Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men.This event never happened.
For example, the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on this incident points to sources pointing out it only would have been at most a couple dozen babies killed, and concludes that this made the event too minor to be mentioned by anyone. I have not checked their sources but considering this encyclopedia feels Macrobius is reliable about this event, I do not fully trust them.
Indeed, this arguments glosses over the fact that Matthew did not just say that the infants in Bethlehem were killed, but that all male infants in both Bethlehem and all the surrounding countryside were killed.
Indeed, Richard Carrier, when refuting similar arguments used by fundamentalists to argue the census as described in Luke 2 happened when Quirinius was governor, points out that not only would such a massacre not have escaped the notice of historians (and very well could have started a war), but also that this massacre story was a common motif used by writers of this era, such as the story of Chrishna of India, Sargon, Cyrus, and others.
Is is clear Matthew was just retelling what was a well-known story at the time; one has to engage in rather convoluted thinking to argue that this event really happened but somehow wasn't recorded by anyone else at the time. To argue that this massacre really happened, a position a fundamentalist is forced to take, requires far more doublethink than I am willing to do.
The reason why the fundamentalist is forced to do this is because they advocate the very arrogant idea that their particular faith is based on objective fact, that only members of their particular religion have genuine experiences from God, and that people who experience God but have different beliefs are having "counterfeit experiences".
This is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. The fundamentalist is unable to supply any convincing evidence whatsoever that their particular doctrine, and only their doctrine, is true.
Bible verses come from a public domain translation I use for Bible quotes. To post a comment about an entry, send me an email and I may or may not post your comment (with or without editing)