In my list of people occupying the lowest rank in society, the so called scum of society, I have politicians, police and pastors. I find pastors with access to the internet the worst type of persons. They are likely to have read volumes of tracts showing the impossibility of the bible narratives but still spread them as truth, gospel truths.
Pastor James Miller in his recent post has decided to convince his followers and anyone who happens on his site that the story of Jesus is factual.
He starts by telling us
Years ago I made an intentional exploration of the question of whether or not God was real. I made a point of studying everything I could about it. I read the holy books of many different religions with only one question in mind – could any of this be true?
and it is only fair for us to ask what were his findings.
Without giving us an answer for the above story, he moves on to write
One of the tests scholars may use to evaluate the validity of a historical claim is called “the criterion of embarrassment.” They say that if a story from history is embarrassing to the author or to the hero of the story, it is probably true.
and I guess you know where this is going.
I will not venture to quote the rest of his balderdash but I would like to offer a counter explanation. One, if the story of Jesus was meant to fulfill prophesy as the christian claims, then descriptions of a humble background are not embarrassing but actually buttress the story they are spreading. Lookie, he was a humble prince, he is the son of god, you know the nonsense.
In the case of Jesus narrative, we can safely say he doesn’t know what is being written about him. He has no room to be embarrassed.
It is also untrue that the criterion of embarrassment is always true. Reading about the saints, one gets the feeling that they took pride in some things that most of us would be ashamed to accept in public. There are instances you read of saints who didn’t shower or other things that a modern day pastor would be embarrassed to write about themselves.
In the discussions with the religious leaders of the time, Jesus is said to awe them with his wit, from a young age. In what parallel world would this be embarrassing to someone’s hero.
The christian cannot say the hanging on a cross is embarrassing to their hero. Did they want it written he was killed by the firing squad? Or killed by the guillotine as they used to do in France? The cross instead of embarrassing their hero or them, actually gives them a lot of pride. They like it, wear them everywhere. They claim it is a sign of great sacrifice, they would not want it any other way.
That women were the first at the tomb, instead of being embarrassing is to be seen as a welcome message to women that they too can be leaders and members of the church. There is nothing in Jesus story that can be interpreted as embarrassing to the authors of the story or to the hero of the story. It fits smugly with what they wanted to achieve. They wanted a humble, ass riding, virgin born, cross dying king and that is what they bequeathed the world. To think otherwise, is as my friend would say, to be full of shit.
I contend therefore that the criterion of embarrassment doesn’t in anyway lend support to the Jesus story and in fact destroys it.