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Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

Was Jesus really born at Bethlehem?

Question:

I saw a TV program that said historians doubt Jesus was born at Bethlehem because there is no record of a census at that time and thus no reason for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem. Is that true?

Answer:

It is certainly true that some historians have doubts about any historical event, and some are especially eager to disbelieve events recorded in Scripture. That doesn’t mean they have any evidence against what Scripture says.

It is no surprise that there is no record of the census preceding Jesus’ birth, since there is no record of many events from this time. The fact is, the historical records for things like this are very spotty. We don’t have Rome’s governmental archives to consult. And of course what your TV show meant is there is no record apart from the Gospel of Luke of the census. The Gospel of Luke is a record, but they are discounting him, despite the fact that his book of Acts has been shown to be the work of a fine historian. But the argument from silence proves nothing.

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