Faith and Science

by Terry Skinner Mon. 2/19/2018
As atheists often point out, there is no physical evidence of early Christianity. It may
shock you to find out that this is true. Sure we have writings, locations, and even
objects that speak of or are dated to that time, but there is to this date there is no
physical item that speaks of Christianity during the first two hundred years.
Is this proof, however, that early Christianity never existed and that the church has
created an elaborate hoax? Not at all. But modern Biblical archaeology has made the
mistake of “wanting” to find physical evidence of first century Christians that it
imposes false claims to objects like grails, bone boxes, and lost manuscripts, only to
build up hopes and confidences that are ultimately ridiculed and shattered when
those objects turn out to be false, fakes, or outright forgeries. Ultimately, the
inability to find tangible objects from first century Christianity, has given fuel to the
conspiracy fire for non-believers
On the other hand, if one takes “known” history and places the early Christian church
in a first century roman-controlled setting, it actually does more to confirm what we
suspected all along. If what we suspect about early Christianity is true, then there
“shouldn’t” be an abundance of objects identifying first century people as Christians.
To begin with, believers in Christ during the first 300 years, did not advertise their
faith, much unlike today’s evangelical movement. They were a people facing severe
persecution by Rome and had to worship in secret. Think Jews during the holocaust.
Think Anne Frank. We today have a great blessing; the freedom to worship openly, to
publish our songs and thoughts, to create objects that remind us of our faith, from
elaborate works of art down to bumper stickers. First century worshipers, many of
whom could not read or write, produced some doctrinal writings, but almost all of
those were initially passed by word of mouth, or were copied for generations and the
originals lost to time.
Another reason we have very few objects from the early Christian community is that
there was a vast multitude of Jewish Christians in the early church… believers who
took the 2nd commandment to mean, “thou shalt not create any visible image”, when,
in fact, it was in reference to idol worship. As for non-idolic creations, many of the
first century Christians were of a different economic caste as we are today. Today,
we throw money at more objects to decorate our homes, at toys for the garage, and
even at faith-based trinkets… whereas the first Christians seldom had much
disposable income and just weren’t into hoarding unnecessary junk.
Another reason for lack of artistic expression of early Christianity was that Jewish
leaders of that time period were also fighting a fierce war against the influence of
Hellenistic art from Greece and pagan art from Rome. Like today’s questionable
dabbling in worldly movies and music, there was considerable concern as to how
other culture’s were influencing Jewish society… and so, it was nearly forbidden to
demonstrate one’s faith artistically in those times.
In the end, if we were to find any object with a direct Christian reference, it would
contradict our understanding of the first followers of Jesus much more so than if we
didn’t. So no evidence is all the evidence we need.

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