The Jesus Conspiracy, Essay Example

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Essay

I chose to write about the above-named article published in The New York Times on September 21, 2012 and written by Ross Douthat. Mr. Douthat  has been a columnist at the Times since 2009, and prior to that was a senior editor at The Atlantic, as well as holding previous jobs at different publications such as National Review. He has also authored and co-authored several books. Having read several of his columns, I have found him to be a relatively conservative writer with strong opinions on religious matters such as abortion and Catholicism. The current article discusses the recent archaeological find of a piece of papyrus that refers to “Jesus’ wife.” Mr. Douthat refers to several incidents in recent years in which he believes people are trying to revise the history that is presented in the New Testament. He disparages those claims, expressing the viewpoint that the original scriptures cannot be improved upon, but rather should be taken as they have always been understood. These efforts are what he refers to as “The Jesus Conspiracy.”

The argument presented by Mr. Douthat: 1. There is no evidence in the New Testament that Jesus was married and 2. Therefore he was not.

His conclusion is that all of the newer speculations relating to Jesus are motivated by a conspiracy to rewrite history.

His logic is: using circular reasoning, beginning with his argument and ending with the same thesis: that the Bible presents the story in a certain way, and he believes it literally. All of the conspiracy theories are simply efforts to revise history by people who are skeptics about Christianity.

While I understand that people of strong faith tend to have a literal interpretation of the Bible, and I can respect Mr. Douthat’s religious beliefs, believing in a literal translation of the Bible suspends my belief system. No, I can’t prove that the planet was created in six days, or that Noah took two of every species of animals onto a large boat, but the absence of evidence to support that does not alter my belief.

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