, possibly for later display.
In the journal reports, a chemistry team led by MIT's Joseph Azzarelli concluded that the age of the papyrus scrap matches that of a verified Gospel of John papyrus from antiquity. The team relied on microspectroscopy of the papyrus, which found the fragment only slightly less oxidized—aged by exposure to air—than the verified gospel.
Crucially, the scientists find no evidence of the ink being applied to the papyrus in recent times, which would have led to it pooling in damaged sections of the fragment. They also did not find any signs that the word for "wife" in the text was changed from "woman" by a later writer, as some skeptics suggested (King points this out in an online commentary).
Carbon dating puts the age of the fragment at between 659 and 869.
The debate over the grammar of the Coptic text partly reflects the writing style of the author of the papyrus, who perhaps was not a professional scribe but an untutored member of the lower classes, suggests Malcolm Choat, an ancient writing expert at Australia's Macquarie University.
Choat compares the writing to brush-drawn "magical" texts of the era, ones that often featured invocations asking for blessings or curses.
"I have not found a 'smoking gun' that indicates beyond doubt that the text was not written in antiquity, but nor can such an examination prove that it is genuine," Choat writes. But he says it's certainly not a simple forgery, as critics have suggested.
Women in Church
Women were among the strongest early supporters of Christianity when it was gaining converts in an often hostile Roman Empire. Christian writers were initially silent on the marital status of Jesus, King says, with claims that he was unmarried starting only in the late second century.
If the papyrus fragment reflects religious writing copied from earlier texts, perhaps ones in the fourth century, it would speak to early Christian concerns about the role of the family in the early Church, which famously called upon its adherents to put aside family and civic loyalties, she suggests.
"This is not evidence that Jesus was married. We don't know," King emphasized. "But early Christians were extremely interested in questions about whether they should be married or be celibate."
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Jesus needed Mary's Wisdom to support G-d's Plan to save man and woman. Thank G-d neither a patriarchal system or Satan, can keep a woman of G-d down. And thank G-d for Israel, a Light unto the world: if only they would repent and return to G-d, on the path He has provided by the sacrifice of a perfect Hebrew, His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, as so many of their Prophets called to the people of Israel to do. Amen.
Whatever the text says and whoever he author of the original may be: it is meaningless, trivial, for today's life. Old wisdoms are based on limited insights and knowledge. We live in a different world today, and have enough challenges to make our cultures survive. No need to worry about the old. We need concentrate on the simple truths and do not need distractions from the tasks on hand. Let us live by the golden rule, let us replace superstition with knowledge and love.
Religion may preach all that but much hate and intolerance is practiced instead.
Jesus took a Nazarene Vow like most spiritual men of his day,,which requires abstinence from money, sex, liquor, meat, and requiring keeping long hair and beard for energy purposes however after taking the Nazarene vow you had the option of three years yes and three years no in case you wanted to have a wife and family.
What difference does it make if Jesus is married or had multiple wives. What is important is his teachings, sacrifice and walking the talk. Imagine the times - comforting lepers, prostitutes and the importance of forgiveness.
He could have escaped crucifixion isn't it ?
What about his parents suffering from the time Mother Mary conceived him and culminating in the agony witnessing her Child's crucifixion.
Why this family had to undergo such suffering and torture yet their humble life transcends time and space guiding a section of world population with spiritual strength and comfort.
Even in this modern age of Face book and twitter if people draw a cross and kneel in front of their images sums up the family's true significance and relevance.
It is impossible, Jesus could not have been married. It says that no where in the Bible and He was not supposed to get married. He was supposed to be pure and holy.
The celibacy thing comes from Paul. but back in the day, and even today, it would be most unusual, if not unacceptable if a Rabbi were not married.
Authenticity of some books in the bible is still debated over, just because its ancient doesn't mean its authentic.
