Christian Truths or Not?


The scholarly consensus is that when Matthew quoted Isaiah’s prophecy - which he quoted almost exactly - he used a mistranslation. We know this because the same mistranslation was common in the time period. However, we have OLDER manuscripts which do not have this error. So we know he made this mistake. Also, we have critics of Matthew in the second and third century calling this out. They knew almost at the time Matthew wrote the Gospel he was wrong. No one argues this. We have the evidence. The conclusion - which you CAN argue - is that he made up the virgin story because he thought that’s what the prophecy said. The letters of St Paul don’t mention a virgin birth. The gospel of Mark doesn’t. John doesn’t. No historian does. Matthew barely mentions it, and Luke pretty much copied and extended/changed Matthew. Many of the earliest Christian sects didn’t believe Mary was a virgin. Heck, Matthew was written almost a century after Christ was born. How did Matthew know about this and no one else before him mention it???

Well, you are now changing your position. I won’t argue the above. That’s theology. In fact, I agree with it.
But the FACT remains that the Bible REPEATEDLY refers to Jesus as having brothers and sisters. Josephus says the same. You made the argument that certain Middle east translations of the Bible use words that can also mean ‘cousin’. This is a stretch, but you can interpret it that way. But, the original Greek clearly states that Jesus had biological brothers. Not spiritual brothers. Not cousins. Real biological siblings. The Bible also clearly states Joseph is the biological father of Jesus - it even lists the genealogy multiple times.

People get upset when they learn this. It’s like their faith is shaken. But that shouldn’t be - you should question the institutional leaders of the Church that try to subvert facts and true history, but not the fundamental message of Christianity. So Mary wasn’t a virgin? It really doesn’t bother me. I’m still going to live my life as a good person.


How about you go to the ancient texts and prove your point.

The New Testament was not written by native Greek speakers. They were written by native Hebrew and Aramaic speakers. In both of those languages cousin doesn’t exist. They would use Brother. Therefore, it would be cultural correct to use the world brother.

FYI - EVERYTHING you are claiming is new research has been along for a very long time and refuted over the centuries.

So how about you provide some proof and documented sources (other than The Guardian and other news outlets who are all notorious for screwing up religious news).

God Bless


Early generations of Christians for three centuries and beyond believed in Jesus well enough to suffer and die for Him who died and rose again. Plenty of people don’t make the history books. Roman history glorified political and military leaders not prophets.

Gosoel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written not as secular histories but as testimonies from the faithful.


The Argument From Silence is definitely a logical fallacy. For example, we have no evidence that aliens exist. But that doesn’t mean they don’t. So, correspondingly, you can’t say Jesus didn’t exist just because he isn’t mentioned in the contemporary histories of the time.

However, what you can deduce is that - at the time - Jesus’ impact was negligible. The gospels almost certainly overstate his impact. We have incredibly detailed history of the time period. Jesus just isn’t mentioned. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t a real person, it just means AT THE TIME, no one really noticed. of course, decades later, if he was real or not, the impact was immense. BUT…perhaps…you could question some of the miracle stories. Maybe they were exaggerated? Clearly, if what the gospels say were true, you would think there would be more mention of these wondrous deeds. But - silence. is it so unfair to ask the question?

Why am I bringing this up? I’m not trying to get anyone upset. I’m just pointing out that there are clear and blatant inconsistencies in the historicity of Christianity. If the historicity of Christianity can be questioned, perhaps the policies put forth by the Church as an institution can be questioned as well. Should we really be so anti-woman? So anti-science? I think it’s worth asking the questions instead of blindly accepting what we were taught as children.


I’m talking about faith. I’m not trying to prove an intellectual point. I was raised a Baptist, but from my early childhood, I was drawn to the Catholic Church. Before I entered RCIA, I read criticism of the Church to shock me out of the faith. Something in my heart, not my head, told me that Jesus’ teaching, passed through His Apostles, lived on in the Catholic Church. My faith is far from perfect. I have plenty of doubts. But God called a Baptist kid out of Oklahoma to be a Catholic. At age 29, I answered. At 57, I’m still hanging around. I call it grace.


