Jump to content

The Story That Tax Collectors Fear Most


Roz
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is about the census that the author of Luke wrote about. 

I haven't heard of any christian declaring the birth of their savior allegorical or symbolic; all the ones I've encountered believe the story of Luke 2 literally happened. 

I've seen many videos and arguments about who exactly took the census, Herod or Quirinius.  This isn't going to address that.

Rather, I'm bringing this up for christians to do something they've probably never done before. 

 

We all know the story but I'm posting it here for easier reference:

From: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%202&version=KJV

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

...

39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

 

Let's pick out the important bits:

1.  Caesar Augustus issued some census

2.  The purpose of that census is for taxation (damn gubment stealin' our denarii!)

3.  Verse 3 says everyone was taxed to his own city

4.  Joseph and Mary went away from where they were in Nazareth to go to Bethlehem, because he was of the house of his ancestor, David

5.  Verse 39 says that after they chopped off the tip of your lord's penis, they returned to Nazareth, "their own city."

 

Now christians, do you take all those points to be literal truth? 

Verses 4 and 39 clearly state that Joseph and his wife went from their own home city, Nazareth, to go to Bethlehem.  Why?  Because Joseph's ancestor was David.

 

Now, picture yourself as the Roman government.  You want some money.  Easiest way to do it?  Tax.  (don't get sidetracked into politics now)

How exactly do you tax your empire?  Take a census. 

 

David's been dead for 1000~ years when Joseph's born.  Remember, Joseph is a lowly carpenter.  He's made his home in Nazareth.  Why on earth would the Roman government -currently wanting tax money- have people move to the lands of their ancestors?!

 

From Wiki:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Empire

In 25 BC, the entire population of the Roman Empire was estimated to be 56 million. 

Now, do you honestly believe that the Roman government and the Roman emperor himself would tell 56,000,000~ subjects to return to the land that their ancestors held a millennia ago?  Caesar wants his tax money! 

 

And how exactly are people going to be taxed appropriately? 

If you were the tax collector and census taker, would you:

A.  Physically go to their house, inspect their belongings and wealth, and assign them to the appropriate tax bracket (there's no internet to check up on people's W2s)

B.  Have them go to the land of their long dead ancestors so they can declare their own wealth to you

 

Honestly, which one is more likely to prevent people from cheating the government out of tax money?  And which system would be impossible to keep track of from an administrative and logistics point of view?

 

Had to post this because I was talking to a fundie today (it's the SDA Sabbath, the fundie land's a buzz) and I asked him if he truly believed the facts of the birth and resurrection of his god.  Of course the answer's yes.  But he couldn't come up with a damn defense for the census problem.  How about it, christian lurkers?  Want to give this a go?

 

---

Here's another bit for you christians:  http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/greek/census.html

It's a census enacted by the Roman Prefect of Eypt in 104 CE.

The census by household having begun, it is essential that all those who are away from their nomes be summoned to return to their own hearths so that they may perform the customary business of registration and apply themselves to the cultivation which concerns them. Knowing, however, that some of the people from the countryside are required by our city, I desire all those who think they have a satisfactory reason for remaining here to register themselves before . . . Festus, the Cavalry Commander, whom I have appointed for this purpose, from whom those who have shown their presence to be necessary shall receive signed permits in accordance with this edict up to the 30th of the present month E . . .

 

Nomes = administrative district.

 

It makes special provisions for people working in the countryside to get to their respective 'nomes' earlier so that they can also be included in the tax.

Nowhere in it says that "you shall go to your ancestor's cities from a 1000 years ago."

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apparently, the authors of these ancient stories never imagined anyone scrutinizing every detail and analyzing the veracity and validity of them.

We have modern authors doing that too, and alas, quite a few of them are writers 'for our cause', see e.g. http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi/noframes/read/197934

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Augustus states that he ordered three censuses:
 
8 As consul for the fifth time,32 by order of the people and the senate I increased the number of the patricians. Three times I revised the roll of the senate.33 In my sixth consulship, with Marcus Agrippa as my colleague, I made a census of the people.34 I performed the lustrum35 after an interval of forty-one years. In this lustration 4,063,000 Roman citizens were entered on the census roll. A second time,36 in the consulship of Gaius Censorinus and Gaius Asinius, I again performed the lustrum alone, with the consular imperium. In this lustrum 4,233,000 Roman citizens were entered on the census roll. A third time, with the consular imperium, p359and with my son Tiberius Caesar as my colleague, I performed the lustrum in the consulship of Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Apuleius.37 In this lustrum 4,937,000 Roman citizens were entered on the census roll.