The amount of biblical illiteracy inherent both on the internet and in popular belief seriously undermines the credibility of such controversial claims made by those who have neither fully read the scriptures, nor actually investigated them, nor held them to the tests of historical analysis. More than 24,000 ancient New Testament manuscripts survive, of which 5,686 extant were written in the original Greek, the earliest copy being made only 25 years after the original. No other ancient text comes anywhere near that amount of documentation and textual preservation. Homer, with the second highest amount of extant, and earliest, manuscripts, clocks in at 643 manuscripts, the earliest of being written 500 years after his lifetime. Considering that few of the ancient Roman historians approach anywhere near the kind of documentation, it seems reasonable that we should seriously consider the reliability of the New Testament
And as for the earliness of the New Testament, current biblical scholarship concludes, in the words of preeminent biblical archaeologist William Albright, "every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the forties and the eighties of the first century AD (very probably sometime between about AD 50 and 75)." Again, in the words of Dr. Peter Stuhlmacher of Tübingen, "as a Western Scripture scholar, I am inclined to doubt these [gospel] stories but as a historian I am obliged to take them as reliable." Such is the view of accredited biblical scholars from across the spectrum of belief, that the New Testament is both early and reliable (some scholars even place the synoptic gospels to within 5 years after Jesus' reported Resurrection). Considering that the Resurrection event was supposed to have happened around 33 AD, these are remarkably early dates, unparalleled in the ancient world, and much too early for the formation of legends; there were simply too many eyewitness alive who could have squashed any attempt at fabrication (indeed, the Apostle Paul encourages his readers to verify his teaching
with those who had actually seen Jesus and heard him preach, "most of
whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep [died]. 1 Corinthians 15:6), such as the Jews and Romans, who had political and religious motives (and the means, if they could present Jesus' body) to squash such Resurrection theology. It pains me to see so many people believing spoon-fed legends about the supposed unreliable nature of the New Testament when, in view of the actual evidence, the New Testament is the most impeccably attested set of documents in the entire ancient world. Indeed, in light of ancient bibliography, it is not separated from other texts by a small margin, but by orders of magnitude. Gratuitous orders of magnitude.
Now, on to the subject of later "gospels" and controversial papyri such as this seventh-to-eighth-century suggestion of Jesus' marriage. If we applied the same scrutiny and criticism to these later writings to which we have subjected the Bible for the last few centuries (which not only did not debunk, but indeed gave even more credence to its reliability -- regardless of personal belief), the case for these later creations would crumble under the burden of evidence. I think it is both intensely hypocritical and embarrassingly unscientific to apply a different standard of investigation to the Bible, and an almost infantile acceptance of legends and fables written centuries after-the-fact. So, why ought we to reject the claims of the New Testament (despite the support of textual and historical evidence), and at the same time freely accept the later "gospels" and legends (once again, despite the textual and historical evidence against these writings) as if the simple plurality of contrary copies and counterfeits undermines the reliability of the original? Why does the popular view seem to invariably accept the fanciful, non-accredited writers of the following centuries, rather than the early, multiple, independent eyewitnesses collected in the New Testament? I think it is simply a cultural skepticism spoon-fed to us by popular custom and group-think. But this popular view can be considered in no way reasonable or unbiased. Indeed, it seems to be intensely biased, as bias is the only explanation I can think of for such willful suppression or ignorance of evidence.
So, to whomever had the patience to read such a long post in the age of 140-characters-or-less, I implore you, for your own sake and the sake of truth, to investigate these claims in the light of evidence, reason, and truth. Some good authors on this subject are N.T. Wright, Josh McDowell, Gary Habermas, Norman Geisler, and William Lane Craig, to name a few. "Evidence for the Historical Jesus" is an excellent resource for textual investigation, not only of the Bible itself, but extra-biblical references and textual preservation of testimonies as well. But please, for the sake of simple common sense and reason, do not be swayed by the faulty philosophy of Indifferentism, nor be mistaken that these things do not matter. Indeed, the claims of Jesus, if true, are of eternal significance; and if false, are absolutely meaningless. If true, then life has purpose, meaning, and an ultimate goal; if false, then the meaninglessness of existence proposed by Nietzsche and Sarte and other antitheistic philosophers must necessarily be true. The one is hope, life, and meaning; the other, the cold death of eternal insignificance. I am convinced that an honest, unreserved investigation of the veracity of Jesus' claims leads the investigator to accept him to be who he claimed to be. But, whether or not we agree on the truth of his claims, let us not pretend that there is no evidence, nor that the evidence is inconclusive at best. To do so is both intellectually dishonest and historically ignorant; and neither trait can be considered reasonable, rational, or even realistic.
