Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 4

Part Four – The Prophetic Fingerprint

Well, happily this is the last of the “Case for Christmas” videos.

Here’s email’s spin:

“Some people believe the Old Testament doesn’t apply to those of us who follow Jesus. They think the ancient history, poetry, and prophecies are irrelevant to today’s modern culture. Yet, the Old Testament is the foundation on which we stand. 

Against all odds [the multiple Old Testament prophecies] were fulfilled only in Jesus… confirming His identity as the Messiah and the Son of God. ~ Lee Strobel 

Someone has said the probability of a person fulfilling every single Old Testament promise and prophecy about the Messiah is as likely as if the entire state of Texas was covered in quarters 12 inches deep with only one quarter painted red and a blindfolded child selected that quarter on the first attempt: a 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 chance! 

Jesus is the One! He’s the Lord! Whether we buy gifts or give our friends and family something homemade, whether we’re in the snow or sand, whether we’ve known him all our lives or we’ve only now put our faith in Jesus through this study, let’s praise him with joyful hearts this Christmas! He’s the Gift!”

No, no one has said that bit of nonsense Lee claims, unless we want to claim Lee himself.  Always fun to see a Christian inventing someone else to agree with him.  Hmmm, who else does that?  Ah yes, Donald J. Trump, the orange moron we have as president for about another month (unless he resigns so Pence can pardon him and his family).

That JC didn’t fulfill OT promises is notable since we still have Jews around who are quiet sure of it.  I do enjoy the Jews for Judaism website when it comes to seeing just how badly Christians make up nonsense.

Of course, Lee is one of those Christians who want the OT for their supposed prophecies but oh when it comes to following those laws that JC himself said were to be followed until the earth and heavens pass away, well, those laws are legibus non grata.

Lee starts with the claim that the OT “prophecies” only apply to this messiah of his, that they cannot apply to anyone else ever.

So, let’s start with his claims about Micah 5.

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth;  then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,  in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;and he shall be the one of peace.” – Micah 5, NRSV

Other bibles break this set of verses up differently to get different meanings.  Lee uses the NIV, strangely enough, and that’ll drive the KJV-onlyists right over the edge.

Now, why Lee doesn’t include verse 5 is a mystery.  But looking at what we have, there is nothing to this that is unique and can apply to only one person.  We also know that JC never made anyone secure or was considered great to the ends of the earth or made peace. Christians had to invent a “second coming” to get this to work, something never mentioned in the OT, a messiah that had to come twice to get things right.  Finally, this passage has that the messiah is not God, showing that the claims of Christianity of this messiah being God doesn’t work.

Again, Lee tries to claim dozens of fulfilled prophecies, but they don’t exist and he doesn’t give examples.  What he does do is return to the false claims about verses in Isaiah about the supposed “virgin” birth.   Lee tries to argue that the prophecy was for someone else but was somehow *also* for his version of the messiah.  There is no reason to believe that this is the case, other than Lee needs a bit of verse to claim his god is special because of the virgin birth.  Lee offers a theory that the “first” go through for the prophecy was for some other Jewish leader, but claims that might not be right since that one wasn’t named “Immanuel”.

Funny how his messiah wasn’t called Immanuel either.

We end up in Isaiah 9, where Lee again tries the magic changing prophecy trick.  What we read there is:

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

For all of the promises here, the christian messiah fails in all of them.  The same thing happens in Isaiah 11 where the Christian messiah has nothing in common with the Jewish one “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might,the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,  and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.”

It may be pointing out a messiah, but JC fails in being that messiah.

