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This is putting the story into intelligible language, and when
told in this manner, there is not a priest but must be ashamed to own
it. [Mary, the supposed virgin, mother of Jesus, had several other
children, sons and daughters. See Matt. xiii. 55, 56.--Author.]

Obscenity in matters of faith, however wrapped up, is always a token of
fable and imposture; for it is necessary to our serious belief in God,
that we do not connect it with stories that run, as this does, into
ludicrous interpretations. This story is, upon the face of it, the same
kind of story as that of Jupiter and Leda, or Jupiter and Europa, or any
of the amorous adventures of Jupiter; and shews, as is already stated
in the former part of 'The Age of Reason,' that the Christian faith is
built upon the heathen Mythology.

As the historical parts of the New Testament, so far as concerns Jesus
Christ, are confined to a very short space of time, less than two
years, and all within the same country, and nearly to the same spot, the
discordance of time, place, and circumstance, which detects the fallacy
of the books of the Old Testament, and proves them to be impositions,
cannot be expected to be found here in the same abundance. The New
Testament compared with the Old, is like a farce of one act, in which
there is not room for very numerous violations of the unities. There
are, however, some glaring contradictions, which, exclusive of the
fallacy of the pretended prophecies, are sufficient to show the story of
Jesus Christ to be false.

I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted, first, that
the agreement of all the parts of a story does not prove that story
to be true, because the parts may agree, and the whole may be false;
secondly, that the disagreement of the parts of a story proves the whole
cannot be true. The agreement does not prove truth, but the disagreement
proves falsehood positively.

The history of Jesus Christ is contained in the four books ascribed to
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.--The first chapter of Matthew begins with
giving a genealogy of Jesus Christ; and in the third chapter of Luke
there is also given a genealogy of Jesus Christ. Did these two agree, it
would not prove the genealogy to be true, because it might nevertheless
be a fabrication; but as they contradict each other in every particular,
it proves falsehood absolutely. If Matthew speaks truth, Luke speaks
falsehood; and if Luke speaks truth, Matthew speaks falsehood: and as
there is no authority for believing one more than the other, there is no
authority for believing either; and if they cannot be believed even
in the very first thing they say, and set out to prove, they are not
entitled to be believed in any thing they say afterwards. Truth is an
uniform thing; and as to inspiration and revelation, were we to admit
it, it is impossible to suppose it can be contradictory. Either then the
men called apostles were imposters, or the books ascribed to them have
been written by other persons, and fathered upon them, as is the case in
the Old Testament.

The book of Matthew gives (i. 6), a genealogy by name from David, up,
through Joseph, the husband of Mary, to Christ; and makes there to be
twent eight generations. The book of Luke gives also a genealogy by
name from Christ, through Joseph the husband of Mary, down to David, and
makes there to be forty-three generations; besides which, there is only
the two names of David and Joseph that are alike in the two lists.--I
here insert both genealogical lists, and for the sake of perspicuity and
comparison, have placed them both in the same direction, that is, from
Joseph down to David.

Genealogy, according to Genealogy, according to
Matthew. Luke.

Christ Christ
2 Joseph 2 Joseph
3 Jacob 3 Heli
4 Matthan 4 Matthat
5 Eleazer 5 Levi
6 Eliud 6 Melchl
7 Achim 7 Janna
8 Sadoc 8 Joseph
9 Azor 9 Mattathias
10 Eliakim 10 Amos
11 Abiud 11 Naum
12 Zorobabel 12 Esli
13 Salathiel 13 Nagge
14 Jechonias 14 Maath
15 Josias 15 Mattathias
16 Amon 16 Semei
17 Manasses 17 Joseph
18 Ezekias 18 Juda
19 Achaz 19 Joanna
20 Joatham 20 Rhesa
21 Ozias 21 Zorobabel
22 Joram 22 Salathiel
23 Josaphat 23 Neri
24 Asa 24 Melchi
25 Abia 25 Addi
26 Roboam 26 Cosam
27 Solomon 27 Elmodam
28 David * 28 Er
29 Jose
30 Eliezer
31 Jorim
32 Matthat
33 Levi
34 Simeon
35 Juda
36 Joseph
37 Jonan
38 Eliakim
39 Melea
40 Menan
41 Mattatha
42 Nathan
43 David

[NOTE: * From the birth of David to the birth of Christ is upwards of
1080 years; and as the life-time of Christ is not included, there are
but 27 full generations. To find therefore the average age of each
person mentioned in the list, at the time his first son was born, it
is only necessary to divide 1080 by 27, which gives 40 years for each
person. As the life-time of man was then but of the same extent it is
now, it is an absurdity to suppose, that 27 following generations should
all be old bachelors, before they married; and the more so, when we are
told that Solomon, the next in succession to David, had a house full of
wives and mistresses before he was twenty-one years of age. So far from
this genealogy being a solemn truth, it is not even a reasonable lie.
The list of Luke gives about twenty-six years for the average age, and
this is too much.--Author.]

Now, if these men, Matthew and Luke, set out with a falsehood between
them (as these two accounts show they do) in the very commencement of
their history of Jesus Christ, and of who, and of what he was, what
authority (as I have before asked) is there left for believing the
strange things they tell us afterwards? If they cannot be believed in
their account of his natural genealogy, how are we to believe them when
they tell us he was the son of God, begotten by a ghost; and that
an angel announced this in secret to his mother? If they lied in one
genealogy, why are we to believe them in the other? If his natural
genealogy be manufactured, which it certainly is, why are we not to
suppose that his celestial genealogy is manufactured also, and that the
whole is fabulous? Can any man of serious reflection hazard his future
happiness upon the belief of a story naturally impossible, repugnant
to every idea of decency, and related by persons already detected of
falsehood? Is it not more safe that we stop ourselves at the plain,
pure, and unmixed belief of one God, which is deism, than that we
commit ourselves on an ocean of improbable, irrational, indecent, and
contradictory tales?

The first question, however, upon the books of the New Testament, as
upon those of the Old, is, Are they genuine? were they written by the
persons to whom they are ascribed? For it is upon this ground only that
the strange things related therein have been credited. Upon this point,
there is no direct proof for or against; and all that this state of a
case proves is doubtfulness; and doubtfulness is the opposite of belief.
The state, therefore, that the books are in, proves against themselves
as far as this kind of proof can go.

But, exclusive of this, the presumption is that the books called the
Evangelists, and ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were not
written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and that they are impositions.
The disordered state of the history in these four books, the silence of
one book upon matters related in the other, and the disagreement that
is to be found among them, implies that they are the productions of some
unconnected individuals, many years after the things they pretend to
relate, each of whom made his own legend; and not the writings of men
living intimately together, as the men called apostles are supposed to
have done: in fine, that they have been manufactured, as the books of
the Old Testament have been, by other persons than those whose names
they bear.

The story of the angel announcing what the church calls the immaculate
conception, is not so much as mentioned in the books ascribed to Mark,
and John; and is differently related in Matthew and Luke. The former
says the angel, appeared to Joseph; the latter says, it was to Mary;
but either Joseph or Mary was the worst evidence that could have been
thought of; for it was others that should have testified for them, and
not they for themselves. Were any girl that is now with child to say,
and even to swear it, that she was gotten with child by a ghost, and
that an angel told her so, would she be believed?



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