And don't you think that after Jesus was cruxified, his wife and his family may have also been in danger being so closely connected to Jesus? Since we don't really know that much about them? Isn't that strange?
It would make sense if Jesus had a wife. Being Jewish, especially then, it would be very odd for a man to be unmarried at his age.
Christianity, as well as other religions, are made up by humans like you and me because the convenience of authority, a reference to judge conflicts, and hope for eternal salvation. The pattern is visible in most cultures around the world, man's explanation for early life on this little blue planet, which seems insignificant compared to the endless space, but the egocentric population believed everything was designed with us in mind. All these evidence-less explanations for our world may arguably have been useful at one point, but now we should discard them along with thousands of other faiths. It is a hindrance in our quest for truth, which is probably sad, but we have to grow up someday (:
If He did have a wife would that mean He is not the Son of God or make the New Testament untrue in some way? As a Christian believer, I think people tend to get sidetracked on things that are very interesting and should be studied--but as it relates to a life of faith and the divinity of Jesus, just don't really matter. But to people who don't know Jesus, the "controversy" can be just another unsubstantiated reason to disregard God/Jesus or the Bible without even trying to know them, when it doesn't mean that at all. So it's kind of sad to me in that aspect.
Isn't it possible Jesus was talking in a parable? In the Bible He is referenced to as the bridegroom and the church as the bride of Christ. In Revelation it speaks of the bride/the Lamb's wife.
Why couldn't Jesus have had a wife? Well I think he did have a wife and it wasn't the church either because that came later. Much has been covered up because of how women were treated at that time. Men thought they were superior to women and that women had no place in politics or religion. Even Jesus' disciples thought this way. So why is it such a surprise that everything remotely suggests Jesus was married is disregarded as false? Open your minds. Everthing you thought was true about the New Testament may not be actual fact either. Do some research!
Constantine’s mother, Helena, converted to Christianity after being repudiated by her husband and Constantine’s father, Roman Emperor Constantius I. According to tradition, Helena was a devoted Christian, who even carried out a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Constantine had a very close relationship with his mother; not only did he restore her imperial dignity after becoming emperor, but when she died, he renamed her native town “Helenopolis” ( The city of Helena) in her honor. Thus, some have argued that he adopted Christianity because of his mother’s influence. However, although Constantine was exposed to Christianity by his mother for a long period of time, he was more than 42 years old when he was baptized.
Mike Adams, Dianne Dwyer and Elizabeth Francis --- any likelihood this is true? Have read this some time ago, but according to another source!
@Evelyn Gil There is no evidence he took a Nazarite (non Nazarene) vow, or that the Nazarite vow forbade money, sex, or meat. (See Samson) The vow did forbid cutting the hair, touching dead bodies and drinking grape juice in any form. Jesus is recorded on several occasions drinking wine and/or grape juice, and eating fish. Also, the Nazarite vow had nothing to do with energy, but was a form of sanctification and holiness. Jesus was a Nazarene because he came from the town of Nazareth, not because of any Nazarite vow.
@Goan Journey Very well said. Couldn't agree more.
The actions of Jesus is what is important.
Live as he lived. Be good, be happy, love yourself and others.
It's as simple as that.
@Abraham Mani You are correct in that nowhere in the Bible does it mention Jesus being married. However, marriage does not defile a man either. I know a lot of married men who live pure and holy lives (don't forget St.Peter.)
Thank you, everyone, for your respectful and insightful replies. However, due to the sheer volume of response, and the inevitably endless exchange that tends to occur over internet, I respectfully encourage you to investigate the evidence for yourselves, and keep searching for the truth. Thank you for your time.
Unfortunately, as much as you may like to believe that your "string of logic" is logical, your premises are mostly false and assumed.
Let's start first with the fact that the Bible was written AFTER Jesus' presumed death. How long after does not matter, but already numbers 11 and 12 in your list of "logical deductions" is false. Jesus never read the Bible, nor would Jesus have ever preached a text that was not in existence during his ministry..or lifetime on Earth. Jesus was not reading Matthew 5 to anyone, nor professing that Matthew 5 was the word of God.
