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Christmas Story Myths and Realities

Christmas Story Myths and Realities

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Published by Bill Allin
The Bible does a good job of laying out the Christmas Story. However, what we don't know of the culture of the day has caused great misinterpretation of the facts. This article tells what is fact.
Find the home site of author bill Allin at http://billallin.com
The Bible does a good job of laying out the Christmas Story. However, what we don't know of the culture of the day has caused great misinterpretation of the facts. This article tells what is fact.
Find the home site of author bill Allin at http://billallin.com

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Bill Allin on Dec 25, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/22/2011

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Christmas Story Myths and Realities
by Bill AllinLet me state at the outset that I have never been a great fan of theBible. While it stands as a repository of human wisdom through theages, it has been used--too often and unnecessarily--as a cause forwar and a source for religious propaganda. Whereas it has proven tobe a marvelous source for history, academics argue over it likechildren in a sandbox who are well past their nap time.My experience with people who quote "scripture" has been all bad.Without exception they have been mentally unbalanced, some to agreater degree, some less. The scripture they quote has almost alwaysbeen from what Christians call the Old Testament. These books werewritten shortly after written language began, by the Israelite tribeswho escaped Egypt during the Exodus.Those tribes were violent people then, as most tribal peoples are todayin comparison with those who live in more developed cultures. (Thinkof the ones in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan who historyshows have been at war with each other "forever.") The Israelite tribeswere relatively uncultured in comparison with neighboring tribes. Bycomparison, the Romans and the tribe of Goliath, known to us as thePhilistines, were culturally much more sophisticated.But the Israelites had written language, they may even have inventedit as a secret code as they prepared the exodus of Egypt. Like today'sBedouins (of which the Israelites were a part in those days), theytended to convey history, tribal wisdom and their oral form of education in parables or stories, the way Jesus of Nazareth did in theBible's New Testament. Even today if you listen to a translation of taped messages from Osama bin Laden you will wonder at the strangestory-like way he conveys his messages. Sometimes his messagesseem backwards, which is a story style of these people. People borninto the culture understand the story-telling techniques.The ancient Israelites used their written language the way today'spolitical leaders do, as a tool of propaganda as well as a record of fact.So, is the Bible a factual record of what actually happened or is it acollection of folk tales invented by people who clearly had an agendathey wanted readers to believe? The latter would include myths of thenature of Aesop's Fables, designed to convey life lessons to youngergenerations, and well as rewrites of history that conform to the wishesof those in power at the time, who had the money to pay for the
 
writing. The answer to the question is clearly: yes. Both, and more.The Church of Rome devised the modern Bible in the Fourth CenturyCE, omitting many books that did not fulfill its agenda of the time andrewriting others to fit its newly devised doctrine, taking advantage of its new position as the official religion of the Roman Empire. In theprocess it omitted its extermination of the Followers of Jesus in theHoly Land in the Third Century (the power of the Christian Church wasin Greece at the time, not in Jerusalem) and it made Mary of Magdalaalmost disappear from the texts.Two centuries later a Pope had Mary Magdalene repositioned as aprostitute (which is never hinted in the Bible) so that it could maintainits hold of men only holding power in the religion. Only in fairly recentyears did we learn that Mary was the strongest supporter of Jesus,even likely in a financial sense as her father was a well-off Jewishmerchant, and she became virtually the leader of the teachers whowere the Followers of Jesus, courtesy of the Nag Hammadi textsdiscovered in Ethiopia, that were arguably more important than theDead Sea Scrolls.Remember that Jesus of Nazareth was a Galilean who spoke andpreached in Aramaic, though he obviously also spoke and read Hebrewas he quoted from Hebrew texts and chatted with the priests inJerusalem when he was 12. Some of what is recorded in the Bible istranslated from Aramaic. Not only was Aramaic different from Hebrew,the culture and customs of the people who spoke it in the Galileediffered greatly from those of the Israelites farther south.In Aramaic, for example, the same word that means carpenter alsomeans stone mason. The Bible has Joseph being a carpenter, not animpossibility, but unlikely in an age when Rome and King Herod wereresponsible for most of the building in the region and they preferredbuilding with stone because wood was rare in the Holy Land, as it istoday. Joseph was surely a stone mason, one who helped to build thenew Roman city that sprang up a few kilometres away from Nazareth.Something that has bothered scholars for ages is the status of themother of Jesus, Mary, as a virgin at the time of her becomingpregnant. What the Bible emphasizes is her Immaculate Conception,meaning that Mary, thus her son, conceived free of Original Sin (thesin of Eve, which supposedly followed all humans until the death of Jesus on the cross).
 
