Andrew Tan

Enlightenment from Jesusīs Birth-date

As December arrives with the first flake of invisible snow in Shanghai, the most exciting and awaited event is Christmas, where children eagerly write their letters to Santa, and evergreen trees suddenly become the most popular items in town. Ask anyone the origin of the Christmas holiday, and usually you'll get such an answer that Christmas celebrates Jesus's birthday? However, December 25th is not believed to be the true birthday of Jesus, and has become a great dispute in religious histories.

Jesus, unlike us, does not have an official birth certificate. There are no concrete evidences that show his place and date of birth. What we do know was deduced from the gospels of his disciples. The first dispute arises over two paragraphs from Matthew and Luke's gospels on the year Jesus was born. One states that Jesus was born sometime before Herod the Great's death (around 6-4 BC), while the other states it was during the Census of Quirinius (approx. 6 AD). The problem is, these two events have a distance of around 10 years between each other, and thus a precise date cannot be found. Approaching the day of birth, the controversy becomes fiercer: Some say that December 25 was made to fit a Pagan ritual, while many other dates have been listed, such as January 6 or November 17, each with its own set of arguments supporting themselves.

The history of Christianity has always been a mystery; we do not have a time machine to witness the events of the past, to truly prove the evidence we have before our eyes. Everything can be interpreted differently from a different angle, and we are often influenced by an idea because it appears on television or on the newspaper, not because it is based on clear logic and solid facts. In this world where people are absorbing 2.3 words per second, we have become too busy to stop and question the credibility of the words lying before us. While I was researching Jesus's birth date, I first found a source stating that his birthday was on December 25, since Christmas celebrates his birthday. At first I was content with that answer, feeling that it was enough to meet the demands of my English teacher. If I hadn't been forced to continue researching, the other theories would have eluded me, and I would still be living in a simple but deadly illusion.

 Today, we read newspapers since they tell what has happened in the world. Just because they hold the title newspaper of China, America, North Korea, or any authority in the world, we now take the information to be true. Would you expect two articles, one written by a North Korean, one written by a South Korean, on the Korean War to contain the same ideas or facts? North Korea calls it the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War? While people may laugh at the stupidity of people believing everything the government says, I propose you look at yourselves first.

America is a fast-food nation. Food not only as in the three Big Macs we munch in one meal, more in how we digest information so fast we don't even bother to inspect it clearly. What people are concerned about is Carpe Dien. The most important thing is being the first person to Tweet it, or reaching the next level in WoW, or finishing that homework assignment due tomorrow. Please open your eyes like John and Mary did in Wall-E? look at the world, look at our Pale Blue Dot.

If you believe what I have rambled, please believe me when I say that Jesus's birth-date is, quoth "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", 42.



All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Andrew Tan.
Published on on 12/22/2009.


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