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Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:25 PM

Does anyone here think the Nativity is not a myth?

Yes, I am picking this time of year to discuss this time a year.

Now I am not debating the mythical - historical Yeshua who preached in Judea. and I am not even debating the divinity of Jesus.
But the nativity story is so full of historical inaccuracies and illogical elements, I wonder if anyone on DU thinks it is an actual real story of the birth of Jesus.

Let's start with the reason Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem. (besides fulfilling some biblical prophesy) So the Romans, one of the most efficient kingdoms to ever rule decided to have a census, and they didn't just hire a bunch of scribes, no, they asked the entire country to get up and travel to the town their family was originally from, not where they were born, but their family's hometown. Yeah that all makes sense. Funny thing is, there is no Roman record of anything like this ever happening, ever.

And the story just gets more ludicrous from there. And don't start with me on the preposterous "slaughter of the innocents".

So do we have anyone who believes this happened as portrayed in the Bible?

46 replies, 2181 views

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Reply Does anyone here think the Nativity is not a myth? (Original post)
edhopper Dec 2020 OP
Mariana Dec 2020 #1
edhopper Dec 2020 #16
SCantiGOP Dec 2020 #26
edhopper Dec 2020 #27
SCantiGOP Dec 2020 #28
edhopper Dec 2020 #32
42bambi Dec 2020 #2
Mosby Dec 2020 #3
edhopper Dec 2020 #17
Mosby Dec 2020 #20
edhopper Dec 2020 #23
vlyons Dec 2020 #4
exboyfil Dec 2020 #8
vlyons Dec 2020 #31
Mosby Dec 2020 #21
Major Nikon Dec 2020 #46
exboyfil Dec 2020 #5
qazplm135 Dec 2020 #6
jimfields33 Dec 2020 #7
edhopper Dec 2020 #12
procon Dec 2020 #18
Mariana Dec 2020 #25
hlthe2b Dec 2020 #9
TrogL Dec 2020 #10
edhopper Dec 2020 #13
JustFiveMoreMinutes Dec 2020 #36
marble falls Dec 2020 #11
edhopper Dec 2020 #15
procon Dec 2020 #14
Ferrets are Cool Dec 2020 #19
TreasonousBastard Dec 2020 #22
Locrian Dec 2020 #24
elias7 Dec 2020 #29
edhopper Dec 2020 #33
struggle4progress Dec 2020 #30
edhopper Dec 2020 #34
struggle4progress Dec 2020 #43
edhopper Dec 2020 #44
Ron Obvious Dec 2020 #35
edhopper Dec 2020 #37
Ron Obvious Dec 2020 #38
edhopper Dec 2020 #41
struggle4progress Dec 2020 #39
edhopper Dec 2020 #40
struggle4progress Dec 2020 #42
edhopper Dec 2020 #45

Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:31 PM

1. This got alerted, Edhopper. nt.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:24 PM

16. did I offend somebody's freedom of religion?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 10:28 PM

26. No, and had I been on the jury

I would not have voted to hide your OP.

However, it is unnecessarily rude and aggressive to attack the beliefs of thousands of your fellow DU comrades during the most important holiday for Christians.
Give it a rest, pal.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 11:55 PM

27. When can I attack the beliefs of my fellow DUers

can you give me specifics dates?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #27)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 12:51 AM

28. Why don't you just not attack?

Thereís an Atheists forum that is designed for this topic.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 11:46 AM

32. This is not a forum FOR Religion

it is a forum to discuss Religion.

It is a no holds barred open discussion.

And why would I ask who believes in the Nativity on the Atheist forum. Seems kind of pointless.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:37 PM

2. I believe the Bible was written by flawed men who had many stories

and odd reasoning that eventually became a much claimed belief of truth - as they saw it in their time. I would love to jump ahead 2,000 years and read what would have been written during that period of time; that, I assume, would be questioned and dissected as well.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:38 PM

3. Don't know the story, sorry.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:25 PM

17. What part of the world do you live in?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:47 PM

20. I'm Jewish, everything I know about xtians came from a college class I took

Called Religion in America.

