Digging Rosslyn

Another news story on Rosslyn Chapel popping up in the wake of The Da Vinci Code phenomenon: The Scotsman reports on this plea from an American man “claiming to be a descendant” of the Knights Templar to search beneath the architectural enigma. I’m not sure how you end up a descendant of an entire organization (let alone one that has monastic vows), but Stewart Beattie of the Rosslyn Trust replies that a study of the area had been undertaken back in 1995:

I understand there was a ground scan and a small bit of intrusive work which showed there was no evidence of anything under there.

Needless to say, as soon as the body of Jesus is found, we’ll report it here on TDG. Unless there’s something more newsworthy on that day of course…

  1. United?
    This supposed “descendant” of the Templar’s founder gives some idea of his sanity when he says in the article:

    “I do feel passionate about this because anything there goes back to when Islam, Christianity and Judaism were united.”

    These religions have NEVER been united. Islam didn’t even exist in Jesus’s time, for Christ’s sake. And though Jesus considered himself the ultimate Jew, chiding his fellow Jews for their failure to adhere strictly to their faith, he had plenty to say that was nowhere to be found in Judaism, and he certainly wasn’t popular among the priests for that, or else he wouldn’t have wound up on the cross.

    1. That’s hilarious
      Maybe he has a different version of history than the one we know.
      I wonder what the religion was called when they were all united.


      1. Nope, no unity as such
        I realize now that ‘the shadow’ is joking. I tried different ways of munging together the three religion’s names, but nothing worth reporting came up.

        To expand on Conley’s odd notion, there really never was a point when all religions were united. Not even the first instance of something necessarily represents a “unity” of all later instances of that thing; this is especially so with religion. The first band of what we consider early humans lived, according to much evidence, somewhere in Africa, just about to disperse to Asia and Europe. We have no idea if they had a single religion, or multiple religions, but even if they had a single religion, it wouldn’t have amounted to “a unity of all religions”, since many religions have sprung up since then, as this band settled into different places. There weren’t Jews, Muslims, Christians, etc. amongst this band of early humans, and so how would it be possible to describe the first religion the early humans had as “unifying” these later religions? New religions are deliberately manufactured to be different from those that precede it, due to dissatisfaction with the prior religion–they are deliberately designed to be at odds with the prior religion, and so you can’t trace back to some point where it and its predecessor were “united”–each new religion is just that, largely a new thing–it’s not as much like biological evolution as some might think. Though most religions have a few simple similarities, like belief in a creator god, each religion also has unique beliefs with little or no connection to prior beliefs. Because of that, to say that the “first religion” represents a “unison” of those later religions, is just not logical.

          1. No real harmony there either
            I did a brief bit of research (including http://www.angelfire.com/blog/rgrydns/Reading/moor.htm), and found this: Moorish (Muslim) Spain was not often a time or place where these three religions lived in real harmony. The Muslims invaded Spain in 711, and continued to capture territory there and in surrounding areas for about the next 500 years or longer, specifically from Christians, waging many bloody battles, and if there was ever any kind of “harmony” there between Muslims and Christians, it was the sort the Muslim armies were able to impose on the areas they captured, but the battles continued even during these times. It seems most of these battles settled down some time around the mid-1200s, when the Crusades ended too, since the Christians had finally managed to take back enough territory to keep them sort of satisfied, and this lasted until 1492, when infighting amongst the remaining Moorish rulers finally put an end to their power. It was this period, from the mid-1200s to 1492, that one could describe as a period of less fighting, but I wouldn’t call it peace or harmony between these two religions.

            There was a brief time prior to the mid-1200s, when some particular Moorish rulers were slightly more tolerant towards Christians and Jews, allowing them to attend universities, ply their trades, etc., but they were soon replaced by Muslim variants who deliberately launched persecutions of Christians and Jews, ordering the destruction of all churches and synagogues, forcing anyone who wasn’t Muslim to flee to the north of Spain, where the Christians finally regrouped in enough numbers to retake enough territory to keep them satisfied. Aside from (or possibly because of) their religious and takeover mania, the Muslims in Spain did a certain amount of good: as quoted on the website I list above, “they expanded and improved the Roman irrigation systems to help develop a strong agricultural sector. They introduced many new crops โ€ฆwhich remain some of Spain’s main products today.” They did lots of other good things, like promoting science, architecture, etc., when the Christians were engaged in nonscientific Dark Ages nonsense, but looking favorably upon Christians and Jews wasn’t the Muslim’s strong point, not for long anyway, especially since the primitive Christians kept trying to grab their rightful lands back. No, regardless of any good done by the Muslims in Spain, I don’t think Conley was thinking of Moorish Spain–the period of supposed harmony was too short, and meaningless in any case.

