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Forget the Star!

December 28, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Every year at this time it happens: people start theorising on what the Star of Bethlehem was. These aren’t religious nutters either: they are often astronomers, historians, and other credible people. But why do they bother? If you are going to try to explain the star then you have to take the Bible seriously. If you take it seriously you have to admit all sorts of supernatural events really happened. So why does there have to be a natural explanation of the star? And if you don’t take the Bible seriously (and no one should) then why try to explain something that very likely never happened?

The whole exercise is pointless really but it’s turned into a sort of game for some people. It’s like they’re saying: I’ll take your mythology seriously enough to accept that an event happened but I’m not prepared to take it seriously enough to accept that an event happened with no natural explanation.

The fact is there is nothing to explain. The star is only mentioned in one gospel (Matthew). Why? Was it not an important and spectacular event? Surely it was worthy enough to be mentioned in the other three gospels the church arbitrarily chose to be its official doctrine (don’t even get me started on the dozens of others it conveniently ignored). Obviously Matthew (or whoever wrote that book because no one actually knows) thought it sounded good so he just made it up.

But most of the Bible is just made up. What about the crazy stuff in John? That makes a star appearing unexpectedly look pretty normal in comparison. The Bible has some interesting stories and the occasional bit of positive philosophy but anyone who really takes it literally is crazy. No one who really looks at the subject honestly could ever do that. The people who do take it literally are being dishonest, mainly to themselves.

Maybe if credible people stopped speculating on made up fairy stories like the star instead of taking them seriously it might help fundamentalist Christians escape from the prison of lies they find themselves in. Actually that probably wouldn’t happen. Like a prisoner who has been locked up for so long he can no longer function in the real world the fundamentalist Christian doesn’t want to be free. The prison of his faith is so much more comfortable than reality.

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