Associated Press castigated for 'fake news' about Jesus

Associated Press castigated for 'fake news' about Jesus March 22, 2017

Yesterday, Associated Press, in reporting on the historic $4-million renovation of the Edicule, described it as ‘the cave where Jesus was buried and rose to heaven’.
This got right up the nose of Steven D Greydanus, a deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark. Writing for The National Catholic Register, he accused AP of conflating Jesus’s  “Resurrection”  with his “Ascension”.
Why was this such a a big deal?
After all, both are just silly myths.
Greydanus explains:

To conflate the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus into a single event is thus to radically distort and falsify the foundational Christian claim.

He grumbled:

When the press reports on religion, subtract 15 IQ points. When the press reports on Jesus, subtract 50 IQ points.
In other words, the [AP] journalist doesn’t know or care that the Resurrection and the Ascension – Jesus rising from the dead and Jesus ascending into Heaven – are two quite different events that took place in two different places (the traditional site of the Ascension is not the Holy Sepulchre, but the Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet), separated by 40 days during which Jesus walked, talked, and ate with his disciples.

He added:

In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say those 40 days are responsible for the Christian faith being what it is and not something completely different.
The foundational Christian claim is that Jesus returned bodily to life after his dead by crucifixion. He wasn’t simply translated into Heaven or glorified at the right hand of the Father.

The aftermath of the crucifixion involves three distinct phases:
On Friday evening and Saturday he was dead, buried, in the tomb, like anyone else who ever died.
Then, on Sunday morning, the tomb was empty – and Jesus’ followers (first the women, then Peter, then the rest of the twelve and others also) encountered him repeatedly in various situations: near the tomb, in the upper room, on the road to Emmaus, and so forth.
These were bodily encounters, different from the rather common phenomenon of reported sightings, apparitions or visions of the recently departed. Such phenomena (whether ascribed to paranormal or psychological mechanisms) were as well known in the ancient world as they are today, and would not have led to the foundational Christian conviction that the resurrection – an eschatological belief for the Jews – had suddenly been anticipated in a single case.
These experiences were different. For one thing, when people appeared as ghosts or in visions, their corpses remained in their tombs. Jesus’ corpse had been buried (1 Corinthians 15:4, the very earliest testimony on this topic, is clear on that point), but now it was gone. For another, he ate and drank with them; he showed them his flesh and bones; he even offered to let Thomas probe his wounds …
During these 40 days, Jesus’ disciples came to understand that their master had returned to bodily life, but a mode of bodily life unlike anything anyone had experienced, and even unlike anything the Jews were hoping for or anticipating.
Finally, after 40 days this period of Jesus meeting and walking with his disciples came to some sort of definitive ending, and a third phase began: the post-ascension phase. Jesus was gone, but only after having clearly “presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days” (Acts 1:3).
Nine days after that, something else happened that enables us to speak of Jesus being and remaining with his disciples in a spiritual sense – but this happened only after his physical resurrection from the dead had been clearly established.

He also said the AP report:

Distorts the whole Christian picture of the world …

A chastened AP was quick to acknowledged its error.

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  • Stephen Mynett

    Pity these creeps do not care as much about all the children abused by their church.

  • Newspaniard

    If you want a good laugh, you just HAVE to follow the link to the Edicule. ROFL is an understatement. The gullible of the early church followers from Roman times on just belies belief. They say that they have found 30 sets of relics of “Jesus” then have to admit that Jesus was a common name at the time. You don’t suspect that the authors of the myth generated in what is now known as the New Testament used the name Jesus precisely because it was so common? Despite the Moses, Jesus and Mohammad stories being total myths doesn’t stop the fanatics and weak willed from spending their fortunes propping up these money-making fairy stories. I wonder if these “devout” renovators added flock wallpaper and chintz curtains to the bare cave to make it more attractive to the tourists? Cheeses give me strength! (Roquefort preferred)

  • Cali Ron

    How dare the media not get the fairy tale right. ‘Writing for The National Catholic Register, he accused AP of conflating Jesus’s “Resurrection” with his “Ascension”.’ I suppose he’d be really upset if the AP had actually stuck to facts and conflated Jesus story with the fairy tale it is. Talk about obsessing over minutiae, I think his brains have been damaged from excessive religious exposure.