Mary (Mariam in Aramaic) was betrothed to Joseph (Josephus), but notyet married to him when she was visited by a messenger from Godand told that she would give birth to a very special child. As she was of marriageable age and already betrothed, it is highly likely that shemarried shortly thereafter and became pregnant soon after that. If youwere told that you would soon be pregnant, you might choose to getmarried quickly as well.The sequence of words to describe the conception of Jesus may bewhat confused people as they were translated. Jesus could have beenborn free of Original Sin and blessed by God without lacking thatessential second set of human DNA which makes each of us human.Remember, the people of Galilee may have been poor and notculturally blessed, but they weren't stupid. They knew what it took tocreate a baby.They also knew that no matter how they told the Mary story after thefact, in their strange-to-us peculiar story form, everyone wouldunderstand that human babies are conceived by copulation of a manand a woman. It would never have occurred to them that people inother parts of the world, millennia later, would confuse their odd wayof telling a story until they understood it to mean that a virgin hadconceived a baby.Some Christians still believe that Mary remained a virgin throughouther life, despite the fact that the Gospels state she had severalchildren after Jesus. Many also believe that the angels in the Bible hadwings, despite the fact that the Bible mentions nothing of wings. (Whatwould a non-corporeal energy-based being need with a birdlikemethod of movement anyway?)[Aside: The Christmas star could have been easily accounted for bythe convergence of three planets. Witness our fascination with suchastronomical events today. The Magi, being stronomers, would haveexpected a convergence and may have travelled some distance to seeit, as eclipse lovers do today. Shepherds would not likely have knownabout a convergence, so might easily have attached spiritualsignificance to it. Either group might have known about Hebrewprophesies of a star signifying the birth of a holy child.]Those violent Israelites of the day still believed that a woman shouldbe a virgin when she married. It was Torah law, is part of the ChristianOld Testament and Muslim holy texts. A woman who became pregnant(or who even had sex, lost her maidenhead) before marriage would

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Bill Allin added this note
Rumplemeister = meaningless babble What a load of nonsense this person wrote. He is irate simply because I dared to write something beyond his simple faith in what he has been brainwashed to believe. I dare because I seek truth, not because I choose to avoid it.
Bill Allin added this note
Thanks Mari and Brian.
Bill Allin added this note
Rumplemeister = meaningless babble What a load of nonsense this person wrote. He is irate simply because I dared to write something beyond his simple faith in what he has been brainwashed to believe. I dare because I seek truth, not because I choose to avoid it.
Rumplemeister added this note
You did a nice job cutting down The Word of God and Jesus Christ. Do you feel better about yourself now that you've educated the ignorant masses with your rhetoric? For anyone that loves the TRUTH and seeks it out for themselves with a whole heart there is a reward of coming to know the TRUTH for themselves. The Bible says that very few people ever do that. What a shame.
Bill Allin added this note
Thanks Mari and Brian.
mcc43 added this note
clear, cultured, balanced. Thanks Bill
Brian W. Porter added this note
This is what I have learned and believed, but could never explain except to criticize other's ignorance, inaccuracies or fundamentalism. Thank you. An aside, I have learned that a larger font, 14 point or higher, makes it easier to read a document on a small screen.
Ron Geagan liked this

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