The Immaculate Misconception

Pope Benedict XVI has a new book out: Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.

The big news coming from it? The Pope says that we’re all wrong about Jesus’ birthday:

“The calculation of the beginning of our calendar — based on the birth of Jesus — was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years,” the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.

“The actual date of Jesus’s birth was several years before.”

Next thing you know, he’ll say Christians just co-opted the date of December 25th from Pagans and that Jesus was brown, not white…

That’s not the only big news:

… Benedict writes in a new book on Christ that contrary to popular belief, Jesus’s birth was not presided over by oxen, asses, camels or indeed any other beasts.

“There is no mention of animals in the Gospels”…

So, here’s what I’d like to know.

If the Pope knows that all those aspects of the Christian mythology are false, why not go all the way and just admit there were no angels, no virgin birth, no miracles, etc? What’s stopping him? If human error could find its way into our understanding of the Bible at all, why can’t we be wrong about other aspects of our traditional interpretations of it as well?

Of all the issues anyone has with the story of Jesus’ birth, I’m pretty sure the exact date of it and the appearance of animals were pretty low on the list of disputes.

Let me know when the Pope admits the whole story is a work of fiction. I’ll totally buy that book.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.