Why I Deny the Virgin Birth of Jesus

The test read positive. Ayesha’s face flushed; tears formed in her eyes. She was trapped. She would be killed. She was a stain on her family’s honor. Amir, her soon-to-be husband, would turn her in as soon as he found out. She knew she deserved death. The shame was unbearable.

That night she had a vision. The brightness blinded her at first, but gradually she saw an angelic face and it said, “Ayesha! You are favored indeed by Allah! For God himself is the Father of your child. Do not be afraid. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High.”

The next day Ayesha told her fiancé that God had impregnated her, she was still a virgin, and an angel had told her this. Would you believe Ayesha?

An ancient book says a man 2,000 years ago was born of a virgin and was sired by God himself. I once believed this, because I believed the Bible — a book I thought God himself wrote.

I was wrong. Here are five reasons why I no longer believe in the virgin birth.

1) There is no reliable evidence.

We have no eyewitness accounts, no doctor confirmations, no DNA samples…

Ordinary events require evidence, but extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence. By any classification, the virgin birth is an extraordinary event, yet there is no evidence to support it.

We have no eyewitness accounts, no doctor confirmations, no DNA samples — we have nothing except a couple references in the Bible that were written many decades after the event occurred.

2) The earliest references are late and sparse.

Why is such an important story left out of all the early sources?
Probably because it hadn’t been made up yet.

Paul, the earliest New Testament author, never mentions the virgin birth. For someone who we rely upon for much of Christian theology, it is an odd omission. Paul refers to Jesus’ birth twice (Rom 1:3; Gal 4:4) and never says he was born of a virgin or of different means than anyone else. You’d think that would be important.

The virgin birth is also not in Mark, the earliest gospel, or in John, the only other gospel not based on Mark. Why is such an important story left out of all the early sources? Probably because it hadn’t been made up yet.

Why would the story be made up? Perhaps to fulfill an old prophecy of a virgin birth, which the Gospel of Matthew cites:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Some scholars say “virgin” was a mistranslation in the Septuagint (the Greek translation the gospel writers used), and should have been translated “young woman.” That means the story might have been based on a mistranslation!

It seems likely the virgin birth was created to boost the authority of Christianity through prophecy and compete with rival gods who were born of virgins.

3) It’s the same old myth.

The claims of Jesus’ birth are no different from any of the other virgin birth legends.

Jesus was not the first god to be born of a virgin. Mut-em-ua, the virgin Queen of Egypt, supposedly gave birth to Pharaoh Amenkept III through a god holding a cross to her mouth.

Ra, the Egyptian sun god, was said to be born of a virgin. So was Perseus, Romulus, Mithras, Genghis Khan, Krishna, Horus, Melanippe, Auge and Antiope.

In the ancient world, great men were born of divine fathers and human mothers. Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor Augustus were great men and (therefore) said to have divine fathers. Jesus was also a great man, so he too must have a divine father.

The claims of Jesus’ birth are no different from any of the other virgin birth legends. It doesn’t have any more evidence or appear to be any more likely. Why believe it over the others?

4) Is it more likely to be a lie, or to be true?

“It is therefore at least millions to one, that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”
Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, American revolutionary and author, said “Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course, but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is therefore at least millions to one, that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”

A betrothed teenage girl finds out she is pregnant. The father is not her soon-to-be husband, and he knows this. In her society, the penalty for this prescribed by God is death by stoning. What does she do? She claims an angel appeared to her and told her God impregnated her, and that she is now carrying the Son of God.

Now what is more likely, that she is lying or telling the truth? Even if Mary claimed this herself, we would not believe her. Now consider that the story didn’t appear until over 50 years after it supposedly happened.

The likelihood of the virgin birth being true is very, very, very low.

5) We would never, ever, believe this today.

Imagine if a teenage girl in your neighborhood claimed that her pregnancy was due to God impregnating her and that she was still a virgin. Would you believe her? Or would you think she was lying?

If she insisted on it being true, we would put her in a mental hospital.
 
Why does this change just because Jesus’ birth happened 2,000 years ago? There is no evidence in favor of it. Even if Mary herself claimed it, there would have been every incentive to lie about it since the only alternative was death. Again, why would anyone believe this?

* * *

We have seen this incredible claim has no reliable evidence and no early Christian sources. There were claims of virgin births before Jesus, and Jesus’ virgin birth was probably invented to compete with those claims. It is far more likely to be a lie than true. And we would never believe anyone who claimed such a thing today.

Because of these reasons, I have no choice but to deny the virgin birth of Jesus — and all other claims of virgin births and divine fathers.

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  • VorJack

    Excellent post. Just to be pedantic –
    “Some scholars say “virgin” was a mistranslation in the Septuagint (the Greek translation the gospel writers used), and should have been translated “young woman.””

    My understanding it that the original Hebrew used the word ‘almah’, which specifically means ‘young woman,’ rather than ‘bethulah,’ which specifically means ‘virgin.’ The greek translation used a word that was more ambiguous – sort of like the word ‘maiden’ in english. Not exactly a mistranslation, just a bit confusing.

    Still, it’s pretty clear from the context what Isiah is speaking of, though. He’s speaking to Ahaz about the upcoming invasion of Judah by the Syrians and their allies. If Isiah were to say to Ahaz, “Don’t worry, in 700 years a virgin will give birth to someone who will fix everything,” Ahaz would have had him lynched. Isiah is clearly making a prediction about the near future, and most likely about his own son that he mentions in the next chapter.

    Not that any of this would have bothered Matthew. Like most of the interpreters of his time, he would have believed that verses had hidden meanings that only become apparent after the fact. Of course, this clashes with the current ‘plain sense’ interpretations of the modern era.

  • gmnotyet

    Wow, that was -VERY- well argued.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @VorJack: True, I was simplifying a bit so as not to have to go into depth on the issue. “Mistranslation” was the best way I could think to communicate it simply, but I agree it’s probably more “vague” and could be interpreted in different ways.

    Also great point about Matthew.

    @gmnotyet: Thank you!

  • http://george.callitkarma.com george

    “I am the Virgin Mary. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

    – Bonnie, as the Virgin Mary in “A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas”

  • yaaaay

    -Load any decent star mapping program. (I recommend stellarium)
    -Set the location to egypt
    -Set the date to christmas eve at 19:00 hours
    -Look east
    -You will see the stars of orions belt (three kings) and sirius (the star in the east)
    -Make an imaginary line from the three kings through the star in the east to the horizon – this is where the sun will rise (ra/mithrus/jesus will be born)
    -Make sure the constellation names and diagrams are visible
    -speed time up so that it’s about 01:00 hours and pause.
    -You will see the constellation Virgo
    -Now speed up time again until it’s 06:00 hours and pause.
    -the sun will have risen right at the point where the three kings followed the star in the east under the constellation of the virgin.
    -(ra/mithrus/jesus) was born of a virgin.
    -now the cool bit, look south. You will see crux aka the southern cross.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I always thought it was rather cruel of god to have the baby Jesus kick Mary’s hymen out of the way upon exit, rather than having her deflowered in the traditional way.

  • bpdlr

    @yaaaay: Don’t you have to set the date back to the year 8BC? (Or is it 4AD – depends which gospel you believe in I guess).

    If this is true though it does explain a lot! The whole Jesus story based on Astrology!

  • http://www.anatheist.net James

    Great post. And if that’s not enough, Catholics believe that not only was Mary a virgin when she was pregnant, she perpetually remained a virgin even after given birth! Now, that’s a neat trick.

  • http://www.primordial-blog.blogspot.com/ Brian Larnder

    I was going to say the same thing as VorJack, but he beat me to it. BTW, the Greek word used in the Septuagint was “parthenos” which specifically means virgin.

    Sorry to plug my own blog, but I have a post up about this topic which goes into the Isaiah prophecy in more detail. Some of the readers here may find it interesting. Long story short, Isaiah impregnated the young maiden himself in order to fulfil his own prophecy. Hey if you want a job done right…

    The Virgin Birth

  • VorJack

    “Mary a virgin when she was pregnant, she perpetually remained a virgin even after given birth! Now, that’s a neat trick.”

    To the point, according to some, that here hymen was never broken. Even during childbirth.

    There’s even an odd proto-orthodox gospel that has a midwife refusing to believe that a virgin had given birth. She reached out and touched the intact hymen, and then got her hand withered for her lack of faith.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @James: Thanks! I thought about adding Mary’s mother’s claimed virginity into the mix, but thought that might complicate things too much. Obviously I doubt that on the same basis, except it’s even more absurd.

  • http://doubtingeventhomas.blogspot.com/ doubtingfoo

    Wow…nice post!

  • Raphael

    @VorJack: “To the point, according to some, that here hymen was never broken. Even during childbirth. ” hahahhahahaha Where did you find this stuff?

    Great post Daniel. Sad that even after these arguments the majority of christians will just refuse to understand then, or come with stupid stuff, like VorJak said.

  • VorJack

    @Raphael
    The proto-gospel I mentioned is the “Infancy Gospel of James,” AKA the “Protevangelium of James.” It’s a freaky work from the second half of the second century. There’s a point where Joesph is running for a midwife while Mary is in labor, and he suddenly realizes that time has stopped for everything around him. Bizarre. Anyway, here’s a link. The midwife scene in Chapts. 19-20.
    http://www.gospels.net/translations/infancyjamestranslation.html

    Obviously, orthodox Christians probably picked up on the same idea, but they didn’t use this non-canonical source. Supposedly the Council of Chalcedon in 451 C.E. established that, “Her virginity was as untouched in giving him birth as it was in conceiving him.” What bible verses they used to justify this – if any – I don’t know.

    Of course, since Mary was bodily assumed into heaven, her hymen must still be intact after 2000 years. Quite impressive.

  • Kevin

    Where the other 23 chromosomes in Jesus’ cells were from? 23 were from Mary, but what about the other 23? Where they devine chromosomes?

  • Kevin

    @Kevin

    Geeze, I made a lot of errors in that post. Of course at the end I meant “divine” not “devine”. My apologies all around.

  • Alex

    I will pray for all of you for using the term “hymen” when referring to the almighty Mary.

    In my expert opinion on all things relating to hymen(s), I suspect that God temporarily removed it during sex with Mary, and then put it back in (as Jesus was on the way out) to turn Mary back into a virgin. I firmly believe that my theory holds just as much Truth as all of your “crazy” theories attempting to discredit the Holy Book — a book that cannot be discredited due to it’s author actually being God.

    Just poking some fun at the craziness…

  • http://www.myspace.com/spankmaster russell

    good read. well argued. too bad no christian will take it seriously… that’s just how they are. i’ve brought up all the same arguments with the only christian i can argue with: my mother. she won’t budge. at least she’s not traditional, it’s all about the after life for her. she finds comfort in believing that she will see my father, amongst many other dead friends/reliatives, after she dies.

    also, the “i saw an angel in my dream” story is the most convincing story to me.

  • mike

    We have no eyewitness accounts, no doctor confirmations, no DNA samples

    I was just reading some weird stuff about catholic eucharistic miracles, where the the wine actually did transubstantiate into actual blood during communion (apparently a human heart too in one case). Supposedly these miracles happened 500 years ago but the stuff is still miraculously well-preserved.

    The potential for DNA tests on these remains fascinates me. If all of these different miracles from disparate times and places turn out to be from the same human organism, then I might have to wonder if Christianity is really on to something. But I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath on those DNA tests ;)

  • Chayanov

    Great post discussing Mary’s status as a virgin. Have you considered doing a cross-comparative post about the details of Jesus’ birth? When you look at the Mithraists and Zoroastrians you start to wonder if Christianity has any unique elements at all or if they borrowed everything from other religions starting on day one.

  • whreuat

    Hail Mary..

  • http://jericosystems.com Eric Hamby

    great post. glad to see not everyone is stubborn

  • Mithra

    For more convincing details about this subject (and much much more) see ZeitgeistMovie.com

  • scuzzbucket

    Good post.

    My Damascus Road :) was first year varsity way back in 1988. Archaeology 101. I just could not see god anywhere. I searched the cosmos as well (popular science reads on cosmology).

    I decided there was no way round it. We made god.

    From that day on, sometime in the middle of 1988, the world started making sense. No more contradictions and forced morality.

    The irony is that Protestantism has allowed the development of rationalist western society, which has in turn questioned the very foundations of Christianity.

  • Dennis Wilson

    You are supporting some of your statements with The Bible, a book that you say that you do not believe.

  • http://willentrekin.com Will Entrekin

    There’s an even more compelling reason, actually, than the five you list, and it’s really simple. Because if Jesus is supposed to be God made human, a virgin birth would negate that possibility. Jesus could not have been fully human if he were the progeny of a “virgin” conception. There’s a great discussion of the whole idea in Donald Spoto’s The Hidden Jesus (it’s truly one of the most revelatory books I’ve ever read).

    Also, anyone who further believes Mary was always a virgin (as James discussed) is patently wrong; Jesus had at least one brother, James.

  • http://largerneedle.wordpress.com/ Brandon

    Just a few quick comments.

    With your beginning story about Ayesha, you’ve superimposed your own thoughts into the subject. So it’s skewed from the beginning. We all have presuppositions when viewing any subject, and I think this story reveals your presuppositions more than it reveals falsehood.

    1) This is sort of an argument by anachronism, and not a very good one. I don’t think you can take concepts, ideas, and advances in technology from our era and then debunk the past merely because they did not have said information. You would have to discount many past events with this line of thought.

    2) Sparse mention in Scripture does not necessarily entail a lack of importance. Secondly, you used John in your argument, but John is usually dated the latest of the Gospels. Thirdly, scholars are all over the map on the dating of these books, as well as which Gospel relied upon whom. So it’s a little hard to make hard-and-fast arguments based upon speculation. Even with the information you gave, you still had to insert your own hunch about what happened, yet you called it “likely”. So really what you’ve done is moved from something you claim is unknown, to an idea you’ve made up.

    3) I don’t know the intricacies of the other religions you named. But there is a difference in Jesus’ being born of God: He was born not of “a” god, but of “The” God. So it’s a monotheistic outlook as opposed to polytheistic. Also, why would Joseph stick with her? If she slept with another guy, or even if he was the father, he would have tried to discredit her. After all, his reputation would be ruined as well.

    4) Again the Joseph thing. He wouldn’t have stuck with her. Secondly, commonality does not have direct correlation to something being true. Just because something is not common or normal does not mean it is untrue. I think more presuppositions are revealed here. There are criteria you are applying based upon what you already believe. So, of course, based on your criteria it would be more unlikely.

    5) I think this was the weakest argument. It just doesn’t follow. The fact that we (and that “we” is very presumptuous) wouldn’t believe something has nothing to do with whether or not it is true in actuality. There are many things that I may not believe to be true, and yet they could be. Furthermore, the evidence of the life of Christ and the death and resurrection of Christ would actually make it more likely and reasonable that Mary was telling the truth. Her Son went on to do miracles (which you may not believe because of anti-supernatural presuppositions) and rise from the dead (there are really good arguments for that as well).

    Anyway, these arguments are age-old, so I do not flatter myself to think that my meager attempts at thinking through them are anything new either. Also, I’m not commenting just to try and be right. I think dialogue on these subjects are helpful for both sides to think through.

  • davidkentie

    “Some scholars say “virgin” was a mistranslation in the Septuagint (the Greek translation the gospel writers used), and should have been translated “young woman.” That means the story might have been based on a mistranslation!”

    -Some might argue this, however, in recent times Archaeologists have uncovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which contain manuscripts of Isaiah dating from 1 Century BC. Now, the Bible as we see it today has Isaiah as preserved by the monks of Ireland and other Universities from Medieval Europe around the 10th Century AD. Those monks have in tradition transcribed from the Vatican library manuscripts, from this Septuagint you speak with dates from the Hellenistic Era. However when closely compared, the manuscripts from our Modern Biblical text of Isaiah and the sections of Isaiah found with the Dead Sea Scrolls there is very little to no loss of literary cohesion. The terminology as you say which means young woman, is in fact the Greek assumption of the term, virgin.

    As well, there is uncertainty to me as to whether you are trying discredit the divinity of Christ or a Virgin Birth. Naturally if you’re saying that there is no Virgin Birth then you debunk Christianity’s claims. That’s all fair, however even if you’re assumptions about Isaiah truly meaning “young woman” you still have approximately 98 other propechies that were fulfilled in Isaiah by the life of Jesus Christ. Historically, we know there was a Jesus. Historically there were other accusations of “Virgin Births”, but I suppose it takes just as much belief in a Virgin Birth as to believe we evolved from a puddle of goo.

    As for the three kings representing Orion’s Belt, this might be an interesting point, however biblical texts do not point there being only three magi, which were not kings, but philosophers from the East. Egypt is southwest. Surely there were three gifts given, but no mention of the number of magi…as well star charting to that date is somewhat pointless as the wisemen did no appear before Christ until sometime after (approximately 2 year) the events of Christ’s Birth.

    “Load any decent star mapping program. (I recommend stellarium)
    -Set the location to egypt
    -Set the date to christmas eve at 19:00 hours
    -Look east
    -You will see the stars of orions belt (three kings) and sirius (the star in the east)
    -Make an imaginary line from the three kings through the star in the east to the horizon – this is where the sun will rise (ra/mithrus/jesus will be born)
    -Make sure the constellation names and diagrams are visible
    -speed time up so that it’s about 01:00 hours and pause.”

    -You seem to really have a lot of historical events confused. Christmas eve is actually not the eve before Christ’s birth. December 24th and 25th were dates settled much later in 3rd Century to replace the Pagan festival of Saturnalia in Rome. This were set to commemorate the Birth of Christ, as the actually date (which was probably in spring, judging by the Census mentioned in Luke), was not known.

    -The worship of Ra had all but died out well before the birth of Christ. In fact as most of the Gospel writers were heavily influenced by the Hellenistic Era, it would seem more appropriate for them to borrow Mythology from Greece would it not? As Jews have traditionally looked at Egypt as a place of bondage and slavery, it would be highly unlikely that they should wish to emulate their cult and pagan practices.

    -This article is brilliantly executed, however as Mr. Wilson has argued, you seem to contradict yourself by using the Bible as means to argue, yet you say you do not believe in
    it?

    “good read. well argued. too bad no christian will take it seriously… that’s just how they are. i’ve brought up all the same arguments with the only christian i can argue with: my mother. she won’t budge. at least she’s not traditional, it’s all about the after life for her. she finds comfort in believing that she will see my father, amongst many other dead friends/reliatives, after she dies.

    also, the “i saw an angel in my dream” story is the most convincing story to me. ”

    -You’re probably right in assuming the first part. The primary issue is that the article hasn’t convinced me of anything. There is really no counterargument to Christ’s divinity or his Humanity. It neither proves nor disproves anything. Is it not interesting that no other faith in the world has received more skepticism because of its beliefs. What is it for me to believe that some guy died for my salvation? If it was fluff, I assure you I of all people would not believe in it. I think the difference between blindness and sight is exactly that. Its regretful that your father has died, but I’m not sure its the only reason your mother still believes. What good would it be for her to stay firm, if all she wanted to believe was that there was a heaven. Even some unbelievers in Christ believe there is a heaven.

    -These are very good arguments…however as a Student of Philosophy, both Modern and Medieval, Classical History, and a student of the languages of Antiquity, I could tell you that even the most skeptical professors I’ve come across eventually find it this article lacking of any concrete evidence against. LXX (Septuagint) is in deed a greek source during the Helenistic period, but it was not the original source, much as the Vulgate used by the Latin west was the original for the New Testament Greek Manuscripts written by the Apostles.

    -As for Paul not mentioning a virgin birth…you have misunderstood the historical and spiritual context of the letters. Paul was not writing to prove what people had already accepted, but to encourage, and reiterate the guidelines for Christian Living in a culture that was preaching counter to Christ. It’s a little like saying, oh, Lincoln didn’t mention that constitutional law about not stealing, so I guess its a myth. Or in philosophy Kant might call it a straw man.

    -As this article may not dissuade Christianity, I doubt that my counterarguments will have moved you in any particular way. My question is…what is at the root of this argument? If Christianity is wrong, then you have nothing to gain by making a statement about it. It would seem to make more sense for me to put my faith in a loving God then to nothing at all. At least then if it is all for nothing, you can say that you have lived a good life. Perhaps Christians have condemned you or something insane like that, and for that I apologize. What you know in your heart is the endless void that you can’t feel because the things of this world seem so good. Yet because of their temporary nature, fulfillment escapes. Some may not feel this because their hearts are hard, but that doesn’t mean that is a permanent problem. Sex and drunkenness are all so alluring, believe me I know…but continually I find such things do little to help me in life. Anyways enough preaching, but hopefully if nothing, this adds a little counterbalance to a seemingly “preaching to the choir” post.

