Regarding The Washington Post article The Chronicle published Dec. 23, "Scholars challenge story of Jesus' birth," John McRay, professor of archaeology who has served as consultant to National Geographic magazine, stated, "The place where Jesus was born has never been seriously disputed. The tradition that Jesus' birth took place in Bethlehem is long and solid."
New Testament writers provided contemporary accounts. "... Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." (Luke 1:1-4)
Luke wrote of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph traveled there for the census while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Although we cannot say definitively what year Jesus was born, nothing found in reliable ancient manuscripts or in archaeological excavations has ever cast doubt on the facts reported by the Gospels about his birth.
Readers may wonder why details are important. If one detail is wrong, how can we trust the remaining accounts?
If Jesus was not born in Bethlehem, did he die to pay for our sins? Did he rise from the dead, giving hope of eternal life beyond death?
Though some seek to undermine Christianity by picking apart scripture, they will fail - not because the Christian faith is one merely of the heart, but because it is historically true.
Karen Cox, Waynesboro, Ga.