Lee also tries to argue that since almah means young woman, then it has to mean virgin since all young women were assumed to be virgins.  However, the verse makes no remark about how strange it would indeed be to have a virgin birth.   We also have the problem of Lee’s claim that betulah can mean widow, when that isn’t exactly true.  Folks who speak Hebrew can be assumed to know their language better than Lee or Glenn Miller, an apologist who presupposes that the popular mixed version of the Christmas story is true and does his best to make the bible fit.  Here they explain the issues with betulah and almah:  Jews for Judaism | Chapter 18f – THE VIRGIN MISCONCEPTION MYTH

Now, Lee tries to reference a medieval rabbi who notes that some people consider the verse from Isaiah about the young women thought it was meant to be a virgin

This is what the rabbi wrote:

“the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign: He will give you a sign by Himself, against Your will.  

is with child: This is actually the future, as we find concerning Manoah’s wife, that the angel said to her (Judges 13:3): “And you shall conceive and bear a son,” and it is written, “Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son.”        

the young woman: My wife will conceive this year. This was the fourth year of Ahaz.      

and she shall call his name: Divine inspiration will rest upon her.   

Immanuel: [lit. God is with us. That is] to say that our Rock shall be with us, and this is the sign, for she is a young girl, and she never prophesied, yet in this instance, Divine inspiration shall rest upon her. This is what is stated below (8:3): “And I was intimate with the prophetess, etc.,” and we do not find a prophet’s wife called a prophetess unless she prophesied. Some interpret this as being said about Hezekiah, but it is impossible, because, when you count his years, you find that Hezekiah was born nine years before his father’s reign. And some interpret that this is the sign, that she was a young girl and incapable of giving birth.”

This is all he says.  Two differing opinions on what this “really” means.  If this fellow is the end all and be all of Jewish interpretation like Lee claims, then why believe the part that he mentions in passing as evidently wrong?

Lee does try to get around the problem of JC never once being called Immanuel, and saying that bible names can be symbolic.  Yep, they can be.  But Lee just wants to claim that since people want to pretend that this god is with them, then that’s why no one ever called Joshua ben Joseph Immanuel but it’s okay.  Problem is that Lee’s millions of people never ever call JC Immanuel either.

Unlike what Lee says, this supposed messiah didn’t fulfill prophecies and most certainly not all before the destruction of the second temple.  That’s why we have the “second coming” nonsense.  The psalms never “predicted” the nailing of cruxifiction, but the bites of animals.  Unsurprisingly, Rabbi Reshi, so important to Lee before, is now ignored when he doesn’t agree with Lee.  The rabbi wrote this

like a lion, my hands and feet: As though they are crushed in a lion’s mouth, and so did Hezekiah say (in Isa. 38: 13): “like a lion, so it would break all my bones.”

We finally seem to be ended up at Isaiah 53 and Lee does try to pretend it describes his messiah.  But we have problems:

“He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.”

however, JC is claimed to have been followed by crowds who lauded him.

“Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.”

When was JC ever sick and considered struck down by this god?

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,  and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” 

Per John and Mark, JC is quite chatty.

Yes, there are similarities and that’s what you get when making a story based on what you want to claim is prophecy.  It’s just a shame that they didn’t do a very good job of it.

Claims of mathematics and probability are invoked by Lee and they are meaningless since one can’t show that what he claims are prophecies or that they were somehow fulfilled JC.  Probability doesn’t work with presuppositions that magic happens.  There is nothing that shows that trillions (lee uses the term trillion 13 times, which seems to end up being something like 1156 if I’m using my scientific calculator right or maybe just 13 trillion) which isn’t what he claims earlier, a quintillion.  Lee then simply lies and claims that “scientists” have said that things “ain’t gonna happen”.  Nope, scientists would say, it is very unlikely for it to happen.  And since we have no evidence for it happening, that’s the only time when you can say “It didn’t happen.”

Jesus didn’t maneuver his life to fulfill prophecies.  There was no Jesus, son of god nor were there any prophecies he fulfilled.  There was no “rejection” of sacrifices for the years after JC, since no one can agree on when that was.  Listening to a Messianic Jew, aka a Christian isn’t the best place to get information, especially when they can’t say what these three “signs” were or where in the Talmud to look for this information.

Lee ends with the claim that Jewish people have become Christians so that should be evidence that his nonsense is correct.  He, in his appeal to popularity, forgets that many more haven’t.

