Jesus is alive and living in Las Vegas. Or was that Elvis? This is actually a less far-fetched idea than a water-walking, healing, immaculately conceived carpenter who dies on a cross, is resurrected, gets his own religion and becomes the invisible Supreme Being. The existence of God has been a healthy source of argument throughout the ages. But the religious side was always defended with the unanswerable “You can’t prove that he doesn’t exist.” Religious historian Holger Kersten and scientist Elmar R. Gruber have taken a first step in providing that proof.
The Jesus Conspiracy is a well-researched book that mostly deals with the Turin Shroud, the funeral cloth that bears the mysterious imprint of the crucified Jesus. For years its authenticity was questioned, and in 1988, three scientific laboratories working independently in different parts of the world used radio-carbon dating to prove that the cloth was a forgery. The authors have carefully re-created the events leading to the testing and conclude that ulterior motives were at work. The theory is presented that the cloth is authentic and the results have been tampered with. But why would anyone want to make the most revered relic of Christendom appear to be a fake? Kersten and Gruber’s research led them to a culture-shattering conclusion. The imprint on the cloth is of a man who was still alive when he was laid in the tomb. This challenges the fundamental core of Christianity, which is based on “the salvation” which Jesus is supposed to have vicariously obtained for all by his “death on the cross.” In short, what would become of the crucial sentence written by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, ‘And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain?’ (1 Cor. 15:14) The authors offer evidence that Christ was merely unconscious on the cross and the burial was a ruse to fool Pilate. His friends had given him an opiate-like substance that made him hang limp on the cross and be taken for dead, put him in the tomb, and rescued him when the coast was clear. The imprint on the burial cloth may have been made by a combination of chemicals, incense and body vapors. The rest of the story has been buried in 2,000 years of misinterpretation and theological manipulation. This theory also coincides with the recent uncovering and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But, of course, zealots will still claim that this proves nothing. Perhaps the question should be posed that if Jesus was the Son of God and then later became the Lord, what ever happened to his dad? I’m sure he could answer a few questions. AN
Hardback: 373 pages