    • Siberia

      Some might argue this, however, in recent times Archaeologists have uncovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which contain manuscripts of Isaiah dating from 1 Century BC. Now, the Bible as we see it today has Isaiah as preserved by the monks of Ireland and other Universities from Medieval Europe around the 10th Century AD. Those monks have in tradition transcribed from the Vatican library manuscripts, from this Septuagint you speak with dates from the Hellenistic Era. However when closely compared, the manuscripts from our Modern Biblical text of Isaiah and the sections of Isaiah found with the Dead Sea Scrolls there is very little to no loss of literary cohesion. The terminology as you say which means young woman, is in fact the Greek assumption of the term, virgin.
      Citation, please.
      As well, there is uncertainty to me as to whether you are trying discredit the divinity of Christ or a Virgin Birth. Naturally if you’re saying that there is no Virgin Birth then you debunk Christianity’s claims. That’s all fair, however even if you’re assumptions about Isaiah truly meaning “young woman” you still have approximately 98 other propechies that were fulfilled in Isaiah by the life of Jesus Christ. Historically, we know there was a Jesus. Historically there were other accusations of “Virgin Births”, but I suppose it takes just as much belief in a Virgin Birth as to believe we evolved from a puddle of goo.
      I’d like to know how evolving from a “puddle of goo” (abiogenesis doesn’t work that way, by the way) is less likely than being made out of dust from the magic pixie in the sky, but OK. Anyway:
      – prophecies: literary consistency.
      – historical Jesus: I want sources. Even if Jesus did exist, it’s interesting the rather remarkable events of his life aren’t mentioned anywhere by impartial sources.
      – virgin birth: actually does happen. Is called parthogenesis. Usually involves a female spontaneously giving birth… to female offspring. Happens a lot in some lizard species. Never documented in humans… unless you count mythological references.

  • davidkentie

    And I concur with Brandon in all he has said. Discussion is key.

  • http://www.primordial-blog.blogspot.com/ Brian Larnder

    “even if you’re assumptions about Isaiah truly meaning “young woman” you still have approximately 98 other propechies that were fulfilled in Isaiah by the life of Jesus Christ”.

    A bit of an exaggeration there David. While many fundamentalists claim hundreds of Old Testament prophecies pointing to Christ, most are so vague as to be worthless. If you ask for any examples you only end up with a handful and most of those wither away if read in context. The wikipedia article on the topic (Claimed Messianic Prophecies) came up with a list of 17 commonly cited examples and only three of those were from Isaiah.

    And this prophecy is the perfect example of how actually reading what the bible says undermines the very doctrines that are supposed to be based on the bible. Isaiah wants to give King Ahaz a sign that his enemies would be destroyed so he tells them that the young maiden standing nearby would conceive and bring forth a child and that before the child was old enough to know right from wrong, the bad guys would be taken care of. Afterwards, Isaiah personally goes into the young prophetess and does the deed himself. He impregnates her in the usual way and she bears him a son. End of prophecy.

    Hmmm… so what exactly does this bit of scripture have to do with Jesus?

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    brandon, your argument about it being an anachronism is fallacious. The only thing different here is the substitution of one religion that values virginity for another, and the pregnancy test, which is easily replaced by, say, the onset of morning sickness.

    David…

    first off, we know that life can be formed by putting together the right chemicals, because it’s made out of chemicals. But impregnating a woman in the same way is a very different proposition. The chemicals would have to come together in exactly the right proportions, the right order, and within a space of maybe ten minutes. A miracle indeed.

    Secondly, the rest of your little piece doesn’t quite seem to be aimed at refuting the arguments here. Ra’s worship dying out has no bearing on the similarities with the myths of Mithras etc. Paul mentioned other miracles to make the point about Jesus’ divinity, why not the big one at the start?

    Finally, your last few sentences seem to be written on the assumption that all atheists have renounced religion (an assumption being that all people start out intentionally religious) only in order to be able to drink and have sex. This is not the case. We may enjoy those things, but so do an awful lot of religious people. It’s more that WE DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD. Which would make being religious a little difficult.

    Anyway, I know you won’t actually understand this, because my viewpoint is atheistic and therefore invalid, but… actually, why am I bothering with this? I could be out drinking and having sex.

  • yaaaay

    @bpdlr
    No, I wrote that post with stellarium in the BG and it works for this year 2008, and presumably many years into the future!

    @davidkentie
    Around dec 24 is the winter solstice, I said christmas eve to get you into the frame of mind of the birth of jesus. All the astrological origions happen on the three or four nights around that date. Yes, the worship of Ra had stopped but there is a whole sequence of gods with the same characteristics where worships succeeding in the worship of jesus. Ra, Mithras and Jesus where the ones I could remeber off the top of my head.

  • VorJack

    @Brandon:
    “I don’t think you can take concepts, ideas, and advances in technology from our era and then debunk the past merely because they did not have said information.”

    This argument baffles me. Let me give an example: Let’s say we see a first century account of a man who drops to the ground and goes through spasms. A modern physician reads the account and concludes that it is a clear case of an epileptic seizure. The ancients had concluded it was demonic possession.

    Are you suggesting that the physicians diagnoses is an anachronism? Moreover, are you suggesting that the physician is wrong, and that it is a case of demonic possession, because the ancients didn’t understand epilepsy? That, to me, seems to be absurd on it’s face.

    It would be an anachronism if we moderns chastised the ancients for not recognizing epilepsy when they saw it. They clearly lacked the knowledge to properly diagnose the fit and fell back on the best understanding they had. But to suggest that we must assume that they were correct is bizarre.

    “Sparse mention in Scripture does not necessarily entail a lack of importance.”

    Possibly true, but unfortunately scripture is all we have to go by. There are no extra-biblical sources that give us any information about the life (or birth) of Jesus. That means we have to – carefully – comb through the bible and non-canonical gospels for clues and use some standard rules for interpreting evidence.

    One of the standard rules is “multiple attestation.” A report is more likely to be accurate if we see multiple accounts of it from independent sources. That means that if we see multiple versions of the same story in different independent gospels or letters, then we can at least say the the story is more likely to be accurate.

    The virgin birth occurs in Matthew and Luke, who were likely to be drawing it from the same source – Q . Other than that, nothing in Mark, Thomas or the other potentially early sources. We have to render a provisional conclusion, based on our limited evidence, that the story is not likely to be true. More that that we cannot say, and “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.”

    “Again the Joseph thing. He wouldn’t have stuck with her.”

    That seems a rather strong statement about someone we only know of through a few sentences in Luke and Matthew. I could point out that the stories of Joseph’s reactions come from the same sources as the virgin birth, and thus are simply part of the same story structure, but I’ll take another tack instead.

    I’d like to point out that we do not know much about the common Judean of the period and how they lived, believed or reacted to moral dilemmas. We know something about the Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees and so forth – the elites, basically – but not the common man in the street.

    Frankly, the Judeans had a couple of generations to get used to Roman occupation. Given the recorded brutality of the Legions, I suspect that the ancient Jews had learned to deal with certain “involuntary pregnancies.” It may have simply been that Joesph was a decent human being, who would not see Mary punished for something that wasn’t her fault. Rev. Spong once drew an entire drama of compassion from this idea. After all, what could it have been that gave Jesus the idea of the “loving father” God? What model could he have used? Who else but in a father who *could* have thrown his mother into the street, but instead raised the illegitimate child as his own. It’s a very powerful idea.

  • VorJack

    @davidkentie – “My question is…what is at the root of this argument? If Christianity is wrong, then you have nothing to gain by making a statement about it.”

    I don’t want to fill up the comment thread, but I think this needs a reaction.

    As to what is the root … well, different people will have different answers, of course. In my case I must shamefully admit that it starts with the now-famous “Someone is Wrong on the Internet” effect. I work in the field of history, and it galls me to see people accepting dogma instead of evidence for events in the past. I cannot let it go without comment, any more that I could let brandon’s apparent misuse of the important concept of anachronism pass by.

    Part of it is that I’m an obnoxious pedant. But you knew that.

    But another part of it is that I do treasure the scriptures. They are one of the most remarkable collections of ancient documents we have. Oh, the “Epic of Gilgamesh” is more ancient, and the “Illiad” is more stirring, but the scriptures are broader and much more complex. They offer insight into the minds of the ancients through time and space.

    Moreover, the scriptures have been the subject of more intense thought and investigation than any other work. They invoke all sorts of important historical questions about the differences between orality and literacy, the construction of social memory, and so forth.

    And then I run into fundamentalists who say, “If there’s one fact wrong in the bible, then it’s all worthless.”Or the comment for Dennis Wilson above, that assumes that if you don’t treat the bible as holy, then it’s worthless as a historical document. Gaaaaah. Fractally wrong. This is an insult, not only to the scriptures and their various authors, but to my profession as an archivist and to the field of history in general. It must be fought.

    • Red Dave

      Bravo Vorjack. Too few people stand up for history.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Will: Thanks for contributing. Unfortunately I don’t find that reason compelling at all, because Christian theology has long, boring reasons on how that is possible. In fact they argue that the only way Jesus could be 100% God and 100% man is through a virgin conception. So I don’t see that argument getting very far with most Christians. It would just become a theology debate.

    @Dennis and @davidkentie: I do believe in the Bible as an ancient, changed document. I just don’t believe it is the Word of God. I can use it to argue against it because Christians do believe it to be the Word of God. Lots of biblical scholars, like Bart Ehrman, don’t “believe in the Bible,” yet they are some of the world’s top scholars.

    @VorJack: Thanks for consistently making substantial, interesting, civil, and helpful comments!

  • davidkentie

    Forgive my poor sentence structure, it was late at night. I would argue that Bart and Ehrman are not world’s top scholars. The ocassional evangelical would even call Bart heretical. In fact that very statement “believe in the bible”, is vague. I would argue and say that Bart and Ehrman have different interpretations. You would make it sound as they don’t believe in the truth of the bible. And certainly I wouldn’t expect you to believe that it is the word of God, I don’t think anyone in the counterargument was saying or expecting that a non-Christian would.

    -“I do believe in the Bible as an ancient, changed document”

    As I’ve already stated, the uncovering of the Dead Sea Scrolls in which manuscripts of non-Septuagint segments of Isaiah transliterate nearly word for word for what we have now. Also, the oral traditions of the Jewish community are unlike many others in the world. By comparison, scripts of Islam which re far younger then Christianity have been compared and understood as having evolved. Christianity’s scriptures have no “evolved”.

    -“hanks for contributing. Unfortunately I don’t find that reason compelling at all, because Christian theology has long, boring reasons on how that is possible. In fact they argue that the only way Jesus could be 100% God and 100% man is through a virgin conception.”

    Unfortunately, you’re delving into the world metaphysics. You’re concepts and precepts of what makes a person human and divine is based on a limited understanding of the physical world. As well, I’ve noticed you use a lot of terms like “lots of”, or assumption, “long, boring reasons” yet you fail to produce the actual arguments of Christian theology. You applaud those that offer you support, well dismalise or dismiss those who offer evidence it rebuttle. As a human, I can understand why you do this and of course the nature of debate, however for someone in search of truth it makes little sense.

    A virgin birth is not the only requirement for someone to be both fully human and divine. With new technologies would could easily make a virgin pregnant…but you’re missing the point. The human / divine question comes to play when you realize that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and impregnated her, a woman who had not sex with any man. That you have not said is impossible or disproved by any argument. You remark at how ludicrous it is, yet you fail to offer any counterargument aside from saying “you’re stupid for thinking that”. To which I have replied by saying it takes less faith to believe what I believe then evolution. To which someone replied, “well we can mix chemicals and make life”. Certainly this is true, but someone is still doing the mixing are they not, human hands in the labratory mix chemicals together to make life. What I’m arguing is, that do to the complex nature of humanity, it is impossible to assume that something evolved from nothing, unless there was a being to which could have the power to do so. As well, considering we are finite, we have a beginning and a physical end, how then would we have the knowledge or at least the idea of an infinite being? A little off topic I know, but what you are doing is trying to assume a position that virginity is what makes someone both human / divine, but when in reality its the insemination of the Holy Spirit which you still fail to produce an counter argument against.

    -“And then I run into fundamentalists who say”

    You’re understand of that term is flawed. Fundamentalists would never have a conversation with you. Fundamentalists would be so intoxicated by the bible that would forget that its the word of God not something to be worshiped. I’m not sure your perceptions are totally valid. On the contrary, it is through history that one realizes the authenticity of the Bible being a holy and sacred and living work. The Gospel of Luke for instance, is very much the written work of someone who is obsessed with history and making sure that he has tied everything up. In fact Josephus, who many take seriously in antiquity has very similar writing styles to Luke and most likely, as the scholars tell me, adopted Luke’s writing style. In the Gospel of Luke, he tirelessly gathers the information from eyewitness accounts, written records and political events. In fact he goes out of his way to establish the geo-social-political climate before major events in the gospel. We do know for a fact that Pilate was governor at the time of the crucifixion, we do know there was a census taken around 4BC, and we understand that at this time second-temple Judaism was running high with certain precepts and adherence to law. As the gospel of Luke unfolds you begin to understand that Christ is culmination of the Israel story. Not only does he fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah but in fact the entire Israeli story from exodus to exile.

    I am not in dispute about the whole Isaiah-Ahaz argument, except that while God was speaking to Ahaz through Isaiah he was also foretelling the fulfillment of Israel would come.

  • VorJack

    @davidkentie –
    There’s a lot here to repond to, but I’ll confne myself to the first few problems I see.

    “I would argue that Bart and Ehrman are not world’s top scholars.”

    First off, just to clear up any confusion, it’s just “Bart Ehrman,” one person. He’s a distinguished professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill [Go Tarheels!]. He’s not the best, perhaps, but he ain’t bad.

    Further, his qualification are not important. His arguments are. He rightly points out that we have thousands of fragments of the various new testament gospels, all of which contain different variations. His work, “Misquoting Jesus,” is a good popular work on textual criticisms.

    “The ocassional evangelical would even call Bart heretical.”

    Actually, he’s an atheist. It’s a result of his studies, which undermined his belief in an inerrant text, which is one of the core “fundamentals” of his fundamentalist upbringing. And an atheist cannot be heretical, since he (we) have rejecting orthodoxy and dogma altogether.

    Regardless, what does ‘heretical’ mean in this case? I’d like to point out that evangelicals, who are by definition protestant, are heretical by the understanding of the Roman Catholic Church.

    “As I’ve already stated, the uncovering of the Dead Sea Scrolls in which manuscripts of non-Septuagint segments of Isaiah transliterate nearly word for word for what we have now.”

    The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint were both produced in the second century. It is not surprising that there is agreement. When we speak of a “changed document,” we are generally referring to the exile and post-exile period when it appears that the scrolls and stories were sewn together to produce the Pentateuch. That’s when the various sources, like the J, E, D & P sources were woven together, for example. This means that the changes happened well before the Essenes broke away to form Qumran and collect the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Always assuming that the consensus view of the scrolls is correct.)

    The provenance of the New Testament is even more complicated, since it seems that none of our gospels were produced within a generation of Jesus’ life. No one can guess how many hands touched and altered those stories.

  • Chayanov

    The whole “fulfilling of prophecy” statement has always seemed a bit odd to me. All of these prophecies are from the Jewish tradition. As has been stated already, they are either extremely vague or have particular contexts.

    Then later on early Christians, who are entirely familiar with the Jewish texts, have personal reasons for wanting to promote Christianity and are writing the scriptures decades after the fact. So they simply write down that all of these prophecies were fulfilled. Ta-dah!

    You can’t use the Bible to support itself. The “fulfilling of prophecy” argument is a loser. You’re not going to find corroborating evidence from other sources, and believing everything that’s written in the Bible just because the Bible tells you to is pointless.

  • davidkentie

    Sort of a misunderstanding on part, I thought she was referring to Karl Barth and mis-spelled the h. He was a swiss theologian with several interesting views on things.

    -“Regardless, what does ‘heretical’ mean in this case? I’d like to point out that evangelicals, who are by definition protestant, are heretical by the understanding of the Roman Catholic Church.”

    Actually it’s kind of interesting you mention that. In recent years, certain reformation qualities have been taking place with inside the Catholic Church. Certainly during the Reformation Protestants would’ve been deemed heretics, but in no way do most mainline evangelicals look at Catholic theology as being inherently heretical, but more misguided is some areas.

    “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint were both produced in the second century. It is not surprising that there is agreement. When we speak of a “changed document,” we are generally referring to the exile and post-exile period when it appears that the scrolls and stories were sewn together to produce the Pentateuch. That’s when the various sources, like the J, E, D & P sources were woven together, for example. This means that the changes happened well before the Essenes broke away to form Qumran and collect the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Always assuming that the consensus view of the scrolls is correct.)”

    The Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus were the earliest Greek manuscripts of biblical text, even which our modern translations were derived from the 9th Century. However upon discovery of the non-greek Scrolls, which date from 2nd Century BC, included were portions of Genesis, Isaiah, Exodus, Lev., Deut. Numbers, Job, Samuel, Daniel and some of the minor prophets. Upon exmination this is significant because they agree with the Masoretic texts (greek manuscripts). I think you’re missing the point, many scholars used to use the same argument, “well you know how many hands have touched these documents up until the 9th Century”, yet this only proves that in the span of 2000 years, Christianity’s scripture has remained intact and unchanged as far as content and context.

    ‘The provenance of the New Testament is even more complicated, since it seems that none of our gospels were produced within a generation of Jesus’ life. No one can guess how many hands touched and altered those stories.’

    The date of Matthew is considered by many to have been around 70 A.D. while other will argue as early as 40-45 A.D. What you’re missing is that Christ died in 33 A.D. so the events of the last three years of his ministry, even if its 70 A.D. are still well with the minds of many of his followers. It is still even more interesting if you consider Mark to have been the first written Gospel, thus both Luke and Matthew share the information of Mark, which was written even earlier in 60 A.D., as well some have argued that portions of Mark were found in tact with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Least we forget the infamous “Q”, which is a shared source of Jesus Sayings, predating the Gospels. It seems at the fullist extent, even if scholars give the latest date of 70 A.D. to the Gospels; at least the synoptics, then you find yourself well within the generation that saw Jesus’ ministry from 30-33A.D. But meh, what do I know?

    You still have no offered any argument in favour of the original post that is satisfying evidence to prove that Mary was not a virgin and that Christ was not both fully human and divine.

  • davidkentie

    “You can’t use the Bible to support itself. The “fulfilling of prophecy” argument is a loser. You’re not going to find corroborating evidence from other sources, and believing everything that’s written in the Bible just because the Bible tells you to is pointless.”

    Well admit its a little like telling a blind man what redness is. So point taken, that was more for me just adding a little historical context. But your perceptions on early Christianity require a little more historical study. Jewish followers may have been students of the Torah and Prophets, however it still does not explain how thousands of pagan gentiles had come to understand Christ as the Messiah, when they had very little knowledge of Judaism.

  • VorJack

    @davidkentie –

    Can you point me to where you’re getting your New Testament dates from? My understanding, from the New Testament textbooks I have, is that ALL the dates you are mentioning are early.

    As far as I know, from multiple sources – including Bart Ehrman, John Crossan, my textbooks, all the way to my Catholic high school bible teacher – place Mark as the first gospel in 65-70 C.E. All the rest fall after that, with John being the last around the end of the first century.

    That means that a full generation passed between the writings of the gospels and the death of Jesus. And more radical scholars place it later than that. For example, Robert M. Price places Mark all the way into the second century. I don’t think even apologists like NT Wright would place Mark in the 40s. That might even place Mark earlier than Paul’s letters, which are universally considered to be the earliest parts of our modern gospel.

    But in many ways this is beside the point. You say, “in the span of 2000 years, Christianity’s scripture has remained intact and unchanged as far as content and context. ” This is flatly wrong. You mention the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, but there are some important differences between these early manuscripts and the gospels we have now. Most famously, both of these lack the story of the Adulteress from the Gospel of John. Some scholars suggest that the story didn’t make it’s way into versions of the gospel until the middle ages.

