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Because Christmas has traditionally been a Christian celebration of Jesus' birth, it's common during the Christmas season to see and hear depictions of wise men, shepherds, a star, a manger, and so forth. When you look more closely, though, you notice that the nativity story occurs in just two of the four gospels, Matthew and Luke, and they don't agree on any of the details. It's almost as if they are describing two entirely different people being born.

Read Article: Are the Gospels Reliable About Jesus' Birth?

Comments
June 24, 2007 at 6:08 pm
(1) Ron says:

Every time I attempt to scan the gospels with my “electronic fib detecter” the device emits a puff of smoke and blows a fuse! Once I have isolated the cause of this malfunction and get a successful scan I will post the readout here on this website.

June 25, 2007 at 4:27 pm
(2) tracieh says:

The resurrection myth of Jesus has many of the same problems–horrible contradictions. And the death of Judas, short as it is, has the same issues as well.

July 2, 2007 at 9:55 pm
(3) PercyF says:

Let’s just face it, folks. The bible may just be a tiny little bit unreliable. I’ve excised the parts that I’ve identified as erroneous or false. The result is presented, for the first time ever, here: ” In the.”
Of course it is a little brief.

November 30, 2007 at 10:15 pm
(4) ChuckA says:

As one-time brainwashed from childhood (Catholic) Xtian…May I say?…Of COURSE the resurrection of Jesus is a myth! The Jesus OF THE GOSPELS never existed. Aside from the fact that there are no independent CONTEMPORANEOUS historical records to back up the literal New Testicle’s Gospel claims; if anyone, ‘out of the blue’, told you a story like that, with so many outrageous claims, like walking on water, rising from the dead, etc. you’d think they were just plain nuts. But when one is raised from childhood with blind belief being foremost in importance, thinking critically, (if, indeed, ever)…secondary; the “Power of Myth” (ala Joseph Campbell?) based religion can grab a hold of one’s consciousness; lasting often for a whole lifetime. I’m one, sure, 67 year old witness for that! We all know people whom, in every other department of their lives, are perfectly rational…except…for that tenacious “Myth controlled” subject…yeah…Religion!
In today’s terms, the Bible is pretty much, scientifically speaking…total, absurd, baloney!
It’s becoming more and more evident that the originally “ancient occult” based mythological stories were never meant as literal descriptions of ANY actual human. When one puts the whole of the NT stories into the context of “Sun Mythology”…an ancient occult language related to our ACTUAL blazing, oh-so-benevolent, sun’s transit through the sky-based Zodiac…12 Apostles equaling the 12 signs of the Zodiac etcetera., etc…the, Gospel’s albeit primitive, mythological stories take on a whole different meaning! Certainly NOT a literal one!
The history of the “Church”, with its crafty, power yielding disdain for the whole subject of pagan ‘occult’ mythology…Astrology etc., turned everything into simplistic, blatant, mind controlling, literalism…totally missing the original meanings. This “Mythological stuff’” goes way back…beyond the Jews and Christians. Try Ancient Egypt and other ancient cultures?
This subject fits very nicely, by the way, into the upcoming, perennial, bonehead religious (BS warring) season. “ARRGH”? :shock:
Anyway…
I highly suggest these two YouTube Videos on that whole subject. There are others; but these pretty well highlight the…”TOTAL missing the point”…of origins that the so-called Abrahamic religious bonehead priests etc. have been propagandizing for 2000+ years. It’s no mystery why most people don’t get it. The whole subject has been disregarded and demonized in the process of all the childhood brainwashing that’s gone on for centuries!
If it weren’t for our modern science and the Hubble telescope, even we atheists (freethinkers?) might not be nearly as knowledgeable about the Cosmos as all those poor scrounging ancients were.
Here are the 2 links…Yeah…see what YOUSE guys think?
(Of course…be very Richard Dawkins-like…erm…”open minded”, that is; keeping your brain still residing in its protective, but perhaps fragile, skull?) ;)
Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQLD59fK_Iw
Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwzDFvqfcdc

November 30, 2007 at 10:30 pm
(5) ChuckA says:

Just a suggestion…
Try checking out (searching?) “Sun Mythology” vids at YouTube RE the literalized scam of the current historical “Abrahamic” religions. The gospels, e.g., were originally written as symbolic, ancient occult related, Myths. Not stories of actual two legged, planet bound humans.
I tried several times putting in a longer comment with a couple of links…i.e…no go! (Even a short one with the same links.)
Maybe I’m a blacklisted atheist here?
Nothing would surprise me, these days!

