Messiah Mashed by Monster
Jesus did not die on the cross - he was killed when his pet dinosaur turned on him, according to new evidence coming from the scientists working in the Holy Land.
Dr Seth Croyant, Chief Scientist with the Biblical Fact Foundation, is leading a team of evangelical archeologists based in Tel Aviv. According to Croyant, the team has uncovered several rock strata not dissimilar to those in other countries in which dinosaur remains have been found.
"And yet," he says, "these are the exact same rocks in which we find ancient tombs not unlike the one in which Christ was buried and from which he arose."
This led Croyant to re-read sections of the Gospels that deal with Christ's death. "Most of them are actually a bit skimpy on details when it comes to the whole crucifixion thing," he says. "And they're inconsistent. It looks to me like there's been some rewriting, perhaps to cover up an embarrassing truth."
Croyant says he will reveal the full details of what's he's discovered in a press conference in July, which is when he will also launch the book, DVD, iPhone app and range of apparel based on his findings. In the meantime, though, he's keen to head off criticism of his new interpretation of biblical history.
"Some other so-called scientists would have you believe that dinosaurs became extinct millions of years before God created humans," he says. "But as the Earth is only 6,000 years old, that means there was no planet for the dinosaurs to roam on, which proves the scientists are wrong. It's simple, really."
The Bible makes frequent references to dinosaurs - or 'behemoths' and 'leviathans' as it prefers to call them. There's evidence that some demons may also have been carnivorous dinosaurs, says Croyant. And some scholars have claimed that early editions of Paul's Epistles contained references to a 'Jesus Horse' which many scholars took to be a T. Rex.
"We now know this to be an Abelisaurus, or 'Abel's Lizard'," says Croyant. "That's a two-ton, 30-foot carnivore easily capable of killing a man. Maybe that's what killed Jesus, though it could still have been a T. Rex. I definitely think the Jesus Horse is what Christ rode into Jerusalem, and it got changed in the Gospels to a donkey so that it would fit Old Testament prophesies. But then, we all know how unreliable the Old Testament can be."
Not all scientists agree, however, and the new findings have prompted a furious debate about Christ's relationship with dinosaurs.
"Jesus spread a message of love," says Rodriguez Ignare of the Texas Organization for Scientific Harmony in Houston, "and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that he had any kind of relationship with anything but vegetarian dinosaurs.
"I think this new evidence has been misinterpreted," he adds, "and that Christ's death was nothing but an unfortunate accident. He was probably crushed when his tame Brontosaurus was just loved him too much."
However, both Croyant and Ignare agree on one issue
"He died for all our sins," says Croyant, "including the sins of dinosaurs."
The Real Face of Jesus
An Italian scientist has proven that the Turin Shroud - a sheet that bears the miraculous image of the crucified Christ - is genuine and shows the real face of Jesus. And the research was paid for by a bunch of non-believers!
Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, exactly reproduced the shroud using materials he says were easily available in medieval times.
Prof Garlaschelli laid a linen sheet over an assistant, rubbed it with an acid-soaked pigment and baked the sheet in an oven for that authentic 'biblical' look.
"The result is spooky," said businessman Jack Betise, an acknowledged expert in religion, the occult and the paranormal. "It's an exact replica of the Holy Shroud."
The Italian prof's research was funded by a group of atheists and agnostics, trying to prove that the real Turin Shroud could have been manufactured by con artists in the Middle Ages.
Two decades ago, carbon dating of the original Shroud dated it to between 1260 and 1390, but many Christians have maintained that it is the real thing - the burial cloth laid over Jesus after he was taken down from the cross.
"Professor Garlaschelli has shown, beyond reasonable doubt, that the image on the Turin Shroud was formed by direct contact with a real body," said Betise. "This completely blows out of the water any theories about it being a 'painting' or some other kind of fake. There has to have been a body. And, obviously, that body must have been our Lord Jesus Christ. Just look at the face. Who else could it have been?"
