By all accounts, Herod was a monster. Although no Caligula, he could commit atrocities with the worst of them. Historians cite the murder of 45 opponents upon assuming his throne, a brother-in-law, the second of his ten wives, and three of his own sons! According to many scholars, Herod likely suffered from some form of Paranoid Personality Disorder, and he clearly had no qualms about murdering those he found inconvenient or even threatening to his pathetic grasp of power and influence.
While a number of scholars question the historical veracity of the slaughter of the innocents by Herod, and partly base this on the absence of clear, hard historical evidence, many others find numerous plausible explanations for this lack of evidence. Josephus, a famous historical writer of the time, did not record the slaughter, either because he was not aware of it, or because his main information source was a good friend of Herod or, tragically, because the murder of innocent infants in that period at that location paled in comparison to other atrocities committed by Herod and others. Furthermore, Josephus wrote for a Greco-Roman audience for whom infanticide was no particular horror. Sadly, both Greeks and Romans practiced infanticide as a form of birth control, and if they were unconcerned with the murder of their own infants, the deaths of young from a conquered land would have been even less significant to say the least.
Simply put, while there is no hard, historical evidence of the slaughter of innocents in Bethlehem around the birth of Our Lord, all known historical evidence indicates that Herod murdering infants out of some paranoid fear that these innocents were a threat to his way of life is no more unusual than expecting that he ate regularly and had little respect for the institution of marriage.
To add to the “insignificance” of this atrocity in the context of that time, there is debate as to the actual number of innocent children murdered that day. While many writers estimate the number as anywhere from 3,000 to 64,000 innocent children, Professor William F. Albright, a leading American Holy Land scholar, estimates that the population of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth was about 300 people and, based on that figure, scholars estimate the number of males two years old or younger to be about six or seven. Certainly the murder of even one innocent child is one too many, but one can understand that such a relatively low number would futher allow those who would downplay such an atrocity to ignore this barbaric act. Given these points, one can argue that, even if Josephus knew of the murder of Bethlehem’s innocents, he would have considered the event trivial in comparison to the winds and beliefs of the times.
When a government deems innocent human life as being disposable, justifiable and, perhaps most important, insignificant, it is short step to infanticide for increasingly superficial and trivial reasons. Between his insecurities and paranoid nature, Herod often saw murder as the convenient way out of many difficulties. Such a perception would only be supported and intensified by the times in which he lived. When a society allows itself to sink deeper into evil and sin, it becomes desensitized to an increasingly sanitized, rationalized, and delusional selfishness.
Herod was pro-choice because his society was pro-choice, not according to the desires of the majority of the population but, rather, according to the whims and facades of those in power. Such pro-choice is always based on the choice of the more powerful or influential over the weaker, less influential with the least voice in society.
If one extrapolates the 6 or 7 murdered innocents in a town of 300 out to the present U.S. population of 300 million or so, the slaughter of the Bethlehem innocents then would be the equivalent of murdering 6,000 to 7,000 infants in the U.S. today in one day, which is nearly twice the 3,700 children murdered daily in the U.S. by abortion. No matter how one views this barbaric act by this monster, it was most certainly an atrocity of the highest order.
Although abortion defenders argue that rape and the health of the mother are critical reasons for keeping abortion legal, statistics show that only 1% of women have abortions due to rape and only 6% have abortions for health reasons, with 93% having abortions for “social” reasons (unwanted or inconvenient child). While many such defenders argue that abortion should be a legal solution for women already “burdened” by other children and heavy family responsibilities, statistics show that nearly two-thirds of abortions involve never-married women. In fact, statistics show that most abortions are obtained by either middle-class white women as a convenient end to an unwanted or inconvenient pregnancy out of wedlock or by poor, minority women out of desperation and/or confusion and fear, with most abortions being sought by the former group.
Abortions in this country are nothing more than legalized erasers by which women can eliminate inconvenient, perceived threats to their way of life resulting from negligent immorality. History shows that Herod was simply one of many historical monsters who saw murder as nothing more than an eraser by which he could eliminate inconvenient, perceived threats to his way of life resultilng from immoral rule.
We claim to be such a developed, enlightened society but, as history shows, so-called enlightened and progressive societies have long considered innocent life including infant innocent life as nothing more than a dispensible, disposable commodity. Let history show that those societies which see innocent life as collateral damage on the road to temporal pleasures will themselves become collateral damage to the predictable cycle of ultimate justice.
Copyright, 2011 Gabriel Garnica