November 30, 2007 at 10:45 pm
(6) ChuckA says:

Whew! Not blacklisted, at least!
Must have been the YouTube links!…?
Anyway, for starters, look for these two, in particular:
[From: richpartners]
(Part 1):
“Myth of Religion; The Solar Messiahs God’s Sun Christ Horus”
(Part 2):
“Jesus Christ a Religious Myth of God’s Sun Age Pisces”
Covers a lot of that “Sun Mythology” topic.
Anyway…I think you’ll find them interesting…?

December 2, 2007 at 7:36 am
(7) tracieh says:

Chuck: You have discovered the dark power of the links. I also have found them to work against me when trying to post! ;-)

You are right that Xians categorize religion in their heads and do not subject it to the same scrutiny they would any other believe–whether another religion, such as Islam or another fantastic ideology such as alien abduction.

I had a very ironic episode where I argued with a Moslem. What interested me most was the parallel nature of his arguments for Islam (compared to arguments for Xianity). What was particularly humorous is that the “strong points” Xians believe they have about their Bible were actually “weak points” in this Molem’s view. The fact so many people were involved, and so many years had passed, brought out the actual sceptic in the Moslem, who pointed out a person would be nuts to trust such a book. Whereas HIS holy book is penned by one man (in his view), and was solidified in it’s solid form very quickly — as compared to the Bible. He rejected claims the Bible was consistent and agreed down the line with atheist criticisms of the Bible–but disagreed with such criticism of the Koran–making excuses for it, similar to the excuses literalist Xians make for the Bible.

You are right on target with Power of Myth. Religion is about symbols, and when people confuse the symbols with the things they symbolize, you get odd things happening…like laws against burning flags (i.e., nobody can burn “freedom”).

I read recently in a book someone lent me that both religion and science categorize things with language. We label the universe. Science does it to better examine things. And language in general is simply a set of symbols that allow us to communicate about things that really aren’t related to language at all–except in our minds–which contain the “code.” I know that “man” means _that thing_ *point to an adult male*. But “that thing” is no more “man” than “oog.” It’s just a symbol, pick a symbol–any symbol, that we agree references the “thing”–the adult male. “Man” doesn’t provide me any real information about what a “man” is–it’s just a label, just a helpful symbol.

Literalists in any religion have taken the symbol “god” and have divorced it from the “thing” it represents. They now are worshipping the symbol, with no idea what the “thing” is. It is like confusing the value of a $100 bill with the paper itself.

The book I’m reading is by Alan Watts. And he expresses very well that “The moment I name it, it is no longer God; it is man, tree, green, black, red, soft, hard, long, short, atom, universe. One would readily agree with any theologian who deplores pantheism that these denizens of the world of verbiage and convention, these sundry “things” conceived as fixed and distinct entities, are not God.” (From The Wisdom of Insecurity)

I couldn’t agree more with his first sentence. And I couldn’t disagree more with his second. I think those “things” very much are the “thing” behind the symbol/word “god”–but I think people have lost sight of it.

Ironically, when I read his first sentence, my first thought was of the pantheists–but not in the disdainful way he seems to interpret them. I feel somewhat of a kindred spirit with them, as I feel they’ve hit the nail on the head when they say, “The universe is god.” However, I agree with Watts that in finally recognizing, “Hey! God is … the ‘universe’!” they have pretty well made “god” a symbol, and recognized that “reality” is “all” there is–and that if “god” is not a symbol that encompasses all that is–then it is a symbol that is lacking.

