Monday, November 07, 2005

Religious find in Israel

Inspired by a CBS News report.

Atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem under a certain Muslim dome where for years 'renovations' have occurred leaving a large pile of rubble and and equally large pile of questions for archaeologiststs and Rabbis unanswered as to what was being worked on. Or of the destruction in October 2000 of Joseph's Tomb at Shechem under the complicit watch of Arafat's Palestinian Authority. And never mind the destruction of those stone Bamiyan Buddhas in the mountains of Afghanistan by the Taliban. It seems someone is destroying religious artifacts of other religions.

Amidst all this gloomy reporting comes the following good news.

From the Levant comes some surprisingly good news in a most strange place. In the maximum-security prison of Megiddo, Israel, prisoners preparing the groundwork for a new prison wing found something besides dirt and rock. What has been uncovered are two beautifully preserved mosaics, one is adorned with a fish. The head archeologist in charge of the excavation, Yotam Tepper, thinks these are the remains of a third century AD Christian church. If so, it is a contemporary of the church at Dura Europos in Syria and predates the basilica church unearthed in Aqaba, Jordan. It is a pretty significant find and I think it will be proven this is a Christian church since the dig team says the mosaic recounts the story of a Roman soldier and a woman named Aketous donating money to build a church in the name of Jesus Christ. And since, before they could be seen in public as Christians, the faith of Christ was practiced in secret with the sign of the fish being the code to let other Christians know of your religious affiliation. So there is compelling initial evidence to support Yotam Tepper's belief that this is a Christian church.

Pardon a veering back to previous paragraph in regards to the Temple Mount. I really do not know if the true facts of what Islamic authorities up there doing will ever be known. At a guess, since in part of the Quran it states Jews are Muslims in denial, then perhaps they seek to alter evidence of the Jewish occupation of Mount Moriah to prove that they, the Muslims, are the actual followers. But the fact that Israel allows Muslims to stay in control of the Temple Mount, a place sacred to them, speaks volumes about the tolerance of the Israeli people and gives lie to the accusation of those who desire the removal of the Israeli state from the world map. For if the Israelis were the murders they are regularly accused of being; I must ask the accusers one question, then why after 1967 did Israel allow the al-Asqa mosque to stand?

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