It was pretty interesting, I learned a lot.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 09:14 PM

23. I grew up Jewish

but it was hard not to hear the nativity story multiple times every Christmas.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:38 PM

4. It's a myth

1. Let's start with the virgin birth. How ridiculous is that? Where did Jesus get his male chromozomes? Virgin birth was invented to make Jesus have no original sin.

2. A 9 month pregnant Mary did not ride an ass 100 miles to Bethleham so Joseph could pay his taxes there. There is another Bethleham in Galilee, just a few miles from Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph lived.

3. Jesus was not born in Dec. There were shepards in the fields, watching their flocks by night. Not in Dec there weren't. There's no grass to graze in winter. In Dec, sheep eat hay, and are penned close to the shepards homes. Jesus was born in the Spring or Summer. In 325 AD Pope Julius I declared Dec 25 to be Jesus birthday to compete with pagan celebration of winter solstice, especially Roman Saturnalia.

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Response to vlyons (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:46 PM

8. I didn't know about the second Bethlehem

I always thought it was forced in to agree with the OT prophesy since that Bethlehem was David's birthplace.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 07:26 AM

31. Bethlehem of Galilee is just a few miles NW of Nasareth

I even found it on an online map. It's still there.

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Response to vlyons (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:48 PM

21. I just read on twitter (yeah I know)

That the Virgin part was a translation error of some sort from hebrew. It should have been translated as "young woman".

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Response to vlyons (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 01:25 AM

46. The reasons for the myth are more practical

The most important issue for first century Christians was establishing Jesus as the messiah. Jewish scholars at the time already knew the messianic blood lines required were already broken. The virgin birth was an attempt to short circuit all the prophetic requirements of bloodlines and go straight to the source.

The reason for the completely unnecessary 90 mile journey by a highly pregnant woman on the back of an ass also serves the messianic prophecy. Which begs the question as to why it was necessary to begin with if indeed the holy poltergeist had coerced an adolescent girl to bear a child with his holy genetic material.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:39 PM

5. No

And it takes a lot of work to even reconcile the stories in Matthew and Luke (same for Passion Week).

The census thing is just so bizarre. Maybe it was from the perspective of the family (a tax dodge if you have the census done in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth or ensuring that the members of your tribe have the maximum enumeration for some reason). Lots of families were doing it so it became all in the Bible. We know location can be important in our current census (counting students at school and not home for example).

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:42 PM

6. Is it likely inaccurate? Sure

Is it possible that the historical Jesus shaman was born in meager circumstances in Bethlehem? Sure. Cleopatra is a relatively close in time historical figure, and there's a large debate on whether she was Macedonian or mixed race. I don't think Jesus divine, but the bible, while full of inaccuracies sure, does have some historical value within. But are the exact details of Jesus' birth more allegorical than historically accurate? Yeah, probably.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:45 PM

7. I believe something happened.

They have pieces of the crib in Italy. No story is ever 100 percent accurate. The northern light was probably true. Gifts were probably given. No room in the inn? Maybe a busy time????

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:16 PM

12. No, they don't have pieces of the crib in Italy

You should look up the ancient relic trade sometime.

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:29 PM

18. Religious relics have been a lucrative business

since the bible myth began. You can buy anything, even get it officially certified, authenticated, validated and suitably mounted for display. Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 09:57 PM

25. "They have pieces of the crib in Italy."

Link, please.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:47 PM

9. I'm just going to say that the way things are going I'd not be surprised to see a lot of babies

born in a barn, stall, or under an overpass. So, highly embellished as it might be, I guess we can start there.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:51 PM

10. It makes more sense if it happened in 5 BCE

The astrologers were already agog about the triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in 6 BC so the 5 BC comet is a perfect candidate for the Star of Bethlehem.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1991QJRAS..32..389H

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Response to TrogL (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:21 PM

13. More like a remembered astrological event

was shoehorned into the story decades later. The Magi are one of the more fantastical parts of this myth.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 05:02 PM

36. But Religious Scholars point out the Magi didn't visit until 2 to 5 years later

.... and gave no indication of the color of their skin.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 07:58 PM

11. Trolling on a Christmas Eve! My favorite video o'the season!

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Response to marble falls (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:22 PM

15. Hey I am just

"asking questions."