Now, it’s lacking in the Western, Xian sense–in that if god is to represent “all”–as in “all power, all information/knowledge, and all locations (as in everywhere)–god must necessisarily be “everything.” If something is left out, then god is not “all”; and “everything” would be, definitionally, the universe.

Now whether or not the universe is divine mainly has to do with how a person defines divine. As far as I’m aware, pantheists do not attribute any supernatural powers to the universe, and they wholly reject any sort of “personality” connected to it. As far as I know, they see exactly what I see; they just describe it as being so really, REALLY awesome that in their view, it’s OK to label it as “god.”

This is not to say that I haven’t seen atheist arguments against using the “god” label. It’s just that for me, personally, I don’t care so much about the word someone uses for it. I care more about what they actually mean. And so far as I know, when it comes to “god”–the atheist and the panteist are pretty well aligned in meaning. It’s just a question of labels.

Watts, on the other hand, if he means to say labels aren’t the essence of the “thing,” I agree. If he means there is something more than the eye can see, he’s going to have to support that claim with more than his personal belief. At this point, as I’m still reading, I’m not really sure what he means to say yet.

Anyway, that’s the long version I suppose! ;-)

December 2, 2007 at 7:38 am
(8) Ron says:

ChuckA (Told you a story like that, with so many outrageous claims, like walking on water,)
How dare you make fun of the belief that our savior walked on water! Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that the water could have been frozen?

December 3, 2007 at 2:29 am
(9) ChuckA says:

Yes, Tracieh…I ‘dig’ what you wrote about the pantheistic ‘notion’. And even Deism, which also comes to my mind; somehow, smacks of something like:
“the god who screwed up, BIG TIME and ran away (to hide?)…leaving no trace, of course!”
Yeah…”Amazing DISgrace!”

As I’ve commented on, a bit, at “God is for Suckers” (or GifS), I was a ‘New Ager’ for a good 20 years…yeah…assorted “Woo-Woo”…and gradually, during that time, gravitated to using “The All that Is”, Creative Forces” (ala Edgar Cayce) type ‘monikers’ to shy away from the repulsive (at least to me) religious ‘god’ notions I had left, as an agnostic, back in the 1960s. I’ve been an atheist, probably since ca. 1988; but keep a Dawkins-like “open mind” (without letting my brain fall out?) concerning any “Ultimate” answers to the absolutely…WAY weirder than anyone can even imagine…Universe.
“Wait…was that loud thump I just hoid…in actuality…my brain falling out?
[John Cleese's "My BRAIN!" bit comes to mind!]
Anyway, Tracieh…Thanks for your “compassionate” recognition RE the “Dark Power” link shtick. I DO always enjoy reading your comments. And please don’t consider it flattery…for the compliment is most genuinely deserved!

Now, as to Ron…Sorry for my Blaspheming. (NOT!)…You actually reminded me of that old bogus theory which, while taking the gospel story as actual fact, tries to give a sort of acceptable quasi-scientific interpretation to the bullsh*t…I mean…story.
More to the point; is the fact that I’ll be forced to actually perform the walking on water ‘miracle’ myself in the upcoming season. This week, in fact! You know…the Pre-Solstice, Chicagoland, Winter Wonderland Festivities. Yeah…I’ll be performing that miraculous feat whilst on my way to rescue my old 1984 Buick from Jack Frost’s evil, tenacious grip.
“YAYASS!…”Glory, Hellel-FREEZE-Ya”
Now where did I leave that magical observers’ “collection basket”?
:shock:

November 9, 2008 at 3:54 pm
(10) Paul Buchman says:

When one puts the whole of the NT stories into the context of “Sun Mythology”…an ancient occult language related to our ACTUAL blazing, oh-so-benevolent, sun’s transit through the sky-based Zodiac…12 Apostles equaling the 12 signs of the Zodiac etcetera., etc…

There are several books available purporting to show how the xian gospel stories are “really” astrological allegories. The latest one I’m aware of is The Gospel and the Zodiac by Bill Darlison (http://tinyurl.com/6ebcfp). I hadn’t heard of this hypothesis until a few years ago and I was very excited when I heard about it.