  • Chayanov

    “…it still does not explain how thousands of pagan gentiles had come to understand Christ as the Messiah, when they had very little knowledge of Judaism.”

    Would you please explain this statement further? Which thousands of pagan gentiles are you talking about here? If they’re pagan gentiles, why would they even know or care about the Jewish Messiah?

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    As for Mark writing his gospel in CE 70… that’s 70 years after the event we’re actually discussing, in a world where the average person lived to about 35. Two generations. And if someone had lived longer than average, gotten his full threescore and ten, he’d be trying to remember things from his childhood. I have difficulty with that, and I’m not even 20 yet. This source is not going to be 100% reliable.

  • Raphael

    @wazza

    Good point. The people think that if today we reach easily 60, 70 or more than 80 years, it was the same 2000 years ago. This is thanks to the science.

  • VorJack

    @Chayanov –
    “If they’re pagan gentiles, why would they even know or care about the Jewish Messiah?”

    Because he offered you eternal life, of course. And the fact that he was from an ancient foreign religion just added to the exotic appeal. The cults of Isis (Egyptian) and Mithras (Persian) were also popular around this time among the Romans.

  • RRC

    No argument here only a single word and one that’s
    sure to be shot down, whacked on etc – but I’m determined
    and this is how I see it and you would do well to have some
    of the same guys! You’re wrong period – end of discussion!

    FAITH!

  • Chayanov

    That would be argument #38.

  • Joel

    Wow! Kudos to RRC for such a logical, well- thgouht out retort! Hey buddy, I have faith that one day, when I die, my spirit will soar up into the air and I’ll meet my arch- nemesis, Zorgon the destroyer where we will battle to decide king of the universe. My faith is no more or less rational than yours. When will people get a grip and just live the life we’ve got and not worry about some stupid religious bullshit.

    By the way, I didn’t read all of the comments, but here’s something. If Jesus was supposed to be decsended from the house of David (just like his father, Joseph), how could this be so if he was born of a virgin?

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    I believe it was because Mary was also of the house of David… the bible’s pretty big on incest. Though in this case they’d probably be like 5th cousins or something.

  • Joel

    Luke 2:4

    A Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, because he was of the house and lineage of David

  • VorJack

    @Joel –
    Most of the evangelicals I’ve spoken to just shrug this off. “So he was adopted, so what?”

    There’s a more radical interpretation. This could be evidence of several different threads of Christian thought meshing together. One thread, perhaps the earlier, stated that Jesus was the Son of Joesph, descent from the family of David. Another thread, this one perhaps later, began to view Jesus as at least partially divine in life (as opposed to becoming divine after death), and began to say that he had been conceived by God. These two threads were woven together in Matthew and Luke, perhaps in the initial writings or through later redactions.

    There’s an interesting bit of Mark’s gospel, 12:35-37, where Jesus says that the messiah need not be from the house of David. It’s rather defensive, and it only makes sense if Jesus was not of David’s line. Perhaps the belief that Jesus was in David’s line was a later development itself. Maybe the author of Matthew found Mark’s argument unconvincing, and so developed his metaphorical genealogy to compensate.

  • Dan L

    “You still have no offered any argument in favour of the original post that is satisfying evidence to prove that Mary was not a virgin and that Christ was not both fully human and divine.”

    Clearly; there is no “satisfying evidence” for that. There’s also no satisfying evidence that those things are true, and since at least one of them flies in the face of something that has been true 100% of the time since, that’s the side of the argument that needs evidence.

    As far as the claim that people wouldn’t believe if these stories were “fluff,” that’s silly. Almost everyone believes at least a few ridiculous things.

    As far as evolution being harder to imagine than a virgin birth, I strongly disagree. There’s a great deal of physical, observable evidence for evolution, but there have been no virgin births recorded since that of Christ. And that one’s not corroborated by any sources outside (two of four) gospels.

    I would also like to mention that you should probably read Daniel’s “About Me” page before mouthing off that he doesn’t know any fundamentalists or doesn’t know what fundamentalism is.

    I’m also fairly sure you’re wrong that the worship of Ra died out by the time of Jesus. I believe that the Kingdom of Egypt was still worshipping Ra et al while paying tribute to Julius Caesar, and continued to do so for some time after.

  • http://www.sellingmyself428.blogspot.com Selling Myself

    Great argument. All reasons I began to question the virgin birth, and other fundamentalist nightmares. I enjoy your writing. Keep it up!

  • The Lewd Pirate

    @everyone :)

    ive spent alot of time reading these arguements and only have one thing to say

    God, in whatever form it/he/she comes in, is not real

    because i KNOW it to be true….

    try arguing that point :)

  • Infinity Boy

    I dropped the Christian faith years ago when I started to think for myself and saw how Faith in the bible as God’s True Word and an infallible literary work is a misguided, dangerous thing. I’m not a scholar of religion or the bible, so I can’t argue from that perspective. I can only argue through common logic with a large dose of humor towards the absurd. Yes, the bible and the term logic don’t go hand in hand due to the very nature of Faith, but here goes:

    If Mary were truly a virgin who became pregnant by the Spirit of God, then no human sperm was part of the equation. A miracle occured and Mary’s egg started to become a human life without a human male’s help. Maybe Mary was the most perfectly formed internal hermaphrodite the world has ever seen and impregnated herself, but that takes more Faith than I think anyone is capable of. No, if this is to be believed, Mary was impregnated by a Spirit. That would be way too freaky for me or most anyone else to deal with, but from the scriptures, Mary was cool with it. That there is a red flag to me.

    That calls into question the 100% humanity of Jesus. If only a human egg were involved with his birth, what composed the other half? Does God have a physical body and sperm? I think even the ancient prophets would say that is ludicrous and that God dwells in no fleshly vessel (until Jesus, of course. There is also the argument that the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit have existed forever, Jesus being the eternal fleshly incarnation of God. By that train of thought, though, that would make Jesus his own human father. Ewwww.)

    No, as modern humans with a true belief in this event, we would have to accept that Jesus had half human chromosomes and… something else. What that something else was, we would never know. He was/is a God. This in its very nature means Jesus was not a full blooded human being created from the human gene pool. If the virgin birth is true, then Jesus is not wholly human. He would be the Messiah, God made Flesh, the Redeemer, an alien from planet X, but not a true human being. From reading the bible, Jesus seems to have known this from a very early age (my father’s business and all that).

    This is the main reason I believe the virgin birth to be false. To me, it contradicts the statement that Jesus was a complete man as well as God.

  • http://www.myspace.com/edibleyards Diane

    Wow, I’ve spent my whole life just trying to get rid of all the OTHER social brainwashing (must buy stuff, must be this way, that way, etc.); I’m so glad I didn’t have the burden of Christianity to deal with on top of that!

    Thanks for the interesting post and comments as well!
    DK

  • psybird

    @Brandon:

    Why would Joseph stick with a permanently virgin Mary if it meant that he had to spend his life not having sex? What kind of “family values” did this dysfunctional family practise? No wonder their child went off with a group of men and failed to have any family of his own or take any realistic responsibility for women or children.

    As for the genetics: How do you explain an entity which is half god and half human?

    According to the science of genetics, interbreeding can only occur with something from the same species. That would make the god of Abraham genetically human.

    Which of the alleles would be from “god-stock” and which would be “Mary-stock”. Which ones would be “dominant” and which would be “recessive” in any characteristic? Is the Abrahamic god right or left-handed? Right or left-brain language dominant? Does It have blue eyes or brown eyes? Is It brown skinned, black skinned or pink skinned? Does It have Jewish facial features?

    Is It as poorly designed as the modern human? Does It have a useless appendix and a set of inside-out eyes? Is It dyslexic? (Apparently Jesus could not write well or he would have written the New Testament himself. This would have put him on at least the same level as Mohammed, who reputedly wrote his stuff at the dictate of an angel. )

    Another alternative is to have two sets of “Mary-stock” chromosomes. The progeny would then be female, entirely human and sterile.

    A third alternative is that the two sets of chromosomes came from beings which were not quite separate species: like horses and donkeys. The resulting semi-divine “mule” would be sterile. I suppose this is possible. There is no record that Jesus had any offspring, in spite of a romping good story involving a lot of Italians which is currently rather popular.

    When I was studying for the Christian ministry the currently favoured theory was that Jesus resulted from the rape of Mary by a Roman soldier and that she went on to have normal sexual relations with Joseph after the illegitimate birth of her first son. At least that version didn’t require that I “unlearn” all my biology and genetics.

  • patrickdunnevant

    Hello, Daniel. I’ll first address your comment about Ayesha…There’s a central hole in your analogy. She found out she was pregnant BEFORE the angel came to her. This doesn’t make any sense, especially since you’re trying to compare it to the Biblical account, where Mary finds out she is pregnant from an angel, rather than finding out on her own (inexplicably: why would someone check for pregnancy if they were actually a virgin?)

    Let’s move on, however.

    “1) There is no reliable evidence.”
    My response shall be that the amount of evidence we do have is rather remarkable. But first, let’s look at the point you make. You mention “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” in this, but you must understand that ECREE was invented by Carl Sagan, is not a legally established standard of evidence for anything, and the terms for what constitutes “extraordinary,” whether it’s the claim or the evidence, is almost NEVER defined, and when it is, it’s disagreed upon by almost everyone. Your response fails from the outset.

    Saying we have “no DNA samples” is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Would you really believe someone who said they had Jesus’s DNA? In fact, what in the world would you compare it to, seeing as we have no samples of Jesus (or anyone else from that time, yet you must believe many things recorded did actually happen, apart from DNA evidence) to compare it to. Without comparisons, DNA evidence is 100% ineffective. Please don’t ask for evidence that you, in reality, won’t even accept anyway.

    Lacking “eyewitness testimony” or confirmation by doctors really doesn’t say much about anything. Most of what we know about history, especially in that time, comes from people who were not eyewitnesses, much less doctors. The fact that we have two independent accounts at all, written during a time where an overwhelming majority of the people were illiterate and unable to right anything down, is pretty amazing.

    “2) The earliest references are late and sparse.”
    My response shall be, “You are inaccurate, but even if you weren’t, that response doesn’t do anything to help your case.” Galatians 4:4, which you yourself mention, clearly states that he was “made of a woman.” In the original language, the word “made” is not the typical word for “born.” Instead, it is the word for “begotten.” If he was talking about a normal birth, he would have used the terminology “born of a woman,” the expression Jesus gives regarding John the Baptist in Matthew 11:11.

    But let’s ignore that entirely. If he didn’t record it, it would be rather unsurprising, since Paul wasn’t really trying to convince anybody of Jesus’s divinity. His audience would have already believed such.

    You say that the earliest Gospels don’t have it, which is again only half right if (as some have argued) John 1:12-13 alludes to a virgin birth, but this is also unsurprising. Most Greco-Roman bioi do not mention the birth at all, or if they do, they merely gloss over it. Most of them don’t start until the late teens, and many don’t even start until the twenties or thirties. This is exactly what we see in the Gospels, and isn’t a surprise, since they are Greco-Roman biography.

    Regarding the linguistics, you are also wrong there. Almah is used in contradistinction to bethulah, and is never used to describe a non-virgin (either in the OT or otherwise). The general meaning is “young woman,” but the notion of virginity is always hand in hand with the word.

    Whether an alternative “seems likely” has yet to be demonstrated, since you haven’t given any evidence in favor of the story being invented to boost Christian authority whatsoever.

    “3) It’s the same old myth.”
    My response shall be, “You are incredibly ignorant of other mythologies, and are merely parroting what you have heard, most likely on the internet, from non-scholars who are in turn ignorant.” Pharaoh Amenkept III was not born of a virgin with a “cross in her mouth,” seeing as crucifixion was not introduced as a punishment until after the time of Amenkept’s reign, in a completely different part of the world. But apart from that, there is no evidence whatsoever, in any manuscript, for that birth story. You may as well have made it up.

    You say that Ra was said to have born of a virgin. I will also accuse you of making that up, since Ra never had a mother at all (he is the creator of the gods, after all). The only sort of argument you can make is that Ra was reborn every day with the rising of the sun, and I don’t say the Earth that the sun rises on qualifies as a “virgin.” Mithra was born out of a rock via a ray of light, which is also not a “virgin.” Horus was born from Isis, who had sex with Osiris’s dead body that she put back together after he had been ripped apart by the titans, and therefore wasn’t a virgin. Melanippe? Which one? There are four, none of which are claimed to be born of virgins in any of the mythologies. Romulus’s mother was raped by Mars, therefore not a “virgin.” And then, of course, Genghis Khan was born about a thousand years after Jesus, similar to the claim that the Magna Carta was influenced by the United States Constitution. Your ignorance tempts me to just stop here, since you obviously have no regard for researching anything you say, but I won’t.

    “4) Is it more likely to be a lie, or to be true?”
    My response shall be that you are merely playing word games. You quote Thomas Paine, who reduces it (unfairly) down to some sort of Yes or No question. He asks us if it’s more probable that “nature should go out of her course,” but nobody is actually claiming this. Nobody claims that Mary naturally conceived on her own; they claim this is a supernatural event. Furthermore, he says that we’ve never seen that sort of thing, and by that he means that HE hasn’t seen it, and then fanangles it to mean that, since people lie all the time, then anyone who claims supernatural intervention is lying. This is, quite obviously, an inadequate response to the evidence at hand, since it’s quite apparent that though millions of people tell lies, things are still true.

    The rest of your response is mere conjecture. Give me hard evidence, not this rambling.

    “5) We would never, ever, believe this today.”
    My response is that this is “totally, totally irrelevant” to whether it happened or not. It’s odd that you even put it in there.

    If there is “no evidence that it occurred,” then how in the world do we know about it at all? Are the two accounts that we do have somehow *not* evidence? If they aren’t, then you must give me the standard you are using to determine what actually constitutes evidence, because it would be so far removed from what real historians use as to be meaningless.

    Your reasons for denying the virgin birth are lame at best.

    Patrick Dunnevant
    http://brainisignorant.blogspot.com – Rebuttal to GodIsImaginary.com and WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com.

  • psybird

    Patrick:

    Someone once said: “None are so blind as those who will not see”. I am not saying that this applies to you. Nor am I saying that it does not. I could say that this type of response sums up your arguments. Or I could not say it.

    What I will say is that I cannot see how you would convince anyone of your point of view unless they were already unconvinced – in which case what you have just said is pointless.

  • skippy

    Don’t you dummies get it? Faith with unrefutable evidence is not faith at all.

  • Prescott Johnson

    if the “secondary” fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 was a virgin, than the primary fulfillment in Isaiah 8 must also require a virgin. no Christian believes in two virgin births. Further, the child born in Isaiah 8 was, at the very least, his second son, (the first child is mentioned Isaiah 7), meaning the child’s mother wasn’t a virgin. therefore, the proper understanding of the prophecy, wasn’t about a virgin at all.

  • Metrobus

    David Kentie’s statement just amazes me.

    “Historically, we know there was a Jesus. ”

    I could point out more of these small argumentative nuances, but it’s easy to read in any Christian apologetic forum.

    A skeptic doesn’t assume anything about Jesus, just that it is a name of the main character in the New Testament. It can never be proven that a divine being named Jesus ever existed because of course there is no body right?

    A scientist brings evidence, a priest brings cool stories. Don’t bring assumptions into an argument because you’re so used to believing in it.

  • Mau g.g.

    Just like Dennis Wilson said, if you don’t believe in the bible and anything wrote there, why did you put fragments of it in your post? You are contradicting yourself.
    Faith is not about facts my friend.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Mau: You are a funny man. So if I quote something to debunk it, I have to believe it, otherwise I’m contradicting myself? If you quote the Book of Mormon or the Koran to show how absurd it is, you’re contradicting yourself because you’re quoting something you don’t believe in? Scholars who cite ancient bablyon myths and study them are contradicting themselves because they don’t really believe them?

    Seems like if it were up to you, scholarship wouldn’t even exist. And hey, that would be a great thing for religion. Just believe anything anyone says! You can’t quote anything unless you believe it!

    I hope you don’t really believe what you’re saying, but alas, it sounds like you do.

    By the way, what else would I quote about the virgin birth? No other “early sources” (if you call the Bible an early source, which it only is because there is nothing else) exist. It’s not like there is a shred of historical evidence — even on paper — about it.

  • Daddio

    I guess Metrobus is right…we can’t provide evidence that any historical person existed. In fact someday I’ll be a historical person and people will think of me as just a cool, mythological story in some record book in an internet archive somewhere. It will be the only proof to my great grand children that I was alive. I think this is the making of a sci-fi series!

  • http://www.flipscript.com Mark

    Plus, if Jesus WERE the result of an immaculate conception, he would only have had Mary’s genes.

    …and Mary’s sex chromosomes are XX.

    So, IF Jesus WERE somehow an immuculate conception.

    …then he was a woman!

    Mary had no Y chromosome to give!

  • http://willentrekin.com Will Entrekin

    @Mark: you’re making a very common mistake in confusing the so-called “virgin birth” with the so-called “immaculate conception.” The “immaculate conception” refers not to the conception of Jesus but rather that of Mary, who was conceived without that taint of original sin (at least according to Catholic mythology). It was not a virgin conception, merely one supposedly without that original sin. The virgin conception of Jesus, on the other hand (again, according to Catholic/Christian mythology) refers to the divine conception of Jesus, who was, in fact, conceived with original sin (which was why, according to mythology, he was baptized by John the Baptist).

    Hope that helps clear things up.

  • http://www.wallsofjericho.info Jerry

    With the missionary activities of Paul and others, the passing of the original followers of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem, the NT soon fell into the hands of the Greeks and Latins.

    They interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures through the prism of their own culture, and gave meanings to words and phrases never intended by the NT authors.

    For example the Holy Spirit coming “upon” Mary is read as a virginal conception. However there are dozens of instances in the Bible where the Holy Spirit came “upon” individuals, usually men, but only in Mary’s case is it read as God impregnating someone.

    Also the Greeks and Latins gave a ridiculous interpretation of Mary’s question to the angel. They have her saying that she does not know how she could get pregnant in the future because currently she is a virgin!

    I could go on, but to cut a long story short, Matthew and Luke said nothing about a virgin birth. What they did say was that Joseph was not Jesus’ father. Luke 3:23, when properly translated, names Heli as the father of Jesus.

    The accounts in Matthew and Luke are analysed comprehensively in 5 articles on http://www.wallsofjericho.info

  • http://sharpeningiron.wordpress.com Chris Taylor

    You realize that the virgin birth of Christ is not necessary for His ministry?

    You also realize that the virgin birth is not necessary for salvation or ministry to others?

    I think you had a lot of questions about God that didn’t get answered and you gave up.

    You allowed the world to get to you. You listened and sought after people and writers who don’t know the God we worship and expected them to be able to give you answers I think.

    There are a TON of questions that cannot be answered by scripture. There’s a TON of skeptical objections that can be raised about what is written, when it was written, the hands it passed through, editors, redactors, etc.

    What I’ve discovered is this. The message of Christ and the fulfillment of God’s word/law is the truth. What we have might not necessarily be factual, but it is the ultimate truth.

    I’m reminded by Joseph’s speech to his brothers when they are reunited in Egypt:

    Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

    I’m not being judgmental and I hope I haven’t come across that way.

    In Christ,
    Chris
    http://sharpeningiron.wordpress.com/

  • http://www.arnoldvosloo.us tanith vosloo

    When Queen elizabeth the 1 was around they called her the virgin queen. Now – virgin then meant – unmarried – not that she had never had a man ytouch her, as we all know elizabeth had many lovers but never married. so why has the definition of virgin altered so much. It is only resently that it has meant an untouched woman.
    Read the books “the nazerine” and Jesus the man – they convinced me it was all a load of hokkum

  • http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras Roger Pearse

    I hate to be a wet blanket here, but I noticed the statements about ‘other virgin births’. Unfortunately the raw *facts* are wrong here.

    I realise that this has been pasted from some hearsay online; but it was very, very ignorant hearsay. Consider that the originator asserted that Romulus was born from a virgin… but there is no suggestion that Rhea Silvia was a virgin when she gave birth in ancient literature.

    Consider also the crude suggestion that Mithras was born from a virgin. He was born from a ROCK! Or are we saying that the rock was a virgin…!?!

    And so on. It’s all hopeless fakery, these allegations.

