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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Message- to nazareth or not to nazareth

So let me establish one thing right off the top- DO NOT BE CONFUSED BY THIS POST.  I'm going to talk about some far out theories here in order to make a point.  What I believe, I will point out at the end.


I'm listening to Christian radio and one pastor tells me that Nazareth was a tiny, sleepy little town wherein a pious family raised a sweet innocent girl named Mary, and it was the perfect place to raise such a child.  Another tells me that Nazareth was a regional cesspit, garrisoning Roman soldiers- a place so nasty, in fact, that Jewish leaders started a story that the "virgin birth" was actually rape from one of those soldiers.  So which Nazareth really existed, if any?  Answer: perhaps none of the above.

One site I looked at told the story of this particular pastor getting a letter from an obviously atheist commenter who alleged a)there is no archaeological evidence for Nazareth existing until 200 years after Jesus' death; b) that the presence of burial caves in the area from that time suggest that, by Jewish law, no "pious" Jews would have lived there.  The pastor refuted him fairly well on both points, but his discussion is neither here nor there.  Why?

Because this is what I call "the black and white" attack.  In order to prove the Bible, one must present black-and-white evidence, while the disprovers can bounce about from one standard to another.  And here is a good example.  Nazareth in Jesus' day was too small to be listed by any chronicaller besides the Gospels.  No complex of ruins (possibly) have been found to that date (other than the tombs that the commenter already admitted were of the right date and area).  Does this mean Nazareth didn't exist?

Look up any old city of central Europe.  What you will almost invariably see is: "(Fill in the blank) was habited from at least the early (3rd, 4th, 5th, etc) century, but first was mentioned when King (whats his name) granted a charter in (name your middle ages year)."  In other words, just because YOU don't have a record of it doesn't mean it wasn't there.  (The tombs, by the way, the pastor refuted that they meant a village couldn't be there closeby by actually reading what the Jewish law SAID, rather than what the commenter WANTED it to say.

Another page delved into the "truth" of the rape of Mary allegation.  Among the claims found therein:

- that certain Bible passages (when misread, for example John 8:41) allege to Jesus' bastard status;

You are doing the works of your own father." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." (the inference being "illegitimate children like YOU")

- That the Jewish leaders constantly referred to Jesus as "ben Panthera" in reference to His alleged rapist-father, a centurion named Tiberius "the Panther"- a name that some early Church fathers actually accepted;

-That they have archaeological evidence of this-  From the site:

 Panthera's existence was confirmed by the discovery of a mysterious tombstone at Bingerbrück in Germany. The engraving etched in the headstone read:
Tiberius Julius Abdes Panthera, an archer, native of Sidon, Phoenicia, who in 9AD was transferred to service in Rhineland (Germany). 

- That there was a girl whose name was mistranslated as Mary, who if you dig in enough spots was actually a daughter of Herod the Great (and apparently a sister or half-sister to Joseph of Arimathea), and she had been raped/slept with Tiberius the Panther and had twin sons, Judas and Yeshua (Jesus), and this was the Jesus who died on the cross;

All of which led the author to this conclusion:

The scriptural and historical data being presented in this work shows that the New Testament was never an authentic record, but was, in its entirety, a corpus of corrupted documents specifically constructed to induce a particular belief (John 20:30-31). This conclusion rests firmly on known facts and the ensuing chapters analyze ancient Roman, British and church reports that support this assertion.

Which really opens the door to my big finish, but first:

Truth number one- anything can be misrepresented if you want to bad enough.  The verses he pulls out to "prove" Jesus was a bastard he views with assumptions and hidden meanings much like he does on the alleged gravestone of Tiberius the Panther:

The date, nevertheless, was curious for locating the tombstone at Bingerbrück at all, because it did not say that Tiberius Julius Abdes Panthera died and was buried there, only that he was on service in the Rhineland. The evidence of the assertion was supposed that this time of 9BC was a coded message revealing the year the twin boys were born to Mariamne Herod. At that time she would have been fifteen years of age.

C'mon, boy stre-e-e-e-e-etch that truth!

Truth number two- look at the legend on the headstone.  A pretty particular amount of Tiberius' resume to be put on a tombstone- and in Germany, no less!

Truth number three- I left out the more incredulous stuff from his "genealogy of Mary"  (Yes, it gets worse).

Bring yer checkbook...

Finally, let us get to the POINT of this post, a point this author elegantly states:

 ...a corpus of corrupted documents specifically constructed to induce a particular belief ...

As in Matthew 28:

 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.