Another interesting hypothesis is to be found in Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill (http://tinyurl.com/672h3). This one shows the many correspondences between the xian gospels and Josephus’ Wars of the Jews. Atwill thinks that the gospels were written by Romans (probably Josephus and friends) in order to get the Jews to acknowledge, fraudulently, the emperor Titus as a god. Fascinating stuff.

Of course, the “orthodox” xianity of the Roman Catholic Church was created by priest/bishops at Nicaea in 325 out of pagan and proto-xian religions. This was done for political reasons to satisfy Emperor Constantine. There are many books about the pagan roots of xianity. Even the RCC fathers acknowledged the resemblances. To answer their critics, they resorted to attributing the similarities to the devil, who, they said, planted them in pre-xian pagan religions in order to confuse Jesus’ believers in the future.

If anyone reading this is aware of other hypotheses about xianity, I would very much like to hear about them.

November 9, 2008 at 11:55 pm
(11) Rev. Gerald R. Zollar says:

I always find it interesting that the things nonbelievers miss is the faith part.
Misquoting the bible and laying out convincing truths by skipping the parts you don’t like.
I openly invite any atheist to dialogue with me.
I have no intention to convince anyone I just want to get the full story out.
I have read several of these articles and they sound so convincing until I come across the parts intentionally left out out twisted.

If there is an atheist question that is seeking an answer (I did not say the truth) I will be glad to respond to it. All of these articles here are easily answered if anyone really wanted to know.
Those who have ears let them hear and those have eyes let them see.

RevZ

November 10, 2008 at 1:32 am
(12) ChuckA says:

Rev. Zollar?…”With all due respect…”
A quick Internet search for some insight into some possible deeper clues regarding your “vocation” convinces me personally that, as an almost 69 year old Ex-Christian (Roman Catholic variety) agnostic atheist, I won’t waste any time arguing with you. You’re obviously quite a gentleman, and very articulate in your writings; and also, totally convinced of the ultimate “veracity” of the Biblical Scriptures…and, of course, it’s also obvious that your “Life Gig” really depends on it. ;)
Like many clerics, in general, what, indeed, would happen to their “gigs” if enough people totally abandoned religious belief outright!
Yeah…more unemployment…and huge property foreclosures? No lost taxes, of course!
I’ll leave it at that.
There are too many excellent articles and videos, etc., that I, and others, could link to; but what would be the sense? I’m guessing that you’re aware of at least a few…? This Site alone has quite an amazing plethora of excellent articles by our stalwart host, Austin Cline.
Anyway, no “hard feelings”, of course.
[And, may I add...quite a few of us atheists are genuinely celebrating Obama's ground-breaking election victory!]
Peace!

For those who might wonder about Reverend Zollar, may I suggest:
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?AuthorID=48287

November 10, 2008 at 7:32 am
(13) Austin Cline says:

I always find it interesting that the things nonbelievers miss is the faith part.

Feel free to show where anything relevant has been “missed”.

Misquoting the bible and laying out convincing truths by skipping the parts you don’t like.

The accusation of misquoting is pretty serious. Can you support it?

I have read several of these articles and they sound so convincing until I come across the parts intentionally left out out twisted.

Yet another serious accusation, but without anything to back it up.

November 10, 2008 at 9:44 am
(14) Stephen says:

We lived in Beit Jala in the ’80′s, a stones throw from “the” Bethlehem and frequently took office visitors to the Church of the Nativity. I was always amused about how the different denominations who are caretakers for the church fight over who gets to care for what…very Christian of them

Nice interesting historic building, and very interesting graffiti on the wall as you leave the “birthplace,” even for an atheist…

Hard to get to now, I understand, with the wall separating the West Bank from Israeli areas.

