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Ann Coulter Thinks Jesus Was Stupid; or, Ann Coulter Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

December 16, 2009
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In a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter defends the Christmas crèche as “an historical symbol” as compared to the ” specifically religious symbol” of the Hanukkah menorah. There are plenty of reasons to doubt the historicity of many biblical events, but for the sake of argument, let’s take for granted that Baby Jesus was born in the humble conditions described in Matthew and Luke.

If Coulter is saying that the Christmas story is told in the Bible, yet the Hanukkah story exists only in the Apocryphal books of Maccabees, she’s sort of right. 1 and 2 Maccabees are believed to be apocryphal by Protestants and Jews, but for Catholics and Orthodox Christians, it’s Deuterocanonical. If you open a Catholic or Orthodox Bible, you’ll find them there.

But fine. I am sure Coulter is a Protestant like all good Americans are, so there’s no need to hold her to a canon that she does not endorse. However, if Coulter is the Bible-believing Christian she holds herself out to be, she knows that Jesus existed in hypostatic union, that is to say he was both fully God and fully human at the same time. If Christ was fully God, then he must have been perfect; he never sinned and he was never wrong. If he was never wrong, then his beliefs must have been grounded in reality.

While the Gospel of John does not retell the story of Jesus’ birth, it does provide several stories about his life. Being a Gospel, it is of precisely the same evidentiary value to Coulter as the above-mentioned Matthew and Luke. John 10:22 describes Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Dedication. This is another name for Hanukkah; no New Testament scholar doubts this.

Before going on, a little recap of my premises:
1. Jesus was fully God/fully man.
2. Each of the four Gospels is as reliable a historical source as the others.
3. Coulter distinguishes between the historical Christmas story and the religious Hanukkah story.
3a. In making the distinction, she is saying that the Hanukkah story is not reliable, but the Christmas story is.

So, here’s my question for Coulter: If Jesus was never wrong, why would he celebrate Hanukkah?

Within the Christian framework, the answer must be that the Hanukkah story was true. Otherwise, Jesus observed a false holiday. Observing a false holiday would be a misstep, and perfect entities don’t make missteps.

In the end, I am forced to let slow Ann off the hook on this point; after all, none of it is historically accurate, so she’s starting from a very confused position. However, if I claimed to believe the Bible, I would make sure I understood what it said before spouting off about it on national television. What I can’t ignore is her monumentally fucking stupid claim that the individual states are free to have established religions. That’s just pure nonsense, and not even worthy of a detailed dissection.

Here’s the whole interview; the comment that I keyed in on begins at 3:36.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jonathan permalink
    December 16, 2009 3:48 pm

    Maybe Jesus just wanted Hanukkah presents.

  2. Jonathan permalink
    December 16, 2009 8:16 pm

    Anyway, there is more hard historical evidence for the revolt against the Seleucid Empire and existence of the second temple than there is for the birth of Jesus.

    The thing about Hanukkah that gets me is that even back then they were fighting wars over oil.

    • Barry permalink*
      December 16, 2009 8:41 pm

      The thing about Hanukkah that gets me is that it celebrates quashing the Epicureans, who the Jews of that time could have learned a thing or two from. Orthodox Jews still use a variant of the word Epicurean to belittle Jews who they believe to be too assimilated.

  3. Jonathan permalink
    December 16, 2009 9:23 pm

    The philosophies are too different to be compatible. The Hebrews distrusted the body and physical pleasure, the Epicureans lived for it. This can even be seen in the first book of Maccabees, well, it was a long time ago when I read them but I think it was the first book, when a major Jewish complaint against the occupation was the naked saunas, and how young Jewish men would somehow undo or “hide” their circumcision in order to fit in there.

    There are other major differences too, but the above is the most funny.

  4. Barry permalink*
    December 16, 2009 9:30 pm

    That’s correct. There was a surgical procedure that undid – to some degree – the circumcision. Apparently, it was very painful.

  5. Jonathan permalink
    December 16, 2009 11:18 pm

    Yup. They still have those operations too. Anyway, here is the passage I was thinking of:

    This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision,[2] and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.

    Direct link: http://www.livius.org/maa-mam/maccabees/1macc01.html

    And here is how they did it. Warning, it sounds painful:

    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Celsus/7*.html#25

    So you tell Anne that this is what we were fighting for and what the Holliday is about. Men were having cosmetic surgery done on their penis for God’s sake.

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