Good for you. If it brings you comfort, I’m all for it. Me, personally, after 50 years of orthodox Catholicism, attending Catholic school, reading history, listening to both sides of various debates, I’ve come to realize that the institution of Catholicism is terribly lost. So many things are wrong. I learn something new every day that makes me so sad. Today I read about Cardinal McCarrick’s beach house. Forget the sex abuse that went on there. How does a Bishop even OWN a beach house??? Where is the dedication to the poor? How about the 4000 square foot apartments the Cardinals in Rome have? Or the luxury cars they all drive? And then I read about the historical and scientific lies told by the Church. I’m sorry, I’m just not as fortunate as you. I can’t pretend. But I’m happy for you.


Absolutely incorrect.


You quite obviously did not read the article I posted. There are also no contemporary references for the Mt. Vesuvius eruption nor for Hannibal, one of the most famous figures in the Roman Empire at the time. So when you say we have “incredibly detailed” history of that time you’re just objectively flat out wrong.

You seem to have a bone to pick with the Church and don’t want to hear any facts that refute your weak arguments.


Gahhh, the character limit is killing me…

I’m not changing my argument at all. We talked about cultural/linguistic differences in general, because I keep asking you to cite what you’re talking about in the original language, and you keep not. So I finally went and cited it myself— and the passages we’re talking about are using the word ἀδελφοί. What’s ἀδελφοί? It can be brother. It can be brethren. It can be kinsmen. It can be countrymen. It can be all of those things. Feminized, it means sister, kinswomen, countrywomen, etc, etc, etc.

You didn’t pick up on the fact that Matthew and Luke each traced Jesus’ lineage in a different manner. You haven’t even gone one generation behind Joseph before you stopped reading. :wink:

What are you talking about? Do you know how many gallons of ink have been spilled on Biblical scholarship, the historical Jesus, literary criticism? It really started picking up steam in the 1850’s, 1860’s. Around the 30’s and the 40’s, it really picked up speed. By the time you get to the 50’s-70’s, it’s really diversified, and the scholarship landscape is broken up into all sorts of interesting niches. How do you tell the difference between 200 years’ worth of solid scholarship vs bad scholarship? How do you tell the difference between someone with a valid argument vs someone who’s churning out journal articles because they’re looking to stay relevant in their quest for tenure? How do you tell the difference between someone with a point, vs someone who’s looking to throw shade on Eusebius because they hate the Habsburgs, and the Habsburgs’ claim to legitimacy comes from Constantine?


There hasn’t been one thing you and I have talked about that we didn’t cover in a basic first-year Survey of the Old Testament, Survey of the New Testament, or Biblical Archaeology class.

I keep inviting you to do stuff that will demonstrate that you’ve got academic chops of your own, and that you’re not just citing Other People’s Opinions. The world is full of Other People’s Opinions! :stuck_out_tongue: I keep asking you to do stuff that show you can look at the evidence and draw your own conclusions and think independently. You’re the one who says we should ask questions and not blindly accept what we were taught as children— but the counter is also true, in that we shouldn’t blindly accept Scholar A, Scholar B, or Scholar C’s bandwagon, either. We can blindly accept learning, “I shouldn’t touch a hot stove. It will burn me if I do.” Or we can ask questions and find out for ourselves-- “Is the stove really hot? Will it burn me when I touch it?” :stuck_out_tongue: But there’s not enough academic chops in this entire thread for any of us to throw out the wheel and reinvent it ourselves from scratch. I know I’m not up to it! :stuck_out_tongue: But at least I can have a question, look up the original, say, “Ahh, ἀδελφοί,” and have my position make sense and feel validated.

You’re making a pretty fierce statement— “the institutional leaders of the Church try to subvert facts and true history”. But when it comes to providing your own evidence of why you think This Specific Fact is subverted, you’re not being successful, partially because the time and place in question was a giant boring Nowheresville that the rest of the world didn’t care about, and no one would continue to care about if it didn’t end up turning into the Holy Land. Now people just fight over it… on the land, and on paper! :stuck_out_tongue:


McCarrick is just middle management. The bureaucracy of the Curia is just middle management. The Vatican Bank is just middle management. Anyone who expects the Church hierarchy to be populated by thousands of St. Francises is doomed to disappointment. When you find a St. Francis— it’s delightful. But it’s not the norm. Then again, “All men are weak, and none as weak as I—!” is also very true. I’m not McCarrick. I’m not in the Curia. I’m not in the Vatican Bank. I’m way over here, doing my thing, and having enough struggle as it is, trying to live up to God’s standards in my own life.

