Ho ho ho, it's Christmas. Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Or do they?

My next book, which has been on the back-burner for some time now, is tentatively called "25 Reasons to Disbelieve the Nativity". It will be a cumulative debunking of the Nativity of Jesus, Although there will be 25 points eventually, here below are 27 points, in note form, and the mental stretching and gerrymandering one has to do to accept them as coherent truth.

Let me know what you think:

1) Mary and then Joseph are visited by god to announce the birth of their son, the Messiah (not much of a stretch if you believe in the supernatural)


2) Joseph has to go to Bethlehem to attend a census. This requires him to go to his ancestral home. No census has ever required this. One in Egypt required migrant workers to return home, which is understandable, but not to an ancestral home. (STRETCH)


3) To get there, Joseph will have to take 3 weeks off work (STRETCH)


4) He will also have to feed and house himself, Mary and most probably a donkey for that time with no income. Holidays didn't exist. (STRETCH)


5) Bethlehem was not in the same tax area as Nazareth, so requirement for him to travel there would be incoherent (STRETCH)


6) At the time, Judea was a client kingdom. No client kingdom was ever recoded as needing a roman census. This simply NEVER happened. Why would it happen here? (BIG STRETCH)


7) Quirinius, legate of Judea took the reins in 6CE. Herod died in 4BCE. There is at least a 10 year difference in dates between Luke and Matthew, and no correlation of these two ruling simultaneously (MASSIVE STRETCH)


8) Matthew had Joseph as already living in Bethlehem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethlehem#Roman_and_Byzantine_periods) and this contradicts Luke as having them living in Nazareth and travelling to Bethlehem (STRETCH)



9) Joseph, a supposedly loving husband, makes his wife travel (on cart / donkey back) for 80 miles whilst heavily pregnant. This is both cruel, and would have almost certainly resulted in miscarriage. Elizabeth, who had been visited too, lived a few miles away and would have been a much better place for Mary to stay. (STRETCH)



10) Women were not required to attend censuses (STRETCH, given her pregnancy)


11) It explicitly says that Joseph attended Bethlehem census because he was in the line of David, mentioned in Luke as being 42 generations past. This is an arbitrary requirement (totally unevidenced) requiring a man to return to his home 42 generations past. Why 42, not 34, 16 etc? “Under no circumstances could the reason for Joseph’s journey be, as Luke says, that he was ‘of the house and lineage of David,’ because that was of no interest to the Romans in this context.” [Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Putting Away Childish Things, (p.10)]. (STRETCH)



12) Getting either the whole nation (or even less, if bizarrely argued) to return to a 42 generation past census contradicts all knowledge of censuses, and would have been logistically and economically impossible. (BIG STRETCH)



13) The generations of Matthew and Luke do not cohere, and directly contradict Jesus' grandfather (STRETCH)


14) The magi followed a star going counter-directionally in the sky for what must have been months. In a highly astrologically literate period, there is no other written etc evidence for this very long incredible miracle. (STRETCH)



15) The magi are only elsewhere used as a word in Daniel. Matthew seems to copy Daniel in many aspects. Is this pulling on Daniel as a literary technique? Also, it seems, in conjunction with the shepherds, a technique to show Jesus' appeal to the rich and influential as well as the poor and lowly. (Smaller STRETCH)


16) These rich and influential people, and the shepherds, despite knowing they have met god incarnate, are never heard from again. No cult, no movement, no writing, nothing. (STRETCH)


17) There is no extra-biblical evidence of Herod massacring baby, despite 2 historians noting his atrocities. (STRETCH)



18) Luke and Matthew directly contradict where Joseph goes after birth. One has Egypt, chased by Herod, for 2 years. The other has them going to see Simeon in a temple and then returning to Nazareth. (STRETCH)


19) It seems like, by hook or by crook, there are devices afoot to get Jesus to be born in Bethlehem to fulfil prophecies. (Smaller STRETCH)


20) Miraculous birth narrative fits perfectly in line with other mythological birth stories. (Smaller STRETCH)


21) Despite all these miracles, Jesus' family (including, most probably his mother) do not believe Jesus is messiah in his life. (STRETCH)


22) Herod would have been incredibly unlikely, at the age of late 70s as he was, to have given 2 hoots about a baby boy who would have come of age clearly after he had died. No threat at all to go to all that rigmarole (good point made by R. Stovold). (STRETCH)



23) Census takers more commonly travelled TO the land-owners, not the other way around (STRETCH)


24) Jesus is called everywhere 'Jesus of Nazareth' and not Jesus of Bethlehem, which would have been correct. (Smaller STRETCH)


25) The star was lifted from Numbers 24:17 as a reference from authority of the OT (smaller STRETCH)


26) Virgin birth (STRETCH)


27) Problem of how the male genome is selected to allow him to be fully human (STRETCH)