    The truth is that the story about the virgin birth Jesus *is* more or less unique in ancient literature. Why should that surprise anyone? After all, Jesus wasn’t born in Greek culture, but in Jewish culture. Attempting to ignore the details in order to bring together two dissimilar things as “the same” is dishonest argument; and while I don’t accuse YOU of dishonesty, I fear that those who confected this set of statements cannot avoid that reproach.

    It does no-one any good to poison the hive-mind with wrong DATA, surely? Whether Christianity is true or not, it is not false for this reason.

    There is another issue. If in fact the virgin birth was predicted by pagan sages centuries before Jesus, as by Jewish writers in the OT, such would merely indicate that it was all the more true (so runs the medieval argument).

    In short, the whole approach is wrongly thought out, comprised of false data, would prove nothing if true, and is in fact false.

    I hope that helps.

  • Yasser Mahmood

    Brother Daniel Florien,

    I greet you with Islamic greetings Asalaam Alikum (Peace be upon you)

    I read your “about ” section and agree with you things mentioned in the Bible and its contradiction.

    I am a student and researcher of comparative religions. By now you have guessed it I am a Muslim and my religion is ISLAM.

    Francis beacon has rightly said that little knowledge of science makes you an atheist but an in-depth study of science makes you a believer in God Almighty.

    No wonder today, scientists are eliminatory the model of God but they are not eliminatory God they are eliminatory models of God.

    As we all know an Athesist donot belive in any GOD. This is first line of witness or in Arabic Shadah.

    ie. ” I bear witness there is NO GOD – except Allah and Mohammed (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah”

    Now you have completed 1/2 of the sentense, the remaining part of the sentence “Except Allah and Mohammed (PBUH) is Messenger of Allah” will not be difficult.

    Insh-Allah I will present to you some examples which I hope atleast trigger your desire in research into Koran and Islam.

    I will present to you some of the text from renowed speaker Dr.Zakir Naik.

    [Redacted by Dan — please do not paste 50 pages of quotes into a comment.]

  • Yasser Mahmood

    All the Muslims of the WORLD belive Jesus “Eissa” Peace be upon Him was Born Micraleously from Virgin Mary “Marium” Peace be upon Her.

    There is Whole Verse in the Koran by name Marrium or Mary (PBUH) and explains the story when she gave Birth to Jesus “Eissa” PBUH.

    This is how it is mentioned in the KORAN (The Book of Guidance)

    THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION OF KORAN IS TAKE FROM THE FAMOUS TRANSLATION BY ABUDULLA YOSUF ALI.

    Chapter 19 Marrium (Mary) verse 16 to 36

    [More redaction by Dan]

  • Yasser Mahmood

    Brother Dan,

    1. I hope that you read it all, my aim was to tell you the KORAN has got the Answers to your questions.

    2. I admit my first post was very long but my second post was shorter than the posts give by Mr. davidkentie, ans patrickdunnevant.

    3. You have deleted the Main Text of the post and didnot even left small bit of it, which I belive us Unfair for the readers visiting your site.

    4. It took more than hour to typr the verse from the KORAN in English, I hope you put them back and let others read what are Muslim opinion about Virgin Mary, as that is the main subject.

    I pray to God Almighty to guide you and show you the right path and help you in your quest for finding answers.

    Feel free to email me and send me any query I am more than happy to assist you.

    Wsalam and Have a very good day

    And thank you for reading as much as you could.

    Yasser Mahmood

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Yasser: Man, you typed all that? I’m sure you could have just copied it from another site and pasted it — no reason to type it all out.

    Now please understand, this is nothing specifically against the Koran. I’d do the same thing if someone pasted a few chapters of the Bible trying to convert people on my blog, too. All holy books are the same to me, and I don’t want people cluttering up the comment areas with them. You’re free, however, to link to specific chapters.

    But the likelihood that anyone here would ever convert to Islam is so slim that it’s not worth your time. If we believe Christianity and Judaism is wrong, which are both older and saner religions, wouldn’t we think Islam is even worse? I mean, unless we were looking for excuses to marry multiple wives, beat them, scape the genitals off our women, make them wear cover every piece of skin, have excuses to commit holy wars and hate Jews, and be in awe of a barbarian who married a 9 year old… No, Islam would be the last religion I’d ever consider.

    However, feel free to pray for my salvation! Maybe that could be a test — ask Allah to convert me if he exists, and to leave me as I am if he isn’t. Then you’ll know for certain! (And me too.)

  • Yasser Mahmood

    Dear Daniel,

    Thank you for prompt response.

    After reading your comments following is the reply : –

    1. I only typed the KORANIC verses, as I have found incorrect or distorted versions of translation of KORAN on the NET. How ever this does not mean there isnt the right one but I dont want waste time in googling and searching for right stuff and still remain in doubt its the right one.

    2. Ok..agreed I will put alot of verse from Koran but you have to allow few lines of verse because you have allowed chapters from BIBLE and Gospels above.

    2.5. KORAN is not the Holy Book. The word “HOLY” is not present in KORAN. The meaning of Holy in Arabic is “MUQADAS”, and the menaing of “BOOK” in Arabic is “KITAB”. The word mentioned for KORAN is The Noble Quran, The Book of Guidance, The KORAN calls it self “Al FURQAN” The Criteria to Judge Right from Wrong.

    3. I am not intrested to convert any one, because Quran clearly says its not in the power of a person to convert the second person to become Muslim. Its in the power of the creator to Guide whom Allah wills. I am merely giving you information of ISLAM.
    In this age alot of Media Propaganda is present against Islam.
    The Media bring Ignorant Muslims on TV Interview (who call themselves “Experts” ) and give out distorted image of Islam.

    3.5. During the intial stage of Islam in Mecca there were many enemies of Islam. From them one of them was Umar Bin Khataab, he later became Muslim. If you need to read more about go to “www.islamweb.net”

    4. ISLAM Sane or INsane? Well brother its a big discussion and needs a whole discussion forum to discuss that. But I will clear your claims you have mentioned above : –

  • Yasser Mahmood – CLAIM 1 -MULTIPLE WIVES IN ISLAM – ANSWER

    You are claiming the following :

    Claim No. 1 ” I mean, unless we were looking for excuses to marry multiple wives, beat them..]”
    Basically your question is = Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam?

    Answer :

    1. Definition of Polygamy
    Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one
    spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries
    more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries
    more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry
    is completely prohibited.
    Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than
    one wife?

    2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says,
    “marry only one”.
    The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’.

    There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife.

    In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives.

    According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.

    Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives.

    In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.

    Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives.

    The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an
    edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

    (*Interesting Note:- As per the 1975 census of India Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims. The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that
    the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian
    Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures.)

    Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

    3. Qur’an permits limited polygamy

    As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from
    Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an:

    “Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one.”
    [Al-Qur’an 4:3]

    Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives.

    Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them.

    In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says:
    “Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women….”
    [Al-Qur’an 4:129]

    Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife.

    Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:
    (i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory
    (ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged
    (iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed
    (iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged
    (v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden

    Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

    4. Average life span of females is more than that of males
    By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females.

    During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women.
    More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

    5. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in
    which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one
    million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

    6. World female population is more than male population
    In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million.

    New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites.

    The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women.

    Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males.

    Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

    7. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays).

    There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.

    Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who
    already has a wife or becomes ‘public property’. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first.
    Most women would nto like to share their husband with other women. But in Islam when the situation deems it really neccessary Muslim women in due faith could bear a small personal loss to prevent a greater loss of letting other Muslim sisters becoming ‘public properties’.

    8. Marring a married man preferable to becoming ‘public property’ In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected
    life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life.

    Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become ‘public property’.
    Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second.
    There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

  • Yasser Mahmood – CLAIM 1 -MULTIPLE WIVES IN ISLAM – ANSWER

    “SORRY TYPO ERROR ABOVE “2. Ok..agreed I will put alot of verse from Koran but you have to allow few lines of verse because you have allowed chapters from BIBLE and Gospels above.”

    I meant I will not put alot of verses from Koran but few as you have allowed that to happen above from Gospels.

  • Yasser Mahmood – CLAIM 2 -Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil? ANSWER

    The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media.

    The ‘hijab’ or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the ‘subjugation’ of women under Islamic law. Before we analyze the reasoning behind the religiously mandated ‘hijab’, let us first study the status of women in
    societies before the advent of Islam

    1. In the past women were degraded and used as objects of lust

    The following examples from history amply illustrate the fact that the status of women in earlier civilizations was very low to the extent that they were denied basic human dignity:

    a. Babylonian Civilization:

    The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife was put to death.

    b. Greek Civilization:

    Greek Civilization is considered the most glorious of all ancient civilizations. Under this very ‘glorious’ system, women were deprived of all rights and were looked down upon. In Greek mythology, an ‘imaginary woman’ called
    ‘Pandora’ is the root cause of misfortune of human beings.
    The Greeks considered women to be subhuman and inferior to men. Though chastity of women was precious, and women were held in high esteem, the Greeks were later overwhelmed by ego and sexual perversions. Prostitution
    became a regular practice amongst all classes of Greek society.

    c. Roman Civilization:

    When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘glory’, a man even had the right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common amongst the Romans.

    d. Egyptian Civilization:

    The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of a devil.

    e. Pre-Islamic Arabia:
    Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and very often when a female child was born, she was buried alive.

    2. Islam uplifted women and gave them equality and expects them to maintain their status.
    Islam uplifted the status of women and granted them their just rights 1400 years ago. Islam expects women to maintain their status.

    Hijab for men
    People usually only discuss ‘hijab’ in the context of women. However, in the
    Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) first mentions ‘hijab’ for men before ‘hijab’ for the
    women.
    The Qur’an mentions in Surah Noor:
    “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.”
    [Al-Qur’an 24:30]

    The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.

    Hijab for women.

    The next verse of Surah Noor, says:
    “ And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their
    sons…”
    [Al-Qur’an 24:31]

    3. Six criteria for Hijab.
    According to Qur’an and Sunnah there are basically six criteria for observing
    hijab:

    1. Extent:
    The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face and the hands upto the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands are part of the obligatory extent of ‘hijab’.

    All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women.
    2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.

    3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through
    them.

    4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.

    5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.

    6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbelievers i.e. they should not wear clothes that are specifically identities or symbols of the unbelievers’ religions.

    4. Hijab includes conduct and behaviour among other things
    Complete ‘hijab’, besides the six criteria of clothing, also includes the moral conduct, behaviour, attitude and intention of the individual. A person only fulfilling the criteria of ‘hijab’ of the clothes is observing ‘hijab’ in a limited sense.
    ‘Hijab’ of the clothes should be accompanied by ‘hijab’ of the eyes, ‘hijab’ of the heart, ‘hijab’ of thought and ‘hijab’ of intention. It also includes the way a person walks, the way a person talks, the way he behaves, etc.

    5. Hijab prevents molestation
    The reason why Hijab is prescribed for women is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following verses of Surah Al-Ahzab:
    “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
    [Al-Qur’an 33:59]

    The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women and this will also prevent them from being molested.

    6. Example of twin sisters

    Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down the street. One of them is attired in the Islamic hijab i.e. the complete body is covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists. The other sister is wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini?

    Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. Such dresses are an indirect invitation to the opposite sex for teasing and molestation.
    The Qur’an rightly says that hijab prevents women from being molested.

    7. Capital punishment for the rapists

    Under the Islamic shariah, a man convicted of having raped a woman, is given capital punishment. Many are astonished at this ‘harsh’ sentence. Some even say that Islam is a ruthless, barbaric religion!

    I have asked a simple question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose, God forbid, someone rapes your wife,
    your mother or your sister.

    You are made the judge and the rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said they would put him to death. Some went to the extent of saying they would torture him to death. To them I ask, if someone rapes your wife or your mother you want to put
    him to death. But if the same crime is committed on somebody else’s wife or daughter you say capital punishment is barbaric.
    Why should there be double standards?

    8. Western society falsely claims to have uplifted women
    Western talk of women’s liberalization is nothing but a disguised form of exploitation of her body, degradation of her soul, and deprivation of her honour.

    Western society claims to have ‘uplifted’ women. On the contrary it has actually degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketeers, hidden behind the colourful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’.

    9. USA has one of the highest rates of rape United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world.

    It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average 1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone.

    Later another report said that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA.

    The year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans got ‘bolder’ in the following years.

    Consider a scenario where the Islamic hijab is followed in America.
    Whenever a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze.
    Every woman wears the Islamic hijab, that is the complete body is covered except the face and the hands upto the wrist.
    After this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment.

    I ask you, in such a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or will it decrease?

    10. Implementation of Islamic Shariah will reduce the rate of rapes Naturally as soon as Islamic Shariah is Implemented positive results will be inevitable.
    If Islamic Shariah is implemented in any part of the world, whether it is America or Europe, society will breathe easier.
    Hijab does not degrade a woman but uplifts a woman and protects her modesty and chastity.

  • esther

    I didn’t spend a lot of time here, but I feel there is a danger of circulating false information, since what is written out is only limited to the understanding and interpretation of the author. Holy books.. regardless which, cannot be interpreted through just one person’s knowledge, and it’s good to realize that it is dangerously easy to stumble others through what we say. Thanks.

  • darbea

    Yasser Mahmood – CLAIM 2 -Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil?

    Thanks for your post, I actually learned something new, while dispersing an assumption. I don’t agree with the reasons/results of any one of the laws, but I have a better understanding. We may not agree on why’s, where’s, what’s and how’s related to our individual behaviors, but when we learn the root of the thought, well, at least it’s a starting point. I don’t know if you live here in the states or middle east. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that’s our setting. Naturally, our environments are probably the most influential forces affecting our entire life experience. In the Arctic countries, especially areas close to the Arctic circle, there is a signifigant level of depression among the residents, along with all the related disorders. The levels, from the circle then going south, are directly proprtional in occurences, related to the distance to and from the circle. It’s due to the sun cycles, where they experience up to 6 months of darkness, followed by 6 months of sun. Actually, I think there’s a dawn and dusk cycle too, for it’s not as if it becomes dark as if controlled by a switch, but I’m just getting mired in innuedo here. It’s no secret that, and I wasn’t try trying to reveal some unknown happening, I just wanted to paint an easy picture. It’s an example of envirionmental influence. Other regions have their own factors that apply to them. Environment doesn’t just apply to natural forces – Man made forces are part of the mix, too. These mixtures can vary based on a national level, or household level. Everything counts. So, as we develope our lives, something strange to you is not even noticeable to us. A woman walking down the street here, while she may be attractive, and we males may take a second look, we don’t form the “attack – rape” mentality. For better or worse, we’re used to it. It doesn’t mean we’re eunichs or gay, we just don’t think based on that image, and as a whole, cannot imagine, in any way, how the sight of a women, even nude, would compel us to violence, or any action not agreed to.
    We are responsible for our thoughts. Nobody else. Period it is that simple, and an easy concept. The images you always see of us is directly related to the image the photographer, videographer, or whatever, wanted you to see. Thru that image, he molds your perceptions. Example: Over here, the TV gods know what images work to tell the story they want. They know that negative images generate emotions and attract more viewers, as opposed to watching a farmer tending to his crops in the field. Showing images of women, all covered up, ANY image of a muslim or Middle easterner (that little fact doesn’t matter), these aLL reinforce our preconceived notions. And the same goes both ways. I could easily send you video 24 hrs a day for years, and you would only see people and communities in harmony, no crime, more modestly dressed women ( I can’t quite do a 100 % cover, but Nuns come close, The Amish, and so much more – pristine fields, forests so lush you could smell the pine, you name it, we got it.
    That stuff is all perception. As for the thought process and women: Contrary to one of your statements, there is no relationship between sexual desire and rape. Rape is an act of violence, and though in most cases there is the final sex act, the attack was triggered by rage. it could be rage against women, but it’s still rage. Age, attire, beauty, heavy, skinny, it doesn’t matter. Sexual urge does not compel these sick bastards, it doesn’t even enter their mind. Their sexual attack at the end is soley a statement of power. A healthy percentage of rape victims are elderly women asleep in their bed. The intruder breaks into her house, usually severely beats the woman, and can due the sexual act whether she’s dead or alive, it makes no difference to them. Nuns are attacked more than you’d think. They’re covered as equally or closely to a fully attired woman in ypur country. And that old lady, previously, well that’s obvious. It wasn’t based on any erotic vision.

    In your culture, your taught (my assumption), that there is some kind of shame, or sin or something close to that, that you should be ashamed, effectively, of your looks, your body, that everything needs to be covered up, so ideas aren’t planted in your mind, or to demonstrate modesty, and such. And that women were granted limited rights 1400 years ago, and be happy with that.
    This is an extremely difficult process for us to accept. We’ve been raised to have no shame (well not too much) about our appearance, (not nude, necessarily. Some go all the way, and go nude, and that’s they’re choice. No One else made that choice for them. Nudists don’t walk down the street, they have their own secluded resorts, and whether they are sinners, or what, neither sex display that “obvious” condition which would show sexual excitement. They believe that nudity in itself is not sexual; sexuality is part of something different.

    Enough of that. I really don’t know anything about that lifestyle although many of them are modest themselves, but modest in temperment or whatever. Honestly, I would betray myself hanging out with them.

    As far as women in public, at work, or whatever, Although at the work location there is a bias, that bias exists in a person’s mind – it is illegal to subject anybody to any predudice, bias, whatever. There’s still some hurdles here, either instutionally, or interpersonally, or both. It’s illegal, but getting better everyday.

    I’ve never seen this in the workplace, but it was persvasive enough to be a problem. I/we cannot comprehend any reason that would by law, restrict a woman’s right or ability to work, and at the same rates as a man. How can that be justified. It doesn’t make sense to us. I’ve never felt threatened, or superior to women. All thruout grade school, high school, post school life, marriage, girls or women, thru common friendship, i had as many female friends as male friends. I’m not sure i can explain it correctly – It was simply part of our culture and it wasn’t confusing. The platonic friendships with women offer different values than our friendships with other guys – and has nothing to do with sex. It’s just is what it is. And when we marry a woman, she is nothing less or more than equal. Marriage is about becoming one with each other. We can’t acheive that by placing her on a pedestal – the relationship becomes unbalanced, where she could lose respect for you, leading to an unpleasnt life together. If we subjicate her, thru exclusion, over-protection, physical abuse, mental abuse, or whatever, we’ve already shown our disrespect for her, and shown that we don’t deserve to be with her.

    Despite the attempts of Pres Bush, the neo-con asswipes of the republican party, or our disgust with the influence of the fundamentalist christian cabal over here, we’re still a free country. With free will.

  • http://www.free-minds.org Abu Rami

    To : 74 Yasser Mahmood

    Virgin birth has no basis in Quran. although people take it for granted but it is not.

    It is influenced by traditions and hadith and has no basis in Quran. if you read the story of Mary very carefully you will see that, but we were all told since we could speak that mary was a virgin and it is not.

    Most Muslims consider mary as vargin based on verse 19:20

    Quran
    19:20 She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?

    This verse is simply saying that Mary was told that she will have a son and he will be a prophet in the next verses, BUT all in the future and not now! so she must have got married and delivered a baby. that’s all.

    From Quranic perspective having two partners (Male and Female) is the real miracle, the beginning of creation there was only one and later male/female evolved”created”, so having a single parent is no miracle it is like going backward millions of years! The miracle is father and mother think about it, it is emphasized MOST of the time in Quran.

    Jesus is considered as just a normal human, he is like you and me. His mother lived in Essens influence they had their wierd marriage/parenting customs. They lived in some kind of Utopia.

    They were at odds with the corrupt high priests of Jerusalem so they lived in a Dead sea area far away from Jerusalem.

    They followed Torah and rejected man made Talmud and they were expecting the Messaiah and interestingly enough Jesus was one of them.

    When Catholic church was cleaning up all the real followers of Jesus and considering them as heretics the Essens knew that Rome was going to confiscate and destroy all original teachings of the great prophet Jesus, so the Essens hid their scrolls and Rome didn’t find it.

    The Scrolls were found in the dead sea area/qumran and now being studied extensively, perfectly matches Quran.

    Read more about Essens and the dead sea scrolls and you will see the real prophet Jesus. Perfectly matches Quran.

  • Chris

    Abu Rami, the talmud dates from 200 to 500 AD (CE) dependinng on the section. It wasn’t around at the time you are speaking of if I understood your post correctly.