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:22 PM

14. Just start with the taxes and the mysticism falls apart.

Rome, as the ruling government, demands taxes and collecting their quotas is the responsibility of regional leaders.

Sure take a local census so the number of taxpayers in a given region who can be leveraged to the taxes that Rome demands. No local government leader is going to short change his Treasury and send a sizable chunk of his tax base off to another area so that governor can claim the taxes instead.

Just follow the money. Those ancient governments and their leaders were corrupt and took their cut off the top. So it was important to maintain a productive community that had enough income to live while still paying taxes without rebelling. No government would order the wholesale migration of an entire population when scribes could be easily and cheaply dispatched to make a headcount for a census without decimating the regional economy.

Since no one would be working if they are forced to migrate, there's no coin for the realm. There's no way to feed or house large numbers of migratory people in today's world, which makes it likely that it would be even worse in ancient times. A sudden influx of destitute people would crash any local community. Without work, no money for Rome's taxes, no money for the local leaders. No government would participate in such a ridiculous idea.

It all goes down hill from every point of fact.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 08:40 PM

19. I still want to know where the gold went.

Yes, I can be a broken record at times.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 09:07 PM

22. Of course not-- not any more than creation in 6 days, the Flood, or water into wine...

Most religions are built on myth, and Judeo-Christianity is no different. Myths exist to simplify concepts for the believers, as examples of moral or ethical concepts, or other things where facts are less important than the concepts the story illustrates.

(See Plato's Cave)

The Gospels describing these events were written years after the fact (years after Jesus' alleged death and resurrection) and no one really knows who actually wrote them or if they even witnessed exact any of it. That they often disagreed with each other is another point the early church bent itself into pretzels trying to deal with. And there was still more written that those early solons sent to fire as too dangerous for us to see.

Personally, I have no problem with myth, if it is understood as myth. So much our great literature, from Twain to Sartre is allegorical and meant to teach us some underlying truth. Literature classes teach us to dig down to seven or so levels of meaning, and there is often something in the work for every level of understanding. So it is with the Bible, and I defy any atheist to explain how horrible the Beatitudes really are. Sure, they mention God and Heaven, but aren't they basically a modern liberal manifesto couched in religious terms? (And shouldn't more modern churches listen to them?) I don't have to believe there was a Jesus who spoke those words to see the truth and beauty in them.






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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2020, 09:17 PM

24. no - it's all astro-theology

the "rebirth" of the sun after winter solstice etc, etc, etc....
same with the "crucifixion" in spring (equinox)
12 constellations, 12 disciples, etc, etc - the "halo" around heads in stained glass images etc is the "sun"

helios biblica (holy bible) is literally "sun book"


The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.
~Thomas Paine

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 03:54 AM

29. Religion loses its power and poetry when we read it as a literal history

No religious story needs to be historically accurate or even true. Thatís not the point of the stories. They should be read as symbolic of the teachings of the religion.

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Response to elias7 (Reply #29)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 11:48 AM

33. Too bad

a large % of believers don't feel that way.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 03:55 AM

30. Other issues aside, your assumptions about the Roman census may be inaccurate.

The Romans did conduct regular censi over a long period, and these served multiple (and likely conflicting) purposes: on one hand, they were intended to tax property, but on another they also served the purpose of registering Roman citizens

Thus, a census potentially provided income to the Roman state, but also potentially diluted the political power of the traditionally aristocratic ruling class, even during the Republican era

In an old article "Roman Census Statistics from 225 to 28 BC" Classical Philology , Oct 1924, Vol. 19, No. 4 pp. 329-341), Tenney Frank quotes several Roman sources indicating that in the late Republic, the census registrations in Italy were conducted solely in Rome, and individuals were expected to travel there for that purpose (with rather limited compliance). The article is available on JSTOR

Roman Judaea was much smaller than the Italian peninsula; and if the authorities had recently been comfortable with one registration site for the peninsula, they would probably not have wanted multiple sites for Judaea

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 11:53 AM

34. Which still makes

Last edited Sat Dec 26, 2020, 12:13 AM - Edit history (1)

the journey to Bethlehem ahistorical and still nonsensical.