The image produced by Prof Garlaschelli was made even more realistic with the addition of blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains. He claims that this shows the real Turin Shroud could have been created at any time by anyone. But this is unlikely to worry the faithful, says Betise.
"That's just the usual scientism we've come to expect from these sorts of people," he said. "You know, scientists. As Homer Simpson said, you can prove anything with facts.
"In fact, this shows the strength of faith," added Betise. "Now we know the Shroud was formed by contact with the real Jesus, we can go back to dismissing mere evidence and once again glory in our beliefs."
A Roman Catholic cardinal, speaking through a Vatican media relations agency, has claimed that Pope Benedict XVI is about to make Adolf Hitler a saint.
"It's in recognition of Herr Hitler's dedication to making the world a more Christian place," claimed the cardinal. He said he was providing the information, on condition of anonymity, in order to put an end to a long-running debate. "The Catholic church is often accused of not having done enough in the Second World War to help purify Europe," he said. "Some say the Vatican stayed on the sidelines, but it's time to put the record straight and show how we did our utmost to increase the proportion of Christians in countries throughout the continent."
The cardinal claims the beatification of the erstwhile Nazi dictator has already begun, "though we need someone to take the part of Devil's Advocate," he said. "You know, someone we can trust. That's proving difficult."
Pope Benedict is believed by some to be smiling on the project. A Bavarian previously known as Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict is a former member of the Hitler Youth and later served in a German anti-aircraft unit during World War 2. While a Cardinal in charge of the Inquisition, he was given a number of nicknames by other members of the church, including 'the enforcer', 'God’s rottweiler' and 'the panzer cardinal'.
The cardinal admits that the elevation to sainthood of one of history's most notorious mass murderers might come as a surprise to some. "One has to admire, though, his clearly evident and frequently professed piety," he said. "He was, after all, born and raised a Catholic and, in spite of a few disagreements, generally maintained warm relations with the Vatican throughout the war. That's why we were so keen to help leading Nazis escape the terror of Protestant- and atheist-inspired so-called 'justice' when the war ended. Oh, and there was the Jew thing."
Some revisionist historians have tried to portray Hitler as an atheist himself, pointing to the Nazis' sporadic actions against churches and alleged 'private' statements against Christianity recorded in the infamous 'Table Talk' publications. "However, the Nazis made great efforts to create and support a unified church," explained the cardinal. "And all that 'Table Talk' nonsense is just a misunderstanding as a result of poor translations. That's something we know all about in the Christian church."
He added: "All you have to do is look at what Hitler actually said."
Hitler's faith was expressed early. In 1921, he announced: "My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior ... I am fighting for the work of the Lord." He often mentioned the "treasures of the living Christ" and when some visiting deaconesses asked him from where he drew the strength to change the Reich, he replied "From God's word".
Hitler saw non-belief as a threat. Over dinner, he would tell people "We don't want to educate anyone in atheism". In public, he declaimed: "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith. From our point of view as representatives of the state, we need believing people."
He also gained a great deal of support from Christians. "If anyone can lay claim to God's help, then it is Hitler, for without God's benevolent fatherly hand, without his blessing, the nation would not be where it stands today," said evangelical education minister Bernhard Rust, in a speech to a mass meeting of German Christians in 1933. "It is an unbelievable miracle that God has bestowed on our people."
Catholic Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich, after visiting Hitler at his mountain retreat, said: "Without doubt the chancellor lives in faith in God. He recognizes Christianity as the foundation of Western culture."
Pope Pius XII, a month after becoming Pontiff in 1939, instructed Archbishop Orsenigo to throw a birthday party for Hitler's 50th birthday and never forgot to send "warmest congratulations" every year on the same occasion.
The move is not universally welcome, however. One of the most outspoken critics of the beatification is a Nigerian priest, Father Blimey O'Reilly. "He went a bit far sometimes," said O'Reilly. "Killing all those poor mentally retarded people, for one thing. And in these more enlightened times, the Roman Catholic church absolutely condemns the act of sending homosexuals to concentration camps. They can be cured now."