There is indeed something to take away from Lee’s videos.  Christianity is based on nonsense, cherry picking and ignorance.  The promise that everyone would kneel at the mere mention of JC’s name is just one more failure of the bible.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 3

Part Three – “A Mind-Boggling Proposition”  yeah, it’s really called that.

So, in addition to the latest bit of nonsense from Lee Strobel about Christmas, I also got an email from another shilling preacher from biblegateway.com about the Jews.   Now, I find Jewish belief just as ridiculous as Christian or any other belief but the desperation of Christians to convert them is rather pathetic.  This fellow, Jonathan Bernis, President and CEO, Jewish Voice Ministries International says “You can help share the Gospel with Jewish people who have yet to hear about their Savior.

As followers of Jesus and Bible believers, our faith is deeply connected to Israel and the Jewish people. And as we enter into the Last Days, it’s more important than ever to stand with Israel and help the Jewish people find their promised Messiah.”

Well, the Jews are quite certain JC isn’t their messiah because they didn’t need to make up a repeat performance to make him fit their prophecies.  Christians are only concerned for the Jews to keep existing for at least a little longer, since their magical end times won’t happen without the slaughter of the Jews.  It’s always a bit hypocritical when you claim you are wanting to “Provide medical assistance to Jewish people and their neighbors” when all you really want to so is make sure that they are in place do die when you want them to.  When you praise a pandemic because it’ll make people run to you, that shows you are a sick person: “This pandemic is prompting Jewish people to search for meaning as never before. In fact, when Israel begins to open back up, we anticipate Israelis will be more open to hearing about the love and hope of our Messiah.” 

Okay, now back to the Christmas silliness.  This is the intro:

“Welcome to week three of The Case for Christmas Online Bible Study with Lee Strobel.

The Lord is the best giver of all. He delights in blessing his children because he’s a good father (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13).

His best gift of all was, of course, Jesus! Who but God himself would have thought of sending the Messiah through a virgin teenager living in a backwater town? Imagine how much trust in God it must have taken for Isaiah to prophesy that out loud (Isaiah 7:14)!

This week, investigative journalist Lee Strobel asks, “Is the virgin birth consistent with reality?” And he explains why it’s so important that Jesus came to us through a virgin.

At the center of Christmas is the fact that this isn’t just an ordinary birth. This was a supernatural occurrence unlike any other birth in history and it’s embedded in our historic statements of faith. ~ Lee Strobel

Given God’s outrageous penchant for creativity in gift-giving, why wouldn’t he do something so extravagant in introducing his Son into the world?

If a God exists who is big enough to create the universe in all its complexity and vastness, why should a mere miracle be such a mental stretch? ~ Tim Keller

In today’s lesson, consider how an unsparing, bountiful, completely openhanded God loves to wow us!”

Now, if you’ve read the bible, the claims here seem to have a bit of a reek to them.  A god that has to show off.  How human.  I’ve been chatting with some Christians and Muslims this week on youtube and they have been telling me how dare I question the existence of their god, I, a speck of dust asking this god to prove itself to me.  So, this god has to show off to a speck of dust?

So, before I get into what Lee says, “creative gift giving” is a little strange to say about this god.  It gives “gifts” which are answered prayers, but they often require people to die in droves.  If this god gives you a win in a battle, he’ll accept your daughter given as a human sacrifice.  If this god gives you freedom per Exodus, this god supposedly kills thousands if not millions of people who couldn’t do anything about their pharaoh who was controlled by this god so it could show off. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 3″

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 2

Part Two – Beneath the Fake News

So, here we have week two of the “case for Christmas” and unsurprisingly, we have a conservative Christian using Bumbling Idiot Donnie’s favorite lie.

Per Lee, Christmas has been “victimized” by fake news.  Amazing how a supposedly omnipotent character just can’t do a thing about us puny humans, like keep its story straight.

The claim here is that the similarities of the supposed birth of Jesus by a virgin, into stressful circumstances, like so many other divine heroes aren’t similarities at all.  This is the one “real” time that this happened, and just ignore that many other cultures and religions made similar claims.  This is what Strobel wants everyone to believe.