So let me ask you, you who struggle with your faith when you read the reports of man.  I admit, I can get sidetracked by these things too, until I bring to mind my personal experience with Christ, my salvation, and the moment He freed me from my chains.  But here's the question- who had more reason to twist the truth?  Atheists who dedicate their life to disproving something they claim doesn't exist?  Jewish leaders anxious to keep their tenuous hold on power?  Or Luke And Paul, who tell the story of the road to Damascus and Paul's conversion?  Why would you lie about the resurrection of a man in order to go out and build a cult that only got them persecuted and executed?

Maybe if they found Paul's tombstone...


  1. >>... Atheists who dedicate their life to disproving something they claim doesn't exist?

    ...but secretly know It does.

    I really liked your "stre-e-e-e-e-etch that truth!" photo.

    There are so many ways to show that The Holy Bible is an authentic document inspired by God for us, Over the years, I have had a number of pseudo-atheists try to take me on over that and in every single instance, I barely even got started - barely even scratched the surface of the surface - laying out the evidence for the authenticity of The Bible before the pseudo-atheists had already crammed their nasty, 'I'm-superior-to-you' attitudes up that place where they sit and went looking for easier prey.

    Always reminds me of that scene where Doc Holliday dispatches Johnny Ringo so quickly in the movie 'Tombstone' and then says, "You're no daisy! You're no daisy at all", because he was expecting a little more fight from the legendary gunslinger.

    Atheists are all blustery attitude until they meet someone who's done some serious studying. Then they turn into pansies and run.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. The typical battle with the typical troll. They expect you to bow before their set-in-stone "wisdom" and can only offer insults when you don't bow. Kinda puts one in mind of Nebuchadnezzar's golden image, eh?

    I wish you had posted a link to the original debate because I'd be interested in reading it and seeing how it played out.
    ~ D-FensDogg

    1. The debate part was at

      The other story was at

      Thanks for the URLs.

      I read all of the first and as much as I could stomach of the second.

      This was a good post you put together.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    3. Understood there, my friend.

  3. Chris:
    I have to say I was scratching my head at these "reports" about who did what to whom and when they did it in which city, etc, etc...
    The best counter to any "argument" is summed up in your last paragraph, not that there should even BE an argument in the first each his/her own, right?

    There will always be nay-sayers, as well as those who will argue JUST for the sake of arguments (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, anyone?)...and to them...let them find their OWN path in life, just leave MINE ALONE.

    Your wrap-up says it ALL...period.

    And, in case you were wondering what MY "take" on Nazareth is...It must have been one the "burbs" like...Woodburn or

    Many people thought the city of TROY was a "myth", until it was's a matter of time.

    Very good post.

    Stay safe up there, brother.

    1. Boy, I wish I'd have thought of the Troy about spot on the point!

  4. I think you (and everyone else) have thoroughly covered this "Nazareth thing." I'm leaving it be. I recently joined a Bible Study through my church. We are using The New Interpreter's Bible (intended for seminary students and the like). It contains the NRSV text, but it also includes an interpretation of the text by Biblical scholars for each book of the Bible. The main reason that The Bible holds up is that TOO MANY TO COUNT Biblical scholars have studied this "document" looking for all of the nuance. While they disagree on small things (in the scheme of things) like the interpretation of certain Hebrew words... as well as the intention behind them... they all agree that what holds The Bible together is its continuity. There is a certain amount of agreement contained in all the books relationally to the others.

    My mom had a magnet on our refrigerator that said, "Work for the Lord. The pay isn't much, but the retirement plan is out of this world."

    If that doesn't ring your bell, she also had one that said, "If you want to soar with the eagles, don't hang out with the turkeys." Or something like that. You get the idea:)

    1. Thank you for reinforcing my point with your own, related one ... and I like your mom's sayings. Is she looking to adopt? (LOL)

  5. I don't get why atheists go around trying to convince people there is no God if they chose not to believe so be it but I do believe so bugga off

    1. I have a video from John Stewart's Daily Show that makes that exact point. He tells a guy from Freedom From Religion Foundation, "Have you heard the one about the priest, rabbi, and atheist go into a bar?"

      Guy says, "Which one?"

      Stewart says, "The one where the priest and the rabbi close the door in the atheist's face because they don't want to hang out with him?"

      The Guy says, "That's a joke?"

      Stewart says, "No, that's the way that it is."

  6. From where I sit, you have not proved that atheists exist...

  7. I like the Stretch Armstrong graphic and the graphics you use to illustrate your points.

    Have a blessed season, CW.

    1. It beats screaming at the keyboard...

  8. And it will never end, the second coming will come and they'll still argue it until they're blue in the face. hahaha :)))

    1. Y'know, I heard a pastor say almost that exact thing. That even in hell, they'll reject remorse and still feel they should have been right.