 

Here

 

     These work out to 28 BC, 8 BC and 14 CE.  And you can see that he was only interested in Roman citizens and not a bunch of Israelites.  That was the whole purpose of having Herod the Tetrarch collect taxes in his tetrarchy to begin with.  It was covered up in Galilee.  With his brother Archaleus gone from his ethnarchy they just had to redo the books for Israel proper.

 

          mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks MWC, so Luke's wrong as to the scope of Augustus' tax collection. 

 

And if Herod's the guy responsible for collecting taxes, would he still use 1000 year old lineage lines to tax people?  The Jewish diaspora from the time of Babylon is squarely in between the times of David and the first century.  Many many Jews whose ancestors were living in ancient Israel are now outside jurisdiction.  And those living in the area may very well have had ancestors who lived outside.

 

"Because he was of the house and lineage of David" does not make any bit of sense. 

 

But then, christians will gloss over this and still treat every word as it literally happened.  Just like their god's resurrection.  This is what I mean when I say "god glasses makes people blind." 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diarmaid McCulloch in his book History of Christianity also makes the same point. The Romans kept records of their census / tax collections. There is no mention anywhere in the Roman archives of the census and tax collection mentioned in Luke. There was no precedent or nor where similar criteria applied to any other tax collection, which leads McCulloch to conclude that the tax collection was a fictional vehicle, a made up reason so that a prophesy regarding the birthplace of the saviour could be fulfilled.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bingo, and this flies right in the face of the christian holy book being error free. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most Fundies would argue this sort of nitpicking is an irrelevance, that the Bible is infallable in all the ways that are important. I have read about people who think its word perfect... I honestly dont know how these people can sustain their positions... perhaps this "fiction" reveals a subtler truth in a manner that isn't obvious, something only known to God, or those with a special insight from God? That this special truth trumps any kind of factual knowledge created by scholars and historians who arent acting within the faith? Lol... it makes me laugh typing that, because thats how I used to justify the nonsense I read in that book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can go tit for tat for years on this.

If you had a verifiable document proving Luke's account,

would you become a believer?

 

I believe the account in Luke is correct. The event happened over two thousand years ago.  Lack of  a record is not evidence for or against an historical event. Many records have been lost from that period and Rome burned in 64 A.D. and there is no way of knowing what was lost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can go tit for tat for years on this.

If you had a verifiable document proving Luke's account,

would you become a believer?

 

I believe the account in Luke is correct. The event happened over two thousand years ago.  Lack of  a record is not evidence for or against an historical event. Many records have been lost from that period and Rome burned in 64 A.D. and there is no way of knowing what was lost.

 

You can't prove it didn't happen, so it must've happened?  /golfclap. 

 

The only census where the people were required to go to the land of their 1000-year old ancestors, and it never occurred again in history. 

 

This is what the christian mind must strike from their thoughts.  They have to believe it literally happened, and the defense they raise is "you can't prove it didn't!"

 

I'm beginning to see that christians will believe nearly everything to make their religion square up inside their minds.

End3 believes that all the male children of the canaanites (including infants) were worthy of his god's genocide, and the Israelite men who carried out the sentence were justified in doing so.

 

IH believes that -in the Roman world- a census and tax collection had required all the people in the whole Roman Empire to go and register NOT at their current cities but to the places of their 1000-year old ancestors.

 

The sheer levels of cognitive dissonance... I can't believe I was once like that.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ancient Rome did tax and take censuses. That is a fact.

 

Here's a Christian response to Luke 2:

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/10/16/A-Brief-Comment-on-the-Census-in-Luke-2.aspx

 

And again i say this:

 

We can go tit for tat for years on this.
If you had a verifiable document proving Luke's account,
would you become a believer?