            Also, as the article says: “David Conley believes the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant and ancient scrolls which date back to the time of Christ may be hidden beneath the Midlothian church.” There’s no mention of artifacts from any other timeframe–all these items date from the time of Jesus and before, and they all originated in Israel–no reference to any other location where any supposed harmony took place. Granted, Conley may have said something to the reporter in which he referred to some other time and place when he thought the three religions were united, but if he did, that didn’t make it into the article. Even if he had said something along these lines, he’d still be wrong.

            The Knights Templar, who were mythically responsible for the removal of these artifacts, went to Jerusalem between 1095 and 1254 specifically to wage war against the Muslims, and kick them out, and to claim Jerusalem in the name of Christianity, not in the name of Judaism, and it was another series of bloody battles. So the only other time period that Conley could have been talking about, the time of the Crusades, when the artifacts he’s seeking were (in his mind) moved to Rosslyn Chapel, was a period when Christianity was specifically ANTI-Muslim, and they brought out the spears and swords to prove it. It wasn’t done in a spirit of harmony. The end of the Crusades, 1254, does coincide with the timeframe when the Moors and Christians finally started to sort of get along in Spain too, but it wasn’t out of harmony–it was because the Christians had shown the Muslims, in Spain and Jerusalem and other areas as well, that they now had big enough armies to push back against the Muslims, and then to push them around.

            If Conley WAS thinking that the end of the Crusades marked a time of “unity” between the religions, then he’s done less research about actual history than a half-hour of Google searches. It would be a little like saying, “After World War II, when the Allies pounded Germany into submission, we have a period which goes back to when Germany, the US, and England were united.” The end of WWII didn’t bring an alliance or unity between the Allies and Germany–we were keeping Germany under control. We may be, in some sense, united with them today, but that’s not the sort of thing Conley was referring to.

            As far as the supposed “evidence” cited for the idea that the Knights took these particular artifacts in the first place–it all amounts to “if they had found them, they would have taken them”, which is a straw argument.

            Wherever Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived (or do live) in harmony, that would simply be “harmony”–not currently tearing each other’s throats out–and wouldn’t be a state of “being united”, at least not in a religious sense, but more in a secular sense. An example: neither Judaism nor Islam believe Jesus was a prophet receiving information from God–they believe he was an enlightened person, and no more. Islam believes that Muhammad was God’s only true prophet (which is odd to me, since Islam also seems to give credence to Old Testament figures who are also claimed to have received prophetic info directly from God). Judaism also believes that prophets came before Jesus, but that the real messiah has yet to come. That’s a pretty big difference of opinion, about as big and basic as it can get, so there’s no possibility for religious harmony there. So when you’ve got two or more religions in the same location with such fundamentally different outlooks, and they’re not fighting each other at the moment, that’s good, but it’s not religious unity–it’s secular. In other words, if it weren’t for the secular rule of law, religions would be kicking each other’s butt forever.

            A little study of actual history goes a long way to put a lot of the “mystery industry’s” nonsense to rest, as well as dispelling some simple wishful thinking.

            I too would like to know where these artifacts got to–always have, it’s interested me for years– but letting vague ideas rattle around in one’s head is too likely to divert one from being able to see the real evidence, if any, as to where these things are, if they even still exist. But if they’re never found, it won’t keep me awake at night.

            As far as 10th century Baghdad, I think any research I might do in that area would probably uncover the same issues and realities, and even if there was some sort of “harmony” there, it’s not the time, place, or even the same sort of “harmony” (or “unity” to use his term) that Conley was wistfully referring to.

          2. “If it weren’t for the secula
            “If it weren’t for the secular rule of law, religions would be kicking each other’s butt forever.”

            With this I have to agree.

            There is no such thing as religious unity. The three religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – are forever irreconcilable. In fact they are each becoming increasingly belligerent. So much for religion’s message of love. This message has become lost in the modern wave of religiously motivated intolerance, especially in America and the Middle East. That is why I am a strong supporter of secularism, and the separation of Church and State. Only a strong commitment to secularism can prevent the world from splitting itself apart.

          3. The damage is done
            Hello Lee,

            I think the damage is already done by the religions.The world is in such a bad state that it would take an awful lot of people just like you to sort it out.

            But at least there are people who think like you do.


  2. I live 3 miles from the chapel
    ther is a room under the chapel,when thay tryed to send a small
    cam down under a floor stone it started to crumble in,and at that
    point the trust said thats it no more fact!
    love wayne

    P.S are you shour this is not a scottish site?

    1. You live near the chapel?
      Rightio then we are appointing you are the official Daily Grail correspondent and you have to report all the goings on there.

      I don’t know if you are aware Wayne that official correspondents are obliged to send money and gifts every month for the website for which they work.

      We will be awaiting your first gift and lots of dosh for May.

      Thank you,


      1. lots of dosh
        Hi Shadows,

        I love your sense of humor.

        And btw, since you too are a regular contributor of news articles, I expect Greg will be awash in dosh this month. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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