For those who haven’t been watching television, reading the newspaper, or surfing the Web — in other words, coma patients —“The Lost Tomb of Jesus” aired Sunday on the Discovery Channel.

According to the documentary, 10 ossuaries (ancient limestone “bone boxes,” wherein skeletal remains of the deceased were placed after suitable “airing out”) were uncovered in 1980.

Said ossuaries were alleged to have been in a family tomb, hidden since the first Century. Six of the ossuaries had writing on them, and all were cataloged, and put into an warehouse, where they remained.

Twenty years later, new researchers observed this particular cluster of names on the ossuaries appeared to be a list of Jesus Christ and his family members.

Among the documentary’s assertions are that not only are Christ’s bones in one of the ossuaries, but also Mary Magdelane’s and another, theorized to be her son, Judah, whom she had through Jesus.

Where’s Tom Hanks with his weird “DaVinci Code” haircut when you need really him?

Early last week, producer James Cameron and “Tomb” director/writer Simcha Jacobovici appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” to promote the special.

During the segment, the two were asked for a response to a veritable “avalanche” of scientific and religious criticisms, including Joe Zias, former curator for anthropology and archeology at Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. Zias said “Simcha has no credibility whatsoever — he’s pimping off the Bible,” and even, “Projects like these make a mockery of the archeological profession.”


Cameron and Jacobovici admitted they weren’t “experts” on the matter, but a film maker and journalist — in other words, there’s a matter of credibility from both, regarding the subject matter.

The duo aren’t the only ones suffering from less than convincing credibility, though.

The Discovery Channel itself has aired several Biblical “specials” later to have been shown to be “questionable” at best (and in the case of 2002’s “Ossuary of James,” Exhibit A, the ossuary, was found by the Israel Antiquities Authority to be a forgery — this special was produced by Jacobovici, by the way)

Given the track record of all parties involved, calling “Tomb” a documentary was being more than a little loose with the language.

Here’s the thing: There are people who believe Jesus to be the risen son of God (myself, among them), and those that don’t.

In some cases, both camps “agree to disagree,” in other cases, each side tries to persuade the other to their philosophy. In the most regretful cases, the dissension leads to violence — ironic, as it’s the antithesis of everything Jesus taught.

One argument made by some about Jesus‚ resurrection is that His disciples stole the body (from a tomb guarded by fully armed Roman soldiers) to perpetuate the “myth” of His deity. Yet all but one of them were killed for their beliefs — something no one, probably not even James Cameron or Mr. Jacobovici — would do for something they know to be false.

Discovery Channel aside, it all boils down to faith: People believe what they want to believe, whether it’s what they see with their eyes or feel in their hearts.

We can’t see our children’s love for us with our eyes, but we can feel it, we know it’s there, and we believe in it. We can’t see the wind (unless it’s a mobile home hating F5 tornado), but its effects are evident.

I wouldn’t expect “Tomb” to rationalize most Christians out of their faith. Likewise, people that already doubt what’s contained in the Bible may have had several “Aha!” moments, if they watched it.

But “entertainment” under the guise of scientific reality should be taken with a pillar of salt — just ask Lot’s wife.

Personally, I’m not worried about Cameron or Jacobovici or the Discovery Channel — the Christian faith has withstood centuries of those who don’t agree with it, and I’m sure it will continue to withstand criticism for many more years to come.

If the Discovery Channel had wanted to make “Tomb” worth watching, they should have had the guys from “MythBusters” host it instead — they would have proved about as much, and at least been more interesting.