I believe the account in Luke is correct. The event happened over two thousand years ago.  Lack of  a record is not evidence for or against an historical event. Many records have been lost from that period and Rome burned in 64 A.D. and there is no way of knowing what was lost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IH, you're missing the point as always.

 

The point was you believed that Rome held census and collected taxes which required its population to go to their 1000 year old ancestral homes.

 

Think about this very hard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's another bit for you christians:  http://www.kchanson....eek/census.html

It's a census enacted by the Roman Prefect of Eypt in 104 CE.

The census by household having begun, it is essential that all those who are away from their nomes be summoned to return to their own hearths so that they may perform the customary business of registration and apply themselves to the cultivation which concerns them. Knowing, however, that some of the people from the countryside are required by our city, I desire all those who think they have a satisfactory reason for remaining here to register themselves before . . . Festus, the Cavalry Commander, whom I have appointed for this purpose, from whom those who have shown their presence to be necessary shall receive signed permits in accordance with this edict up to the 30th of the present month E . . .

 

Nomes = administrative district.

 

It makes special provisions for people working in the countryside to get to their respective 'nomes' earlier so that they can also be included in the tax.

Nowhere in it says that "you shall go to your ancestor's cities from a 1000 years ago."

 

---

I have to repost this part of my opening post for IH and any other christian lurkers who missed it.

This is a Roman census made by a cavalry commander ordering his populace to go to their respective nomes.  Not the places of their 1000yr old dead relatives.

 

And think about this.  Why would the Romans even bother with millennia old Jewish bloodlines, and any other population's bloodlines?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see where the apologetics make their ridiculous leap of faith now.

 

In IH's apologetics website, he referenced the exact same mandate I placed on my opening.  Only the christian authors lied.

 

Since the enrollment by households is approaching, it is necessary to command all who for any reason are out of their own district to return to their own home, in order to perform the usual business of the taxation… (Cobern, C.M. 1929. The New Archeological Discoveries and their Bearing upon the New Testament. New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls, p. 47; Unger, M.F. 1962. Archaeology and the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, p. 64).

 

The same papyrus also confirms Luke’s assertion that a man had to bring his family with him when he traveled to his place of ancestry in order to be properly counted by the Roman authorities (Lk. 2:5).

 

Place of 1000 year old ancestry != one's own home.

 

Think about this christian lurkers.

You are Rome.  You want your tax money.  As fast as possible.  With minimal chances of your population cheating you out of it.

 

Would you send all your population back to the places of their 1000 year old dead relatives?  Think of the ancestral record keeping for one.  The vast majority of your population are lower class.  Plebians.  This includes Joseph and Mary.  How the fuck would they know what their ancestry was beyond 1-2 generations?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

IH, you're missing the point as always.

 

The point was you believed that Rome held census and collected taxes which required its population to go to their 1000 year old ancestral homes.

 

Think about this very hard.

He can't think about it. I also couldn't for a very long time. He won't let his mind go there.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see where the apologetics make their ridiculous leap of faith now.

 

In IH's apologetics website, he referenced the exact same mandate I placed on my opening.  Only the christian authors lied.

 

Since the enrollment by households is approaching, it is necessary to command all who for any reason are out of their own district to return to their own home, in order to perform the usual business of the taxation… (Cobern, C.M. 1929. The New Archeological Discoveries and their Bearing upon the New Testament. New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls, p. 47; Unger, M.F. 1962. Archaeology and the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, p. 64).

 

The same papyrus also confirms Luke’s assertion that a man had to bring his family with him when he traveled to his place of ancestry in order to be properly counted by the Roman authorities (Lk. 2:5).

 

Place of 1000 year old ancestry != one's own home.

 

Think about this christian lurkers.

You are Rome.  You want your tax money.  As fast as possible.  With minimal chances of your population cheating you out of it.

 

Would you send all your population back to the places of their 1000 year old dead relatives?  Think of the ancestral record keeping for one.  The vast majority of your population are lower class.  Plebians.  This includes Joseph and Mary.  How the fuck would they know what their ancestry was beyond 1-2 generations?

 

"Think about this christian lurkers." ~Roz

 

I agree with Roz. Please do think about this thread...read it....and read all the other threads here.

