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Signs from God: Science Tests Faith

Visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Statues weeping blood. Rose petals placed in a Bible displaying images of the Virgin and Jesus. Stigmata appearing on the head, hands and feet. Supposedly uneducated people "channeling" messages from Jesus in a variety of languages unknown to them. What is going on here?

Tonite Fox TV had a two-hour special on these bizarre occurrences, which they investigated scientifically to some degree. Of course, they did not have any real skeptics on, nor did they deal with any phenomena of faiths other than Catholicism. While some of these phenomena may remain inexplicable, others have been demonstrated to be simple priestcraft. Weeping and bleeding statues, for example, have frequently been found to be fraudulent, with compartments that are periodically filled with substances such as blood or oil. Such fraud has been rampant over the millennia, long before the Christian era. The rose petals, for another example, were evidently created by the means of pressing a medallion against them. The blood found in one of the statues of Jesus was discovered to be female; no problem for the believer, who would argue that the blood was that of his Mother. Stigmata could be produced by the fervent belief in it, psychosomatically with the mind, if not by someone's hand.

The stigmata, of course, are very strange, as they sometimes do seem to appear spontaneously and not to be self-inflicted. They are based, naturally, on what the faithful believe to be the "wounds of Christ," dramatically portraying the suffering of the "gentle Jesus" on the cross. Naturally, believers depict this "torture" of Jesus as having taken place in less than three hours, which is not consistent with the crucifixion of the era, whereby people did not die in three hours but sometimes took days. And it is also an insult to those who have truly suffered, millions who have been viciously tortured, raped and murdered. Also, the individuals involved usually claim that they are somehow "chosen" to bring "Jesus's final message" or some other such to the world, messages that include the usual drivel: "Men of the 20th century, you have forgotten me. Please let me embrace you with My Love."

Regarding the phenomena that remain unexplained, one must nonetheless ask questions and not blindly accept them as "signs from God." For example, alleged supernatural events occur constantly in India. If the unexplained Catholic or Christian phenomena serve as evidence that God, Jesus and Mary are real, the numerous phenomena in India must consequently serve as evidence that Brahma, Vishnu, Krishna and countless other Hindu gods are real. And then there are the phenomena within Buddism, particularly in Tibet. Naturally, the same type of phenomena occurred in the pre-Christian world, including apparitions of the Virgin Isis and Serapis, among others.

If such phenomena are "real" in the sense that they are not frauds produced by humans, then they cannot serve as evidence of the "reality" of Jesus or Mary, since they also occur within other religions, purportedly at the hand of other gods. If the Hindu cosmology is "proved" by "supernatural" phenomena such as statues of Ganesha drinking copious amounts of milk, then the Christian cosmology cannot be real, and vice versa. In accepting these phenomena as being "supernatural," we are left with a picture of a bunch of entities basically messing around with humans, playing mindgames and deceiving them.

In any case, one must also ask, if these creatures are real, why do they manifest themselves in rose petals or images on the floor of huts in South American jungles? Why don't the Virgin Mary or Jesus wave their wands and make toxic waste dumps disappear or clean up polluted rivers? Why create these odd and seemingly comical things, forcing people to suffer wounds, instead of taking over network TV or grabbing the Net? Even if such phenomena were real, they could not be the signs of any intelligent god. Indeed, they would be the result of a cosmic pathology.

Not only are these various "gods" not helping with the rotten environment and poverty worldwide, they are supposedly exacerbating it via "acts of God." According to the Christian blather, we are supposedly being punished for not accepting the gospel and not repenting. This pathology is based on the assumption that humans are evil, which is particulary hard to buy when one watches a poor man desperately weeping after his entire family has been destroyed by a tsunami. Such behavior is simply unacceptable from a good and loving god of any sort. Not even humans are as cruel – and they are certainly not omnipotent, such that, instead of beating each other up, they can just snap their fingers and change the scene. Such is what the all-powerful God supposedly can do, yet, according to this scenario, "he" doesn't, instead opting to pummel puny humankind into submission. The whole picture is simply sickening. Such are the "signs of God."

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"Murdock's scholarship is relentless! ...the research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration." —Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut State University, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience In Archaeology

"I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock... I find it undeniable that...many, many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets and constellations..." —Dr. Robert M. Price, The Pre-Nicene New Testament

"I can recommend your work whole-heartedly!" —Dr. Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus and The New Testament Code,

"...I have found Murdock's scholarship, research, knowledge of the original languages, and creative linkages to be breathtaking and highly stimulating." —Rev. Dr. Jon Burnham, Pastor, Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX

"I've known people with triple Ph.D's who haven't come close to the scholarship in Who Was Jesus?" —Pastor David Bruce, M.Div, North Park Seminary, Chicago,

"Thirty years ago, when in divinity school, I might have had second thoughts about becoming an Episcopal priest if a book like D. M. Murdock's Who Was Jesus? had been available to me." —Bob Semes, Retired university professor of History and Religion, Founder and Executive Director of The Jefferson Center

"Ms. Murdock is one of only a tiny number of scholars with the richly diverse academic background (and the necessary courage) to adequately address the question of whether Jesus Christ truly existed as a walking-talking figure in first-century Palestine." —David Mills, Atheist Universe

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