(continued from last post) Even if one does not subscribe to the literal or historical tru

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(continued from last post) Even if one does not subscribe to the literal or historical truth of the events depicted in the Gospels, acceptance of their symbolic significance generally suffices for a person to be called Christian. And for many Christians they are assumed to be both coherent and inerrant. From childhood, a Christian is socialized to believe that the story of Jesus, as it is preserved in the Four Gospels, is if not God-inspired, at least definitive. The Four Evangelists, supposed authors of the Gospels, are deemed to be reliable witnesses who consistantly reinforce and confirm each other's testimony. Most editions of the Christian Bible include a "Harmony of the Gospels" in the appendix. Of the people who today call themselves Christians, relatively few are aware of the fact that the four Gospels not only contradict each other in more than one way, but at times they violently disagree. B.) The Origin and Birth of Jesus So far as popular tradition is concerned, the origin and birth of Jesus are well enough known. In reality, the Gospels, on which that tradition is based, are considerably more vague on the matter. According to Matthew, Jesus was an aristocrat, descended from David via Solomon, and a credible heir to the throne of Judea, one of the two discrete districts of Roman Palestine. According to Luke, Jesus' family, though of the Davidic line, was somehow not as destined to the throne. And Mark goes even further and says that Jesus was born to a working-class family of "Tectonae" or builders. It's not clear from the Koine whether or not, as conventional wisdom has it, that Joseph was a carpenter or not. The two geneologies, one in Matthew and one in Luke, disagree wildly. The discrepencies between the Gospels are not confined to the question of Jesus' ancestry and genealogy. According to Luke, Jesus, on his birth, was visited by shepherds. But according to Matthew, he was visited by priest-kings, the Magi of Persia, which incidentally was what the priests of Mithras were called. According to Luke, Jesus' family lived in Nazareth, a town that did not exist in its present form and under that name until the Second Century CE. From here they are said to have journeyed, for a census (that history suggests never in fact occurred) to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born in the poverty of a manger. But according to Matthew, his family had been fairly well to do residents of Bethlehem all along, and Jesus himself was born in a house. In Matthew's version Herod's persecution of the innocents prompts the family to flee into Egypt, and only on their return do they make their home in Nazareth. Again, this town did not exist at the time that the events in the New Testament are said to happen, at roughly 4 BCE to 33 CE. Such a glaring difference in stories cannot be just shrugged off. If two witnesses gave such divergent stories in court, the Judge would have to rule one or the other wrong. Yet both stories are held as truth without question by Christianity. Therefore, the Gospels cannot be regarded as inerrant. How can they be inerrant...without error...when they are inconsistent with each other on the basic question on Jesus' origins? And it gets even stranger. (continued next post)

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