  • Paul

    Let’s stick to facts.
    Best not it’s Christianity after all.

  • barriejohn

    In the Old Testament book of the same name, Joshua led the Hebrews in their conquest of “The Promised Land” (Moses having died at the age of 120 years, within sight of the land – God being a sadistic bugger – but not able to enter it because of a momentary loss of self-control). For this reason many NT zealots adopted the name Joshua, which became “Jesus” when rendered in Latin form, so, yes, it would be amazing beyond belief were there not evidence of “Jesus” in First Century Palestine!
    (BTW It is not necessary to always refer to Jesus as “Yeshua” to show intellectual superiority – it just makes one look, in my view, like a pedantic prat.)
    Moses is a much more interesting name. No one really knows its origin or meaning, though it is probably genuinely Egyptian. It would be fascinating to learn where the mythology of Moses originated, but I suppose we shall never know now, as it, like the origins of the histories of characters like Abraham, are now lost in the mists of time.

  • barriejohn

    From last December’s Mail (Science section), see the place where Jesus was actually born:
    ‘This block is marking the very spot of his delivery,’ the guide explains, before pointing out another part of the shrine believed to be the manger and even the spot where the three wise men stood on their visit to the infant. Wow.

  • Newspaniard

    @barriejohn. Yeshua! You nearly had me wetting my pants. Thanks for that.

  • Angela_K

    A question that amuses me regarding the Jesus myth, is why would anyone bury a body in a cave, surely in a hot country the body is put in the ground or burned because they get whiffy rather quickly.

  • Prior

    Of course jesus, who may have been some kind of deranged hippy loon, never did all the fantastic things invented by the pious. But everyone should know that the jesus story is a cynically confected myth used originally to mind control and quell a primitive and barbaric population. But knowing a good thing when they see it the pious quickly turned the whole fairy story into a money spinner that has been morphed and transformed ever since for the puposes of attaining and maintaining power, control and wealth. The whole christian myth is a gargantuan francise operation that dwarfs all modern franchises by a huge margin. McDonalds are amateurs in comparison. McDonalds actually give you something physically real, and some say tasty, in exchange for your money. The rcc though, for example, sells you the promise of eternal paradise, in a divine locale that does not even exist, and if you don’t buy it then you are condemned to eternal hell fire and damnation. At least with McDonalds you don’t have to buy. And if you don’t they don’t threatenen to roast your arse onto the griddle as a punishment, not even for a second. Nor do McDonalds stone you to death for for going to Burger King for a s’hite burger.
    Time for Take Down. Religions have taken the piss for too long. Do all in your power to end the tyranny.

  • A few questions for Deacon Greydanus:
    Where did the Ascension take place?
    Mark: In or near Jerusalem (16:19)
    Luke: In Bethany (24:50-51)
    Acts: Mount of Olives (1:9-12)
    How many days did Jesus walk, talk, and eat with his disciples?
    Mark: One (16:19)
    Luke: One (24:50-52)
    John: At least eight days (20:26, 21:1-22)
    Acts: At least forty days (1:3)
    Did the returned Jesus have a body that could be probed?
    Matthew: Yes (28:9)
    John: No (20:17), Yes (20:27)
    Was the tomb empty?
    Matthew: No (28:2)
    Mark: Yes (16:4)
    Luke: Yes (24:2)
    John: Yes (20:1)
    … questions from Dan Baker’s ‘Easter Challenge.’

  • Prior

    Sorry OT.
    Turkey is in the hands of islamofacist loons. IS are on the brink of a rout but the specious bastard islamofacist shitehawk lunatic Erdogan fancies his chances to eclipse the murderous antics of IS.
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Europeans across the world would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude.
    “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy,” Erdogan said at event for local journalists in Ankara.

