e-mail us


Those theologians just aren’t keeping up


I have friends who are priests, nuns, pastors, deacons and Christian teachers. I worry about them. They’re reading the Bible, taking theology classes and paging through learned journals -- but they’re not keeping up. They’re not reading the Weekly World News.

For decades now, the News has printed dramatic revelations about scriptural events. Usually, the headlines tell the whole story.

There’s news about the Creation. The tabloid announced “The Bible’s Garden of Eden Discovered South of Denver!” (June 2, 1992) and “God’s Tree of Good and Evil Found!” (March 26, 1996). The explorers who located the Tree (in Turkey) were debating whether they should eat the fruit. They might become wiser, but the situation is chancy.

There are revelations about our First Parents. We learned about a “Baby Discovered with Adam and Eve’s Skeletons!” (Feb. 25, 1997). A provocative article declared “Bible Expert Discovers Adam and Eve’s Last Name!” (Oct. 29, 1996). An Oregon scholar is sure they were Mr. and Mrs. Yahprima. He didn’t say what the baby’s name was.

Old Testament discoveries are always dramatic. We read “Original Ten Commandments Found in Ethiopia!” (March 24, 1998). And even more amazing: “Ancient Stone Tablets Prove God Gave Moses 13 Commandments -- Not 10!” (Jan. 13, 1998). The three lost commandments require us to protect the environment, keep ourselves physically fit and abolish slavery.

The News reports incredible discoveries: “Noah’s Ark Found in Pennsylvania!” (Jan. 8, 1991). And “Bible’s Burning Bush Found in Holy Land!” (April 5, 1994, and again March 10, 1998). We learned the bush burns 24 hours a day with 2,000 degree flames. Another story proclaimed “Sodom and Gomorrah Found!” (Jan. 30, 1996). And the following headline was inevitable: “AIDS Mummy Found in Ancient Ruins!” (Nov. 5, 1996).

New discoveries keep occurring. The tabloid announced “Samson’s Hair Found in Israel!” (Jan. 28, 1998), and “Lost Ark of the Covenant Discovered!” (March 24, 1998), and “Goliath’s Skull Found in Holy Land!” (June 25, 1993). As you might expect, the skull was identified by the gaping hole over its left eye. Some revelations challenge our religious complacency. A classified document from Cape Canaveral produced the headline: “Tower of Babel Found on Mars!” (June 19, 1998).

Some stories are not directly scriptural, but they’re related. Many occurred in America. We read “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Photographed in America!” (June 17, 1996). And “Wing Found in Arizona Came from an Angel” (May 17, 1994). Witnesses say it flew into a helicopter. We read “Satan’s Burial Ground Found in Arizona!” (April 14, 1995). And “Satan’s Mummy Found in Mexico!” (April 1, 1997).

Some stories concern the geography of the afterlife. One said “Religious Task Force Finds Door to Hell!” (June 18, 1996). This was a deep channel near Starkweather, N.D.

Some speculations are extraterrestrial. We read “Newly Discovered Planet may be Location of Hell!” (Feb. 25, 1997). The News even argued that “Saturn is Heaven!” (March 10, 1998). One proof is that it has a glowing halo.

New Testament discoveries are also prominent. We learned “Jesus Was 6-foot, 8-inches Tall!” (June 16, 1998). And “7 Ancient Prophecies found in Jesus’ Tomb!” (April 14, 1998). One predicted UFO abductions. We read “2,000-Year-Old Letter from Jesus Found!” (March 4, 1997). This is particularly revealing. We now know that Jesus had a twin brother.

Many Christian stories range beyond the Holy Land. We read “200-foot Jesus Appears in Washington!” (April 2, 1996). And “Wine Cup Jesus Used at Last Supper Discovered in St. Louis Pawnshop!” (June 19, 1994). And “Jesus is Buried in Japan!” (June 23, 1998). This last story claimed that, after his resurrection, Jesus traveled to Shingo, Japan, where he lived out his days as a garlic farmer.

How many Christians know these things?

I could go on and mention secular parallels. Recent discoveries include King Midas’ body, Dracula’s skull, and Snow White’s poison apple tree. But I’ve made my point. I submit that Christians who want to stay au courant should pick up the Weekly World News. It’s there at the supermarket and it’s always thought-provoking.

Three final headlines should make my case.

  • “Human Soul Weighs 1/3000 of an Ounce!” (Nov. 1, 1988).
  • “Video of Jesus’ Crucifixion Astounds Experts!” (Nov. 14, 1997).
  • “The Mark of the Beast is not 666 -- it’s 999!” (Feb. 4, 1992).

These are the kind of stories you’ll find. Check them out.

Dan McDonald writes from Mobile, Ala.

National Catholic Reporter, September 25, 1998