Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the Birth of Christ

Many Christian festivals like Christmas and Easter were adopted almost as such from the mystery cults.  The birth of Jesus was pictured with shepherds, wise men, divine star; a dictator trying to kill the child and so on as seen in the stories of the births of many mythical gods that were celebrated on December 25th.  In the Zoroastrian cult there were elaborate celebrations on December 25th:  bells were rung, hymns sung, candles lit, sacraments of blood and water administered to the initiate. The ‘Roman Saturnalia’ a festival held on December 25th in the mystery cults of Italy, was one of the brightest of all festivals held in the early times. Christians simply adopted these; “Santa Claus" and “Christmas tree" were all later additions.

Wintertime in Palestine was very harsh and traveling very difficult and uncomfortable. It seems unlikely that the shepherds would be sleeping out in the fields while tending their sheep during that season. Hence many scholars feel Jesus was born not anywhere near December 25.

Image result for jesus baby 

The stories of the shepherds and wise men that recognized the child as the son of god are preserved in Mathew and Luke. Remember David himself was a shepherd in the fields of Bethlehem. The said narration could have been inserted to show the coming of the Messianic Shepherd from David’s line. Mathew describes the attempt of Herod to destroy the child and hence Joseph and Mary took flight to Egypt and returned back to Nazareth where they settled down. If Jesus was recognized as the promised King by the shepherds and if Herod accepted this fact and took measures to kill the babe, why did he emerge as a stranger from Nazareth to begin his ministry? Why were the gospel writers silent on the thirty years of his life? Why didn’t any one recognize him during his public life? An attempt is made in the 4th gospel (A much later production) where Jesus is accepted by John the Baptist and the first disciples. The other three gospel writers make him Christ only by making Peter confess at Caesarea Philippi. After his birth, Christ vanishes into thin air. Nothing is known of the life of the Almighty God until he has reached the age of thirty years and the whole gospels are about his ministry which lasted just one year according to the synoptic gospels and more than two years according to John.

The story of the Immaculate Conception and connected legends and the miracles were invented to picture him as a god. Remember many of the mythological and pagan gods of those times had Immaculate Conception and they had done many miracles. Present day scholars find the genealogy given in the gospels- added to show that Jesus is the heir of the promise made to Abraham- totally wrong. If he was born of a virgin what is the use of giving the genealogy extending to Joseph?

Matthew says he was born when Herod was King of Judea. Luke says he was born when Cyrenius was Governor of Syria. He could not have been born during the administration of these two rulers for Herod died in the year 4 B.C., and Cyrenius, (Quirinius in Roman history), did not become Governor of Syria until ten years later. Herod and Quirinius are separated by the reign of Archelaus, Herod's son. Between Matthew and Luke, there is, thus a gap of at least ten years, as to the time of Christ's birth. The gospels authors were not recording actual history.

No early Christian knew when Christ was born. The Encyclopedia Britannica says: "Christians count one hundred and thirty-three contrary opinions of different authorities concerning the year the Messiah appeared on earth." Nobody knew when the Almighty god was born on this earth! The date and month of his birth were unknown. As Antonmaria Lupi, a learned Jesuit, has mentioned, the nativity of Christ has been assigned to every month in the year, at one time or another. 

Gospels try to show that Nazareth of Galilee was his home town for obvious reasons. Matthew, Mark and Luke say that thirty years of his life were spent there. Matthew says he was born in Bethlehem (to fulfill a prophecy in the Book of Micah). But Micah had prophesied the coming of a military leader, not a divine teacher. Luke says his birth occurred at Bethlehem, where his mother had gone with her husband, to make the enrollment called for by Augustus Caesar. Of the general census mentioned by Luke, nothing is known in Roman history. In any census, the Roman custom wanted every man to report at his place of residence. The head of the family alone made a report. Wife or any dependent was not required to do so. Still Luke says that Joseph left his home in Nazareth and crossed two provinces and went to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife, Mary on the very eve of her becoming a mother. Can this be true? The Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. And hence, as Ernest Renan, famous for Bible criticism says his birth was made to take place there. 

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