He starts with some quotes by Thomas Jefferson, etc that state that the myths of Christianity will be considered equivalent to the myths of Rome and Greece in the future.  Then we get a review of Mithraism, that there was a man/god born on December 25, of a virgin who was in a cave.  This man/god was then sacrificed.  Now, as Lee notes, this isn’t quite the right story, and that some things have apparently been added, like the virgin in a cave.  Mithras is claimed to have emerged from rock full grown.   However, one can see that emerge from rock and having supposedly been born in a cave and emerging from it could be construed to mean the same thing, at least in metaphor. However, I agree, the Mithras connection seems to be a little far-fetched.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t virgin birth stories of heroes that do stand up to looking at them as precursors of the invented nativity story.  Indeed there is one in the book, 2 Enoch,  that has the miraculous virgin birth of Melchizedek, a high priest.  This character is mentioned in the Letter to the Hebrews where Jesus Christ is compared to him.   So we can establish a reason why the virgin birth was inserted into the story.   We also have a story that Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroasterianism, was  born of a virgin who was hit with a shaft of light. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 2″

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 1

Part One – Setting the Record Straight

Well, Lee has quite a challenge here since the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, and therefore Christmas, is certainly quite a mess.  We have two gospels that just ignore it, two that have the details everyone knows but are contradictory and Paul who has seems to have no idea what the gospels said about JC, except for a few bits about resurrection.

Lee says he thought he’d find that the claims about the nativity were going to be “flimsy”. Well, if the following isn’t flimsy, I’d hate to see what he would consider that.

The first claim is that his sources are too “immediate” to be considered legend.  He also claims that “legends” can have “contaminated” the “actual account of what really took place.”  So, which is it?  Add to this that the bible is supposedly inspired/written by a perfect omnipotent, omniscient being, and it doesn’t look too good for its validity.

First on the block of not being “quite right” is the manger scene.  Lee claims that it would be “unthinkable” for anyone to turn away a “pregnant Jewish woman seeking shelter.”  Nothing seems to support that at all, despite the claim of a “scholar”(Kenneth Bailey, a ThD whose entire experience relevant to this seems to be being a missionary in Egypt) saying it.  He also claims that the “inn” wasn’t part of the story, but again, nothing to show this in the bible which is ostensibly from a perfect being.  Is it lying or is Lee?  Rewriting the denial of shelter denies a bit of theology that insists that how martyred Christians are.  Lee also goes on to claim that there is a special word for “inn” in Greek rather than “kataluma” which is used in the NT to describe a rentable or guest room.  He never says what that other word is.  We also have Lee saying that a translation of the bible nearly 1400 years later goes from “guest room” to “inn”.   Amazing how mangled this perfect god allows its one and only set of words to humans to get.

Lee also tries to claim that somehow Jews and people in the middle east would allow their farm animals into the living area.  Noting how paranoid these people are about being ritually clean, it’s hard to imagine that would be allowed, to the point of having a manger in the living room from the animals to eat from?   I grew up on a dairy farm and often found myself in the milking parlor where the cows would poop whenever they wanted to and sometimes to ah, “explosive”, results.  I also mucked out the area were they lived, especially during the winter.

Lee also claims that the Protoevangelion of James is the source of Mary being really really pregnant and that it is mostly legendary.  One wonders which parts Lee considers true, Mary being fed by angels?  Mary’s hymen being examined?   It’s no less or more silly than the other versions of the story.  (now, if you want a really bizarre one, try the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, written around the same time. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 1″

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” – preview of a critique

Being completely bored, I signed up for Bible Gateway’s shilling of Lee Strobel’s new book “The Case for Christmas”.  I figured this will at least give me something to do and give me a few posts for this blog.  The videos are free, but they really, really want you to buy the books.

Unsurprisingly, this is just a rehash of Strobel’s apologetics books “The Case for Christ”, “The Case for Miracles”, “The Case for Grace/Hope/Faith”  (three separate books), “The Case for a Creator”, etc.  All of these present the same claims and demonstrate that apologetics are not for those who have a question, but for those who are desperate to cling to their religion.  Apologetics are also for those writers who have nothing else and want to squeeze their faithful one more time for the same information.

