It is often said that many are atheist because they read the Bible. This is my story. I did not know there were atheist books, activists or anything of the sort. I was a christian with my Bible. I could not discuss doubts with other believers I had to study the Bible that was my only choice.
This is one of my favorite passages that led to my disbelief. I did not know that Nazareth was not inhabited at all during Jesus's life time, that there was no census or that it couldn't have happened, that the prophesy of the virgin birth was not a prophesy but a sign that wasn't fufilled in the old testament or that it was a mistranslation from Hebrew (young woman) to Greek (virgin), that the star was a myth that predated Judaism in other religions, that demigods were prevalent in other religions predating Christianity, that three wise men also predated Christianity (the most compelling comes from the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen).
I found that the Bible could not be considered valid on its own merit. It was simply implausible and contradictory to its self. This is an example of my journey, of how I read the Bible and eventually interpreted it. I used to actually paraphrase the Bible to my friends and family to their utter shock much like this. So now I will give you an example of the Nativity according to Matthew(whoever he or they were) paraphrased and with commentary according to Compelled. I will only be taking the story according to its own merit as I did as a Christian to show why I had to reject it as false.
First we get this great prophesy that (Matthew 1:23) the virgin will have a baby and he will be called immanuel. No where else is this reference made, he is not called immanuel even in modern times? Jesus is born and some wise men from the east see a star in the east and follow it. This means Bethlehem is in the West. So they circumvent the entire globe and arrive on the west side of Jerusalem. The star disappears. They ask around where the King of the Jews has been born and proclaim that they have followed the star to worship him. It does not explain where their information came from.
King Herod hears about this and is very troubled along with ALL of Jerusalem. Even though he is a Jew he ask his priests and scribes where Christ was to be born. They indicate Bethlehem according to prophesy. He for some reason not explained, he calls a secret meeting with the wise men to find out when the star appeared. The king sends them to Bethlehem (a whole 2-3 miles away) and ask them to tell him when they find the baby so he can worship him also. The star now again magically appears; It leads them to A house and stops over it. They find Mary and Jesus there and worship baby Jesus and they give him gold and embalming fluids.
Suddenly they are dreaming and god tells them not to go to Herod but to go home. God now tells Joseph,in a dream, to pack up the family and move to Egypt. He does so right then in the middle of the night(bad idea in those times). Herod learns that the wise men "fooled him" (whatever that means). Herod's response is to murder all male children in Bethlehem under two years of age.
A prophesy(not a prophesy at all but an old story of another time) is now sited as being fufilled. "The sound of crying and much sorrow was heard in Raman. Rachel was crying for her children. She would not be comforted because they were dead."(Jeremiah 31-15)
ALL OF JERUSALEM was very troubled that the Christ was born. All of Jerusalem includes everyone, even the Romans, but the overwhelming majority would have been Jews. Christ was THEIR Messiah that they were hoping and eagerly waiting for to save them from Roman oppression. Ironically, they are now upset that he has actually arrived? They could not have known that he was not the Messiah they were looking for.
Herod hears that some random "wise men" have followed a star (that on one else can evidently see) to Jerusalem I order to worship a baby king of the Jews. Why is Herod now very troubled by what these unvetted, hallucinating, people have said? Herod IS the king of the Jews. He is actually scared of a baby unknown peasant due to the ramblings of foreigner's. Once he finds out that the Messiah is foretold to be born in Bethlehem, the story suggest that he at once decides to kill the Christ. Herod the apparently lies to the wise men by asking them to tell him when they find the Christ baby so that he can worship him.
Bethlehem is about 2 1/2 miles from Jerusalem and well within his jurisdiction. Bethlehem is believed by scholars to have been a village of 300-1000 people. It would have been easier for him to send his soldiers to find the child and bring him back or kill him in a matter of hours. Instead he chooses to trust crazy strangers to conduct official state business that he is so concerned about.
Guess what? The mages who see a magical star no one else sees prove to be unreliable and skip town without reporting back to Herod. What a surprise. Herod gets enraged and finally sends his soldiers on a bloodletting rampage. Would he really risk a complete Jewish revolt and having to answer to the Roman emperor? Of course not.
A prophesy must be fufilled. Who makes prophesy? God. This means that all has gone according to plan. God's plan. God had to plan on killing babies for a very, very long time. The star could have led the wise guys directly to Jesus in Bethlehem without Herod ever knowing about it. But no they had to go to Jerusalem first to Herod so God could make sure babies were killed. God loves blood!
I think you've got the idea. The Bible repudiates itself. That was enough for me. I hope you have enjoyed this little Christmas gift.