November 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm
(15) Paul Buchman says:

We lived in Beit Jala in the ’80’s, a stones throw from “the” Bethlehem and frequently took office visitors to the Church of the Nativity. . . . Nice interesting historic building, and very interesting graffiti on the wall as you leave the “birthplace,” . . . .

After a trip to Israel, my in-laws told me they had seen the actual house where St. Peter had lived.

——————
I too would like to see Rev. Zollar’s examples of atheists’ omissions and “twisted” facts. Those who have brains, let them think.

November 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm
(16) Kane says:

There is a point behind the gospels, and historical accuracy isn’t necessary for this point. If you read the Gospel of Thomas, you will understand the POINT.
Philosophical texts are rarely completely accurate and yet they have a point. Look at the Gospels in the same manner and perhaps you all won’t just write it off as pish-posh.

November 10, 2008 at 5:45 pm
(17) Paul Buchman says:

There is a point behind the gospels…

Kane,
If you wouldn’t mind telling us, I’d like to hear what you think the point of the gospels is.

November 10, 2008 at 5:59 pm
(18) Kane says:

Paul Buchman,

The gospels and the stories of Jesus are actually referenced in many other religions [Hinduism, Islam, etc] as excellent examples of a man living a Good Life. And his “miracles”, rather than taken literally, have a spiritual foundation to them and subtly reference how to live this Good Life. This Good Life is attainable by ALL. It is not just for those that believe in God. That is why it is useful; because these Good Life references are useful knowledge to anyone of any religion or none at all. There are far too many references to list! And no one will listen, so I would be wasting energy typing them out.

I suggest you read the Gospel of Thomas and figure out the point yourself. It is short. It is seen as a Philosophical Text more than a religious text and because of this, it’s often rejected. But true Christians [or a person of any religious affiliation, for that matter] who are just living for Truth and aren’t radical and obnoxious, value it.

It is much better to learn things yourself than to have it handed to you on a plate, anyway! What is life’s worth if you learn nothing yourself?

But I think you were just commenting in an attempt to make me look foolish and that despite what I responded, you would disregard it and stick to your stubborn view of the Gospels being contradictory and useless.
But I think you should educate yourself and not take things so literally and maybe you’ll find that not all religious texts are so bad.

November 10, 2008 at 6:01 pm
(19) Austin Cline says:

There is a point behind the gospels, and historical accuracy isn’t necessary for this point.

I already know that.

But, since it’s the standard for Christians in America to treat the gospels — and the rest of the Bible — in such a literal, historical manner, that’s the way critics also have to approach it sometimes.

Look at the Gospels in the same manner and perhaps you all won’t just write it off as pish-posh.

It’s arrogant to assume that I haven’t.

Your beef is with the tens of millions of Christians who read the Bible as literal history and then transform society based on that belief, not with a few atheists who critique the ideology of such Christians by taking their position seriously and then showing how foolish or wrong it really is.

November 10, 2008 at 6:10 pm
(20) Austin Cline says:

The gospels and the stories of Jesus are actually referenced in many other religions [Hinduism, Islam, etc] as excellent examples of a man living a Good Life.

There is no reference in the gospels whatsoever to the use of reason, skepticism, and critical thinking, which I consider necessary for living a Good Life.

There is also nothing whatsoever in the gospels with Jesus laughing. I don’t think that a life without laughter is very Good.

Finally, I see nothing in the gospels about sex and physical intimacy, both of which can contribute mightily to a Good Life.

So the gospels leave a great deal to be desired when it comes to learning how to live a Good Life.

November 10, 2008 at 6:28 pm
(21) Kane says:

Austin,

Again with the assumptions (in your first reply).
I was not attacking you with my comment.
I was simply stating that to the people who posted the comments below it.

But, in reply to your second comment:

The use of reason and critical thinking [experience and evaluation] is mentioned in the Gospel of Thomas.