However, even O'Reilly admits some grudging respect. "There's no doubt that Hitler performed numerous miracles," he said. "The saving of the German economy, the building of the autobahns and making the Beetle a popular car."
Second Coming and Going
Jesus Christ has returned to Earth. But instead of heralding the Apocalypse, it turned out to be just a brief visit by the Messiah, who said he was "a bit pushed for time".
Christ appeared unexpectedly in the home of 74 year-old Apocrypha Cartwright, an ex-nun and bingo caller living in Duluth.
Cartwright, who has previously been visited by the Virgin Mary, Gandhi, Elvis and Oprah [check that last one, it might be true - ed], said that she was taken by surprise when she found Jesus in her utility room.
"I was just going to put some of my husband's shorts in to soak, because they've got some of those difficult stains, and there He was, standing by the tumbledryer," she quivered. "At first I thought He might be cleaning His robes, but then I could see they were all sort of glowing and ethereal and that sort of thing really needs hand washing."
The Messiah then explained that he was only "popping by".
"I asked Him if He was going to scourge the wicked and cast them into the bottomless pit and bring forth locusts with hair of women and teeth of lions and bring about God's kingdom on Earth," said Cartwright. "But He told me it wasn't really an official visit."
Unsure what she should do, lest she be judged, Cartwright offered the Messiah a cup of tea, which he gladly accepted. "I asked Him if He wanted herbal but He just wrinkled His nose. He also asked if I had any vodka to put in it, which I thought was strange. But I'd drunk the last of it that morning."
Although disappointed that Christ had not come to punish evildoers, the old woman confessed that it was also a bit of a relief. "I was a bit worried I was going to be cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God," she said. "And I still had my curlers in. Hopefully, we'll get a bit more warning when the Apocalypse really happens."
Although his visit was brief, Cartwright says Christ left a message for the world.
"He said to say He was really sorry he couldn't stay," said Cartwright, "but He was literally in the neighborhood and thought He'd drop in to see how we're getting along. He said He'd try to stay longer next time."
A British movie director claims he has discovered a 2,000 year-old lunchbox once used by Jesus Christ.
Mickey Lozer has written, directed and produced a new 23-minute documentary, 'The Packed Lunch of Jesus', available via mail order on DVD. In it, he documents the discovery and subsequent identification of the holy vessel.
"You may know me as the director of Death Dream, Death Dream 2 and Death Dream 3," said Lozer. "And Death Dream 4. But I'm also a deeply committed Christian and when I first heard about the discovery of Christ's lunchbox I just knew this was a hot property."
In the movie, Lozer says how his first encounter with the box gave him the chills. "This was actually touched and used by our Lord," he says. "He took it to work with him every day when toiling as a carpenter."
Lozer also shows the spot, just outside Nazareth, where the small wooden box was unearthed. A construction crew was digging foundations for a new fast-food restaurant.
"At first they thought it was just another of those bone box things — whaddya call 'em? Ossuaries. Yeah that's it. Anyway, those things are turning up everywhere and who really cares about a bunch of old bones, right? The workmen were about to sling it in the trash when someone noticed the handle on top of the box and realized that this might be something special."
One of the workmen was a fan of Lozer's movies, knew of the director's interest in ancient relics and contacted him via Lozer's blog, 'Remember Me?'. Lozer immediately arranged to have the box examined by an Oklahoma-based company whose scientists specialize in identifying relics as having belonged to Jesus.
"They found traces of bread inside," said Lozer. "It was when they realized the bread was unleavened that they really got excited."
Carvings on the side of the box, in Aramaic, roughly translate as 'Property of Yeshua bar Yosef. Hands off!'.
And tests on the handle revealed traces of DNA.
"Perhaps this is the most exciting part," said Lozer. "Now we have Jesus Christ's DNA, we can find other things that belonged to him. A hammer, maybe. Or some nails."
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