Editor’s Note: For the next few weeks, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of vacation bible school, Rational Doubt will be featuring blog posts by Mike Aus, former Lutheran and nondenominational pastor and current humanist community leader. Mike has given permission to reprint posts from his paganpreacher blog, which he started writing in 2011 as a “closeted” non-believing pastor, and then as an “out” atheist, after appearing on MSNBC on the “Up with Chris Hayes” show in March, 2012. Mike has many insights on the Bible, having studied it carefully in seminary and as a pastor for 19 years. Mike started his blog off with a harsh questioning of how the family of Jesus could possibly have such a long record of its genealogy.
My journey to skepticism and free thought started because of fundamental questions about the Bible. For years I have taught mid-week Bible studies as part of my pastoral duties. When you spend any time with the Bible at all you quickly begin to see the glaring contradictions and fabrications that abound throughout scripture. (The typical Bible study attendee, however, hardly ever asks any questions about these obvious problems with the text and that’s always puzzled me.)
In the New Testament, the problems begin on page one. Matthew’s gospel starts with a genealogy of Jesus that stretches back not just to the time of David, but even to the time of Abraham who lived some 1,800 years before Jesus was born. Now think about it. Who on earth could ever trace their lineage back that far? Even today genealogy experts with modern research tools could maybe take you back a couple centuries at the most.
Nobody on earth could ever track their family roots back to the 1st Century C.E. So how are we supposed to believe that Jesus’ family tree was accurately traced back to more than a thousand years before his birth, in a time when most people were illiterate and didn’t keep any kind of written records.
And that’s just on the first page of the gospels.
Stay tuned for more crazy Bible “facts” which call into question the entire enterprise of organized Christianity.
Bio: Mike Aus After serving in Christian ministry for twenty years–as a missionary in Japan and then as a pastor in the U.S–Mike Aus publicly came out as a non-believer on MSNBC in March of 2012. He is now the Director of Houston Oasis, a 501(c)(3) secular education and service organization in Houston, TX, which describes itself as “a community grounded in reason, celebrating the human experience.” Mike is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN).