A new Testament

The bible’s New Testament is aptly named, because in it we are introduced to the guy calling himself Jesus. And he describes to us a new God; well the same old one, but now he’s had a makeover. He is no longer the bloodthirsty monster from the old testament, he has been transformed into a gentle loving and forgiving God, who loves all races: yes, even those with foreskins. And by the way says Jesus – he’s my dad.
There is also a new power in the land of the chosen tribe – Romans. We also have a great big new myth to kick it all off.
There were three wise men from the east; they were Magi: followers of Zoroaster, an ancient prophet. The traditional Christian account tells of a simple fairy tale, which is taught at Sunday schools to trusting children and enacted at nativity plays every year. It implies that the wise men having seen the star in the east believed that it prophesied the birth of Jesus, and they followed it with gifts for the infant.
However, according to Matthew’s account, they messed up big style. First they stopped off in Jerusalem to make enquiries; not a good idea. There an evil bastard called King Herod, heard about the prophecy. He called in on the wise men and asked to be kept informed, so that he too could go and worship. When they heard the king they departed and followed their star. They came to the house and saw the infant with his mother and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned by God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they returned home a different route. Then, the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, telling him to flee with his family to Egypt; for Herod will seek to destroy this child. There sure was a lot of dreaming in those days! And why couldn’t God just send a plague of boils to infest Herod to take his mind of events – just like he did with the Pharaohs: is he getting soft?
Herod, when he saw he had been mocked by the wise men, sent forth, and slew all of the children under two years old, in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof.
Of course this tale is taken from that fabulous book, the bible. You won’t find any reference to this event in any real history books, not even by Josephus, a famous chronicler of the times. Surely massacres of children would be big news stories, even in those fantastic days.
It is notable that it is only Matthew who mentions this mass murder. Mark, Luke and John don’t seem to know anything about it – almost as if it was all in the mind of mad Matthew.
Josephus records for history, the facts that Herod had all the members of the royal family murdered, including his own wife, and their two sons. But he doesn’t record any atrocity of two thousand infants being slain by Herod.
Luke doesn’t report Joseph fleeing to Egypt with his wife and new-born son: he has him going to Jerusalem to show him off.
You must admit God is a bit careless, having his son born into such dangerous conditions, but of course it wasn’t possible that any harm could come to him; if the boy had been killed, he wouldn’t have said – tough shit, but that’s life my boy! Now where can I find myself another teenage virgin to plant my seed?
Just one tall biblical tale among the many.

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