Why the Nativity reflects the fantasist mentality of those who created it.

Blog348Angels

The Nativity story tells us nothing about Jesus’ origins but plenty about the mindset of those who created it, decades after he lived.

They believed in angels. There are several visitations in the two versions of the story in Matthew and Luke: ‘Gabriel’ appears to Zechariah and strikes him dumb. Gabriel, again, manifests in front of Mary to tell her she hasn’t really been knocked up by a Roman soldier but that she’s going to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit. He then makes a lot of false promises too about how the boy will turn out. Later, a whole host of angels appear to some shepherds to tell them they’ll find a baby in a manger, news, that for some reason, they find amazing.

The creators of the gospels also believed that spirits were everywhere and that one of them was holy. Never mind that, according to John 14.16 & 16.7, the Holy Spirit doesn’t make its appearance until after Jesus’ ascension. In the nativity story, the Holy Spirit ‘speaks’ to Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna (how?) to tell them that Mary’s baby will be special.

The creators of the nativity myth also believed in dreams and visions. Joseph has a dream telling him to take his family to Egypt and the misnamed ‘wise men’ have a dream (just the one or did all of them have the same dream?) telling them not to go back to Herod. What a pity they didn’t ‘dream’ they shouldn’t call on him in the first place.

Angels, spirits and dreams are the context from which the gospel stories emerge: the gospel writers, and those who created their sources, believed implicitly that angels (and devils and demons) were real and that God communicated with them through dreams and visions. More than this, these same people accepted that the dead could return to life. According to the gospels, long-dead people could manifest themselves, and would appear and speak to the living (e.g: Matthew 17.1-3).

Incredibly, 1 in 3 people in the UK, a largely secular society, believes in angels. People with such a mentality were the ones who, 2000 years ago, claimed to have seen Jesus resurrected. Yet Christians insist they were stable, rational, reliable witnesses (never mind that the accounts of such appearances were written third, fourth, fifth hand, decades later.) Any such witnesses were neither stable nor reliable. They were the product of a pre-scientific culture that thought angels and devils populated the very air (Ephesians 6.12); that ancient celebrities could reappear in new bodies (Matthew 11.14; 14.1-2; 16.14); that without doubt that gods spoke to humans in dreams and that angels could and did appear bodily in front of favoured believers. People of such a culture, like Jesus himself, his early followers and the gospel writers, were fully primed, as a result, to have ‘supernatural’ encounters – or at least to interpret other experiences as such. They literally knew no better.

The stories that they wrote, with their supernatural beings and premonitionary dreams and visions – the Nativity, Jesus’ miracles and the Resurrection – are just that: stories, and the truth is not in them.

A happy Christmas to both my readers.

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14 thoughts on “Why the Nativity reflects the fantasist mentality of those who created it.

  1. Spectral evidence is the foundation of abrahamic religion. The same type of evidence that got witches burned and hung for 4 centuries. Evidence not admissible in court, nor believable ic it were to happen today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ben. I appreciate that. Though I do have more than two readers, I do sometimes wonder if anyone’s interested in what I have to say. I enjoy your blog too (and Jim’s) and should comment more – time is the enemy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Neil,
        Now you have another reader.
        If I have time, I’ll visit more often.
        I usually comment at Debunking Christianity and, to a lesser extent, at Bob Seidensticker’s CrossExamined blog. At DC most of my posts were directed towards countering the inane comments of the delusional Don Camp. I seldom read Camp’s own blog but sometimes for entertainment, I occasionally accessed his site. I found some comments of yours there and thus landed here. As you mentioned, you also comment over at DC. Nice to know that.

        Like

      • Welcome, Zeta! Yes, I’ve debated with Don Camp. There’s no getting through to him, however. His mind is set; everything he says is designed to promote what he already believes, as implausible and irrational as it is.

        I hope you’ll visit Rejecting Jesus again. I would really like to produce at least two posts a week but only seem able to manage one. Maybe that’s because Jesus keeps me distracted so that I have little time left to write. Yes, that must be it…

        Like

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