Every week or so I run across a headline or article in the media that makes me laugh or brings out the maximum irony. Today was one of those discoveries...the headline read "Great Grand-mom of Jesus Identified".
My immediate reaction was "wow, they can't find "Osama bin Laden", but they found the great-grandmother of Jesus"? In fact, last I knew they haven't even found the remains of Jesus yet...who was a much more famous person.
From there my mind went spinning to the question "how would you identify or prove the linkage of such a find to the historical Jesus?" Would DNA testing somehow prove lineage? But wait...you would need Jesus' "DNA" in order to match that up as well, right? Beyond that, according to Christian tradition, Jesus was born of a "Virgin" Mary...and is the "Son of God"...so once again, how would that make Mary's grand-mother Jesus' great-grandmother?
I know, I know...many of you friends and family of religious persuasion are going to start shaking your mental finger at me before I make a total mockery of the faith. That truly is not my intention. My real point here is how sensationalistic and frivolous much of our modern day media has become...especially pertaining to religion. This was underscored after I read the full article and started connecting the dots of this ludicrous conjecture.
Some interesting quotes from the article that help us put this "news" into context...
"Medieval legends suggest that Ismeria, a descendent of the tribe of King David, was the grandmother of the Virgin Mary". Ok, so this story reported as almost FACT is sourced from Medieval (15th century...like 1500 years AD) legends (a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical). GREAT source.
"According to the legend, Ismeria then goes to a hospital where...she is said to perform a miracle, filling a shell with fish to feed all of the hospital's patients." Isn't this a direct rip off of Mark's "gospel" writing of Jesus' feeding the multitudes with "two loaves and five fishes"? I guess he must have learned that one from his "grandmother".
"...the author of the Ismeria legend remains unknown". Ok...that's a great source for your story.
I bring all this up because I can now clearly expect a new Christian cult to arise who are devoted to "Ismeria", a new patron saint, and eternal "great-grandmother of God". My problem with this is that it is non-factual "historical" arguments or "legends" like these that continue to fuel the polarization of world populations over issues of "faith"...faith being "that which is hoped for...the evidence of things unseen". They are right...this would take a huge leap of faith...yet thousands of "believers" will be once again sidetracked by another speculative legend that will be interpreted as "literal" truth. This to me does not encourage "faith"...it undermines it and makes religion more of an aberration than it already is in most cases.
In this matter, I must agree with the Guatama Buddha - “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”