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Dwindling in Unbelief

Matthew: Science and History

  1. When was Jesus born? 2:1

  2. "The star ... went before them."
    If the star "went before them," leading them to Bethlehem, then it couldn't have been a star or any other astronomical object or event. But Matthew couldn't have known that. Everyone at the time thought that stars were just little points of light a short distance above the earth. It'd be no problem to have one hover above a particular place for a while. 2:9

  3. Herod kills all boys in and around Bethlehem that are two years old and under. Such a massacre would certainly have been noted by contemporary historians. Yet not even Josephus, who documented Herod's life in detail, mentioned this event. 2:16

  4. "He had fasted forty days and forty nights."
    The Science of Starvation: How long can humans survive without food or water? 4:2

  5. The devil kidnaps Jesus and takes him up to the top of the temple, and then to the top of "an exceedingly high mountain," high enough to see "all the kingdoms of the world." I guess the earth was flat in those days. 4:8

  6. "Behold the fowls of the air...." Jesus says that God feeds them. But, if so, he does one hell of a lousy job at it. Most birds die before leaving the nest, and the few who manage to fly soon die painful deaths of starvation, predation, or disease. If God is caring for them, pray that he stays away from you. 6:26

  7. Speaking of the birds, Jesus asks: "Are ye not much better than they?" This is meant as a rhetorical question, but the answer is far from obvious to me. I guess to Jesus, though, birds are not worth much compared to humans. So you can do whatever the hell you want with (and to) them. 6:26

  8. Peter's mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus healed her by touching her hand, so she could get back to serving them. (Peter's mother-in-law? The first pope was married?) 8:14-15

  9. Jesus and his disciples were crossing a lake in a boat when a storm came. Jesus was asleep, so his chicken-shit disciples woke him up. Jesus rebuked them for having little faith and then calmed the winds and the waves. All of which was to show, what? That weather is sent by God and can be controlled by faith? 8:24-26

  10. Jesus heals a paralytic man by forgiving his sins. (Paralysis is caused by sinful behavior.) 9:2-6

  11. "Thy faith hath made thee whole."
    If you have enough faith, you will never get sick. (Illness is caused by sin and lack of faith. Medical science is unnecessary.) 9:22

  12. Jesus heals two blind men. (Or was it their blind faith that healed them?) 9:27-29

  13. Jesus heals a "dumb man possessed by a devil." (Those who cannot speak are possessed by a devil.) 9:32-33

  14. "Jesus went about all the cities and villages ... healing every sickness and every disease." 9:35

  15. Jesus gives his disciples "power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness." 10:1

  16. Jesus tells his disciples to perform all the usual tricks: "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils." 10:8

  17. Jesus heals a withered hand. 12:10-13

  18. "Great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all." 12:15

  19. God is involved in the death of every sparrow. He sees to it that they each die painful deaths of starvation, predation, or disease. But don't worry. God will do the same for you. (He thinks that humans are worth much more than sparrows.) 10:29. 31

  20. Jesus casts out a devil from a man who was blind and dumb. (Those who are unable to see or hear are possessed by devils.) 12:22

  21. "Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly."

  22. "An enemy hath done this."
    Some Christians believe that the natural evil in the world (predators, parasites, pain, death) is due to Satan, not God. 13:28

  23. Jesus is incorrect when he says that the mustard seed is the smallest seed. And since there are no trees in the mustard family, mustard seeds do not grow into "the greatest of all trees." 13:31-32

  24. "Jesus ... saw a great multitude ... and he healed their sick." 14:14

  25. "They sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased ... and as many as touched were made perfectly whole." 14:35-37

  26. Jesus cures an epileptic "lunatic" by "rebuking the devil." (Epilepsy is caused by devils.) 17:15-18

  27. "The blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." 21:14

  28. The end of the world will be signaled by wars, famines, disease, and earthquakes (6-7). And that's just "the beginning of sorrows" (8). Next believers will be hated and killed by unbelievers (9), believers will hate and betray each other (10), false prophets will fool people (11), iniquity will abound and love wax cold (12). But hey, if you make through all that, you'll be saved (13).

    Only one more thing will happen before the end comes: the gospel will be preached throughout the world (14). Well, that and the abomination of desolations will stand in the holy place (15), many false Christs and false prophets will show great signs and wonders (24), the sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall (29), the sign of the son of Man will appear in the sky, everyone on earth will mourn, and then, finally, the great and powerful son of Man will come in all his glory (30).

    Oh, and all these things will happen within the lifespan of Jesus' contemporaries (34).

    Or maybe not. Jesus was talking about things he knew nothing about (36). (See Mark 13:32.) 24:3-51

  29. "The moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven." Apparently, Jesus believed that the moon produces its own light, and that the stars are lights held in place by a firmament only a few miles above our heads. 24:29

  30. Jesus believed that Noah's flood actually happened. 24:37

  31. When Jesus was crucified, there was three hours of complete darkness "over all the land." And when he died, there was a great earthquake with many corpses walking the streets of Jerusalem. It is strange that there is no record of any of these extraordinary events outside of the gospels. 27:45, 51-53

  32. "And behold, there was a great earthquake." 28:2