Jesus laughing is in the Gospel of Judas.

Skepticism is in all Gospels, actually. Again, you must pay attention to subtle references and not read everything literally or you will think “Doubting Thomas” to simply imply doubt of God.

It is difficult for people to read the text behind the words, I know. Lazy people these days want everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Also if you think Sex and Intimacy are necessary for a Good Life, you are deceived by a modern misconception. You have probably never heard about something called “sublimation of sexual energy” and the benefits it has on men.

November 10, 2008 at 6:33 pm
(22) Kane says:

But, again, I was not criticizing your blog entry.
The gospels, taken historically, are not accurate. Jesus wasn’t even born when Christians seem to celebrate.
I was just commenting in regards to all your “fan(atic)s” who were implying things like; “IT’S ALL BS!!111″ or “THE BIBLE IS STUPID” and “THERE’S NO USE OF THE STUPID BOOK LOL” etc.

November 10, 2008 at 6:44 pm
(23) Austin Cline says:

I was not attacking you with my comment.

I didn’t assume you were attacking me personally. There is nothing in your comment, however, to suggest that it isn’t at least partially directed at the article in question.

I was simply stating that to the people who posted the comments below it.

You might want to actually say that?

The use of reason and critical thinking [experience and evaluation] is mentioned in the Gospel of Thomas.

Jesus laughing is in the Gospel of Judas.

Well, in that case I can write my own Gospel of Austin, add that in, and whatever I write will become part of canon of why Jesus is an example of a Good Life.

Also if you think Sex and Intimacy are necessary for a Good Life, you are deceived by a modern misconception. You have probably never heard about something called “sublimation of sexual energy” and the benefits it has on men.

I was very deliberate in my use of the words “contribute mightily” rather than “are necessary for.”

I was just commenting in regards to all your “fan(atic)s” who were implying things like; “IT’S ALL BS!!111″ or “THE BIBLE IS STUPID” and “THERE’S NO USE OF THE STUPID BOOK LOL” etc.

No comments here say such things; if you want to argue that they are implied, why don’t you actually make an argument instead of persisting in tossing out accusations without ever making even a small attempt to substantiate them? Otherwise, your comments here are consistently becoming examples of nothing more than “How to use Straw Man Arguments to Annoy and Irritate.”

Please back up your accusations or stop making them. Anything else is unethical and intellectually dishonest – and certainly won’t be welcome here. You’re not contributing anything of value or substantive with incessant, unsupported accusations.

November 10, 2008 at 7:54 pm
(24) Kane says:

Well, in that case I can write my own Gospel of Austin, add that in, and whatever I write will become part of canon of why Jesus is an example of a Good Life.
If you lived in that time and wrote a gospel, I am likely to read it. Go ahead and write it now. If the text survives centuries, I will consider it worthwhile and I will read it.

“No comments here say such things; if you want to argue that they are implied, why don’t you actually make an argument instead of persisting in tossing out accusations without ever making even a small attempt to substantiate them?”

ChuckA implies it in his first post, makes fun of the myths, etc. Ron takes part in this making fun. There is a point to these myths, just as there is a point to fables (which teach a lesson to its readers), as I have mentioned.

Also, to tracieh (there, I have clarified that it is not directed to you, Austin), I have read many of Alan Watts’ books and he believes in a Higher Being, a Higher Consciousness, a Higher Power, a God so to speak. In his line, ““The moment I name it, it is no longer God; it is man, tree, green, black, red, soft, hard, long, short, atom, universe. “ he is referring to the Tao Te Ching which implies that God need not a name or definition as it destroys the meaning of God entirely. It is also a reference to the Hindu’s representation of God as AUM, the Holy Sound with no real name.

Watts, on the other hand, if he means to say labels aren’t the essence of the “thing,” I agree. If he means there is something more than the eye can see, he’s going to have to support that claim with more than his personal belief. At this point, as I’m still reading, I’m not really sure what he means to say yet.”
He is implying more towards the second thing you thought, as many of his books approach this topic. He is very religious and believes in a Higher “Thing” (consciousness, Being, power etc) who compares religions as well as comparing religion with science in an attempt to better explain the thing known as “God.”

