This time of year Christians celebrate the birth of our savior at Christ Mass. It’s no secret that Christmas is under massive assault. This year the U.S. military apologized for promoting a Christian-based charity and relief program providing holiday gifts to poor children. As if that wasn’t enough, military hospitals banned bibles, Christian symbols, and prayer. At the same time Muslims are encouraged to wear headdress and Muslim symbols on their uniform.
Across the country, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and menorahs are banned in public areas, and even congressmen were told they are forbidden from saying “Merry Christmas” – although who has the authority to tell congress what they can and cannot say is beyond me.
Supposed atheists, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, take great pride in their success, forcing the removal of all things “Christ” – especially during the Christian holiday. In many places traditional Christmas icons have been replaced with signs declaring that Jesus was a myth, and that Christmas is actually a holiday created to worship the god Mithra, Sol Invictus, Isis, and other pagan deities. However, as I show in Volume 2 of Totalitarianism, (yet to be released) these are simply different names for the same god, and are actually a mirror image of Jesus Christ.
Empirical Science and Christianity
Engineers are scientists who apply scientific principles to practical application. As such we look for verifiable empirical evidence to support our positions. While Americans are told that science and Christianity are incompatible, the source of all empirical science comes from the Bible: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
In the case of Jesus Christ, empiricists need to document that He actually existed, that He was the one and only messiah, that He was the one and only messiah, that He was crucified and died on the cross, and that He arose from the dead. Because of the length of this article, however, the crucifixion and resurrection will be addressed at Easter (and in Volume 2).
As it turns out, the evidence that supports these events is much better documented than what passes for history in academia. For example, the only evidence that Julius Caesar first crossed the English Channel in 55 BC, is in a document written by Caesar himself, and was designed to justify his military career; while the earliest known biographies of Alexander were written by the Roman historians Arrian (AD 86 – 146) and Plutarch (AD 46 – 120), more than four hundred years after Alexander’s death; but this doesn’t stop grade schools and universities from including Caesar’s conquests, or asserting that Alexander existed – nor should it. The difference is, that the quality and quantity of evidence supporting the Christian narrative, is far superior.
According to the 8th-century BC prophet Isaiah, the test of prophecy is designed to cause the, “omens of boasters to fail, and to make fools out of the diviners, while, confirming the word of his servant, and performing the purpose of His messengers” (Isaiah 44:25-26). Isaiah offered evidence that Yahweh could meet His own challenge, by presenting notable prophecies that could be verified later in history. The ability to make predictions and then test if those predictions come true is also at the heart of empirical science. An example would be when Isaac Newton predicted a solar eclipse in London, which then happened precisely as Newton said it would. This was the first time in history that anyone had accurately made such a prediction about the movements of celestial bodies. Yes, there are recorded instances of eclipses before Newton, but there is no evidence that they were predicted before the event occurred. The difference between Isaiah and Newton was that Isaiah made his prediction without scientific tools, receiving them as messages. This means that if his predictions come true, he must have been in contact with knowledge that resides outside of this temporal universe, as it otherwise violates the principle of causality.
The Gospels of the Christian New Testament are the most heavily researched and supported documents in the history of the human race, with the possible exception of the Torah. They provide testimony, or gospels, from the perspective of the apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The New Testament also provides a collection of formal letters, called the epistles, from the apostles: Paul, Peter, and John, as well as from, Jude and James. It is believed that the crucifixion occurred in AD 30, and that Saint Paul’s conversion occurred in AD 32. Paul was later brought to Damascus where he met with a Christian named Ananias, and some of the apostles for the first time. Paul’s first meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem was around AD 35, after which he began to organize the early Church.
The oldest remaining manuscript is the Gospel of John, dating to between AD 98 and 138. It was discovered along side the Nile in 1920, and translated in 1934, by C. H. Roberts of Saint John’s college in Oxford. The oldest complete Greek copies of the New Testament are the Codex Vaticanus, named for its location in the Vatican, and the Codex Sinaiticus, both of which date to AD 350. Altogether there are 5,664 known copies in Greek, and about 24,000 manuscripts in total; and they are all in basic agreement, despite the lack of a printing press. Taken together, the documents in the New Testament bear witness to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the perspective of nine independent witnesses, making it better documented than any other ancient history book in existence.
We don’t actually know the exact date of Jesus’ birth, but there are some amazing clues. Scripture talks about shepherds who tended their sheep grazing in the fields, and the shepherds themselves slept out in the open. To this day, shepherds graze their sheep in green pastures from early spring through early fall; but by October the sheep are usually in pins and are fed from stores. So it is unlikely that the shepherds would have been in the fields in December.
Scriptures also say that Caesar Augustus had just issued a decree that the Roman Empire was to undergo a census, where the head of each house was required to return to their place of birth. Scholars often point out that such surveys usually consisted of counting Roman citizens where they lived, and did not require them to travel. It is also pointed out that such a decree would have been impossible to comply with in the dead of winter; making it unlikely such an undertaking was decreed in December.
