Preuters News Agency, New York: By decree of the United Nations, all persons in the world are ordered to return three weekends from today to the town or village in which their paternal ancestors lived…one thousand years ago…to be registered for a census.
Can you imagine the utter chaos and pandemonium! Can you believe that not one historian will write about this event after the fact??? Preposterous! But that is what Christians who believe in the historicity of the birth narratives of Jesus in the Gospels want us to believe about the alleged empire-wide census of Caesar Augustus.
“We know a lot about the reign of Caesar Augustus from the writings of historians, philosophers, essayists, poets, and others living about that time. In none of these writings, including an account written by Caesar August himself about his own reign, is there a solitary word of any empire-wide census. And indeed how could there have been one? Think about it for a second: are we to imagine the entire Roman Empire uprooting for a weekend in order to register for a census? Joseph returns to the town of Bethlehem because he’s from the lineage of David. But King David lived a thousand years earlier. Everyone in the empire is returning to the home of their ancestors from a thousand years earlier? How is that possible? How would people know where to go? If you had to go register to vote in the town your ancestors came from a thousand years ago, where would you go?!? And are we to imagine that this massive migration of millions of people, all over the empire, took place without any other author from the period so much as mentioning it?” —Bart Ehrman, NT scholar
This event did NOT happen, folks. There was no world-wide census. Jesus was most likely born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. Luke’s birth narrative in Bethlehem was a literary/theological invention, and a brilliant one at that. It has captivated the minds of children (and adults) for two millennia!