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Madness102  Female  South Yorkshire 6-Jan-2019 18:29 Message #4732891
Aaawww no more very pretty "BlinkinLights"
All gone out !!

It's Madness
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 6-Jan-2019 18:58 Message #4732893
beauty comes from within anyway... you are a lovely person, it shows from your posts ( and your photo)

V xx
Madness102  Female  South Yorkshire 6-Jan-2019 22:22 Message #4732901
Such kind words V, thanks so much.
TheSarcasticOne  Male  Essex 6-Jan-2019 22:26 Message #4732904
Only 50 weeks until Xmas.
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 6-Jan-2019 23:35 Message #4732906
Join an Eastern Orthodox church and you can celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

Epiphany commemorates when the magi visited Jesus. But there are many things wrong with that story, and some indications (if you believe the gospel of Luke) are that the magi came when Jesus was about 2 years old.
(Details on request.)
Templar2013  Male  South East London 7-Jan-2019 14:31 Message #4732920
Mind you're not inundated with requests for details Jeff.
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 8-Jan-2019 09:57 Message #4732951
I would welcome being inundated by requests.

Nearly every day I look into claims that challenge my beliefs (that are based on evidence).
But most religious people are encouraged just to believe and not to think.

Every Christmas there are readings from gospels by Matthew about the magi and Luke about the shepherds, and most people don't realise that there are many contradictions and falsehoods in those stories. Nativity scenes and plays show the magi and shepherds practically together visiting the baby Jesus - but there are major problems with that.
persona_non_grata  Male  North London 8-Jan-2019 13:33 Message #4732955
Everyone has their own beliefs and many feel they have seen enough evidence to be confident in their beliefs. That does not mean others will agree.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 9-Jan-2019 19:06 Message #4733074
Jeff, sorry to appear dim but what is the Magi, where does the word come from too.

V x
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 10-Jan-2019 23:08 Message #4733176

Epiphany has meanings including:-
"1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
the festival commemorating the Epiphany on 6 January.
noun: epiphany; plural noun: epiphanies
a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
noun: epiphany; plural noun: epiphanies

2. a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization."

If believers want to know more about my post of 8 January, maybe they will see that they haven't considered the evidence enough, their confidence in their beliefs is misplaced, some Christmas traditions are wrong, and they will have an epiphany. A messenger of unwelcome news (although not new) can be persona non grata to believers, but it's in the bible that they believe but have probably not studied.


You're not dim, and there's nothing to apologise about. In this post I'll just clarify some points, without yet stating what is wrong with the nativity stories.

Matthew 2:1 (New International Version) says "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem".

The Biblehub website shows 28 English versions. 8 use the word "Magi" (with small m or capital M), 1 uses "mages", 18 use "wise men", 1 uses "some men who studied the stars". It shows that the original ancient Greek is "Magi", (in Greek letters, pronounced magoi, whose singular is "Magus").

The bible does not say that there were 3 of them. That is often assumed because "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." Some Eastern denominations believe that there were 12 Magi.

Here are some theories that I haven't seen elsewhere:- They found the house because they heard Jesus singing "I was born under a wandering star". Jesus's mum got them to leave by shouting "Magi, Magi, Magi, Out, Out, Out". She spent the gold on a lifetime's supply of Mars bars, to help him work, rest and pray.

Frankincense is a perfume. Myrrh can alse be used as a perfume, and 30-odd years later, "Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it." (Mark 15:23), and Jesus's body was wrapped in myrre & aloes (John 19:38-40).

As well as "wise men", Magi are thought to be astronomers, astrologers, magicians, sorcerers or Zoroastrian priests. (Our word "magic" can be traced back to ancient Greek "magus", preceded by old Persian/Iranian magupati or mehgh meaning “to be able to, to help, power, or sorcerer”.) Astronomy and astrology were more mingled than nowadays. There are views whether the "star of Bethlehem" existed in some form (e.g. a comet, supernova, Jupiter & Venus near each other, etc) or whether it was astrological ideas (e.g. according to a YouTube video, on 12-13 September 3BC Jupiter and Regulus were repeatedly in conjunction in Leo, meaning "Israel's king of kings is here").

Magi does not mean "kings". So the carol "We three kings of Orient are" is bad not only because of the misplaced "are", the coat of arms of Cologne (whose cathedral claims to have their relics) shouldn't have 3 crowns, and customers should use elsewhere the crowns that come with the costumes that Poundland sells. Some early bible versions translated "magi" as "kings", but that was to conform with prophecies, just as various prophecies told every Christmas are fake, (details on request).

The magi coming "from the east" could have been from Iran/Persia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, China or elsewhere, Their journey could have been over 1,000 miles, and would have been arduous. In the late 1200s in Persia Marco Polo was told very interesting stories about the 3 "kings" (Google what he wrote), which are examples of legends being created.
persona_non_grata  Male  North London 10-Jan-2019 23:37 Message #4733178
Oh dear Jeff you make some strange assumptions. You seem to have your beliefs of which you are convinced but cannot understand why others differ from you and are also convinced by their beliefs.
Why would believers want to know more about your post? I’m sure they are well enough informed already and have numerous sources of such information where they have already considered their evidence. Maybe they believe your beliefs are misplaced?
Is is not rather arrogant to make so many assumptions that you are always right and others are always wrong?
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 12-Jan-2019 20:54 Message #4733231
"you make some strange assumptions"

I'm not assuming. I look in numerous religious buildings, study religious texts (sometimes up to 28 English versions and some Hebrew and Greek words), and watch many YouTube videos by believers.
They are very many "strange assumptions" that believers make, that what is in their holy texts actually happened, even though those texts have numerous errors and contradictions.

