a post about nazareth

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Nazareth is not mentioned in any pre-Christian literature at all. Not a hint, not a whisper. Jesus of Where? by L’Ark

One of my oddest experiences was a visit to the church in Nazareth, as an atheist, in the company of a Jew, a Christian and Muslim. Sad to say that the days are past when such a collective visit seems possible. The church itself was particularly unremarkable, much like the town. Quite a contrast from the rambling, fascinating and oddly stunning Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which I can imagine would have the power to either disappoint someone looking for the cold and majestic splendour of the Vatican, or induce spiritual convulsions in anyone looking for an authentic Holy Land experience on their religious trip of a lifetime.

Places have vibes, and it’s difficult to tell what they come from. Whether it’s the people, the history, the buildings, the layout, the weather – I don’t know. Jerusalem is a place of deep vibe and yet Nazareth is empty. Could it be that the distinct lack of vibe in Nazareth comes down to the fact the town was established on a lie?

My dear blogging buddy Ark, former atheist commentator, had something of a bee in his bonnet about Nazareth. He claimed in the quoted post above that Nazareth didn’t exist, and is just another fabricated part of the fabricated story about the fictional character of Jesus.

My personal opinion is that it’s impossible to prove whether a settlement existed 2000 years ago in an approximate area. It’s impossible to judge if the sense of supposed size was exaggerated by enthusiastic followers. But most of all, for me, it’s irrelevant if it existed or not.

Much like their ability to ignore all the obvious falsehoods clearly present is every version of their religion, Christians are more than capable of ignoring every and any historical anomaly present in the stories of their religion.

Apart from the fact that at this distance in time from the key events in their religion it’s impossible to prove if places, things or people existed or not, I’m convinced that Christians even faced with overwhelming evidence against every historical fact of their religion would still find a way to believe in their god. And I know this because I know that when I was in their shoes, that’s exactly what I would have done.

Because in the mind of a believer, the god God is whatever we want him to be. Truth is whatever we feel makes most sense. If you want to find a way to remarry someone you love with all your heart after your first marriage has broken down, you reinterpret the very clear rules laid down in the Bible. If you want to find a way to live a life in a nice house with a nice car and every gadget of the day, you ignore the very clear instructions about possessions left by the character Jesus. If you want to find a way to continue a normal and non-judgemental relationship with your gay friend and her partner, you re-evaluate Christianity’s traditional stance on homosexuality.

If you want to find a way to take the Bible seriously and accept our modern day understanding of the world we live in, the Genesis creation story becomes allegorical. And if that key, first story can become allegory, quite frankly any other aspect of the Bible can too. Including whether a randomly mentioned small town existed, or even whether the man-god Jesus actually bothered to manifest on the planet.

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