  • jess

    Mahmood – Women either are married to a man, married to a man who is already married, or ‘public property’? Just because I’m fucking someone who isn’t my husband doesn’t make me public property… it doesn’t even make me his property.

    and… a third of all men in new york are gay? i think you made that bit up, you cheeky sausage.

  • so and so

    why do you guys make such a big deal of this all if you don’t even believe in it and keep talking about how few an instance it’s mentioned in the gospels anyway?

    why not talk about something a little more interesting like jesus rising from the dead?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @so and so: Don’t worry, I’ll talk plenty about Jesus not rising from the dead, too.

  • so and so

    Oh he didn’t? I’m not worried. Hehe. So that J guy didn’t rise from the dead?

  • Her

    I am a virgin….so is my mother and grandmother!

  • Tim

    Your wrong about Paul being the first. The first mention is obviously in the Gospels, which were written within 30 years of the event. Although that “seems” like a big gap in our day with instant communication – it’s one of the only events in history where we have a record with that little of a time span before the printing press and mass communication. The reality is that if it was a lie, there were mobs of people who’d love to crucify anyone who wrote such a thing and would have destoryed it. There were thousands of witnesses to the events recorded in the Bible and ton of secular evidence – but you see what you want to see I guess. Who cares about history, records, etc, right? It’s much easier to say it’s all the greatest hoax made in the history of man and then be able to justify living life for yourself and not be accountable to any one or anything. Hope it works for you and I guess I hope your right for your sake though I know you’re wrong…

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Tim: You must have access to some kind of data that scholars don’t. Gospels written 30 years after? Evidence please. They weren’t even written by eyewitnesses!

    Feel free to show some evidence that any of the gospels were written before the earliest Pauline epistle. Even the crazy fundie scholars I know don’t believe that!

    There were thousands of witnesses to the events recorded in the Bible and ton of secular evidence

    Wow, are you serious? Where is this ton of evidence? Where are the secular eyewitnesses accounts? Where are the records of Herord’s slaughter that never happens and only appears once in ancient literature (one gospel!). What kind of crazy pastor have you been listening to?

    Forget a ton of evidence. How about you produce one contemporary account written in Jesus’ life.

  • Carny

    Yasser, that convoluted mess you posted is why Islam is the 3rd most jacked up “religion” in existence.

    Right behind Scientology and Mormons.

    Oh, and living so close to Utah, one of my favorite phrases is “Don’t forget. You can’t spell “Mormon” without “Moron”.

  • Ken

    Tim – Please support your assertion that there is (a) ton of secular evidence.

    In another vein (and not directed at Tim) if Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, why were his immediate relatives skeptical of his ministry as the Bible asserts?

  • Sam

    Oh, thank you, thank you, all you apologetics.

    Many of your explanations and arguments were hilarious. I was most amused.

    Yasser, since I work in NY, I found your assertion the funniest — 1/3 of NYers are gay?! ROFLMAO!!!

  • steelstringed

    Of course! Great post, and great content all around. I used to be pretty fundamentalist myself growing up; amazing to see how much of a house of cards it all was once I started actually probing.

  • arachnophilia

    @Brian Larnder:

    Sorry to plug my own blog, but I have a post up about this topic which goes into the Isaiah prophecy in more detail. Some of the readers here may find it interesting. Long story short, Isaiah impregnated the young maiden himself in order to fulfil his own prophecy. Hey if you want a job done right…

    nah, the verbs are in present tense, in the hebrew. she’s probably already pregnant. and is probably his wife, and probably present during the conversation. it doesn’t say almah, “a young woman” but rather ha-almah, “THE young woman.” which makes little sense if ahaz doesn’t know who isaiah’s talking about. the next chapter is probably about the same son.

    and it’s not the prophecy anyways. it’s a sign of the prophecy. the prophecy is that aram and israel, which are causing problems for ahaz in judah, will both be dealt with within about 13 years. this almost certainly refers to the assyrian invasion, which utterly destroys both countries.

    @Mithra:

    For more convincing details about this subject (and much much more) see ZeitgeistMovie.com

    yeah, no. that “movie” is nothing but paranoid conspiracy theory, and what little i’ve seen of it did not contain a single true fact. and they managed to say ALOT in what little i’ve seen of it. be sure to watch the rest, where he claims that 9/11 was faked, as was pearl harbor. it’s drivel, nothing more. and most of its claims of “virgin birth” (on topic) are ludicrously silly if you’ve even bothered to look up the mythology on wikipedia.

    @davidkentie:

    Some might argue this, however, in recent times Archaeologists have uncovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which contain manuscripts of Isaiah dating from 1 Century BC. Now, the Bible as we see it today has Isaiah as preserved by the monks of Ireland and other Universities from Medieval Europe around the 10th Century AD. Those monks have in tradition transcribed from the Vatican library manuscripts, from this Septuagint you speak with dates from the Hellenistic Era. However when closely compared, the manuscripts from our Modern Biblical text of Isaiah and the sections of Isaiah found with the Dead Sea Scrolls there is very little to no loss of literary cohesion. The terminology as you say which means young woman, is in fact the Greek assumption of the term, virgin.

    no, it’s a mistranslation in the septuagint, not of the septuagint. if memory serves, the LXX does indeed say “virgin” but the hebrew texts, including the DSS, do not. isaiah was almost certainly not written in greek, and the DSS is oldest version of isaiah we have, iirc. and no, there’s no loss. the modern versions don’t say “virgin” either, except in christian translations. the modern jewish texts (translations or otherwise) do not. modern academic translations don’t say it either.

    Naturally if you’re saying that there is no Virgin Birth then you debunk Christianity’s claims.

    why? it’s only in two gospels. and one uses a horribly out-of-context quotemine to support it.

    That’s all fair, however even if you’re assumptions about Isaiah truly meaning “young woman” you still have approximately 98 other propechies that were fulfilled in Isaiah by the life of Jesus Christ.

    if you actually read isaiah 7, all of it, and closely, there’s no way it could be about jesus. ditto for most of those other prophecies. matthew, in particular, is really really bad at this game. in several cases, he misattributes, and in many others, references prophecis that actually work against christ as the messiah, if you’ve read any of them in context. for instance, his genealogy. the messiah is supposed to a king in the line of david. matthew does make jesus a son of david… but through the wrong king. any legitimate claim to the throne must be through zedekiah, the last righteous king of judah, and NOT his brother jehoiachin, who was cursed by god. but apparently, not a lot of people pay attention to the books of kings, and jeremiah.

    Historically, we know there was a Jesus.

    we don’t know any such thing. it’s just not a terribly unreasonable assumption.

    As for the three kings representing Orion’s Belt, this might be an interesting point, however biblical texts do not point there being only three magi, which were not kings, but philosophers from the East. Egypt is southwest.

    indeed, the extent of astrological symbolism that you will find in the new testament is in these magi. they were probably from persia, and the number is not specified. might have been two. might have been two thousand. and the authors of the new testament were so astrologically inadept that all they could say was “star” and not describe the sign and what it meant.

    and to the person who posted that nonsense, okay, i’ll look at the stars, but on what year? the bible and history indicate that jesus was born sometime before 6 BCE and after 4 BCE. yes, you read that right, not between, but betwixt. figure that one out. and why december? you don’t sit with your flock of sheep in field at night in israel in december. it’s too bloody cold. rather, you do it during breeding season, spring.

    You seem to really have a lot of historical events confused. Christmas eve is actually not the eve before Christ’s birth. December 24th and 25th were dates settled much later in 3rd Century to replace the Pagan festival of Saturnalia in Rome.

    indeed. some have argued it goes back to the second century, but the earliest definitive record of christmas in december is from the 4th century. in any case, there’s not much evidence that the early christians would have even celebrated his birth. they were more concerned with his death and resurrection.

    @vorjack:

    The virgin birth occurs in Matthew and Luke, who were likely to be drawing it from the same source – Q

    no, probably not. Q is hypothesized to explain the high degree of overlap between quotations of christ, not so much the events of his life. luke, however, might have gotten it from matthew. it’s curious that luke does not cite isaiah 7.

    @davidkentie:

    In fact Josephus, who many take seriously in antiquity has very similar writing styles to Luke and most likely, as the scholars tell me, adopted Luke’s writing style.

    yeah, no.

    I am not in dispute about the whole Isaiah-Ahaz argument, except that while God was speaking to Ahaz through Isaiah he was also foretelling the fulfillment of Israel would come.

    judah. the prophecy was that israel would be destroyed, along with aram. and it can’t even metaphorically be about jesus. it’s just one random line, ripped out of context, and mistranslated. i don’t buy the double fulfillment thing, because the prophecy itself is utterly meaningless with regards to christ. it just does not fit.

    @Chayanov:

    You can’t use the Bible to support itself.

    theoretically, you could. it’s not like it’s one book. it’s just that because so much of shares sources, the duplication is mostly meaningless.

  • Bruce Warren

    I love it when people think they are speaking as ‘experts’ and they are not. Biased skepticism is hardly ‘reasonable.’ You begin with the postulation – if Jesus is really born from a virginal conception (no such thing as a virgin birth), then everything the Bible says about Jesus is true, meaning that He died for my sins, and I have to admit to God that I am a sinner and need salvation. I cannot let that happen, so the virginal conception of Jesus cannot be true and I will find everything I can to disprove it. Your Biblical methods of interpretation are unreasonable. You offer Paul’s omission of the virgin as ‘proof’ that it is not true. So, if Paul did not mention Mary’s name, she did not exist–if Paul did not mention Jonah, he did not exist either. Very ‘reasonable.’ You do not let the individual Gospel writers be individual writers. Mark does not mention the childhood of Jesus because it did not fit his purpose. He may have assumed his readers already knew that fact. You don’t know. Matthew and Luke have different purposes. Your modern ‘scientific methods being applied to ancient Scripture is as appropriate as the anachronisms in Princess Bride. If you want a real discussion of the facts, here is my email – mlenurse@aol.com

  • GBM

    I’ve noticed a lot of the religious commentators on this page claiming that no argument has been advanced for the conclusion. I think that is wrong (and for clarity’s sake I’ll put it formally) I think the argument goes like this:

    P1: A V B
    P2: ~A
    C: B

    A: Virgin Birth/Conception; the miraculous origin story for JC whatever you want to call it.
    B: Somebody in the long chain of people telling stories about JC lied about this point or made a mistake.

    P1: Not much to say about this premise, I think that everyone here will agree that either JC was born of a virgin or somebody lied/screwed up. Pretty uncontroversial.

    P2: This is the one that everybody is fighting over, personally I’m with Florien. Specific textual issues aside, miracles are as a matter of definition vanishingly unlikely. That is what makes them miracles and that is why they are so spectacularly impressive. Lies and mistakes on the other hand are incredibly commonplace, all of us see them basically every day.

    C: Thus B is more likely than A so we conclude B this is a valid form, but since it happens to be a probabilistic inference it can’t be called sound, but frankly it looks pretty damned close.

    That said you can certainly try to use the Bible as historical evidence that the virgin birth in fact occurred, but then you are going to have to deal with a legion of other reported miracles from both the ancient and modern world. Any criterion that would render the virgin birth historically respectable would probably do the same to the miracles described in Islam, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism not to mention those miracles described in Homer and even worse those miracles performed by Apollonius of Tyana, or in modernity by Sathya Sai Baba. In essence, the problem that a Christian faces when looking at the historical evidence is that there is no non question-begging way to keep the miracles you don’t want out while keeping the miracles you do want in. At the end of the day you can still say that you have faith that JC was born of a virgin, but when you do that I think it is important to note that you are more or less talking to yourself. Sure the faith you feel may be very real and present, but even if we counted the subjective experience you have while reading your holy book, remember that not one other person can share that experience qua experience (by which i just mean that no one else can actually feel your personal feelings, not that there are no other christians.) Thus it is more or less irrelevant when talking to someone else, especially someone whom you have good reason to believe does not share your regard for the bible.

    (also sorry for putting words in your mouth Florien, if my reconstruction of your argument is unfair or incorrect plz say so.)

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Jon

    Hebrews 11:6

    Without faith it is impossible to please God, but those who come to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

    “We walk by faith and not by sight.”

    I do not fault you for your beliefs, unless you have a relationship with Jesus Christ you would not be able to understand the miraculous things that are written in the Bible. It is really just ignorance ( lack of knowledge in this area) to say it is not true when you have never established relationship with the one it was said about. I am not talking about joining a church I am talking about a relationship just like you have with your best friend or someone in your family. The awesome thing is that Jesus is still very much in love with all that has written positive or negative things about Him on this page.

    May the Lord richly bless you and reveal Himself to you.

    Jon

  • steve

    If it happened today – with current technology – we could prove it – then where would the naysayers be?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @steve: You’re exactly right. If there were proof, there’d be no naysayers. But since there is no proof, we naysay — there’s no reason TO believe.

    Why believe in the absence of any evidence? It doesn’t make any sense.

  • GBM

    @ steve 2 points

    (1) You are not offering anyone here who does not already believe a reason to do so
    (2) If you were to actually walk by faith rather than sight, you’d get run over.

  • Yasser Mahmood – Prove Koran Wrong – Challenge to All – Good Luck

    Asalam Alikum Friends, Brother and Sisters

    I invite you all to look in to ISLAM. KORAN is the only text on the face of the Earth that gives challenge to proof any verse wrong.

    It gives you chance for falsification tests.

    Allah (God almighty) says in Glorious Koran

    Challenge No. 1 —- 2.023 (Al-Baqara [The Cow])

    And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true.

    002.024 But if ye cannot- and of a surety ye cannot- then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith.

    Challenge No. 2 —- chap 10 verse 38 : (Yunus [Jonah])

    Or do they say, “He forged it”? say: “Bring then a Sura (verse) like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!”

    Challenge No. 3 —- 011.013 (Hud [Hud])
    Or they may say, “He forged it,” Say, “Bring ye then ten suras forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can, other than Allah!- If ye speak the truth!

    Challenge No. 4 —- 017.088 (Al-Isra [Isra, The Night Journey, Children of Israel])

    Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.

    So here is the challenge for you all. The Koran is giving clear challenge to proove it wrong. Good Luck!!

    Also I like to add to llok at Dr. Keith Moore – Professional in Embriology and written many books on Embrology who is shocked to find the medical facts in the Glorious Koran followed by many doctors from china and other european and american doctors. Apart fom that you also have the Big Bang theory in Koran.

    There is alot inside but one has to read and research on it.

    If this book was not from Allah (GOD almighty) ten it would contained many errors and contradictions.

    I will try to give more scientific facts Insh-Allah..

    Yasser Mahmood

  • Jonesy

    The Virgin Birth is just a part of The Nativity Myth, which was a way to try to convince people that Jesus was/is the messiah. It all came AFTER he became famous and a religion developed around him. Virgin birth, wisemen, star, etc…was all made up. Anything that makes it appear that this baby was known when he was born that he’d lead a religion is made up.

    I cant say that the voyage on the Donkey, the no room at the Inn, laid in a manger… was made up though. That may be part of the story that is true, I dont know.

  • Yasser Mahmood

    Muhammad (pbuh) lived among tribes of people who were for the most part illiterate. He himself was also illiterate. These people used to live extremely simple lives. Some were traders and businessmen, others were farmers, and yet others were nomadic sheepherders who traveled from place to place depending on where they could find grass for their sheep to graze. When Muhammad (pbuh) brought them the Qur’an, the believers found in the Qur’an the command to go out, seek knowledge, and confirm the presence of their Creator by studying His creation. Muslims began to fulfill this command of the Qur’an and this resulted in one of the greatest explosions of scientific advancement mankind has ever seen. All of this was going on during a period that the West calls “The Dark Ages,” wherein the scientists of the West were being persecuted and killed as sorcerers and wizards. During this period, Muslims scholars introduced into the world such things as:

    * Mathematical evolution of spherical mirrors

    * Rectilinear motion of light and use of lenses

    * Refraction angle variations

    * Magnifying effects of the plano convex lens

    * Introduced the concept of the elliptical shape of cosmological bodies

    * Study of the center of gravity as applied to balance

    * Measurement of specific weights of bodies

    * Rule of algebraic equations

    * Solutions to quadratic and cubic equations

    * Work on square roots, squares, theory of numbers, solution of the fractional numbers

    * Solutions of equations of cubic order

    * Wrote on conic geometry elaborating the solution of algebraic equations

    * Determined the Trinomial Equation

    * Avicenna’s “Canon of Medicine.” He is know as the Prince of Physicians to the West

    * Wrote the first description of several drugs and diseases as meningitis.

    * Treatment of physiological shocks

    * Expertise in psychosomatic medicine and psychology

    * Al-Biruni mentions fifty six manuscripts on pharmacology

    * Credited for identifying small pox and its treatment

    * Use of alcohol as an antiseptic

    * Use of mercury as a purgative for the first time

    * First to describe the circulation of blood.

    * “Holy Abbas” was, after Rhazes, the most outstanding Physician. His works were authoritative till the works of ibn Sina appeared

    * Writings on Cosmology, Astrology, Science of numbers and letters

    * Proved that the earth is smaller than the sun but larger than the moon.

    * Final authorities on Chemistry for many Centuries

    * Classified metals into three classifications

    * Laid the basis of the Acid Base theory

    * Distillation, calcination, crystallization, the discovery of many acids

    * Cultivation of Gold – is a continuation of Jabir’s work

    * Theory of Oscillatory motion of equinoxes

    * Addition of ninth sphere to the eight Ptolematic astronomy

    * Discovered the increase of the suns apogee

    * Gravitational force

    * Responsible for the discovery motion of the solar apsides

    * wrote ‘ On the Science of Stars ‘

    * Determination of latitudes and longitudes

    * Determination of geodetic measurements

    * Described the motion of the planets

    * Solved the problems of spherical trigonometry

    * First to study the isometric oscillatory motion of a pendulum

    * Invented the instrument ‘ Sahifah ”

    * Responsible for the proof of the motion of the apogee of the sun with respect to the fixed stars.

    * authorities on the theory of the system of homocentric spheres

    * Prepared a calendar that was more accurate than the Gregorian one in use today.

    ……………and much, much more.

  • Brian

    Aren’t most of these rebuttal comments missing the main point?

    The title of the post is: “Why I Deny The Virgin Birth of Jesus”

    These are reasons why he doesn’t believe in it. He’s not disproving it. It’s not one of those “tada” A=B | B=C | therefore A=C sort of moments. You can’t really disprove it; you can just give reasons for why you think it is unlikely.

    Furthermore, it’s framing the argument the wrong way. The question isn’t why *don’t* you believe in it; but why *do* you believe in it.

    Someone says: “My friend had a baby with her husband” Ok. I mean maybe that’s true, maybe the wife cheated and it wasn’t the husbands baby; but all in all it’s rather probable for a wife to have a baby with her husband. Seems to happen all the time and we have a lot of evidence to back that up.

    Now someone says: “My friend had a baby, but is still a virgin (oh and she had the baby with God)” This, maybe we should look into a bit more and would have a few more questions about. I think everyone could agree about that. This is why the question should be framed around “Why do you believe she is a Virgin” instead of “Why you don’t”. Sort of naturally you would question something so unrare and unlike anything you have ever seen (which doesn’t mean it’s not true; just normally in life such events seem to require a bit more questions).

    The second question to ask right after that is why you believe in this miracle, but not others. How do you draw the line? What is your criteria and is your belief falsifiable? Do you have solid justifications?

    Most of us don’t believe in miracles in religions outside of our own and most of us don’t follow religions outside of the ones our parents believed or our cultures at the time embraced. Doesn’t that seem a bit weird, that what someone so firmly feels is absolute truth is based on such geographic accidents?

    It seems a lot of disbelief comes not from a solid (I think impossible) proof, but just a lot of little… well that’s a little odd…. moments. They start to add up, then it just starts to become a bit funny.

  • http://www.khouse.org Ted

    If God created the world and put a soul in each one of us, then it is not unreasonable for him to be able to create a virgin birth. The question always goes back to whether God exists or not.

    If you believe that matter was created from nothing and that the nothingness creating things that over time created more things, then you must still explain First Cause.

    Without proof of first cause, you are in the realm of faith.

    Can you explain macroevolution? Can you explain how you have the ability to explain anything at all? Would that go back to evolution? Experiments have been done to try to create the right atmosphere to create a single cell (of course they are using existing matter and energy). The atmosphere needed to create, is a problem for the created cell. The cell cannot survive in the atmosphere in which it was created. It dies quickly.