Another clue is found in the book of Luke 1:5 which says, “In the time of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.” Zechariah was married to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, and was serving in the temple when an Angle visited him and told him that his wife was going to give birth to John the Baptist. The first chapter then goes on to say that when Zechariah returned home after his work at the Temple, his wife Elizabeth conceived but kept the pregnancy a secret for five months (Luke 1:24). In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, an Angel visited Mary, telling her she was pregnant with the Christ Child (Luke 1:26). Upon hearing this news, Mary went to visit Elizabeth and entered Zechariah’s home. This means that if we know when Zechariah finished his work at the Temple, and add six months, we should know when Mary conceived.
Priestly duties were divided into 24 courses, and in 1 Chronicles 24:10 we learn that Zechariah was serving at the Temple on the eighth course of Abijah, counting from the first week on the Jewish calendar. We also know that the Jewish New Year started fifteen days before Passover, and was practiced sometime in March or April. This means that Zechariah finished his service eight weeks later, meaning John was conceived sometime in June. This means that Mary would have conceived six months later in December, around the fest of Hanukkah. This would place the birth of Jesus in late September or early October. This would support the biblical accounts of shepherds in the field and the Roman census.
However, there is another interpretation. Priests served two courses a year, so what if Zechariah was serving his second course of the year? This would put his second course at week 32 of the New Year, meaning that Zechariah was serving in the Temple in October. This would mean that Jesus would have been conceived in March/April (around Passover) and delivered in Late December or early January (around Hanukkah). This interpretation supports a birth date, on or around, December 25th. It has also been pointed out that the Census may not have been ordered for the entire empire, but for Jews only. The weather would not have been an impediment, and the act of returning to one’s birthplace would conform to Jewish tradition.
The earliest Western Christians celebrated the birth of Christ on December 25th birth date, while Eastern Christians have celebrated on January 7th. In AD 325, Emperor Constantine set the official date as December 25th, but there are two conflicting explanations. One is that the Christian leaders at that time demanded that he do so, and the other is that he set the date to coincide with the winter solstice and pagan festivals. However, the earliest known document making the pagan claim was written in the twelfth century, when the Syriac Orthodox Bishop, Dionysius Bar-Salabi, mentioned this possibility in his notes. Other Church leaders largely rejected his suggestion of a planned connection of the birth date with paganism. However, yet another piece of evidence is that Constantine minted coins with Christian Symbols on one side and pagan symbols on the other, possibly as a means of satisfying both religions.
It is asserted that the December 25th date is actually meant to celebrate pagan gods; but there are problems with this assertion as well. For one thing, the Roman calendar was often changed to meet the needs of each emperor and his cult. As a result, we don’t actually know if the Romans celebrated Mythra’s birth on the 25th of December, anymore than we know Jesus was born on that date. In another explanation, it was common in ancient times for Hebrews and Pagans to build on top of their opponent’s temples and usurping their holidays as a way of destroying the competition.
While the actual date of Jesus’ birth is hotly debated, it must be pointed out that the December 25th date is a consistently important date to Hebrews and Christians. In 165 BC, after the Mcabian Revolt, the Temple was liberated on what we would now call the 25th of December. In remembrance, the Hebrews started the Feast of Dedication, what we now call Hanukkah (John 10:22 – 33). Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
This took place on what again on our calendar would be December 25th, so on December 25th, Jesus declared he was the True Light, God with us.
Extra Biblical Evidence
Outside of the New Testament, the historian Josephus independently confirms the existence of Jesus, when he describes the execution of James, by the Roman governor Festus. Josephus says, “He [Festus] convened a meeting of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.”
In a more controversial document called the Testimonium Flavianum, Josephus says, “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accepted the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
There are rabbinic passages in the Talmud that mention Jesus, calling him a false messiah who practiced magic, and who was justly condemned to death. They also introduce rumors that Jesus was actually the son of a Roman soldier, who got Mary pregnant in an adulterous relationship. The thing is, this took place in a Hellenistic world where adulterous relationships and magicians were common; so rabbinic writers spent a lot of energy vilifying someone whom they would have otherwise ignored, if indeed he had been of no importance.
Evidence from outside the bible tells us a lot about the biography of Christ. From these sources we know that Jesus was a Jewish Teacher, and there were many people who believed he had performed healings and other miracles. His followers believed he was the Messiah, while the temple leaders said He was not. Jesus was then condemned and crucified under Pontius Pilate, in the reign of emperor Tiberius. Despite the gruesome death of Jesus, his followers believed that he was still alive, and their belief spread beyond Palestine, so that there were many Christians in Rome by AD 64. Today, despite two thousand years of extreme persecution, there are billions of people worldwide, who worship Jesus as God.