So continue to read if you’d like.  If you’ve frequented my blog before, it’ll be some, if not entirely composed, of the same counter-apologetics aka facts you’ve seen before. An age ago I ran the local planetarium’s Christmas show, so I have some experience in the range of nonsense that can be offered.

“Even when he was an atheist, Lee Strobel enjoyed the Christmas season–the gift-giving, holiday parties, and being with friends and family. But after his wife became a Christian, Lee started to investigate the real meaning behind all those nativity scenes he had seen outside of churches. In this four-week study, Lee reveals what he discovered as he sought to separate the holiday from the holy day, the facts from the fantasy, and the truth from the tradition. In each session you will explore:

What the Bible actually says about Jesus’ birth and how you can know it is accurate

Whether the Christmas story actually happened or developed from the myths of the day

The Bible’s claim that Jesus was born of a virgin and why it is important to your faith

How Jesus–and only Jesus–fulfilled hundreds of biblical prophecies about the Messiah

The Case for Christmas will invite you to look beyond the familiar traditions of the season, challenge you to examine the evidence for yourself, and consider why Christmas really matters.”

I’m guessing a lot of Christians will be confused since they generally have no idea what is in the bible.

Not So Polite Dinner Conservation – Those magi, and yay, a child is destined to be killed

On the road, over two thousand years ago

Balthasar: hey guys, I was doing up that kid’s astrology chart.

Caspar: what kid’s?

Melchior: You know, that one who is going to be king of the Jews one day, you gave the myrrh.

Caspar: Oh yeah. What about him?

Balthasas: I think we got the wrong one. Damnit, I knew I should have read those Jewish myths more closely. This one is dead in a little over 30 years, tortured to death by the Romans and Jews.   That Jupiter in retrograde is a bitch.

Melchoir: But I did a chart and shows that this kid would be celebrated for millenia.

Caspar: So this god made a kid, had it killed for what this god decreed to happen in the Jewish myths and then people celebrated that? But not the Jews?

Balthasar: (tossing his scroll onto the camp fire) This stuff is such crap. When we get home, I’m just sticking with observation and experimentation.

/satire

On our road trip to see family this weekend, my husband noted that it was really weird to have a big winter celebration in honor of the birth of a child that was decreed to die in a few decades because of its father needing a death to make itself happy for something it did intentionally thousands of years before.

Of course, the story about the magi is yet another time when the bible shows its failure in making any sense. The magi go into a house, not a stable or manger. Per the story, the kid was around two years old, since Herod supposedly had a massacre of children of that age (no evidence for this either). The eastern orthodox churches have up to 12 magi (which makes me think of the scene in The Life of Brian when the roman soldiers are filing in and out of the hide out of the People’s Front of Judea) visiting which would just be funny.

 

And of course the actual scene with the magi:

Being happy about a birth that only leads to death and misery required by a god though the actions of its supposed archenemy for no reason is a greedy sadist’s act.

It’s a lot more coherent to celebrate the sun’s warmth, the turning of the seasons and the best things in life: food, drink and the people you love in your life.

What the Boss Likes – Getting back in the blogging saddle

Apollo kitty

Here I am again, trying to catch up on some blogging.  I’m going to try to post much more often though we’ll see how that works out.

Let’s see, what’s been going on at the Club:

Harley is almost as big as Aggie now.

 

The kittens have grown quite a bit.  They don’t often meow, but they trill at us and each other constantly.  Happily, one did that in bed this morning because I mis-set the alarm clock and we would have been late for work.   We got an excellent cat tree for them, by Feandrea.  We got ours through Amazon.  We’ve also discovered hat they really like dirt.  They were born under a shed on bare dirt and they managed to get into our basement which is half cemented and half an open crawlspace (our house is old).   They get their white fur quite gray since they just love

sleeping in the dirt.