    You have a beginning like that (again pointing out the pre-existence of matter and energy that magically appeared out of nowhere) and you expect a reasonable person to believe that the world and all that we have in it was created from this?

    The evolutionary process would have to create both male and female complex systems at the same time in order for the species to exists and survive and replicate. There is so much that is faith based in evolution that it’s silly for one that believes in it to preach to others of faith that they are superior.

    godandscience dot org has wonderful answers and discussions for those that care to research rather than chat on a blog.

  • Yasser Mahmood

    I kinda agree with Ted.

    To prove wheather Virgin birth is true or not e have to proove wheather God exist or not.

    Lets start from very Baics what we have. Lets analyze the religions with scripture claiming GODS word.

    U see during the time of prophets, prophets had to perform miracle to proove he is sent from God.

    This is the Era of Science & Technology. So lets analyze the scriptures with Science & Technology.

    To prove wheather God exist or not is by analysing the sacred scriptures which claim the word of God. If they include scientfic facts

    Bible : We all agree Daniel was former Evangilist so does not agree with biblical texts.

    KORAN : Very well know Dotors, Scientists. researchers etc have verified and shpocked to find the things mentioned in Koran 100 % true with scientific proof.

    Ref : Medical Doctor Dr. Kieth Moore, French Dr. Maurice Bucaille etc…. many many more they are researching Koran and are amzed

    Their Commens ” We cannot belive a shepherd (Mohammed PBUH) of Arabia could produce such documents with such detail and scientific facts other super power as God”

    So guys do not be arrogant and get a proper Paper Back copy of Koran with arabic and translation by M.M. PicktHall or Abdulla Yousif Ali.

    Ask any Muslim to get you copy. Do research by your self……. seek for the truth and truth shall free you .. (Jesus pbuh said that) but seeking for the truth is every ones right and obligation..

  • cagold

    There are five points to the argument.
    1. No reliable evidence. A conclusion from silence proves nothing.
    2. The earliest references are late and sparse.
    So? Again, no evidence to the contrary.
    3. It’s the same old myth.
    Where did these “myths” come from? Perhaps prophecy?
    4. More likely to be a lie or to be true?
    Miracles are never easy to believe. By definition, they aren’t normal…thus hard to believe. It was hard for the people of that day to believe…but that doesn’t prove it wasn’t true.
    5. We would never believe this today.
    What does this prove? This is simply a statement with no bearing on truth or non truth. What we would or wouldn’t believe today isn’t the last word on what is true or false.

  • http://blogs.pioneerlocal.com/religion Brett

    Great article and it’s good to see a critical look at the Christmas stories. Yes, obviously Christianity borrowed a lot from other religions and writings. My only problem is that finding flaws in the writings of men leads to a decision to abandon the faith. I don’t believe in the virgin birth (http://blogs.pioneerlocal.com/religion) but still am a Christian. The myth is that Christians can’t be critical thinkers.

  • VorJack

    @Yasser – “This is the Era of Science & Technology. So lets analyze the scriptures with Science & Technology.”

    No, let’s not. The Bible is a historical document. The proper way to interpret it is with the historical method, not the scientific method. The argument that Daniel is making is a historical argument, not a scientific one. I think a lot of the comments here – like Ted, Cagold, and yourself – have lost track of that fact.

    We are not arguing over whether the Virgin Birth COULD have happened. We’re not even arguing over whether it DID happen. We’re arguing over whether or not the evidence we have allows us to reach a provisional conclusion that the Virgin Births claims in Matthew and Luke are historical. Daniel – and I – conclude that the evidence is lacking.

    It’s possible that the Virgin Birth DID occur, and we simply don’t have the evidence to conclude that it did. In history, this happens. But until we have more evidence, we have to conclude that the Virgin Birth claims are not historical. Other interpretations of the claims are more likely to be accurate. To conclude otherwise is a violation of the ethic of history.

    • Red Dave

      Thank you for that vorjack, as always you cut through the crap.

  • cagold

    I’m a little lost with Vorjack’s last statement. If it is possible that something did occur, and there is testimony that it did (historical testimony, by the way), how can you conclude that it isn’t historical? It may not be, but it very well may be also. There are no other interpretations of the claims with the same historicity. To me, to conclude that the claims are false, without evidence, is the violation of the ethic of history.

  • VorJack

    @cagold – “To me, to conclude that the claims are false, without evidence, is the violation of the ethic of history.”

    Are you prepared to be consistent with that? Are you prepared to accept every single miracle or magical claim from the ancient world? After all, how can we provide evidence, at this late date, that the Trojan Hector did not ascend from death and appear before his descendant? Can prove that Augustus was not born of the God Apollo in the form of a giant white snake?

  • Aor

    I am prepared to accept that we must sacrifice blood from our genitals to get the sun to rise in the morning. I’m not looking forward to it, but faith is faith!

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    First, there is evidence of androgynous birth in other sexual species. Second, what difference does it make? Third, they started dumping on Jesus when they claimed his title was Christos (Christ) “the anointed one”. Could it possibly been Krystolinos, the one who crystallized the law? Fourth, although the stories were probably written as they happened, there has been a lot of editing over the centuries that continues today. Example: Jesus is referred to as “Rabbi” many places in the KJV. To be called Rabbi, a man had to be married. Today, Rabbi is being replaced with “Master”. Oh well.
    Art

  • http://vidlord.com/ vidlord.com

    great argument! The danger of being stoned alive would cause anyone to lie. But I think it was made up long after the fact. It’s just a story – similar to the talking snake. Does anyone really believe there was actually a talking snake?

    You should write an article on all the different “Lady’s” out there like our lady of fatima, mejagori, guadlupe etc. Talk about complete absurdity. One other article suggestion might be Why would god have emotions? Ponder that…..

  • mthans75

    We know enough today to know that the universe is a complex machine and it works using the laws of nature that have always existed.

    The bible is a book. People write books, not God.

    The only way a virgin birth could happen is if you were a snail. They can do that.

    But humans cannot.

    The Virgin Birth myth is false because we now know that the sperm hold half the chromosomes and the egg the other half.

    If there is one thing that is consistant it is this: The creator does not mess with the laws of nature put in place to run things.

    People believed these stories because they were uneducated. There are still enough uneducated people left today who promote this stuff.

  • nickipoof

    this saddens me! you are very brilliant.. it’s hard for people like you to have faith.

  • otesha

    I sort of just skimmed through this. didn’t really read the whole thing since, I disregarded it after just reading the title. i did indeed skim through it however. and the one part i caught…. You used the bible as part of your defense and evidence. Using the bible to back you up and support your theories would be contradictory would it not? since clearly its a book you personally don’t believe in.

  • luciditty

    Just making a point.. Lord Krishna was not of virgin birth. He was the eighth born child of vasudeva and devaki.

  • Hannah

    Mary was confused about why she was pregnant and she says, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” If the word “virgin” was mistranslated and really means “young woman” then it doesn’t add up that Mary would be confused about being a pregnant young woman.

    The possibility of a mistranslation isn’t consistant with the rest of the gospel text. In order for virgin to be a mistranslation, a whole lot more would also need to be mistranslated.

  • Lisel

    My answer to this simply is God can do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants. Just because our oh so intelligent little minds can’t understand it doesn’t make it untrue. But since we want to talk biology or whatever…any medical expert can tell you…you don’t have to have your hymen intact to be a virgin.

    Not that I believe something as a small as a hymen would stop God from doing whatever he wanted.

  • Lisel

    And what is wrong with you people? God doesn’t operate on our level of chromosomes and hymens. I mean if you really think God’s power is limited by lack of sperm then you really think highly of your sperm.

    Of course it’s strange that Mary was a virgin and she was pregnant at the same time when we all know you need a man’s sperm to make baby. But that’s the point….it’s suppose to be impossible…or else it wouldn’t even be a miracle.

    Anybody can make a baby with a sperm and a egg and a test tube! What’s the hoopla about that. If God had let some man impregnate Mary…nobody would believe God did it…because we can all do that.

    I mean while your at it why don’t you ask why its impossible to turn water into wine, or why Jesus couldn’t possibly of walked on water, or why it’s impossible that he could hang on a cross attached to it only by some nails.

    You all say you want proof…yet its miraculous that the very miracles He performed to show you He is God don’t impress you.

  • http://mylifeintheblender.wordpress.com lauradee24

    Someone may have already pointed this out (I didn’t read the comments), but Luke, who wrote about the virgin birth, probably actually mistranslated the Hebrew prophecy when he wrote in Greek. The Hebrew really means “young girl”, which Luke translated to mean “virgin.” A case of fudging details to make Jesus the Messiah.

  • Adelphos

    This was a great article! And the responses to it were, for the most part, fabulous as well. With regard to the birth of Jesus, some ancient Church Father (it is always an ancient Church Father) stated something to the effect that, “Jesus passed through Mary’s hymen like light through glass.” And of course, Mary herself was immaculately conceived! How do I know this, some Pope said so! So it must be right, right??? LOL!

  • Yasser Mahmood

    @Lisel (And to All Religions including Muslims):

    Salam Alikum Lisel

    I have to disagree with you on GOD can do every thing.

    Even GOD has limits.

    Limit 1.
    God cannot create another God.

    Limit 2.
    He cannot throw you out o his diminion. He vaporize you in any way or form but we will be still exisiting in his Dimnion.

    Biggest Limit 3.
    He cannot be God incarnate. God cannot become one of his creation. The moment god becomes his creation he seizes to become God.

    Allah Says in Koran in Chap 112

    112.001 Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;

    112.002 Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;

    112.003 He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;

    112.004 And there is none like unto Him.

    Al-Qur’an, 112.001-004 (Al-Ikhlas [Sincerity])

  • Yasser Mahmood

    @Lisel (And to All Religions including Muslims):

    Salam Alikum Lisel

    I have to disagree with you on GOD can do every thing.

    Even GOD has limits.

    Limit 1.
    God cannot create another God.

    Limit 2.
    He cannot throw you out o his diminion. He vaporize you in any way or form but we will be still exisiting in his Dimnion.

    Biggest Limit 3.
    He cannot be God incarnate. God cannot become one of his creation. The moment god becomes his creation he seizes to become God.

    Allah Says in Koran in Chap 112

    112.001 Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;

    112.002 Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;

    112.003 He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;

    112.004 And there is none like unto Him.

    Al-Qur’an, 112.001-004 (Al-Ikhlas [Sincerity])

  • anita

    they made Mary a virgin for people to believe because they think that sex is dirty and evil so it doesn’t suit Mary’s character. She was supposed to be ‘pure’, ‘graceful’ and almost just like Britney Spears if you know what I mean..

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Christian-Politics Synclesian

    Hi All! I am a Christian skeptic. A scientist by trade. I am an evolutionist, an old-earther, a lover of Jesus, and one who after 30 years plus of skeptical reading of the Bible, is more convinced than ever it is the word of God. Just stumbled upon this blog. Some comments:
    1) Jesus Himself is evidence for a divine birth. I have never seen or heard anyone like Him. I have never seen evidence, except for Him, of resurrection. The Habermas Flew debate on this, with the 4 natural explanations dispelled, is very convincing, for the open-minded that is.
    2) The entire NT was written in the first century AD. Whether or not Mary was a virgin is beside the point, but the story obviously makes her a virgin. The key thing was divine conception, which even Paul confirms in Romans chapter one. He confirms it every time he calls Jesus the Son of God. This implies His divine nature. The idea of the Son of God was there from the beginning of the church. Paul’s first sermon after his conversion was on the topic that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 9)
    3) That’s one way to look at it. Another is that man has in his heart created by God a desire to know God. That is why religion is found in all cultures. If the idea of a son of god is also common, this is no surprise. As far as why you should believe this particular son of God, well, again, no one else is like Jesus. He is far above any of the mythology of old.
    4) Again, you need to consider the options more soberly. The Resurrection Debate book will help you here. I would say it would be more dangerous to tell people that you have conceived of the holy spirit (blasphemous and insane) than just admit you had sex with some man (also a sin, but at least understandable, and perhaps forgivable). Also, the probability of 500 “witnesses” of the resurrection (which proves He was the Son of God, for no mere man could do this) maintaining such a lie for their whole life, is very, very, very……..(100 more times)unlikely. Once threatened with death, most would admit they made the whole thing up. No such record exists. (Here, do not confuse an unknown lie with a known lie–if someone makes up a religion, then gets others to believe in it, they may indeed defend their “faith” unto death, for it is real to them. But in the case of Christianity, if the apostles lied about the resurrection from the start, they spread a known lie. A person will not defend such a thing unto death.) The church grew with persecution. The real myth here is that the “story”of the Son of God came much later. Please get your facts straight. It was the original teaching of the church starting in May of 33 AD. The resurrected Son of God was the message.That means He was divine. That means a divine conception.
    5) Millions, billions, believe it today, including skeptical scientists like myself. If it happened today, there would be DNA analysis to test the Son of God. I wonder what the DNA evidence would show? Knowing God, it would be ambiguous. The key evidence is the very person of Jesus and how each person personally relates to Him. He is the acid test, not some logic reason or objective evidence (even though it is logical, reasonable, and with objective evidence).

    Truth and Peace to you all!

  • Valerie Park

    How about another?

    All humans have, with variations, the same physiological structures and functions. Anything possible to any human being is possible to other human beings.

    There is learning, training, and physical limitation, but the same possibilities. (Don’t think so? Yeah, you’re right – just because other people accomplished great things, doesn’t mean your kids can. Your kids aren’t those other people, so your brats can never possibly amount to anything.)

    Therefore, it is within human possibility for people to do anything Jesus actually did, because we all have the same structure. If the only question is who the sperm came from, not whether there was one, then he and anyone else have the same human potential and possibilities!

    The church can’t have that! You wouldn’t need the church any more!

    So it’s a very neat (and very vicious and insidious) trick to say that well, he didn’t have the same structure and function as you and every human being. Then, that makes him *different* – and you have no hope of those possibilities.

    VERY nasty trick.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale Art Noble

    “It’s all about sex, power and money.” Unfortunately, what “they” forget is that Jesus said, “You shall do greater works than these.” It is through love, including sexual love, that we gain the power for these works. My novel just touches on it.

    It’s really funny! They start with the myth of Lilith to keep us away from the power (it is all due to female anatomy) then tell us to love without telling us how. Duh!

    You are right. It is a nasty trick, if you believe them.

  • Valerie

    Yeah – if he truly “became human”, a human life form starts with a single cell, which is a zygote formed from the two haploid cells: sperm and ovum.

    Weird – people say Jesus became a man, took on human form, then deny him the humanity of starting human life from a sperm and ovum.

    They say he became human – then say he wasn’t really a human. Too weird.

    If I were pure spirit who wanted to try human existence, I’d do it the way the only way human existence does it – from a sperm and ovum.

  • herald7

    Whether the birth actually happened the way the Bible says it happened is irrelevant. If you worry so much about that, you miss the whole point of the story. The idea that an all powerful God could have chosen to be born in a palace, but instead chose to be born in a stable. This God was on the side of the common people who were ignored by society. And this was also a moment of unity, with both the poor shepherds and the wealthy kings coming all that way just to see…a child. :)

    Great that you’ve figured out it’s such an unlikely story. I think that’s fairly obvious, heh. What really requires more analysis is the true meaning of the story. :)

    If you like, here’s my Blog comment on the subject, hehe:

    http://herald7.wordpress.com/2008/12/25/this-christmas-remember-the-children/

  • aqbar

    Parthenogenesis; non-sexual reproduction that is the development
    of the ovum into an individual without fertilization by a spermatozoon.
    Parthenogenesis is very common in the insect world and in fish,
    and is routine in animals such as the aphids. Among the reptiles
    there is strong evidence that parthenogenesis can be a successful
    strategy for lizards in an environment with low and unpredictable
    rainfall6. In the Lancet in 1955 it was reported that a woman had a
    daughter where parthenogenesis could not be disproved. It has
    been produced in mammals experimentally. There is, however,
    no certain record of the birth of a parthenogenetic mammal: The
    most that has been achieved is that parthenogenetic mice and
    rabbit embryos have developed normally to about halfway
    through pregnancy but have then died and been aborted.
    In humans a recent research study was carried out on ‘The development
    and systematic study of the parthenogenetic activation
    and early development of human oocyte’.7 In this study, human
    oocyte, both freshly retrieved and remaining unfertilized after
    exposure to spermatozoa, were exposed to alcohol or calcium
    ionophore and examined for evidence of activation. The outcome
    of this study was that human oocyte can be activated partheno
    6 Genetics: 1991 Sept 129(1):211–9
    7 Fertility—Sterility—1991 Nov; 56(5):904–12
    176 Christianity – A Journey from Facts to Fiction
    genetically using calcium ionophore, but at lower rates than seen
    for mouse oocyte. Human parthenotes can complete division to
    the 8-cell stage. This data raises the possibility that some early
    human pregnancy losses may involve oocyte that have been
    parthenogenetically activated spontaneously.
    An incident of partial parthenogenesis in a human was reported
    in the New Scientist of 7 October, 1995 under the heading, ‘The
    boy whose blood has no father’.8 In the case of males all cells should
    have a Y chromosome, but in this particular case study of a three
    year old boy the white blood cells were found to contain only
    XX chromosomes. The reporter also mentions that occasionally,
    chromosomal females carry one X chromosome which includes
    the maleness gene and that the researchers had at first assumed that
    their case study was an example of this syndrome. But when they
    used extremely sensitive DNA technology they were not able to
    detect any Y chromosome material in the boy’s white blood cells.
    However, the boy’s skin was discovered to be genetically different
    from his blood, having both X and Y chromosomes.
    A more detailed analysis of the X chromosomes in the boy’s skin
    and blood revealed that all his X chromosomes were identical and
    derived entirely from his mother. Similarly, both members of each of
    the 22 other chromosome pairs in his blood were identical, coming
    entirely from the mother. The explanation given by the researchers
    8 This report concerned the research of David Bonthron et al. and refers to the Oct. 1995
    issue of Nature Genetics where their report is to be found.
    Appendix II 177
    for this phenomenon is that the unfertilised ovum self-activated and
    began dividing itself into identical cells; one of these cells was then
    fertilised by a spermatozoon from the father and the resultant
    mixture of cells began to develop as a normal embryo.
    This illustrates that cells created parthenogenetically in mammals
    are not always disabled. In the case of this boy they were able
    to create a normal blood system.
    Hermaphroditism; a sex anomaly in which gonads for both
    sexes are present; the external genitalia show traits of both sexes
    and chromosomes show male female mosaicism (xx/xy).
    In a study in the Netherlands in 1990 called ‘Combined Hermaphroditism
    and Auto-fertilization in a Domestic Rabbit,’ a true
    hermaphrodite rabbit served several females and sired more than
    250 young of both sexes. In the next breeding season, the rabbit
    which was housed in isolation, became pregnant and delivered
    seven healthy young of both sexes. It was kept in isolation and
    when autopsied was again pregnant and demonstrated two functional
    ovaries and two infertile testes. A chromosome preparation
    revealed a diploid number of autosomes and two sex chromosomes
    of uncertain configuration.
    A study was carried out on a human hermaphrodite at the Department
    of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Chicago, Lying-in
    Hospital, Illinois.9 The objective of this research was to determine
    the conceptional events resulting in a 46xx, 46xy true hermaph-
    9 Journal of Fertility and Sterility— JC: evf 57(2): 346–9 1992 Feb.
    178 Christianity – A Journey from Facts to Fiction
    rodite and to report the first pregnancy in a 46xx, 46xy true
    hermaphrodite with an ovotestis.
    The design of this study involved chromosome studies performed
    on patient’s lymphocytes and fibroblasts, red cell antigens,
    human leucocytes antigens and the presence of y-chromosome
    deoxyribonucleic acid were analysed. Findings were compared
    with parental and sibling blood group data.
    The result of these studies demonstrated that our patient is a
    chimera; an organism in which there are at least two kinds of
    tissue differing in their genetic constitution, thus with dual
    maternal and paternal contributions. In addition, despite the
    presence of an ovotestis, she conceived and delivered a child.

  • Val

    Quote: “If you worry so much about that, you miss the whole point of the story. ”

    Quote: “What really requires more analysis is the true meaning of the story. :)”

    I did the analysis. If you read it enough times, you might get it.