"You seem to have your beliefs of which you are convinced"

I go on evidence, including seeing the numerous flaws in holy texts. I don't claim to know or understand most aspects of the universe, but religious people claim to know for certain.

Muslims (about 24% of the world's population) believe that the qur'an (in a kind of Arabic) was the actual words of God/Allah (through archangel Gabriel/Jibril to Muhammed), so that must be what actually happened! Although some stories are derived from apocryphal (i.e. doubtful) books, Muslims are so convinced in their beliefs that many follow Muhammed's dictate that non-believers must be subject to special laws, and apostates must be killed. They have tremendous respect for Jesus/Isa and Mary/Maryam.
Qur'an 19:22-24 (Yusuf ali translation, others are similar): "So she [Mary] conceived him [Jesus], and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): "Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight! But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): "Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet [stream] beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man say `I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being.'" Some translations state explicitly that the person who said that was the newly born Jesus!

Qur'an 19:27-30: "At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! ... But she pointed to the babe. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" ... He [Jesus in his cradle] said: "I am indeed a servant of God: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"!"

So Jesus talked when he was born, and preached from his cradle!
Christians believe that Jesus was somehow present at the start of the universe, and God is outside spave and time, and can see the future.
So maybe God taught baby Jesus the 1951 song "Wand'rin' Star", and my joke about him singing it when the magi arrived isn't far-fetched!

"you cannot understand why others differ from you and are also convinced by their beliefs."

I talk with believers, (including an evangelical friend), and understand it very well. For example, a few days ago when I told some points from the bible to two Jehovah's Witnesses who came, and they replied that I shouldn't just look for its faults, and they want eternal life.

"Why would believers want to know more about your post?"

Because the truth can come from anywhere. Maybe some would be persuaded about when the 3 magi came, if they read a believers' website. Such as This challenges some assumptions and tries to resolve some bible contradictions, and includes "we do have clues elsewhere that indicate the Wise Men did not arrive at the time Christ was actually born; rather, ca. **one to as much as two ye
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 12-Jan-2019 21:10 Message #4733232
Catholic website: "... one to as much as two years later."

I wonder how many believers have considered questions such as these. Answering them might change some of their ideas.

1. Matthew 2:1: "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”"

1.a. When did the star of Bethlehem appear?

1.b. Did special stars appear for other important people?
The Vatican website says "Commentary on the Torah by Jewish rabbis suggested that a star appeared in the sky at the births of Abraham, Isaac and Moses. Likewise, in the Book of Numbers, the prophet Balaam speaks of "a star that shall come out of Jacob.""
(Incidentally, North Koreans are told that a star was created in 1942 because Kim Jong-Il was born.)

1.c. If the magi came from about 1,000 miles or more away, how long would it take them to reach Bethlehem?
(The first half of T.S.Eliot's poem "Journey of the Magi" suggests possible difficulties.)

1.d. Might the star have appeared while Mary was pregnant? Or even before then?

2. Matthew 2:7-9: "Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was."
If it was a physical star or other bright heavenly object:-

2.a. why wasn't it reported in other documents at the time?

2.b. what kind of dynamics did it have going in various directions in the sky? (It wasn't just the usual effect of the Earth rotating or planets apparently changing direction due to their orbits relative to the Earth.) What were its laws of motion?

2.c. To be close enough to the Earth to be seen accurately to be over Jesus's birthplace:- How big was it? How much heat did it emit? How strong was its gravity?

2.d. Don't different people miles apart think that a star is vertically above them? Can accurately can one determine whether a star is overhead?

3. If the Bethlehem star was an astrological sign about a specific event:-

3.a. Why did God use astrology, considering that several places in the bible condemns such methods?
(e.g. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.")

3.b. How reliable is astrology?

3.c. How accurate is astrology?

3.d. Can astrology have a star which stands over a particular house?

4. Matthew 2:16 "Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi."

4.a. Why did God mislead the magi into going to Jerusalem first?

4.b. The magi going to Jerusalem first led directly to Herod ordering every male child in Bethlehem under 2 years old to be killed. Was that part of God's plan?

4.c. If the magi arrived soon after Jesus was born, why didn't Herod just kill every male child in Bethlehem under say 3 months old?

4.d. Matthew wanted to appeal to Jews. Isn't this story similar to pharaoh killing the innocents?
Exodus 1:14-16, 22: *"The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16“When you are helping the Hebrew women during c
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 12-Jan-2019 21:12 Message #4733233
4.d. Matthew wanted to appeal to Jews. Isn't this story similar to pharaoh killing the innocents?
Exodus 1:14-16, 22: "The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16“When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” ... Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”" But Moses was saved. And Jesus was saved (at the expense of innocent children).

