"December 25 was a Pagan holiday and a prophet born of a virgin mother was another Pagan tradition."
Nevertheless, Jupiter was at the stationary end point of a retrograde loop above Regulus, in Leo, on the night of December 25th, 2 B.C. and this would have been almost impossible for anyone to have confirmed for the first 15 centuries of the Christian era. By itself, this may not mean much, but with the context provided by Martin, it makes sense of the Biblical story.
The "wise men"�may have originated in a culture that we would call "pagan". If their expertise led them to Bethlehem, maybe we should defer to their interpretation,�initiative and accomplishments and accept that God was in the business of leading pagan seekers to Jesus.
"Spainards who slaughtered native Americans and use Christ's name as justification for stealing their gold or my personal favorite, the abstinence-unless-married RCC Church of today running brothels in Rome in 1400 AD. One in seven women in Rome was a prostitute registered by the church at that time."
One cannot blame Newton for any misapplication of Calculus. Similarly, one should not hold the misbehavior of a rogue Spaniard to discredit Christianity. And I wrote "rogue" deliberately since Cortez ignored orders revoking his authority just before he began his mission of conquest.
I would NEVER have believed anything negative about pre-conquest Mexico or Mexicans before reading it, but after reading it, I think the arrival of the conquistadors might have been divine justice. The culture had become consumed by a cult of human sacrifice. Ritual brutality.... Flaying captives alive... The Christian part of the story may have transpired a thousand years earlier when a real a Christian, an Irish Monk named Brendan arrived in the 560's A.D. But that is too large a digression to pursue here. :)