How Holy is this shirt?


Yes, you read the title correctly.  It is not a typo.

I caught this picture making the rounds on Facebook.  Considering the lack of enough information to make an informed answer, and the catch phrase stating that 99% of people will answer incorrectly, I was curious if that really was the case.

To my disappointment, nearly every response I scrolled through had a final numerical answer.  Most concluded 6 or 8.  Some chose 2.  There was the odd response of a different number.  There were even some who included their train of thought in counting the holes.  Even they claimed to have the answer.  There were people who identified a minimum number of holes, taking into account the inability to see the back of the shirt – even they neglected the possibility of the holes being connected to the body or arm holes.  I would hazard to say that 99% of people who responded actually did respond incorrectly.

What does this have to do with Christianity?

Actually, I think it is a good metaphor for understandings of Christianity as a whole.

The story of Jesus has some holes in it itself.  Over half of Jesus’ life is unaccounted for – assuming the crucifixion or shortly after was the end of it.  There are the possible holes of the short amount of time Jesus was documented to be on the cross, and that his legs weren’t broken as insurance that he was dead.  There are significant inconsistencies between the Gospels, namely John’s (which will be further addressed in the next post).  Scholars seem to suggest there are gaps of time between the events of the Bible and the documentation of it.  Lots of holes!

People count these Biblical holes differently as well.  If you ask many Christians, they will suggest that it all adds up to a visit from God Himself.  If you ask many Anti-Theists, they will suggest it adds up to a completely fictional story.  If you ask me, there’s too much missing from view to be able to confirm either suggestion.  Though, we can get a better sense of the fabric of the reality of who Jesus was and how his teachings are actually applicable to life by exploring and what they could and couldn’t be.  That still leaves room for a large variety of possibilities, but at least upon accepting that we will probably never reach a definitive final answer, we can honestly and thoughtfully move away from the points of view that divide us on the subject and begin to collaborate on what the real truth could be.

But considering that 99% of people will come up with a final answer even without a lot of the information, I guess that’s easier said than done.

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13 Responses to How Holy is this shirt?

  1. The numerical answer is ‘at least 7’ but because you can’t see the reverse of the shirt you can be certain. The physicists might ask how big does the hole have to be to be counted because if you count the small ones there could be millions if not more.

  2. Soduhson says:

    Are we looking for the truth or an answer?

    • jasonjshaw says:

      We are looking to accept that we are likely unable to fully uncover the truth and that there are holes in every answer that suggests there aren’t holes.

  3. Arkenaten says:

    Do you consider Jesus was real?

    • jasonjshaw says:

      I consider it a possibility, yes.

      • Arkenaten says:

        which is like saying he possibly wasn’t, yes?

      • jasonjshaw says:

        The furthest I would venture to go would be to say the story of Jesus was inspired by those proclaiming to be Messiah at that time. I am under the impression that there seems to be a consensus that such people existed at the time.

        Considering that there is some plausibility that Jesus could have survived the crucifixion as described in the Bible, I am of the impression that the story may be based more on a specific individual.

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Whichever Messiah figure that managed to successfully convince people he died and was resurrected.

        Also I wonder, why wasn’t greater care taken to ensure better consistency between the Gospels? That’s something I would consider as a hole in the theory of it being intentional fiction.

      • Arkenaten says:

        I read somewhere(?) a theory was bandied about that the bible was never intended to be read by the plebs.
        Maybe why Eusebius felt no reason to hold back when he suggested it was okay to lie for the greater good of the church ( paraphrase)
        Research his history.
        And why the church may have had a few collywobbles when the printing press was invented.
        Remember, it was crime to read the bible in English at one time.

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Yeah, I heard about how the King James version actually didn’t have the full thing available for translation so there was a little creativity involved in completing it.

        Read the Wikipedia entry on Eusebius, and caught the quote that goes with your paraphrase: “That it will be necessary sometimes to use falsehood as a remedy for the benefit of those who require such a mode of treatment.”

        Interesting seeing evidence that some early scholars were well aware that there were problems in what was written.

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