    I can’t reply to the last post. I skip over the really long-winded ones.

  • herald7

    I wasn’t referring to your comment Val, just the Blog in general. Sorry for any confusion. :) But since you mentioned it, all I’m saying is you can’t apply science to a faith story, obviously they won’t match. Not all Christians think everything in the Bible is literal. They just recognize the importance of the message. ;)

  • Val

    That’s a good point. I took it out on a Catholic friend for thinking everyone was born evil (look at a baby – sooooo eeeeevil). He said, “I think it was a story attempting to explain all the pain in the world.”

    I don’t have to believe it, or the explanation of how that baby tooth under my pillow turned into money. But it’s a point. And one of countless stories. Virgin birth is, as pointed out earlier, an old one.

    I do think the “story” of Jesus not becoming human via intercourse, and a sperm and ovum, tells a very sinister story. It doesn’t have to be literal to make it clear that sex is bad, marriage is required, women who have sex are impure (much more do than the male that had it with them!), and that Jesus wasn’t “really” human. We’re, therefore automatically impure and born evil, and we can’t “really” be like him. I’ll pass up that one!

    I like some stories (including some of the other ones around the birth of Jesus), but not that one. It has some nasty messages.

  • herald7

    I don’t think the writers of the Bible were thinking of these things, they didn’t even know what an ovum was! They were just trying to get across that Jesus was born from an essentially kind heartened woman who had never been tempted by the world.

    Now I agree, I think men writing the Bible thought women had to be a virgin to be good, and that is sexist, heh. Still, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak), the story is still essentially a good one. It’s about a child being the purest good that there is and how one child united the poor and the wealthy.

  • Janet Greene

    Isn’t it funny that in year 2009, we still need an article like this to debunk a superstitious myth??? When we grow up, we realize that Santa could not possibly exist; we realize that it would be impossible for him to know who has been good and bad, and to fly over every house in the world and deliver presents to all the good boys and girls between sundown on Dec 24 and sunrise Dec 25. We grow up! Why does this not happen with these fantastic religious tales also? I remember my days as a tormented christian (full of guilt, fear, shame) and I can hardly believe that I believed in christianity. It feels like a long nightmare; constantly having to rationalize impossible things; asking questions that could never be answered. I feel so grateful that I went on a search for truth; at this point in my life, it seems quite obvious that there is no god. But if I’m wrong, and some form of god does exist, the chances of it being the christian god are nil. It simply makes no sense. But for most christians who will angrily defend the bible, the brainwashing is too complete. For now, anyway. I am gratified by the number of atheist websites though; I cannot “come out” to my family as an atheist (they will desperately try to convert me, or my elderly parents will think I will burn in hell) so my atheist community is largely online.

    Thanks so much for your wonderful contributions to the discussion!

  • herald7

    “We grow up! Why does this not happen with these fantastic religious tales also? I remember my days as a tormented christian (full of guilt, fear, shame) and I can hardly believe that I believed in christianity. It feels like a long nightmare; constantly having to rationalize impossible things; asking questions that could never be answered.”

    Again, not all Christians do take the Bible literally, they simply recognize the importance of the story’s meaning. We need stories to learn from and be inspired by. That’s why they have lasted. ;)

    I agree with you, approaching religion with fear and shame is an awful experience too many people make. I do not believe that’s what God wants.

  • aqbar

    hi all,
    God does exist.
    Neither one of us should believe that there is no God.
    Even though virgin birth is an issue right here but someday all of us will see the truth when the time comes.
    Maybe one day after the world is coming to its end, this whole of issues will be cleared to all.

    God is here with us.
    As an example we are living with the air right?and without air who can live?No one will live their life with no air.
    Have you all seen the air before?With your bare eyes?Even though you not seeing it, you still breath the air…

    So, even though you are not seeing God alive but you should realize there is GOD!

    Anyway, God is doing everyday “business” accordingly with its own law which is everyone known as law of nature. Example he makes sun rise from the east and sun will set to the west. This thing is on its law and will not change even once no matter what happens.

    SO! in order for us to understand the virgin birth of human being, time is playing a big role. When God sees that their creation(all human with a brain inside) began to forget and forsaken him and never ask for him, then the prove should be released at no moment. One of it is the virgin birth. If this thing happens, do you think that we will ignore the truth?

    let we think not twice or thrice but our whole life before we decide that GOD is not exist…..

  • aqbar

    one more thing before i forget,

    The God that we all shall believe is a God without a physical faces, bodies, or in any designs because when the time comes only one religion will stand above the rest.

    So, for an example what do you think?-
    ( let say one person is devotee of a CAT and another one is devotee of a MONKEY, and one day the truth is accepted by all devotees that nor CAT or MONKEY is a real GOD but it was a TURTLE . Do you think that the CAT and MONKEY devotee will forget the faces of their GOD. Even if they are accepting that TURTLE is their new GOD but the truth is their mind will always imagine the faces of the CAT and the MONKEY no matter how hard they fight to forget.)

    This is because our mind is a very powerful storage and the best media player and it(memory) will only removes when our brain is dead. Hmmmm…

    And for the unbeliever, dont think abot it because u dont.

  • Val

    Janet Greene,

    I agree. I believed Christianity for about three years from age 17 to 20. I remember the fear, shame and guilt. No one I know of has done good research and publishing on how the fear of hell mal-affects people.

    A Christian reads the bible verse saying,

    ‘And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come’

    and naturally thinks, ‘You mean if I think “fuck the holy spirit” I’m damned forever?’

    Then he goes around thinking everyone else is going to heaven but they are doomed to hell. Then he says to someone, “I’ll pray for you” in a desperate attempt to hide from the fact that it is he who is in pain.

    You said: “But for most christians who will angrily defend the bible, the brainwashing is too complete.”

    I am absolutely unable to comprehend being free of doubt, because doubt is part of the structure of believing. But I seem to be running into Christians who are either still pretending they don’t experience doubt, or maybe are so lobotomized they don’t feel any. I think they are pretending in a desperate attempt to hide from their own doubt. Doubt is unavoidable. A “belief” is something accepted as real. Even scientists proving something have doubt. The things “taken on faith” have doubt as part of the very structure of the action of believing them.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    God is here with us.
    As an example we are living with the air right?and without air who can live?No one will live their life with no air.
    Have you all seen the air before?With your bare eyes?Even though you not seeing it, you still breath the air…

    Now that has got to be one of the stupidest things I have ever read.

    No, you can’t see the air you breathe, but you can measure its chemical composition. Otherwise, how would we know that the thing we breathe that we can’t see is made mostly of nitrogen and oxygen?

    When the wind blows, you can see things move in response to it, you can feel it against your face.

    You’re going to have to come up with a better example than that.

  • herald7

    “A Christian reads the bible verse saying,

    ‘And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come’

    and naturally thinks, ‘You mean if I think “fuck the holy spirit” I’m damned forever?’”

    That’s why you take some of the Bible with a pinch of salt and instead,concentrate on the parts that focus on compassion and supporting the oppressed. ;)

  • herald7

    Science can explain HOW things happen in nature. But even scientists admit, they don’t know WHY it has all been done. Why have we been so lucky? I have trouble just accepting all that we have on Earth as mere chance personally. ;)

  • http://none Frastrada

    The Bible is both an ancient Living Mystery Test to find loving hearts; and a two edged sword of truth. God, who lives and is telepathic, uses it to cut away the heartless bastards who should be minding their own business instead of being up Mary’s skirt. So my advice to you freaks who are obsessed with it: “Don’t cast the first stone.” Because He will make you eat it; or you will become it.

    Several other things are true about God: He can change time; time means something entirely different to Him then to you; and He trravels over Event Horizons using His High Sciences. (Obviously. Look at Coral Castle in Homestead Florida, which was built by a man that the “illuminated sons made one” came unto.)

    Also, God says for the few women who genuinely care about following: “Remember, they may not touch your vergin soul.” Also, He will know who they are if they violate your body: whoa be unto them.

    Everything is about soul to God; and about reclamation of the soul because those who are despicable will have their souls shattered when they die; their souls do not remain whole. God’s Power is large and grand; you ought quake when you speak of Him.

    He has sent a prince from the Line of David; the promised prince (Daniel 9:26; Psalm 2:2) the “messah” which means “overseeing Dragon King.” And this prince carries the blue blood blue boar druidic crest of Father Abrah-m.

    He has spent years cleaning up sins of decrepit necromancy which has infiltrated the churches. He calls them “nos Feratu” and says unto me “There is junk shapeshifting DNA at a mitochondrial level which manifests itself in persons called shapeshifters, those who say they believe one thing; yet act another.” I call them hypocrites and frauds. They have not found the life.

    To hear what He says on the bride of hierogamical divine union, which gives Him “Completion in Divine Image;” she who sings the song of songs (for they are telepathic) >

    Click to hear what He says about she who sings the song of songs; tri, your lamps; He comes to marry.
    http://www.redicecreations.com/winterwonderland/meroveredragon.html .

    The reason why you were given the gift of Free Will was so that you could turn to use it to seek His Divine Will freely; and to see what you would do with that to bring His Good works to fruition. Mostly people just use the idea of Him to sing about Him hanging on a cross for them. Actually the Bible asks “Who will sink into the abyss for Christ?” St. Thomas also exhorts “Pick up your crosses and follow.” The cross is in time and space; and it has to do with finding one’s shattered “ka’ or soul; that is why when a person does not believe and act with love for Him who lives and is sent; they may be in eternal trouble because Humpty Dumpty is then missing parts; unto his generations: He has Himself cut off.

    That is why you do not want to deny the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit doth move me.

  • aqbar

    Tommykey says;

    Now that has got to be one of the stupidest things I have ever read.

    No, you can’t see the air you breathe, but you can measure its chemical composition. Otherwise, how would we know that the thing we breathe that we can’t see is made mostly of nitrogen and oxygen?

    When the wind blows, you can see things move in response to it, you can feel it against your face.

    You’re going to have to come up with a better example than that.
    ……………………………………………………………………………..

    FYI, you are also knew that when the wind blows we can see the effects of the wind and so do GOD. You cannot see Him but he has his effect on us…

    Dont you believe? Try this…
    If we see leather we may say that it has come here by chance, but if we see boot made from that leather and if we see the same placed on sofa, on stairs for decorations we cannot say that all this is accidental. Its for us.Thats why he creates the system in a matter of time.

  • aqbar

    So if anybody is interested in getting the true knowledge about God, then he should pray earnestly that if there is a God with infinite powers as the people claim then may GOD manifest Himself on him. May God show him the right path. If anybody does such prayers earnestly for 40 days, then we believe, whatever his origin, religion and country is, God will show him the true path and he will have no doubt about the existence of God.

  • herald7

    “FYI, you are also knew that when the wind blows we can see the effects of the wind and so do GOD. You cannot see Him but he has his effect on us…”

    Exactly, some may admire the wind and other parts of nature. Others admire both the nature and the being who originated it. ;)

  • Val

    herald7
    “A Christian reads the bible verse saying,

    ‘And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come’

    and naturally thinks, ‘You mean if I think “fuck the holy spirit” I’m damned forever?’”

    That’s why you take some of the Bible with a pinch of salt and instead,concentrate on the parts that focus on compassion and supporting the oppressed. ;)

    I’ve long noted the self-contradiction of Christians who believe the bible with its verse commanding you not to change one jot or tittle of it, and also condemn “cafeteria Christianity” in which you pick and choose what you like, and also to pick and choose

    the parts that focus on compassion and supporting the oppressed.

    That is why this website accuses Christians of having… “Unreasonable Faith”.

  • herald7

    Val, life is not black and white. It’s not simple. The Bible was written by men, not God. To read the Bible and recognize the good from bad is not unreasonable or contradictory, it’s smart. ;)

  • Val

    life is not black and white. It’s not simple.

    DUH!

    That’s why I and many others posting are pointing out dogma and contradictions in what Christians say.

    For an example of pointing out some of the contradictions, read my posts (or almost any others’) again.

  • herald7

    Ok that’s fair. You will find contradictions within every group of people, including athiests. We’re not all carbon copies. ;)

  • herald7

    Val, plus it looks like we’re not that different. We’re both aware of the contradictiosn in Christianity. We just came to different conclusions in light of that information.

  • Jesse

    Dan, this is an interesting post, and certainly a stronger argument than what I’ve commonly heard (“virgin” could have been translated as “young woman”, therefore Mary was not a virgin).

    You seem to be arguing that Matthew and Luke are later additions, and I agree they probably do come later than Mark and Paul’s writings. According to the research you’ve done, how much later are these writings? Is this a long enough time period for a legend such as the virgin birth to creep up? What dates (or ranges of dates) would you place on each of the four Gospels and the Pauline epistles?

    I’ll have a look at these other myths you mention. The most common virgin birth story I hear of is Mithras, and your exclusion of Mithras demonstrates to me that you really are indeed careful with your facts. I appreciate that.

  • Jesse

    Oops, I read more carefully and found you did reference Mithras. Nevermind. Mithras was said to have been born from a rock, not of a virgin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithras)

    Also, I can’t find any references for Ra and Remus being born of a virgin either, nor for Mut-em-ua. Do you have any sources for these claims? I’m willing to consider them…

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    One of the stories regarding the birth of Venus is of this type.

  • Jesse

    kwml, do you have a reference for the story of Venus’ birth? Are you referring to Quetzalcoatl?

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Jesse, I thought it was on Wiki but I was wrong. I went back to my prime source, Bullfinch, who says,
    “She was the daughter of Jupiter and Dione. According to another view(influenced by association with the Greek term aphros, “foam”) she had sprung from the foam of the sea at Cyprus.”

    The early church was very good at incorporating local mythology into church doctrine. Christmas = Winter Solstice, St Valentine and Greek love festivals, etc., making it much easier to convert pagans. I was thinking that Venus springing forth from the foam (Daughter of Neptune?) would equate with the virgin birth. Just a thought on familiarity.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Yes. Doesn’t this story have a familiar ring to it?
    Art

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Forget the casteration. It is a mechanism for getting the sperm into the sea, from which arises Aphrodite. No mother (touched by man or otherwise). Essentially a miraculous birth.

    I write about sex and sexual love. I have recently become interested in the ancients, but find that those who write about them adhere to the “Pleasure/Procreation” paradigm, myth of the reptilian brain in the limbic system. Yes the sex drive does originate there, but recent advances in the study of the brain show the term “limbic system” is useless. Therefore, I must take with a grain of salt their intrepretation.

    The limbic system is imbued with “cross-talk” from other sections of the brain, allowing us to withhold expected reflexes. In sexual love, with the optimal blended orgasm, a transcendental experience is possible, along with orgasmic luminescence, where the woman will literally light up the room! There follows an intuitive clarity that may be construed as spiritual power. Those who have perpetrated the myths over the centuries did not want us, the “common” man to have this power. So, I look at most of this as BS! See my last blog.

    Art

  • Jesse

    A few more here… Ghengis Khan’s was c. 1200 C.E., and could not have been an inspiration for Christianity. Anyone have a source for his ‘virgin birth’? I found something in wikipedia, but there’s no citation, and the description doesn’t sound much like a virgin birth.

    Krishna was born to Devaki, and her husband Vasudeva, with no references to a virgin birth. Again, it’s a wiki, so it may be wrong.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna#Birth

    Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horus)…

    As for Melanippe, are we talking about the daughter of Ares?

    Auge was the daughter of Aleus and Neaera. No virgin birth here.

    Antiope… which one are you referring to?

    Alexander the Great was “son of King Philip II of Macedon and his fourth wife Olympias, an Epirote princess.”

    I could go on, but I’m not finding any reliable evidence that the virgin birth of Jesus is “no different” from these other characters.

    Now I do acknowledge this is only one of the points that you’re making, and I’m making no effort at the moment to address the others. But am I missing something here? Are you claiming that the birth stories of all these characters you list are really that similar to the story of Jesus? Perhaps you have access to more reliable sources of information than I do, so I’m open to whatever you can dig up.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    It’s called disinformation. Did you think it was new? The pagans who believed in Venus as a goddess could now more easily make the switch to Christianity having another “goddess” to worship of similar background. I say Venus (or Aphrodite) because of Rome. I’m sure that every culture Christianity spread to had a similar story that of which the Church could make fair wind.

  • Ty

    Wow, did this devolve into one of the dumbest arguments in history, or what?

    kwml is trying to make a point using none of the correct references, and is promoting sex magic as a rational alternative.

    And Jesse is arguing with him as if he actually was trying to make a reasonable point.

    Jesse, look up the virgin birth of Mithra if you want a good pre-Christian example of the virgin birth mythology. Mithra in fact shares many traits with the later Jesus mythology.

    And you can find a lot more. Just google for virgin birth mythology and you will find a ton of pre-Christian examples of this. It was actually quite common long before Christ showed up.

    No Venus worship or sex magic necessary.

  • Ty

    And, BTW, there are a number of miraculous birth mythologies. Jesus belongs to the ‘Born of a virgin woman impregnated by a god’ version, of which there are many prior examples.

    The Greek gods impregnated virgin women all the time. Perseus and Hercules are both examples of this.

    This was also not uncommon in Norse mythology. Frigga was impregnated by Odin while still a virgin woman, and bore Balder, the healer of mankind. It’s been theorized that this is one reason that Christianity was so easily adopted by the Nordic peoples: it was a close match to stuff they already believed.

    There are lots more, but the fact is that the Jesus myth of a god impregnating a virgin to give birth to a man/god is old stuff, long predating the first century.

  • Jesse

    Ty, I’ve looked up Mithra, and I’m not convinced his followers believed in a virgin birth; rather Mithra emerged full-grown from a rock. See pg. 173 of “Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies” by John R. Hinnells.

    Maybe I’m missing something. Do you have another source I could look at?

    It may be that the Norse mythology helped Nordic people accept Christianity, but in that case, is it likely the Norse myth inspired the story we find in Matthew and Luke?

  • Jesse

    Ty, my point is that when one claims all these stories are so incredibly similar, and I go look them up and find they’re not really that similar, then I’m left scratching my head wondering what did I miss here?

    Perhaps my standards of ‘similarity’ are too stringent. Do you think that’s the problem? How close does the story of Jesus’ virgin birth need to be to these mythologies in order to be dismissed as myth?

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Yes. Your standards of similarity are too stringent. I hope you apply these same standards politically! Spin and disinformation are not new concepts, but they do work.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    With disinformation, the references don’t have to be correct and that is the point. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to have better references, however, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and stretch the point to fit the issue.

    By the way, it is not magical… it just seems that way. It is strictly a function of female sexual anatomy. The “magic” comes from ignorance.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Most of us believe a lot of the spin and disinformation originating in DC and the various State capitols. The application of these high standards, or as they say in Missouri, “Show me”, negates the effectiveness of the spinner. It is a good thing!

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Yes and no. Put yourself in the shoes of a Roman at the time when you ara told that Mary = Venus. With your current skeptcism, you would reply with a hearty “BS”. But, for the majority, the switch is easy, just as it is today with WMD’s etc. Or, you could use any of the cultures mentioned here wherever the Church wanted to go.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    No, and no. I have no documents. But put yourself in the role of an early Christian trying to sell this to a Roman Pagan. “The virgin birth of Jesus, was like the “virgin” birth of Venus and Mary…” etc. PT Barnum said it best. “There’s a sucker born every minute.” That’s been going on a long time too. It sounded good. It worked. So the “documentation” we have is what is written.

    But all of this is for naught. What difference does it really make? Jesus did not have to be born of a “virgin” to be a very special teacher for me. Further, I think the title “Christ” did not come from Krystos or Christos (the anointed one) but from Krystallinos (the chrystalized one) in that he crystalized the early prophecies and the law. But that is just another opinion. (“Anointed one” cheapens Him in that there were so many.)

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    oops. That should be crystallized.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale kwml

    Jesse, that is just my take on it. It is an opinion. No, I have no documentation for Krystallinos, but it you check back in this blog, some of the Gospels were written way after the death of Jesus. Plus, I think the Greeks had a sense of humor. Oh well. I didn’t win the war and winners write history.

  • http://lifeberry.wordpress.com kyokoumei

    “Imagine if a teenage girl in your neighborhood claimed that her pregnancy was due to God impregnating her and that she was still a virgin. Would you believe her? Or would you think she was lying?

    If she insisted on it being true, we would put her in a mental hospital.”