If God exists, miracles are possible. We can accept that premise, however your presumption is not that miracles are possible, but that miracles are fact and are things that happen.
It may be possible for me to have one million dollars, but that possibility does not, in turn, validate the claim that I have one million dollars.
This is not a logical statement, it is a presumption that is reached on empty premises.
Your if/then statement of Jesus or nihilistic meaninglessness is so far beyond the realm of an illiterate view of existence that I don't know I can even address it fully.
My actual reason to responding to this article was to say that we have already skipped an incredibly important step in the process of Jesus to present day...The Catholic church.
I would implore anyone on here to study the history of the Catholic church. I have found that the foundations of today's Christianity is not at all within the confines of "the word of Jesus" nor "the word of the believers of the time". A majority of beliefs, creeds, and rituals in the church today were subject to popular vote amongst the hierarchy of the church leaders who happened to be alive and present at the given council. These councils have been held since the 4th century C.E.
Now you may be saying, 'I'm not Catholic'...it doesn't matter. Until the schism of 1054 C.E., the dominant Christianity was Catholicism. You had Gnostism and other branches that held their own beliefs, but the Orthodox church and the Protestant church were direct descendents of the Catholic church and a church breeding of nearly 700 years.
So now, the fundamental question. If (or when) Jesus makes the triumphant comeback to Earth, would he be a Catholic? Would he be a Lutheran? Would he be Orthodox? Would he associate fully with any church of today? After my own research, the answer I came to was "no"..it still is "no". So the next question is, if Jesus wouldn't be Catholic, then why would you be? If you're "following the word of Christ," then how can you accept something that you don't think he would accept?
I don't find this post conceited. I find it humbly informative and educated. Why are we so emotionally charged when science meets religion? The answer to ur question @Michael Frack..... why is it scrutinize unlike the rest of the bible? Politics, it was not handed down and forced on a people for ages by hypocritical Kings.
@Michael Frack So "the claims of Jesus, if true, are of eternal significance; and if false, are absolutely meaningless. If true, then life has purpose, meaning, and an ultimate goal; if false, then the meaninglessness of existence proposed by Nietzsche and Sarte and other antitheistic philosophers must necessarily be true. The one is hope, life, and meaning; the other, the cold death of eternal insignificance."
If this is what you believe then how can we trust that your bias. Also, to assume non-belief in the stories of the Bible mean life loses meaning an significance is very, very wrong.
@Thomas Banbury You are absolutely correct. It would have been quite unthinkable, for a rebbe especially, to remain unmarried. Furthermore, if you want to get truly inclusive about Yeshua and (ay-yi-yi) sex and of course, marriage, do admit that as a divine emanation incarnate, and one who manifestly addressed and embraced all of humanities facets (as well as foibles),Yeshua would have had to extend that emanation to include and embrace (sorry for the unintentional pun) sexual, male-female, fleshly and passionate Love.
Jews of his day -- while not condoning licentiousness at all and certainly having taboos -- did not suffer the repressive sexual restrictions inflicted upon humanity by the later, warped, and politically-motivated, misogynistic Christian Church. Sexual relations between a man and wife were, and are still among Orthodox Jews, encouraged on the Sabbath in particular, so that God can reunite with his Shekinah, without Whom he is lost.
These same sorry gender issues are still imbedded in Western Civilization to this day; that is one reason why it is so terribly painful for some men to come to terms with a married Yeshua. Scholarship, schmolarship, I say.
@Mike Brown And what alternative does you "truth" reveal to you for the existence of this world and all that is in it, including mankind? What evidence do you provide for your alternative. I would say it is more egocentric to believe mankind does not need God.
@Cherree Wellman Cherree you are so right! We tend to focus on the minors and ignore the majors. Like one preacher said "The Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing." Even the scripture talks about "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do." 1 Timothy 1:4
@Pamela Schaming Pamela, you misunderstand the place of men and women in scripture. It is true that many cultures, including Middle Eastern, are patriarchal. However, God gives clear direction of how women, wives, etc are to be treated. Men are to love and cherish their wives, other women are to be treated as sisters, widows are to be provided for, etc. Even in the Old Testament there are many examples of women being praised and exalted. Deborah was even a judge over Israel. Some of Jesus' closest disciples were women. Men and women are equal but different.
