During this time of year, one of the most common sights is the Nativity Scene. Whether at the numerous churches (especially in the Bible Belt, where I live), or as Christmas decorations outside and inside of homes. So I started to wonder to myself this year: just how much BS does Jesus' origin story have? I already knew of a few details that were blatantly false, but taking the assumption that Jesus actually existed, how much of his story could have actually been true?
First, when was Jesus born? It is clear that Jesus was not born in the split between BC and AD. Since the Bible claims that King Herod was reigning at the time of Jesus' birth, and King Herod died in 4 BC, Jesus had to have been born before then. As for the star that appeared over Bethlehem, there are too many possible explanations for what could have caused this "new star" to appear in the sky, such as planetary alignments or supernovas, to peg Jesus' birth to specific year. But contrary to what Christians claim, Jesus' birth (if it happened at all) did not likely occur in 1AD.
Also, Jesus was not born in December. Not only would it have been terrible for Herod to force every citizen to travel in the winter (more on that later), details in the Bible point to Jesus' birth occurring during one of the warmer months. No shepherd would have willingly froze his balls off watching his sheep munch on dead grass in the middle of the night. The December date was decided on because of a Jewish tradition, in which righteous men died on the same day of their conception. Jesus died in March, therefore, he was assumed to have been born nine months later in December. Sorry, Christians, but if you're going to say that Jesus is the reason for the season, at least claim the right season. Try Spring or Summer.
Next, who visited Jesus? According to tradition, Jesus was visited by three wise men, or kings, or magi, from the East. The Bible gives no such number, but like many details of Jesus' origin story, it was added later and weakens the credibility of the story. Number of visitors aside, I find it rather suspicious that foreign men of such importance would be familiar enough with Jewish prophecies (even more so than the Jews, apparently) to willingly pack up their things and go to worship the "king of the Jews." Somehow, they supposedly followed an astrological object, not only to a specific town, but to a specific house. Not only that, but these three kings conveniently didn't bother to identify themselves, making it impossible to verify the story by tracking them down. This entire part of the story smells strongly of bovine manure.
Did Jesus' parents really have to travel for a census? Just think about this for a moment. The king of the civilized world decides to count all of the citizens underneath him. And he decides that the best way to do this is to require all of the men to travel to their place of birth? Why not leave them where they are and just ask them where they are from? How is their place of origin even relevant for a census? Requiring so many people to travel all at once would have been a terrible and stupid idea. And of course, there is no evidence that such a thing ever happened. This was clearly a storytelling trick to force Jesus' parents to go to Bethlehem so that Jesus could be born there and fulfill a prophecy.
Did Mary and Joseph really have to escape from Herod? According to the Bible, Jesus' parents were warned by the wise men/magi/kings that Herod considered Jesus a threat, and advised that they flee for their safety. An angel even appeared before Joseph to give him the same message. Then Herod had every boy in Bethlehem under the age of two to be slaughtered. However, despite King Herod being despised by many people, no historians ever recounted him ordering an entire townful of male babies and infants to be killed. And besides, why would an unbeliever like Herod feel threatened by a baby of a carpenter anyway? Unless he believed that the boy was destined to rise up and replace him as ruler, which he had no reason to suspect as someone who was not a Jew and likely saw many false Messiahs rise and fall.
Other details added to the story later, which were likely untrue, include Mary and Joseph being turned away at an inn. Inns only existed on major roads, not inside little insignificant cities like Bethlehem. The Greek word "kataluma," was mistranslated as "inn," when it's usually used to describe a guest room, such as the one where the Last Supper took place in. People also wrongly assume that Jesus was born in a barn. The place was more akin to a kitchen. The lower floor was for the animals, yes, but there was an upper floor for the people.
It can also be implied from details in the Bible that the wise men did not appear until two years after Jesus' birth. The wise men were also not likely to be the respected symbols they're portrayed to be, but were more like traveling salesmen who were typically viewed as shady. The gifts of frankincense and myrrh were even common Aphrodisiacs.
Mary's virgin birth was not declared official Christian dogma until 1854. Before Pope Pius IX made it canon, the idea was first held by a small cult.
Oxes and asses were also never mentioned in the original stories, but were added later to fit Old Testament prophecy. Many other animals were also added over the years just for the sake of it, including a camel, an eagle, a leopard, and more.
So in conclusion, the entire origin story of Jesus is a load of bologna. It started so in its conception (pun intended), and evolved to be more and more unlikely as Christians added and took away details of the story. What do you think? Are there any other BS details of Jesus' backstory that don't hold up under scrutiny that I didn't talk about?