From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic
BUT we have the New Testament, the sequel of the Old, in which Christians find the fulfillment of prophecies made by inspired Jews.
The New Testament vouches for the truth, the inspiration, of the Old, and if the old is false, the New cannot be true.
In the New Testament we find all that we know about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
It is claimed that the writers were divinely inspired, and that all they wrote is true.
Let us see if these writers agree.
Certainly there should be no difference about the birth of Christ. From the Christian’s point of view, nothing could have been of greater importance than that event.
Matthew says: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.
“Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.”
Matthew does not tell us who these wise men were, from what country they came, to what race they belonged. He did not even know their names.
We are also informed that when Herod heard these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him; that he gathered the chief priests and asked of them where Christ should be born and they told him that he was to be born in Bethlehem.
Then Herod called the wise men and asked them when the star appeared, and told them to go to Bethlehem and report to him.
When they left Herod, the star again appeared and went before them until it stood over the place where the child was.
When they came to the child they worshiped him,—gave him gifts, and being warned by God in a dream, they went back to their own country without calling on Herod.
Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and the child into Egypt for fear of Herod.
So Joseph took Mary and the child to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.
Then Herod, finding that he was mocked by the wise men, “sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts thereof from two years old and under.”
After the death of Herod an angel again appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to take mother and child and go back to Palestine.
So he went back and dwelt in Nazareth.
Is this story true? Must we believe in the star and the wise men? Who were these wise men? From what country did they come? What interest had they in the birth of the King of the Jews? What became of them and their star?