@Pamela Schaming Yes, yes, yes. You are 100% on track. If you read the Gospel of Mary (the Magdalene), you will find an extremely moving exchange between Peter, his brother, and Mary -- Peter says (in effect), "Why should we listen to a woman? Why would the Teacher (Yeshua) tell her things he didn't tell us?" Whereupon Mary begins to cry, and answers, "Peter, do you think I would lie? Do you think I made these things up? Let me tell you these words of the Teacher's, so you too can understand..."
Quite a remarkable read. But what can I say; all those scholarly guys out there who discredit those passages; discredit Mary the Magdalene and her relation to Yeshua; discredit the credibility of the Gnostic Gospels themselves. So read Charlene Spretnak, and some of the more reasonable, open-minded, scholars out there. Marvin Meyer, for example.
@Don Ritchie Actually, Paul like the rest of the Apostles was not only Jewish, but was one of the most learned of the Jewish leaders of the sect of the Pharisees. (Acts 26:4-5)
@John McLean @Michael Frack First, the presence of bias is no indication of truth. Of course I am biased; it was my very bias that inclined me to search for the truth in the first place. That said, if the position from which I speak is true, it stands alone, apart from my bias, as true; and if false, it is false, regardless of my bias. The belief that bias is an indication of falsehood cannot be true, since it is a bias against those with bias, and therefore false on its own terms.
And I have come to the conclusion that anything apart from Jesus is absolutely (not simply relatively) meaningless in the long-run, cold, lifeless, and utterly insignificant, through the writings of Nietzsche, Camus, and other anti-theistic thinkers who realized the absolute meaninglessness of life without God; as well as through the writings of Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and other theistic writers who gave me reasons to believe that Jesus is who he said he is. To give all my reasons for this belief would take a lifetime, as it is an ongoing process of seeking after that which is true, not that which is comfortable. But, long story short, I saw that, as Norman Geisler lays out:
1) Truth About Reality is Knowable
2) The Opposite of True is False
3) It is True that a Theistic God Exists (we know this from arguments such as the Cosmological Argument, Moral Argument, etc. that theists such as William Lane Craig have successfully defended in academic situations, debates, and are reasonably sound. I encourage you to read William Lane Craig's work or watch his videos, as well as Ravi Zacharias and Lee Strobel)
4) If God exists then Miracle are Possible
5) Miracles can Confirm a Message from God (since an omnipotent God is able to interact with matter He created)
6) The New Testament is Historically Reliable
7) The New Testament says Jesus Claimed to be God
8) Jesus’ Claim to be God was Miraculously Confirmed
9) Jesus is God
10) Whatever Jesus Teaches is True
11) Jesus Taught that the Bible is the Word of God
12) It is True that the Bible is the Word of God
@Judith Mitchell @Thomas Banbury Actually, that is not true. many of the great prophets and teachers in the Bible never married. It stands to reason that had Jesus been married there would have been some reference to it in the scriptures. The absence of a wife at the crucifixion is also telling as the other disciples and his mother are clearly mentioned.
Who knows? As Socrates talked about awareness of one's own ignorance, it is the same in this situation. I don't claim to know anything, I'm just saying you don't either.
@Daniel Petersen @Michael Frack@John McLean I would argue that a lack of absolute morals is responsible for the astounding amount of atrocities throughout history. When morals become relative then a person can justify themselves in pretty much anything. It is more conceited and arrogant to think that man who has limited intellect and wisdom is the arbiter of right and wrong. Even the Bible says everyman is right in his own eyes.
Christianity is only true religion. I take it quite offensive that you said it is " laughably false".
@Michael Frack @John McLean A religion of absolute morals is responsible for an astounding amount of atrocities throughout history. Your conceited view of the world through your religion is exactly the sentiment that allowed and contributed to these atrocities. It is a curse of arrogance of ignorance compounded by the arrogance of power.