November 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm
(25) Austin Cline says:

If you lived in that time and wrote a gospel, I am likely to read it.

Given how long after events some of the gospels you cite were written, I fail to see what difference a few more centuries make.

Go ahead and write it now. If the text survives centuries, I will consider it worthwhile and I will read it.

So, “old” is your standard for authority?

ChuckA implies it in his first post, makes fun of the myths, etc. Ron takes part in this making fun.

I don’t think you realize that simply repeating the original claims, but with names, isn’t the same as making an argument.

Do you know what an argument is? Do you know how an argument differs from a claim?

November 10, 2008 at 11:24 pm
(26) Kane says:

Austin!
Who is arguing?!
I told you, I merely make a comment and you are the one who takes everything personal and turns it into an argument!

And SURVIVAL is my standard for WORTHWHILE READING.
Never did I refer to the gospels as an authoritative text, just a worthwhile one.

November 11, 2008 at 7:36 am
(27) Austin Cline says:

I told you, I merely make a comment and you are the one who takes everything personal and turns it into an argument!

I’m challenging you to support your assertions.

If you are unable or unwilling to support your assertions, don’t make them.

And SURVIVAL is my standard for WORTHWHILE READING.

Why, and how does this differ from the argumentum ad antiquitatem fallacy?

Never did I refer to the gospels as an authoritative text, just a worthwhile one.

You referred to the gospels as “excellent examples of a man living a Good Life.” Either they are authoritative references to how to live a Good Life, or they are not. To describe such texts as “worthwhile” is to present them as having some authoritative status over describing what a Good Life is.

May 5, 2009 at 3:22 pm
(28) RevZ61 says:

It is less than interesting to read (scan) the uninteresting rants about Christians and Christianity.
You would think such brilliant people would learn to write English.

“…all that matters is how the story connects them to other believers, past and present, as well as to their religious tradition.”

That was the truest things said in the article. Did the writers get it right?
Matthew was not a scholar, a writer or reader he was a fisherman. Some one else collected and wrote what is ascribed to Matthew. I point that out such that if you are going to knock what is written get it all right as you seem to expect the writer of this gospel to do.

I do wonder what do atheist turn to when there is no where else to turn. I have God. When the world is bleak and painful what do you have? Facts and logic, rationality, what?
Some people would rather accept that which is written over what you think is so important.
One poster says he was a Catholic, in that I feel for him, for he was denied the direct experience of the gospel, they still have Jesus nailed to a piece of wood. Had he been, and he still can, read, pray and experience directly the power of the Holy Spirit….
Oh, he can not, that requires acceptance, belief, and a reaching out that you lack and those like you lack.

December 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm
(29) KurtO says:

With respect, Matthew provides Joseph’s memory of the birth of Jesus, while Luke provides Mary’s memory of the birth of Jesus. It makes sense that each would tell the story from very differing perspectives. I think we should be faithful to what is presented. If there are contradictions it is disingenuous to ignore them. The opposite is also true, if there are differences in a narrative, literarily, differences may not be be proof of contradiction. To automatically assume differences within narratives to always indicate contractions would also be disingenuous.

December 12, 2009 at 4:52 pm
(30) The Sojourner says:

RevZ61 is probably long away from this site, but I still had to comment, a bit. We would like to know how turning to any god can help a bleak, painful time, when obviously God has done nothing whatsoever to help it.

How many have turned to God for healing, or help during a tsunami or hurricane? How did your god help all the hundreds of victims and dead? What about God and the Holocaust? How about a cure for all deadly diseases?

How many of the surviving victims were twice victimized because they thought God was punishing them for some reasons known only to God? That is why there can be no comfort in a non-existent, do nothing, (but still omnipotent?) God!

