Aaron Adair wrote a superb book which I edited called The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View. It is well worth reading, and you will learn a number of gems. I thought I would give you a taste with part of the second chapter detailing methodological difficulties involved with the Gospel of Matthew and accounts and claims of the star. The book is available from the sidebar over there>>>>>>>
Tag Gospel of Matthew
Having looked at points 1) and 2) it is time to see if there is a more plausible explanation for the data from a naturalistic perspective than the Christian claims. Before setting out the positive case, I want to spend a little time going over some of the data from the Gospels and how they are problematic. Really, this belongs in the first post under point 1), but it sort of required its own post for reasons of length.
As mentioned in my previous post, someone in Malawi is about to have a debate on national TV with a Christian about the Resurrection accounts and I have been asked to help provide some ideas for the debate, so here goes.
Triablogue’s Jason Engwer has written a criticism of some of my recent posts (as well as my book The Nativity: A Critical Examination) on the Nativity accounts in Matthew (and Luke). Here, I will respond to him and his points.
It’s that time of year when those nativity accounts get brought up. And summarily debunked. My book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination, hopefully does a good job of dealing with the many attempts to harmonise the contradictory accounts in Matthew and Luke.
I have spoken about Joseph of Arimathea before, in the videos linked below. Just reading a chapter by Robert M. Price in The End of Christianity, I came across this very simple aspect which shows, to me at any rate, that Matthew’s sole job seemed to be to contrive as many random prophecy fulfilments from the Old Testament as humanly possible.
A few days ago at the National Catholic Register, a blog post was put up about the Yuletide star that I have been so interested in. The author of the piece, Jimmy Akin, wrote up about how the text of the Gospel of Matthew does not necessarily talk about a Star that moves around in such a way that it can only be supernatural. Akin, who besides having a cool red beard, is a Catholic apologist, and he categorizes his efforts here about the Star under apologetics (as seen on the blogs tag). I read the blog entry after I saw it come up in a search on Twitter, and the first thing I noted was that he said that the text does not support the supernatural reading, but he never actually cited the Greek text!
Why is it more probable that your god exists than man made him up?
We have an exceptionally high prior probability that your god is false given that we both believe that every other god claimed to be true (before and after) is false. Thus, on prior probability, the JC God is HIGHLY unlikely to exist. How does the Christian overcome this? They have to provide high CONSEQUENT probability. ie Evidence. But this is poor. Let’s take the four Gospels, written by unknown people at unknown dates in unknown places with ex post facto agendas to evangelise, at least 40 years after the person they are writing about and whom they have never met, has died.
Aaron Adair, contributor of skeptically themed posts to this here blog, has written an awesome book called The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View. The book has received some great reviews which I will tell you about in another post. I edited this book and it is released by my own imprint, Onus Books.
This is the sort of stuff I talk about in my book The Nativity: A Critical Examination, available from the sidebar over there on your right!
From Bart Ehrman’s blog: – Christianity In Antiquity (behind a members only wall):
“Jonathan Pearce Points Out the Many Questions Raised By The Stories of Jesus’ Infancy in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke”
Ed Babinski has recently kindly written about my book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination. Here is his post. Thanks, Ed!
Jonathan Pearce has composed a book titled, The Nativity: A Critical Examination in which he asks questions like these (to which I have added a few comments myself below–ETB):
In order for the Christian who believes that both accounts are factually true to uphold that faithful decree, the following steps must take place. The believer must:
In this post, I am going to look at the resurrection account given by Matthew, in particular his addition found in no other Gospel account, that there were guards stationed at the tomb.
According to Matthew, the chief priests were worried that the disciples might steal Jesus’ body to fake a resurrection, so they went to Pilate and got permission to post a guard on the tomb. When Jesus rose from the dead, the guards reported it to the priests, and the priests bribed them to claim that disciples stole the body while they were asleep. Matthew claims that “to this day” Jews report the body as stolen (as opposed to resurrected).