The more you read, the more you learn and you can make your own mind up about many things.

 

For me it is not hard to imagine Rome requiring people to go back the their "official residence" for counting. The official residence is not necessarily the same thing as the place they were born, or where their ancestors were born.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The christian still lies and contradicts his own bible.  Lies piled on lies. 

 

IH states:  For me it is not hard to imagine Rome requiring people to go back the their "official residence" for counting. The official residence is not necessarily the same thing as the place they were born, or where their ancestors were born.

 

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) ---Your very own bible says this is the reason.

 

39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. ---your own bible says this is where their residency is.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And from Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius

 

It states Josephus saying:

Now Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to be a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance. Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus's money;

 

The purpose for that particular census was to tax.  Take account of the people's substance.  This is very important to note.

 

Would you require people to go to the lands of their long dead ancestors to just declare their wealth to you?

(Note that your population would not have W-2s, you would not have internet records of them.  You would place 100% trust on the population to truthfully declare all their wealth and belongings to you.)  Now, would any Roman census take their own population's word of mouth when they wanted money (as much of it as they could get)?

 

Or would you inspect their actual homes (hence the need for people to go back to their own homes) so that you can assess their wealth, leaving little room for your population to cheat you?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And from this little gem on the interwebs:

http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/census.htm

 

          In Josephus' account of the census in 6 C.E., he explicitly states that those people taxed were assessed of their possessions, including lands and livestock.  In other words, the census takers were also the tax assessors.  In Egypt these tax assessors went from house to house in order to perform their duties.  With this in mind, let us look at a crucial error in Luke's account.  Luke has Joseph and Mary making a three-day journey away from their home in Nazareth to register in their alleged ancestral home Bethlehem.  But an Egyptian papyrus recording a census in 104 C.E. explicitly states that "since registration by household is imminent, it is necessary to notify all who for any reason are absent from their districts to return to their own homes that they may carry out the ordinary business of registration...."6  Unlike Matthew, who does not mention a census nor Nazareth as Mary and Joseph's home, Luke describes Nazareth as "their own city" (Lk. 2:39).  If the rules of this Egyptian census applied to Palestine, then Joseph and Mary should have stayed in Nazareth to be enrolled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roz,

 

You press your points well. It's been a civil discussion with you.

Thanks

 

Given you were right on this and I am wrong... I guess you

believe I have been proven wrong.... it would not shatter my faith.

 

I have said before, I can take difficult passages, things I don't fully understand.

 

I still believe the main message presented in scripture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roz,

 

You press your points well. It's been a civil discussion with you.

Thanks

 

Given you were right on this and I am wrong... I guess you

believe I have been proven wrong.... it would not shatter my faith.

 

I have said before, I can take difficult passages, things I don't fully understand.

 

I still believe the main message presented in scripture.

 

Oh I know, you believe what you want to believe, not because it's true but because it feels good to you.  It's christianity, your own special flavor of it which you believe is the truth.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any other christians want to step up to bat?  You literally believe that Luke 2 happened.  So defend your god if you can. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And remember christians, what the author of Luke wrote:

 

It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

 

He had a perfect understanding of all things from the very first, and he wrote it down in order for Theophilus (and you christians) to KNOW THE CERTAINTY OF THOSE THINGS...

 

Your virgin birth narrative has a completely bogus census story in it, and it's the main reason why your jesus' parents traveled to Bethlehem and not stayed in Nazareth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name="ironhorse" post="979162" time

Given you were right on this and I am wrong... I guess you

believe I have been proven wrong.... it would not shatter my faith.

 

That's because it doesn't need to make sense to you now does it?

 

You have a feeling and that's enough for you.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diarmaid McCulloch also made the point that IF the census did occur as per Luke, it would have created one of the biggest mass migrations in history.  Yet there are NO records, there is NO written documentation, there is NO circumstancial evidence not even folk tales or songs recording such a momentus event. He is a Professor of Church History at Oxford University, so he would have access to the most up to date research.  He says the only place where a record of such a census / mass migration for tax reasons exists in Luke.  Its pretty damning if you ask me.  Unless of course, Satan covered up all the evidence to test the faithful.rolleyes.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.