December 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm
(31) Austin Cline says:

With respect, Matthew provides Joseph’s memory of the birth of Jesus, while Luke provides Mary’s memory of the birth of Jesus.

And where, exactly, do the texts say this?

To automatically assume differences within narratives to always indicate contractions would also be disingenuous.

When the differences can’t both be true in the way they are presented, that is by definition a contradiction.

December 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm
(32) Ron says:

Re: (28) RevZ61 says: (I do wonder what do atheist turn to when there is no where else to turn. I have God. When the world is bleak and painful what do you have?)
When you have nowhere else to turn you look inside of yourself to find the strenght to face the circumstances at hand. All the better if you have friends and loved ones to lend you support. how do I know this? Been there, done that!

December 15, 2009 at 3:21 am
(33) sornord says:

Is it just me but these gospels and the “comfort” they are supposed to provide remind anyone else of bedtime stories?

December 20, 2009 at 9:26 am
(34) tracieh says:

>Skepticism is in all Gospels, actually. Again, you must pay attention to subtle references and not read everything literally or you will think “Doubting Thomas” to simply imply doubt of God.

I know this is old, but I wanted to add that Thomas’ skepticism is described as less worthy that gullibility. John 20:29 offers Jesus’ response to skeptical thinking: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

It’s ironic that you commented that skepticism wasn’t mentioned, and it’s necessary for a good life (I agree that it’s necessary); Kane replied it is mentioned and used the Thomas example. However he failed to mention that in the Thomas example, skepticism is actually demoted to a position below blind faith! In other words, it’s mentioned as an aspect of what NOT to do–that belief without skeptical questioning is preferable!

December 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm
(35) Ron says:

Kane says: ChuckA implies it in his first post, makes fun of the myths, etc. Ron takes part in this making fun.)
Those who know me , know that I attempt to make a valid point in the form of a joke, but even though I try to present a point in the form of ridicule I still believe it is a valid point. If I were to promote a ridiculous idea, I need to be prepared to be a target for ridicule. Now, allow me to ask a serious question. Do you Christians still practice that primitive cannibalism ritual? Eat his flesh drink his blood? That is sick sick sick! a And I’m not joking now!

December 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm
(36) Edmond says:

RevZ61… atheists can talk to themselves, too.

December 14, 2012 at 11:53 pm
(37) Deucalion says:

It’s always interesting to read christians justifying thier own insanity…
“With respect, Matthew provides Joseph’s memory of the birth of Jesus, while Luke provides Mary’s memory of the birth of Jesus. ”
The Bible never says that, anywhere, ever. Yet Christophiles will lie about almost anything to make thier beliefs not seem like the gibberings of a drug-addled madman. Truly sad how impervious to logic these people are….
BTW: Austin, just to warn you, this is me being NICE! I have severe personality problems that cause me to have, shall we say, less than perfect control of my impulses… So if I ever say anything too extreem, feel free to censor it and send me an indignant E-mail.

December 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm
(38) Jeanne says:

Faith is a strange thing. It causes people to accept what the rational mind rejects. In the case of the two nativity stories, when people read Matthew, that is the truth, when they read Luke, that is the truth, never considering that the two stories are so different that they could be about two different people.

There is no logic to a supposedly all-knowing being staging this “birth” in a part of the world were most people were illiterate and could not write down things as they occurred. Such a being would have anticipated the confusion it would bring or at least make sure that the writers of Matthew and Luke wrote the same story.

Many believers cite the “point of view” explanation, often using a car accident as an example, with one person saying the car that left the scene was red, another says it was blue and yet another claims it was green. Still, the car was not red, blue and green it was either one of those colors or none of those colors, but not all three.

So, Jesus could not have been born in 6 bc and fled to Egypt immediately as stated in Matthew or and 7 ad, remained for 40 days and went direct to Galilee as Luke says.

The discepancy does not appear to matter to believers who blend the two stories as if they were one and become hostile to anyone who points this out.

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