As we've noted many times in the past, John Loftus has a tendency to repeat bad arguments against Christianity that he's already seen refuted, without even attempting to interact with the counterarguments. His post yesterday on the Bethlehem prophecy and its fulfillment is more of the same.
Compare his material on the subject to mine here and here. Notice that some of my comments on this subject (here and here) were written directly in response to John Loftus. He participated in the second thread just linked, but he didn't make much of an effort to interact with what I had written in that segment of my series or in the other segments, and he left the thread without responding to my last reply.
In his latest post on the Bethlehem issue, he links to a previous post in which he argued that the Bethlehem of Micah 5 is a clan, not a city. That's a ridiculous argument, for reasons such as the ones I explain here. Notice that the post I just linked to and the material by Glenn Miller that I reference there give multiple reasons for rejecting Loftus' conclusion. It's not just that Loftus has overlooked one factor. Rather, he's misjudging several lines of evidence that run contrary to his conclusion.
My material on Micah's prophecy was written in 2005. Since then, Bruce Waltke has published a commentary on Micah that gives the best treatment of the Bethlehem prophecy that I've seen (A Commentary On Micah [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2007]). For example, he discusses many details in the text that allude to passages about David elsewhere in scripture, which underlines the Davidic, Messianic nature of the passage. David is associated with the city of Bethlehem. Waltke addresses many other relevant issues as well. Again, compare Waltke's arguments to the arguments used by Loftus.
Loftus' material on whether Jesus was born in Bethlehem is similarly weak. He tells us that "Jesus was probably born in Nazareth." He provides no supporting argumentation, and his previous article on the subject, which he links to, repeats some bad arguments that have already been refuted and wouldn't lead to his conclusion anyway. If the Lukan account of how Joseph and Mary got to Bethlehem is erroneous, for example, it doesn't therefore follow that Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem. Loftus also repeats some objections that were refuted more than a year ago in another thread that he left.
Notice that, in the article Loftus links, he quotes scholars like Robin Lane Fox and E.P. Sanders asserting that Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem, but the reasons they give for that conclusion are weak. Telling us that somebody like Fox or Sanders doubts Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, or that they doubt it because it would fulfill prophecy, doesn't give us much reason to doubt His birth there. Why does Loftus think that it's so significant to quote somebody like Fox or Sanders making such an assertion? I can cite scholars like Jerome Murphy-O'Connor and Craig Keener asserting that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The difference is that scholars like Murphy-O'Connor and Keener have far better argumentation supporting their conclusion, as I've demonstrated in previous posts, including in threads that John Loftus participated in.