So, from that position that God exists, that Christianity is the best explanation given the evidence, and is the only one that contains both those things we hold meaningful, as well as reason itself, then if Christianity is false, any hope of eternal significance is absolutely shattered. I say this because Christianity provides the only logically consistent and existentially coherent answer to the question of meaning --- one does not have to sacrifice one's value, love, or joy to believe in Christ, nor does one have to destroy one's intellect in order to adhere to Christ (on the contrary, both Head and Heart experience redemption and restoration). But the Bible is the only worldview that can consistently (meaning, without contradiction) command intellectual honesty, personal desire for truth,and meaning, virtue, morality, love, and all the other things we desire at their core. All other belief systems must either deny a number of these, or else borrow these and rename them in order to fill up either an intellectual or existential lack that is simply a logical outworking of the worldview. I mean, adherents to other worldviews must either believe in these things in spite of their worldview, or flatly deny them because of their worldview; both of which fly in the face of reason, and what we know to be true. Thus, since Christianity is the only worldview with a logical conclusion that fits the facts, I believe it; and if it is false, then the greatest hope for mankind is utterly false; and any hope of meaning, virtue, morality, and all good things that can only stem from the character of a perfect, personal, loving, omnipotent, and omniscient being (God) would be without meaning. As Paul writes, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) And if the only reasonable hope for mankind is shattered, what hope can there possibly be, except for a petty existence of pragmatism and survival of the fittest, of meaninglessness and despair? Disagree with me if you like, I will neither disrespect you nor malign you. But if you would really learn the full reasons why I write this, research the evidence yourself, and do not yield to comfortable falsehoods. For in the end, if something is not true, no matter how comfortable or good-feeling it is, it cannot last, and cannot bring lasting meaning. And, as I wrote earlier, an honest investigation of the evidence points to Jesus' being who he said he is. I hope that covers enough.
It is a cumulative case, from all the works that I have read/seen/heard, but basically, Christianity is the only religion (biblical Christianity, I mean; Gnosticism and the Manichees, and other unorthodox mystery religions don't really count) that gives a logically consistent, empirically verifiable, and existentially coherent worldview. If you don't agree, then research it yourself. But this is from whence my bias springs, and it is also from whence I say that apart from Jesus, there is no hope of lasting significance. Sure, we may experience some sort of contentment and happiness in the short-run; many people have had spiritual or religious experiences aside from Jesus; and we may even achieve some level of happiness or meaning in life, all on a different worldview from the Christian worldview. But Christianity is the only worldview in which its own ultimate conclusion logically and necessarily leads to value and meaning. All other worldviews must either stop short of annihilation through intellectual dishonesty, or else borrow from the biblical framework, in order to preserve some sense of meaning. For example, naturalistic materialism, if carried out to its final, logical conclusion, ends in ultimate meaninglessness and despair, leading to French Existentialism, which must borrow meaning from the Judeo-Christian idea of the uniqueness of the individual. Of course there are more examples, but that is the shortest one I could think of. But only classic Christianity, or as C.S. Lewis calls it, "mere Christianity," if followed to its logical conclusion, not only is empirically verifiable, logically consistent, or existentially coherent, but it gets to the very source of any meaning in our lives. If we were created in the image of God, then the sanctity of human life necessarily follows, being based on a transcendent foundation; on the other hand, the logical outworking of naturalistic materialism, or any other atheistic philosophy, cannot allow for any sanctity of life at all, if we are intrinsically no different than bacteria or minerals or any other unconscious object, being simply a quantum ripple. Without a transcendent basis of morality, discovered not determined by Man, there is absolutely no reason to treat anyone decently, let alone lovingly, at all, except for selfish gain; but this is merely pragmatism, and can have no truth value whatsoever, as it does not deal with truth but only immediate, selfish gain. But if objective morality exists, then our worldview must take it into account. Atheism by necessity cannot. But this only leads to Theism, the general belief that God exists; and it is at this point that the arguments for the Bible and Christianity come into play. If you would like a full explanation, please read "Christian Apologetics" by Norman Geisler. It contains far too much information to be relayed over internet comment.
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