Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two Christmas Stories

In the 19 December 2008 article Mr. Legg offers his position as author of these articles and presents two stories of Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're in the right line of work? Maybe you should quit and become a preacher.

Your column was based entirely on the Gospel of Luke. Ever notice that Mark knew nothing of the Nativity, and John thought it was not worth mentioning? Then there's Matthew. According to him, Jesus was the natural son of Joseph, born in his house in Bethlehem, with the family later relocating to Nazareth. But Luke has the family originally from Nazareth, and devises a contrivance to get them to Bethlehem just so Jesus could fulfil a misinterpreted Messianic prophecy.

And what a contrivance it is! The efficient Romans DID NOT make everyone pick up and move willy-nilly just to pay a tax and sign a census form. What a crazy way to run a census. When the US had their last census in 2000, they didn't make ME go back to Detroit for it! Finally, there's NO record that the Romans ever conducted a census in this manner-- only the word of Luke, who is an uncorroborated source (not a witness) with a ridiculous yarn.

But it is Matthew who makes the most of alleged Old Testament Messianic prophecies. But when these are examined with an objective scholarly mind, rather than a pious heart, all of them-- repeat, ALL of them-- are seen to be taken out of context and distorted to make a bogus case.

Here's the REAL "Reason for the Season"-- the days aren't getting shorter anymore. That's something worth celebrating. The ancients did, and the Catholic Church co-opted the Solstice festivals by putting the birth of Jesus then. But nowhere in the Gospels does it say that Jesus was born on December 25th, or in December, or even winter! And nowhere outside the Gospels is there any real evidence Jesus even existed! Scholar after scholar has undertaken "The Quest for the Historic Jesus" and come up empty. So either God is playing hide-and-seek with us like a jerk, or the Jesus story is phony.

You can respond to me at antipaul18839@yahoo.com

Jason Legg said...

I am a Roman Catholic, and, even if I were to quit, I could not become a priest as I am married. In any event, I do believe that I am where God wants me to be. There are many reasons for this belief, but there is no real reason to outline them here.

In terms of the attack on the Gospel of Luke, there is not much that I could say to change your mind. I know that there is nothing that you can say that will change my faith, and that is exactly what it comes down to.

Every person experiences doubt and questions, including the ultimate questions involving one's faith and religious beliefs. Even Thomas doubted and demanded proof.

In the end, I am comfortable in resting my faith in teachings that date back to the apostles themselves. For some, this is not enough. For me, it always has been.

The date of the Christmas celebration really matters little -- it is the reason for the celebration of that matters. Merry Christmas.


Anonymous said...

It seems that you are entirely comfortable with a belief based on absolutely NO concrete facts. Had you been born in a Muslim country, you would be a devopuit Muslim. It should concern you that you are such a passive object of your social surroundings.

By the way, the Catholic Church DID NOT EXIST until the 4th century, and there was NO Pope until the 5th. Everything they told you was a LIE. I know, I was raised Catholic, but unlike YOU, I learned to THINK!

Jason Legg said...

Actually, I was not born into a Catholic family. I am a convert, so the premise of your initial statement is wrong. I am Catholic by choice, not birth.

As part of my undergraduate curriculum, I was required to take numerous theology courses, so I do have some general knowledge of the Church's history and its formation.

Both my B.A. and M.A. are in history, so I have a great respect and love for history. The history of the Church is not only interesting, but vast. As such, I would never suggest to be an expert in that field. As I noted above, I have studied it to a small degree and have some limited knowledge.

As one would expect, the formation of the Church took some time, but ecumenical councils began to meet as early as the middle of the first century. By the second century, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome (later to be known as the Pope) was accepted.

Thus, the history of the Church does date back to the apostles themselves, even if there was no "official" Church at that time. Given the persecution of early christians, it is no surprise that the formation of the Church took time, deliberation and commitment by the Church fathers and their followers.

As I said earlier, I will not change your mind, and I have no intention in engaging ad hominen arguments. It is not constructive.

We can both be thankful that we live in a country where we are free to believe and worship as we please.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond.

Jason Legg