  • remigius

    “Where did the Ascension take place?
    Mark: In or near Jerusalem (16:19)
    Luke: In Bethany (24:50-51)
    Acts: Mount of Olives (1:9-12)”

    Bethany is actually on the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem.

  • TreenonPoet

    If you want to know the *true* story of what Easter celebrates, you need to buy a Meaningful Chocolate Company Easter egg. A booklet enclosed with the egg reveals the truth. (But you can’t buy the eggs from Sainsburys; I presume they do not want their food products to contain poison.) I know this from one of the photographs at
    I mean, why would the booklet claim it was a true story if there was any doubt? Surely that would be breaking product-description law?

  • Cali Ron

    Prior : Erdogan telling Europe to respect democracy is the epitome of hypocrisy. He has used the attempted overthrow to arrest thousands without due process and now is trying to increase his powers. He’s traveling down the road to despotic dictator and is adding to the whole “Islamic “problem.

  • StephenJP

    Dear me,there is an awful lot of ignorant confusion going on in the original post. Trevor Blake points to some of the absurd contradictions in the biblical texts. I suppose it is just worth adding that these days,as opposed to in the first years CE, we actually know quite a bit about the chemical and physical changes that take place in tissues after death, and they are irreversible. There is no way in which the relevant chemical reactions can be reversed, even with a favourable energy gradient. Not even supernatural intervention (not that this is conceivable) could manage this feat, any more than the SG of iron can ever be less than that of liquid water (as asserted in 2 Kings: 6).
    Conclusion: It’s. All. Made. Up. All of it. Time to bin it all.

  • John the Drunkard

    I don’t believe that ‘Bethany’ or the Mount of Olives have any more than ‘traditional’ locations anyway.
    Trevor has just grazed the surface of Gospel contradictions. it is not possible to construct an account, even of the time from the Last Supper to the Resurrection, which agrees with all four accounts, they really are that different.
    Still, confusing the resurrection and the ascension is pretty egregious. So much for living in a Xtian culture where ‘everybody’ knows all that stuff

  • TreenonPoet

    I agree entirely. What you say about irreversibility also follows from the relevant Oxford definition of ‘death’ (“the end of the life of a person or organism”). If there is further life, then the end of life has not yet been reached.

  • Peter Ratcliff

    If you encountered a person who you saw dead yesterday and he is alive and talking to you today, he either wasn’t dead yesterday or you are under a grave misapprehension.
    Maybe they’re all just mistaken, poor souls.

  • 1859

    Really this is such a finger-down-the-throat, cheesy fairy story – every religious crackpot wants their god to be the best, so they invent all kinds of bells-and-whistle wonders to believe in. It’s truly pathetic. It’s 2017 and someone thinks the distinction between a ‘resurrection’ and an ‘ascension’ is of Earth-shattering importance – when both are mere superstitious fictions, like pixies living beneath rhubbarb leaves. Give me a break while I chunder….

  • Brian Jordan

    I suppose it is just worth adding that these days,as opposed to in the first years CE, we actually know quite a bit about the chemical and physical changes that take place in tissues after death, and they are irreversible.
    I wonder if it’s a bit more subtle than that? In those days there were probably cases of people, who had been thought dead, coming out of comas – hence the “miracles”. To found a new religion, you really something a bit more than a common or garden miracle. Not only “coming back to life” but “going up to Heaven” however, makes the grade. So they want you to know it’s the second bit that counts, especially in these days of greater medical understanding.

  • barriejohn

    Brian Jordan: That’s a very good point. As a young Christian, I heard “scientific explanations”for many of the miracles in the Bible, like the raising of the widow’s son by Elijah, and the destruction of the Cities of the Plain (Sodom and Gomorrah – with geological charts, too!), which were supposed to bolster our faith. But it always seemed to me that if these “miracles” had perfectly natural causes, where was the miraculous? Surely, it just pointed to the fact that uneducated people found a way to explain natural events that were beyond their understanding.