5.a. The gospels all report some events, (often with discrepancies). Why is Matthew the only gospel to have mentioned such an important event involving a star, magi, gifts and a massacre?

5.b. Why weren't these events reported outside the bible? For example, Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus (37AD to ~100AD) loved to report other crimes by Herod, so why didn't he report this massacre of the innocents?

5.c. If it's all just a spiritual story, why is Holy Innocents Day still commemorated 3 or 4 days after Christmas Day?

6. Luke 2:1-2: "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while a Quirinius was governor of Syria.)" Then Jesus was born.

6.a. As Herod died about 4BC, and Quirinius didn't become governor of Syria until 6AD, when was a possible year for Jesus to be born?

There are many more problems with the nativity stories that I won't go into now.

I hope that some believers answer some of these questions.

Jeff  Male  East Sussex 12-Jan-2019 21:15 Message #4733234
*"Is is not rather arrogant to make so many assumptions that you are always right and others are always wrong?"

I don't make such assumptions. You are arrogant in stating that I do, and believers are arrogant when they think that they cannot learn more about their own holy texts.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire 12-Jan-2019 22:19 Message #4733239
it is a well known FACT that the magi went to the wrong house at first.

also many believe that Brian was the Messiah.

this is true, i know it is.
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 12-Jan-2019 23:08 Message #4733241
It sounds feasible fosy. The magi did not have sat nav.
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 12-Jan-2019 23:12 Message #4733242
I don't make such assumptions. You are arrogant in stating that I do, and believers are arrogant when they think that they cannot learn more about their own holy texts

A bit hypocritical Jeff. You accuse someone of being arrogant for accusing you of being arrogant. Then you accuse believers of being arrogant. I think anyone who spends so much time accusing others of being wrong shows themselves to be arrogant.
badman  Male  Suffolk 12-Jan-2019 23:49 Message #4733243
Brian is the messiah Fosy. I used to work with him. He could turn wine into water. And... I heard him speak in tongues too.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire 13-Jan-2019 00:14 Message #4733245
and he,s partial to a bit of welsh tart...

but his mother just thinks he,s a very naughty boy ;¬(
Sea Urchin  Female  Essex 13-Jan-2019 11:40 Message #4733267
Some interesting points. I had not realised that there could have been more than three wise men but this stems from the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. I have never believed that Mary was a virgin though. She was with child when she met Joseph a widower, who required somebody to look after his many children. However it is likely she was only a child herself, as the common age for marriage at that time was twelve to Fourteen or younger. Some stories put Josephs age at ninety but others much younger. All written many years after the event. If it was discovered that she was pregnant with another mans child yet engaged to somebody else, she could have been stoned to death. A good story was required. The Angel Gabriel saying she was the chosen one and despite being a virgin, would give birth to Gods son seemed to fit the bill and was believed at the time. Although perhaps Gariel was no Angel and a very young girl could be persuaded to believe anything herself also? But why would God choose a mere twelve year old? Could he be describe as a heavenly paedophile perhaps? Would a young girl today, be able to get away with saying she had been visited by angels and was giving birth to Gods son, despite being a virgin? Somehow I don't think so.
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 13-Jan-2019 18:45 Message #4733303
One definition of arrogant is "having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities".

I say that people are wrong when I can give evidence of it. My evidence is often in the same holy books that they believe. Unfortunately they aren't interested in such evidence from an outsider. They attack me rather than address the issues.

I used the word "arrogant" because that's what Persona Non Grata falsely called me, assigning false motives to me, writing what I have never claimed. In various past posts I have admitted my great lack of knowledge and understanding about the universe, and sometimes amended what I wrote on further reflection or following someone else's post.

What do you call someone who thinks that they know so much about their holy book and cannot possibly learn anything from someone else, even if it is to consider questions?
What do you call it when someone knows that their religious beliefs are right, (despite their holy texts being demonstrably very flawed and people with different religious beliefs also claiming to be absolutely right?)
"Arrogant" is a good word for it. However, I'll withdraw that word, because it doesn't necessarily reflect their motives.

I hope that some believers soon answer some of my questions, especially 6.a.
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 13-Jan-2019 18:59 Message #4733305
I do believe you are arrogant Jeff. You quite obviously feel that your assumptions and beliefs are superior to those of other believers who do not agree with you.
You feel others should be clambering to answer your questions which are deliberately composed in an attempt to ridicule their beliefs.
If anyone had a desire to learn more on the subject of god or religion I very much doubt they would be using your theories or your beliefs to widen their knowledge.
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 13-Jan-2019 21:32 Message #4733315
Again you criticise me rather than address the issues that I raise.

I've quoted some holy books and given some facts. What assumptions and beliefs and theories have I made in which questions?

The questions don't prevent people putting their assumptions and beliefs and theories in their answers.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 14-Jan-2019 21:04 Message #4733367
I am not sure about all the other things regarding Herod and when he died, and whether it was before little Jesus came into the world, but I do know, courtesy of 'The Chase', that Herods first wife was called...


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