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Scientists interrogate events of Jesus’ crucifixion


• Religion is dying out in America as just 18% of people 60, younger attend church, less than 50% believe in God
• Adherents who imagined worse outcomes had strengthened beliefs

Tomorrow is Good Friday, a day Christians all over the world celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

However, scientists are interrogating the events of Jesus’ crucifixion: what was crucifixion, and why was Jesus killed that way?

Meredith Warren, Lecturer in Biblical and Religious Studies at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom (UK) revealed that there are conflicting reports about whether Jesus was nailed or tied to the cross, and that the tales may be dictated by tradition in an article for The Conversation.

Meanwhile, another report suggests that around the world, people are beginning to turn their backs on religion.

For some time, researchers have observed this trend as it ripples through developed countries, with the United States (US) standing out as the exception.

Now, a new study published in the American Journal of Sociology revealed this is no longer the case; with each passing generation, Americans too are steadily becoming less religious.

Research from Duke University and University College London (UCL) revealed that the number of people in the US who claim religious affiliations or attend Church has dropped.

And, the belief in God is dropping as well.

Among the data, the researchers found that while 94 percent of Americans born before 1935 claim a religious affiliation, the same is only true for 71 percent of the generation born after 1975.

The study also revealed that just 45 percent of young adults ages 18-30 say they have ‘no doubt God exists,’ while 68 percent of Americans 65 and older said the same.

They also found that 41 percent of people 70 and older attend church services at least once a month, while just 18 percent of people 60 and younger say this.

As religious belief declines in much of the Western world, it’s largely been thought that the United States had resisted the trend.

Yet another study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that dwelling on what could have gone wrong in the past could strengthen your belief in a higher power.

Psychologists have found that those looking back on ‘what might have been’ when reflecting on a major life event that could have turned out poorly reinforces the notion of divine intervention.

In particular, hindsight following a change of fortunes that turned out for the better bolsters a person’s belief in God and believers use it to rationalise their faith in the face of doubt and scientific evidence.

Meanwhile, none of the Gospels in the New Testament mention whether Jesus was nailed or tied to the cross. However, the Gospel of John reports wounds in the risen Jesus’s hands. It is this passage, perhaps, that has led to the overwhelming tradition that Jesus’ hands and feet were nailed to the cross, rather than tied to it.

Some early Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas, do not include the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion, choosing instead to focus on his teaching.

But Jesus’ death by crucifixion is one of the things that all four canonical Gospels agree on.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all include the crucifixion event in their own slightly different ways.

Over the past few years, several people have claimed to have found the actual nails with which Jesus was crucified.

Each time, biblical scholars and archaeologists have rightly pointed out the assumptions and misinterpretations of evidence behind these claims.

Curiously, this fixation on the nails persists, despite the fact that the earliest gospels make no mention of Jesus being nailed to the cross.

The study published in the American Journal of Sociology examined US data from the General Social Survey, which is conducted every two years.

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