Not a central place, but everyone going everywhere. That does none of the things the Roman census you talk about did.

The story still lacks any credibility.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #34)

Sat Dec 26, 2020, 01:34 AM

43. It is more interesting to start with what we know and see where it might lead us

than to start with the conclusion and see what supports it

The known facts suggest that some migration was likely to be associated with a census. Bethlehem is only five or six miles from Jerusalem, which would seem a likely center for registration. It would not be surprising if a story written in a distant country in a foreign language, something like fifty years later, might get some details wrong

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #43)

Sat Dec 26, 2020, 11:13 AM

44. Sounds more like you

trying to make conjecture of a non-recorded census fit the mythological nativity.

The most obvious explanation is a story written 70 years later in another language trying to fit a prophesy into the story.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 04:46 PM

35. I've never been a believer

But it's funny bits like the ridiculous trip to Bethlehem in order to tortuously make the story fit with prophecy that makes me think there are some real events being described. Same with the bland and unimpressive "miracles".

If it was all made up out of whole cloth, the story would have been more impressive and less inconsistent.

Likely a mixture of various real people and the tale grew in the telling.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #35)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 07:07 PM

37. consistent?

The theory is that Mark came from a earlier source and the other Gospels are based on Mark and still there are literally hundreds of incongruity, inconsistencies and flat out contradictions in the Gospels.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #37)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 09:19 PM

38. So it would have been more consistent if it was all made up, I meant.

Double negative not non-unobfuscating things again.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #38)

Sat Dec 26, 2020, 12:11 AM

41. By one person maybe.

but the inconsistencies match different writers writing for different audiences, telling the story they think fits.

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Response to edhopper (Original post)

Fri Dec 25, 2020, 10:41 PM

39. Again, other issues aside, your view of a Roman massacre story may not be defensible

The Romans were not known for their kindness to populations they conquered or even to rebellious Romans. The destruction of Carthage in 146 BCE provides an example; so does the 55 BCE massacre nby Julius Caesar of the Germanic Tencteri and Usipetes tribes, which had approached him, hoping for peace. The Roman army sometimes practiced decimation as discipline. None of this suggests that the idea of mass killing by the Romans or their clients is "preposterous"

Herod the Great was a Roman client, installed by the Romans somewhere around 35 BCE. He was careful to eliminate perceived threats to to power, executing his wife Mariamne and various of his sons by her, including his favorite, Antipater. He executed a number of rabbis and their students for removing the Roman eagle from the Temple; and also executed a number of members of the Sanhedrin. Again (whether or not documentation adequate for your satisfaction exists), it does not seem "preposterous" to suspect he engaged in other killings that might shock a modern conscience



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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #39)

Sat Dec 26, 2020, 12:09 AM

40. There is a huge difference between

killing enemies, perceived or real, and killing all male children of a population.And that such a slaughter would go undocumented at the time?

You apologetics are noted, but still don't pass the smell test.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #40)

Sat Dec 26, 2020, 01:15 AM

42. The histories are histories written by and preserved by the ruling class. Rome would not care

about small atrocities in a troublesome backwater province, as long as the client-ruler paid the tribute

And almost no records remain from Judaea in that time: the Romans tired of the trouble and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE, razing the Temple and (according to Josephus) selling about 100K of the inhabitants of Judaea into slavery

The extent of the damage might be gauged from the fact that Saul/Paul is the only Pharisee whose writings we still possess



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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #42)

Sat Dec 26, 2020, 11:16 AM

45. Many of which were later creations

But we have your answer, you believe the nativity happened more or less as the New Testament describes.

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