Re: [asa] Gospel in the Stars WAS Star of Bethlehem presentation?

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Tue Nov 24 2009 - 23:59:38 EST

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> Merv-
> If one tells you he went home to watch TV and the other says he went to China because he thinks that America is going to get a terrorist attack with a nuclear bomb, which would you believe, both?
> Matthew has a trip to Egypt to keep inline with the baby-killer/persecution theme, and Luke has them returning home after a census hassle.
> ...Bernie
> (Friend of the ASA)
I'd probably believe the went home to watch TV account. On the other
hand, if all I knew about someone's childhood was that they were born in
city X (to some local fanfare), and then the next thing in the account
was a brief foray into city Y when the child was twelve years old, I'd
figure there was plenty of room for other accounts to fill in a few more
adventures in between. In short, my son could have gone home to watch
TV, and in that same year fly off to China with us for whatever reason.
I've been pretty aware of (& don't gloss over) apparent contradictions
or omissions between gospel accounts, but I just don't see the big
problem here that you seem to. As others have pointed out, none of
these accounts (even Luke) has ever been purported to be anything close
to complete. We would all love to know more about what became of
Joseph, the dad who just drops out of the scene. Or a more complete
daily travel itinerary would be great to see how Bethlehem, Nazareth,
and Egypt all fit in together into their travel plans. But we don't
have it --never have --and as others here have pointed out, the earliest
scholars (& indeed any of us who take time to read our Bibles with
care) have recognized other gaps or apparent inconsistencies for quite
some time and have lived with that. Though I'm still not convinced you
actually have found one (& there are many to find) --your argument is
from silence; being bothered by the fact that apart from Matthew, the
others don't mention the trip to Egypt (which also means that such an
event is not precluded ---a fact totally lost on you.) If you want
interesting arguments from silence, then there are a lot bigger fish to
fry in the New Testament than any I've heard you put forward so far.

One might as well say that since evolutionary science hasn't yet managed
to fill in or untangle all the lineages of hominid our species, that
therefore all evolutionary science must be bogus nonsense. I'm pretty
sure you don't go there, Bernie, because you would ironically call that
logically incoherent. I know that we Christians are capable of
irrational beliefs & behaviors --I don't deny that. But in a backward
sort of way, we may owe you a debt of gratitude for the continued
reminder that Christians have no monopoly on human irrationality. Great
doubters & skeptics of the past have sometimes turned out to be some of
our most profound Christian writers. You should follow some of their
journeys of mingled faith, doubt, meditation, & thought. They have
plumbed depths that I'm not sure you've scratched at yet. I say this
with only a few in mind such as Chesterton or Lewis, or even more
recently, Philip Yancey. But I'm sure a long list of such people could
be compiled both ancient and contemporary. I know you don't have ears
to hear this right now, as you have admitted of yourself that you are in
case-building mode against Christianity; and so perhaps have no interest
in any data or logic that can't be enlisted in your present cause.
Nevertheless, seeds ought to be scattered that can survive long periods
of dormancy in many types of soil.


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Received on Wed Nov 25 00:00:12 2009

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