Rather than looking to the failures, and being depressed by them, I look to the ones who actually Got It. And I try to emulate those. Even though Bad Stuff happens around me, I still try at least keep my corner of the world on the right path.

Scholarship and debate are fine. It’s how we refine points and grow in our understanding. Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven, and leave behind a warehouse full of Bibles, Catechisms, and volumes of Canon Law. He left behind men, and the Holy Spirit, and a promise. The men themselves come and go… some are admirable, and some are failures, and some, like most of us, are a mix of both. But we stick with them because they administer our Sacraments, and their ability to administer Sacraments does not hinge on their personal holiness. :slight_smile:

Their Master has already said–

It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

So if they don’t take their Master’s words seriously, they’re certainly not going to pay attention to any of us on the Internet. All you can do is pray for them, that they evolve into the people God intended them to be— and work hard in your own garden, to be the person God intended you to be.


Did you take those classes? I hope so; you can refute his assertions better than I can, who’s only here to learn.

On another thread Staying or Leaving? another poster said he left the Church after “studying historical Christianity and no longer believing it.”

And on another post in another thread, Why Did The Lord Appear To Mary Magdalene First?, a poster says that there’s no evidence that any of the Apostles existed, citing a National Geographic article, along with the claim that the crypt and relics of St. Matthew, in Salerno’s Cathedralof St. Matthew have never been verified.

What do you say to these?


McCarrick is a poor example of someone who lives a life in accordance with the Catholic Church. In fact he didn’t live in accordance at all, in a way he proves that Catholicism is a better way of life when you follow its tenets.


Yes. The Biblical Archaeology was part of my undergrad degree; I went to a private university that required all undergrads to take certain core courses, and Survey of the OT/NT were two of them. Even though it wasn’t a Catholic perspective, it was still useful to get a good grasp of scholarship, hearing about scholarly disagreements, the scholarly community vs fringe academics, learning about how scholarship changes over time. It’s only been an academic field for a comparatively short period of time, but even so, “scholarship sez” is constantly changing, between 1850 vs 1870 vs 1920 vs 1940 vs 1960 vs 1990 vs whenever. The general perspective was not to fear scrutiny— stuff should stand up to scrutiny, so be informed about these common objections, and let’s look closely at them and see, etc. If it wasn’t for Jesus, there probably wouldn’t be 100 people in the world who would be interested in the Hebrews— Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and so many others are way cooler civilizations. :slight_smile:

Was chatting with someone who’s an MA in Theology on a thread. All I could think about was the bit in the Imitation that goes—

As for knowledge, it comes natural to all of us to want it, but what can knowledge do for us, without the fear of God? Give me a plain, unpretentious farm-hand, content to serve God; there is more to be made of him than of some conceited University professor who forgets that he has a soul to save because he is so busy watching the stars. To know yourself-- that means feeling your own worthlessness, losing all taste for human praise. If my knowledge embraced the whole of creation, what good would it do me in God’s sight? It is by my actions that he will judge me.

We can do all the bluster on the internet that we want, and can argue until we’re blue in the face about the finer points of this and that, or how God works in history, or the historicity of these key Biblical figures— but ultimately, it’s all just noise. :slight_smile: God’s going to ask us if we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, sheltered the homeless, and comforted the afflicted. At least with the hungry and the sad, you can know that you made a difference! But as I’ve found in other aspects of life, you can try to help someone succeed, but it won’t do them any good if you want them to succeed more than they want success. So the same thing is true for theology… we can try to respond to arguments and trot out our sources and citations to back up our opinions, but I’m not going to sway anyone’s heart in the end. But at the same time, it’s a fun intellectual challenge to try and respond to difficulties, on the chance that there really is a genuine desire for hammering out Truth… but sometimes, people have their opinions, and Scholar X (or National Geographic! or whatever) sez it, so that’s the wagon they prefer to hitch themselves to. Which is a little sad, because you know they’re smart people. :frowning:


@SeriousQuestion, I so agree. Critics can focus on bad people in the church or can look to its heroes and heroines. You know these details. I’m saying them in support of your comment. In the last century, St. Maximilian Kolbe gave his up his life for a stranger when both were prisoners at Auschwitz. St. Óscar Romero was martyred for speaking the truth about conditions in El Salvador. He was gunned down while celebrating Mass. And what about the many martyrs of the Cristero war? A critic can find what s/he looks for.


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