The evidence that Jesus existed, and exercised a tremendous influence, is beyond question; but that doesn’t stop people from questioning it. In 1970, John Marco Allegro (1933 – 1988) wrote a book charging that the Christian movement emerged from a fertility cult, where members consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms. Although he provides no empirical evidence to support such a position, the book was a best seller.
Was Jesus the one and only Messiah?
The next important question is: was Jesus the one and only Messiah, as foretold in scripture? The ancient Hebrew texts abound with prophecy making predictions hundreds, and even thousands of years before Jesus was born. Deuteronomy talked about a prophet greater than Mosses, who would come and whom we should listen to. The book of Psalms told of His betrayal, His accusation by false witness, and His manner of death, which included pierced hands and feet, although crucifixion had not been invented yet. Written around 725 BC, Isaiah 53 gave a fairly detailed description of Christ and his ordeal. In summary, Isaiah said that Christ would be despised and rejected by men, as well as being a man of sorrows who was familiar with suffering. He would take up our infirmities and carry our sorrows, yet He would be considered stricken by God. He would be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace would be upon Him, and His wounds would heal us. Like sheep we would have all gone astray, each of us turning to his own way, and the Lord would lay upon Him the iniquity of us all. He would be oppressed and afflicted, yet not open His mouth as He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He would be assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. He would bare the sins of many, and make intercession (a prayer offered for someone else) for their transgressors.
Peter Stoner (1888 – 1980) was the chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College. In a research project that included the help of some 600 or so university students, Professor Stoner identified 456 identifying characteristics, which prophets had used to predict the coming of the Messiah. The result of this study showed that the likelihood that any one person could meet only 48 of these characteristics was only 1 in 1 X 10157, a number that for all practical purposes is zero. Yet despite the odds, Jesus of Nazareth met all 456 characteristics, a statistical impossibility. So it is safe to say that Jesus was the one and the only Messiah.
Why is Christianity under Massive Assault?
Herbert Marcuse (1898 – 1979) was a prominent psychologist at the Institute for Social Research, an adjunct to the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. Often called the father of the new left, Marcuse and his fellow Marxists set about to destroy Western Civilization, and its Christian faith. To do this they instituted a method we now call Political Correctness and Multiculturalism – collectively called Critical Theory or Neo-Marxism.
At the University of Chicago, Marcuse wrote a book called Repressive Tolerance (1965) where he said, “The objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed.” This is not an original position, as Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) said the same thing – calling it “Transvauluation.” Marcuse said that the right needed to be tolerant of the left, while expecting the left to represent the right as repressive, ignorant, or wrong. Marcuse said that revolution and violence against the right was justified, citing the Russian, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions. He provided explicit justification for denying conservatives the right to equal time, on the grounds that “a balanced intellectual platform furthered the conservative agenda all by itself.” In other words, he knew socialism would loose in a contest of free ideas.
Professor Niels Lemche (b. 1945) from the University of Copenhagen applied Critical Theory to the Hebrew/Christian faith. He claimed that not only was there no empirical evidence to support such a belief, the entire Hebrew/Christian history was a fraud. His argument is that anyone with a Christian or Hebrew background cannot be objective about history, because his or her belief in God renders rational thought impossible. He concluded, “… that historical-critical scholarship is based on a false methodology and leads to false conclusions. This simply means that we can disregard 200 years of biblical scholarship and commit it to the dustbin. It is hardly worth the paper on which it is printed.” This assertion that Hebrews and Christians are incapable of rational thought, and therefore incapable of conducting science, is part of the political narrative in use today.
In 1979, the Archaeologist Gabriel Barkley discovered tiny silver scrolls in a tomb in Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley. These scrolls contain the oldest known texts of the Torah dating to the time of David, thus predating the first Hebrew exile, and the destruction of the first temple. So, how do today’s textbooks handle this artifact and the thousands of other archaeological discoveries? The answer is; they don’t, the evidence is simply criticized, or ignored.
How do we as Conservative Christians respond?
Ideas are best fought with ideas; and when we see one side shrinking from meaningful debate by simply attacking the competition without evidence, we should immediately conclude they have no valid ideas to offer. It should also be remembered that “prevent defense” does not work, and Christian Conservatives need to respond with ideas and forceful arguments that win the argument. This requires a conservative reeducation initiative that corrects the historical fiction perpetrated by the left.
Copyright © 2011
Mr. Peach (visit his website) is a retired engineer who spent a great deal of his life traveling the world to solve problems for fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Government. After serving 8 years in U.S. Naval Air he went to work for Litton Guidance Systems as a field engineer, working in the Middle East and Asia. For the next 12 years he worked as a systems engineer for Hughes Aircraft where he was involved with the F-14D, F-15E, and the F/A-18 tactical aircraft………..read more