Roasted pumpkin

I made a pumpkin pie from scratch and then one from a can of pumpkin puree using Libby’s “new-fashioned” recipe on the can.  Both were good, but I think I like the one from the can better. It’s very fluffy and easier since rather than using sugar and milk, you use a can of sweetened condensed milk (something I also enjoy in my coffee).

tasty pie

A neighbor’s house caught on fire this past weekend, so be careful with portable heaters everyone!

We made Northern Brewer’s Honey Weizen beer.  It’s very nice, with a whiff of honey.  The next up will be the Koa Coconut Porter.

I’ve been playing with epoxy resin and my alcohol inks and did a show a couple of weeks ago.  I’ll be doing another for a fundraiser for a local homeless shelter. Yep, it’s a Christian mission, but they do good work for folks who have nowhere to go.  For all of the churches around here, they don’t support the shelter as you would think and it has to ask the whole community.

my craftshow table. I’m not a great photographer

Finally got cold enough here so I can use my beloved weighted blanket.  😊

We also put up a Christmas tree.  I had been wanting one for years but hated to waste the money.  Then I managed to get a tree on sale after last Christmas.  What I didn’t intend is having so many cats with the tree. However, they have been really good about not bothering it.  Of course, everything on the tree is unbreakable.

Well, that’s enough for now.  I’ll be back to my usual commenting about food, religion, politics and more in the near future.

What the Boss Likes – much better lyrics for Deck the Halls

The original lyrics and much more fun. Thank you, Wikipedia!

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
‘Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troul the ancient Christmas carol,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

See the flowing bowl before us,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Follow me in merry measure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
While I sing of beauty’s treasure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Laughing, quaffing all together,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

What the Boss likes – Holiday nonsense

poor Mog:

One of my favorite charities:

 

and a classic, Cthulhu style:

 

and more chtullhu carols

and what was my favorite stop motion Christmas story, which is full of the sniffles (the angels are creepy) and the star is even more ridiculous.

So, if you were a Christian at some point or are now, what’s your favorite Christmas carol?  I think mine is “Can you hear what I hear?”

 

 

 

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a star in the east…. wait a minute…

christmas-star-failI think I’ve mentioned here on this blog somewhere that I ran the planetarium when I was in college as a work-study job. Every November and December, we ran a Christmas star show, which showed that the story was a lot of nonsense. But people still flocked to it because they didn’t pay attention and were sure that it was about them and their religion (rather like Christians being sure that the song “Take me to church” is flattering to religion. Hint: it isn’t).

One thing that I recently read about the Christmas nativity story struck me as something rather new (I got this from my FFRF newspaper and the article was by Barbara Walker, an author). It’s just one more in the pile of bizarreness, contradiction and nonsense that is the nativity story (the story everyone knows is a mash of Matt and Luke), but this point satisfies my love of astronomy and geography. Let’s look at a few verses (I’m using the KJV because the more extreme of Christians seem to favor it:

“2 2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

And then:

9 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

Now, some versions have footnotes that say that this “really” means that the magi saw the star while *they* were in the east, but the translations, ostensibly all guided by God, don’t say this. What they actually say is that the magi (a Persian term) saw this star as it rose. Stars rise in the east. Oh and Luke doesn’t mention a star at all, something that would be pretty obvious to shepherds (who aren’t out in the fields in December…) Sigh.

It’s a bit hard to follow a star that is in the east, to find someplace west of you, unless you go the loooong way around. There is an obscure prophecy in Numbers that mentions a star out of Jacob and it seems that this star had to make and appearance to validate the story.

As for the “war on Christmas”, I think it’s best done by idiot preachers screaming that Santa isn’t real to children (of course it was in the US). Seems like someone isn’t getting the attention he thinks he deserves, tsk.

In case you’re curious, a couple of older holiday posts:

https://clubschadenfreude.com/2012/12/26/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-the-war-on-christmas-complete-with-friendly-fire/

https://clubschadenfreude.com/2015/11/11/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-tis-the-season/

https://clubschadenfreude.com/2014/12/25/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-the-thought-that-counts-requires-some-thinking/