    Ha! Best lines. Great point, great argument.

  • herald7

    Faith based stories are often by their nature illogical. Pointing out that obvious fact does not invalid the message. ;)

  • Cheryl

    This all boils down to:

    Believers: I believe it therefore it’s true.

    Atheists: I don’t believe it therefore it’s not true.

    Actually neither are true. God is simply the ultimate placebo effect. If you believe, then the God effect is real. If you don’t, then there is no God effect.

  • herald7

    That is some part of being a believer. But sometimes it’s also about concentrating on a story’s message, not just on whether it’s real or not. The message is real whether the story is or not. ;)

  • boywidacoin

    Nice post for a former passionate evangelical “Christian”. Note the word passionate. You were never a Christian, no, not even once. You were just passionate. Somewhere in my old bible it talks about prophecy that there would be scoffers like you. Just like in the days of Noah. So you see, you’re one big evidence that there is such thing as the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    ‘Til then…some day you’re going to get it and your mouth will be stopped.

  • Wilson

    Do you realize how long it now takes to read through this blog? And how did I get here? I watched Religulous and set out to see if the story of Horus was truly a precurssor of the Mary story. Now, two hours later, I am facinated.

    I admit to being offended by blind faith.
    I have always felt the bible was tales to make a point, most likely with some historic fact built in but meant to be a moral guide. One can always find an appropriate contradiciton.
    I have come to conclude that the stories do not have to be factual in order to serve human kind.
    Faith does seem to serve the mind in some un measurable way and provide some sub conscious strength to the body. Even non believers are know to pray in a crisis.
    I float somewhere in between. It has alwqays seemed clear to me that even if life as we know it evolved out of nothingness or pure energy ans was then to be totally destroyed, well it could obvously create itself again. So life or its idea can be considered eternal. The finite span from Adam to Revelations is simply what the ego wants to convince itself of its self importance.
    Trying to prove or disprove something that has passed I do not believe possible. All evidence can be questioned and depends upon our agreement to accept it. Just look back at the disagreements over basic “historic” data and sources.
    The words of Jesus as reported to us seem to provide considerable guidence toward making humankind a more harmonious people but they are usually twisted to suit ones hidden agenda, much like the reading of oracles or tarot cards.
    Anyway, Thank you of a morning of great intrigue. I loved every word of it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/asacredfemale Art Noble

    Winners write history!

  • a soldier for God

    Your faith is weak. you try to get science to explain something you claim to have faith in. GOD SAYS. thats why you should belive. I will pray foryou.

  • Mark D

    The proof is in the pudding. Most Islamic countries are sh*tholes even most Muslims don’t want to live it.
    As for the virgin birth, show more like god raped Mary.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evkcgilovzs

  • vorjack

    “Your walking along a beautiful beach and stumble upon a rolex watch buried in the sand. ”

    We’re all fortunate that William Paley is dead, else the entire Christian apologetic community would be sued into submission for copyright violations. Can’t you at least cite the poor man before doing violence to his metaphor?

    What makes you think that a watch makes for a suitable analogy for the universe/multiverse/metaverse?

    Or to put it another way, how much experience do you have with universe creation?

  • Octavius

    IN MANY QUARTERS, ecclesiastical as well as secular, belief in the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is scouted as unworthy of twentieth-century intelligence. Biologically, it is vehemently asserted, such a birth is impossible. Science with pontifical authority has pronounced against it. Who dares to challenge the “all knowing” of such an eminent authority?

    The fact of the Virgin Birth having been declared against, the evidence and proof which established the fact must now be discredited. Let it be carefully noted that this finding against the Virgin Birth was not the result of a fresh examination of the evidence but rather the arbitrary act of science falsely so called. Having destroyed, in their opinion, the supernatural birth, these “know-alls” must of necessity demolish the evidence which supported that birth. All sorts of ingenious methods have been brought into play to destroy the records– from the mistranslation of words to the pen-knifing of whole passages of the Bible. Historical evidence is flouted without respect for any known rule of evidence. Unfounded assertions are put forward as sound conclusions and the whole basis of traditional Christian belief is subjected to the methods of a reckless infidelity.

    This assault on the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is, however, but one phase of a great battle to evacuate the supernatural from Christianity and to reduce it to the plane of natural religion. These naturalists in religion are out to destroy supernatural Christianity. They go through the Bible and tell us there is no supernatural revelation there; they go through the Birth of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural incarnation there; they go through the Person of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural deity there… they go through the Works of Christ an tell us there are no supernatural miracles there; they go through the Words of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural wisdom there; they go through the Death of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural atonement there; they go through the Blood of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural cleansing there; and they go through the Tomb of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural resurrection there.

    Having jettisoned the supernatural from the Gospel Ship they have reduced her to an old hulk of man’s manufacturing, a mere plaything for the storms of unbelief and the reefs of infidelity.

    As a fundamentalist I believe in a supernatural Christianity which presents a supernatural Christ Who had a supernatural Birth, Who lived a supernatural Life, Who died a supernatural Death, Who rose in a supernatural Resurrection, and Who is coming again in a supernatural Manner.

    Rejection, then, of the Virgin Birth is an attack on the supernaturalness of Christ. Of Christ’s wondrous birth, human incredulity questions, “How shall this be?” Divine inspiration answers, “With God all things are possible.”

    When human impotence bows to that answer of divine omnipotence the Miracle of the Virgin Birth can be whole-heartedly accepted. He who questions the Virgin Birth challenges the almightiness of God. To discredit the Virgin Birth is not only to strike at the nature of Christ but at the very power of God.

    We BELIEVE IN THE VIRGIN BIRTH BECAUSE THE SUPERNATURAL PREDICTIONS OF CHRIST ANTICIPATED HIS SUPERNATURAL BIRTH

    Isaiah 7:14

    “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

    This verse has become the principal battleground of the whole controversy regarding the Virgin Birth. The first line of assault of the critics is upon the Hebrew word “almah,” here translated “virgin”. It is urged that the proper Hebrew word for virgin is “bethulah,” and that if a virgin was what the prophet wished to signify he would have used that word. “Almah,” it is contended, simply means “a young woman of marriageable age.”

  • Jon

    Here’s an interesting experiment. Talk to any christian pastor’s legal-age daughter, and persuade her to go and, for want of a better phrase, “get jiggy with Mr Biggy” :-)

    Then when the lady in question becomes pregnant, have them explain to the pastor that it was the Holy Spirit that did it.

    Then we’ll see how strong his faith in virgin births is…

  • Benjamin Steele

    Great blog! That sums it up pretty well.

  • Andrew

    Many Christians like this watchmaker argument, and apply it to life and the entire universe we see. “Such intricate design–must have been designed!”

    The same argument would go to prove that the designer had a designer, if one were being logical and consistent. Surely something so powerful and intelligent as to create the universe is exceptionally intricately designed. But here most Christians will mention something about God being self-existent. Isn’t self-existence even less intuitively plausible than being put together by chance? I mean looking at all the options, and their distinctions, we have

    a) The watch formed by chance, randomly.

    b) The watch was designed and built by a creator.

    c) The watch resulted from a natural process, over hundreds of millions of years, which favors successful complexity in design.

    d) The watch existed before any causes or time itself.

    Reasonable people go for b or c, depending on the item found. I mean, we know that humans are not built from the hands of creators, but that humans are so fine tuned they can reproduce themselves. Whether you go with b or c, either seems reasonable compared to d, which is what the Christians say about God.

    It seems if you insist that b is always true, given the “watch” is any intricate system, then every God has a God.

  • KYU

    The virgin birth cannot be scientifically DISproved. You can speculate that it is highly unlikely, but one cannot say that it did not happen.

  • brgulker

    Of course, the only way this is at all damaging to Christianity is if the only way for a divine child to be born was through a virgin.

    If, in fact, almah is taken to mean “young woman,” which it can mean, that does not necessarily undermine the the doctrine of the incarnation.

    The only way it does is if the incarnation is predicated upon the need for a virgin birth. If such a predication does not exist, then arguing against the virgin birth is simply that and not an undercut to the incarnation.

    I know the point of this post is to deny the virgin birth, not the incarnation, but I thought it should at least be pointed out, for the sake of fairness.

    ================

    FWIW, the almah debate is grossly under-simplified here. There are plenty of reasons to believe it does mean virign, even though there is another Hebrew word for “virgin.”

    For example, just like any language, Hebrew morphed over time. The meaning of different words evolved as time went on.

    Moreover, it’s not at all uncommon to use several different Hebrew words to describe the exact same thing — and that’s equally true for narrative portions and poetry. It’s simply the way the language worked, and if you are able to read it, it is a beautiful thing to read.

  • DarkMatter

    Virginity by the presumption or assumption that she is a young unmarried daughter, therefore a virgin as an argument for “The Word”.

  • Benjamin Steele

    Pearse – Your whole argumet is irrelevant and ignorant. You are obviously utterly clueless. Go back to your books and study some more. And who gives a frack about the irrational apologetics of medieval Christians? I hope that helps.

  • Michael

    I like you. You are accepting and not confrontational. And my appeal to the city was basically only that you don’t need to have a cause for a cause. And to your surpise possibly, I am a Christian. But I think theism is the first step to Christianity. My main goal is not necessarily to convince people of the Christian faith, but rather have them be open to the idea of it and a god. Most atheists I have met have an emotional problem with a god at the heart of the issue, not a lack of evidence. And I would consider myself evangelical as well, but I don’t want to push or force my beliefsnon others, rather, I want them to have the facts and evidences and approach then openly for what they are so that they can formulate their own opinions. As you may have read, I was raised a Christian, nondenominational, and still am currently. My reasoning for this is the historicity of the Bible. I am not a fundamentalist and do not take it all literally. But I do believe in the major points like Jesus being the son of God and my Saviour. The historicity is amazing to me. By this I mean not the Christian “facts” but the secular people in it. Luke was a historian himself, and speaks of the time of Herod, who existed, Pontious Pilate, who existed, a well as other people and certain landmarks that have been identified. Same with much of the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament. Cities and people groups have been found in areas where the Bible said they could be found. So if those parts are historical, why not the rest? Also, much of the Old Testament would be considered as the Jewish people’s history. If we don’t deny other groups writings like the Romans and Greeks even though they believed in gods, why do people deny this history as being accurate? Just a question I have posed to myself and have not been able to find a legitimate answer. But like I said, I don’t push my beliefs on others, which is how many interpret the NT. But I think that one can “make disciples of all nations” in many ways, such as how I go about it. I look at my beliefs like the birth of a son. I am elated because of it, because I have a God who loves me and offers me eternal life in a perfect place with Him. So why wouldn’t I want everbody else to know that as well!? It is good news, fantastic news, the best news in the history of the world! (if true at least) That this life filled with suffering and pain is only temporary and there is life so much better waiting for me. Sounds pretty good to me. One of my friends, who is in between agnosticism and atheism, says his stance is actually depressing. He doesn’t believe in that hope. This life is all that we have and humans don’t have any special significance according to atheism, since we are merely animals like all other animals. But God gives us significance. So from my standpoint, Christianity would make one’s life better than atheism. Just something interesting I have found. Also, I believe that if a God were to exist, the Christian God seems to fit the qualifications best. He is beyond nature, timeless(which is necessary if there was a creation), omnipotent, and much more(although the rest is not necessary). However, this “rest” would seem to make sense given how the world is and if the death and resurrection is true.

  • James

    It seems to me that a lot of people are getting the wrong message from this article. The topics (to me, at least) explain that no one would believe Mary, not that if Christian God existed, he couldn’t have done it.

  • LRA

    Well, the possibility of people being born without any sex chromosomes can’t be DISproved, even though it is a lethal condition in all medical cases to DATE.

  • onecae

    My take on the story of the virgin birth is that it’s a metaphor for the source of ideas. Where do new ideas come from?
    It would seem wrong to say that an old idea is the source of the new idea.
    So, we say of new ideas, they come from the creator of the ideas. They are born into the world, not as continuation of what has gone before, but as something new, and different.
    They are of course cared for by and born into what has already been established. So, the story is crafted to convey: New ideas have no antecedents (that’s the virgin birth part). They come into an established world and are cared for by those who need them (that’s the Joesph’s family part). Their source is the creator of the idea (that’s the “made by God” part.)

  • onecae

    I’m new to this website. I’ve only made a few posts here and there. I’ve always thought of myself as a Christian, but see, the problem is I don’t think any of the other so-called Christians are really Christians. They think the subject is physical. How could anyone believe a literal notion of the Bible and still be a Christian? That makes no sense to me. It’s kind of like a mathematician adding 5+2 and getting 2 because there is one “5” and one “2” and mathematicians are supposed to count things. Or it’s like saying Shakespeare’s Hamlet would be more true if we could find Ophelia’s dress. It wouldn’t make it more true, it would make it less true. So, after looking at this website for a while, I decided to post a few of my Christian ideas.
    Regarding some of your comments: The infinite is touches the definite. The definite is the point of touch.
    Virgin also means “having no former experience with the subject.”
    And finally: The Bible would indicate that the spirit preceded the body, not the other way around. In other words, one can the cause of things. When one is only the effect of things, he ends up kind of insane, enslaved, or dead.

  • onecae

    I meant to say, “One can cause things. When one is only the effect of things, he ends up kind of insane, enslaved, or dead. To only be the effect and to cause nothing of your own is the “sin of idolatry.”

  • Anne

    Man I love this site! Ok, lets look at this in this way. We know the story about Adam and Eve, right? What about Lilith? Point this out to any evangelical and they will have a fit. God creates Adam and Lilith first. Not Eve, Lilith. She is not a ‘good girl’ and sit around waiting for Adam to get back from his job. She wants to, umm, do something, have a thought, a conversation, read a book not just make babies and cook. Man does she get in trouble! But she is not made of Adams’ rib, she is a separate being made on her own that can think and reason herself. She is exiled from Eden and Eve is then made. Does a perfect God like that screw up? And where is that in the Christian bible? Very old versions of the bible include this story. And what did she do when she left? Who was out there? Where did Cain and Able get wives? Now, explain this and we can move onto the Virgin birth thing.

  • onecae

    When the writers of the Bible call Adam and Eve the first man and woman, they are saying that it’s always been this way for man and woman.
    However, the doctrine of the “Perfect God” needs some serious help. Try this idea: One can imagine a perfect action, or response. It helps to make this kind of attempt. One can imagine something better, and then try to establish it. So, when the Bible depicts God’s frustrations with His accomplishments, it is saying that we will also suffer frustration with our accomplishments, no matter how perfect we believe our imagination to be.
    And, oddly enough, no matter how good our circumstance, we will always imagine it can be better, then we will act on what we imagine. That we have imagined it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong or false. We often imagine and act on very good and true ideas.

  • http://www.saltshaker.us Dave Leach

    Florien’s reasons are not reasons against believing Jesus was born of a virgin. Florien is discouraged by the lack of direct evidence for this detail of the Gospel, but can’t we all agree that “the absence of evidence is not evidence”? So what if not all Bible authors mentioned it? Do we throw out a murder conviction if not all witnesses saw the murder?! So what if pagans claimed the same miracle? Shall we kill all doctors because we are too lazy to distinguish the good ones from quacks? What kind of arguments are these, that we judge what happened by what we think was likely to happen, or by what most people will probably believe happened? I’m glad Thomas Edison didn’t think like that when his mother in law said “that thing will never shine! The whole town agrees with me!” (I hope Florien was trying to be funny when he argued that we have no DNA evidence.)
    The Virgin Birth is no more directly testable than whether Jesus actually healed a paralytic let down through the roof.
    In criminal trials, we want to know whether the witness to the crime is lying. If we could directly test what the witness says about the deed, we wouldn’t need the witness. But we can test things the witness says that we may not care about, except for the opportunity to see if the witness is telling the truth about them, so we can decide if the witness is credible. Likewise we can’t directly test what the Bible says about Heaven or Hell, which is what we really care about; so we test what it says about, for example, the location of ancient cities, or about a worldwide flood.
    Belief in the Virgin Birth has been on the short list of Fundamentalist church doctrines. That was never because anyone thought the direct evidence for it was compelling, but the opposite: the direct evidence is so lacking, and the event so improbable by popular reasoning, that belief in it demonstrates the ultimate trust in the Bible.
    If the Bible is true, then the Virgin Birth occurred. No reason has been given by Florien to doubt it. Our challenge is to determine whether the Bible is true. For that, we need to investigate those of its allegations which we are capable of testing. Such as whether Jesus rose from the dead, for which the evidence is overwhelming. And which is far more important! Shall we talk about that?

  • Red Dave

    It took me over four hours to read this post and all the responses. I think Daniels initial argument was sound and well made. I think V’s responses were, as always, well thought out and pertinent. The discourse from young Michael reveals a sharp mind working diligently to prove what he believes, not a mind seeking truth itself.

    I do not claim Atheism, as I cannot prove or disprove God. No one can. It becomes for logical minds what is more probable, and in that category I think the atheists have won. I am an agnostic, and quite happy as one. My problem is with religion, religious institutions, and many religious people.

    For the Christian religion which seems to have garnered so many responses to this thread I say only this. I do not practice or look up to those who do practice blood sacrifice. The Jewish people originally practiced blood sacrifice to appease their angry old testament God Yaweh, because he might well kill you in some hideous fashion. Christ is the ultimate sacrifice for Christians, God demanding the perfect sacrifice of the perfect human lamb Jesus. They see this as a loving and generous act by Jesus (one aspect of their God) and not a chart topping cruelty by Yaweh (another aspect of their God). It kind of reminds me of the Aztecs and their human sacrifices to the Sun.

    Yet what really distresses me about the Christian religion is the hatred it breeds. It uses fear to force people to accept irrational beliefs lest they burn forever.

    @davidkentie “At least then if it is all for nothing, you can say that you have lived a good life.”
    You sir seem to me a religious bigot. You have prejudged all non believers in your statement, implying that none of them live good lives.
    “What you’re missing is that Christ died in 33 A.D. so the events of the last three years of his ministry, even if its 70 A.D. are still well with the minds of many of his followers.”
    I believe that the common interpretation of Jesus’ death is the year 0, not 33AD. The 33 years of his life are not on a calendar( which shows more than a little human influence I think) AD means (annio dominie?) or after death as I was taught, so how does Jesus die 33 years after his death?
    @Patrickdunnevant
    We would never, ever, believe this today.”
    ”My response is that this is “totally, totally irrelevant” to whether it happened or not. It’s odd that you even put it in there.”
    I suppose it is irrelevant to you that people would never believe the world is flat now either?
    @Cris taylor “What I’ve discovered is this. The message of Christ and the fulfillment of God’s word/law is the truth. What we have might not necessarily be factual, but it is the ultimate truth”
    If the ultimate truth is not factual, then it’s not a fact, and hence not truthful. So you think the ultimate truth is a lie?
    @Tim “It’s much easier to say it’s all the greatest hoax made in the history of man and then be able to justify living life for yourself and not be accountable to any one or anything. Hope it works for you and I guess I hope your right for your sake though I know you’re wrong…”
    We are all accountable, to ourselves, to our families, and to our societies. You somehow mistake reason for a callous disregard for anyone or anything else. Atheists and agnostics are not sociopaths. You look like another religious bigot who prejudges anyone not in agreement with your world view. People like this make it easy to see why religion has spawned so many wars.
    @Lisel “You all say you want proof…yet its miraculous that the very miracles He performed to show you He is God don’t impress you”
    No one living was a witness to the “miracles” in the Bible. You are trusting a 2000 year old book entrusted to religious leaders who had every interest to control the population for their own ends. Power is a corrupting influence, for centuries the highest “authority” was the Church. This is why the scriptures have “laws”. The church was the government, trying to keep control of the people.
    So, No, I do not believe in supernatural miracles told to me from hands that strove for centuries to keep us from even reading the book they based the faith on, from the same people who routinely killed and tortured people who thought differently.
    @synclesian “Another is that man has in his heart created by God a desire to know God. That is why religion is found in all cultures”
    Religion is found all around the world because we humans don’t understand everything, and someone always tried to explain it. Most people are not comfortable admitting that they don’t know, so therefore any explanation which relieved that stress of the unknown was preferable.
    “The key evidence is the very person of Jesus and how each person personally relates to Him.”
    Which Jesus would that be? The one wielding the scourge on the bankers (let me at those greedy bastards!), the one telling his mother to screw off(“what have I to do with thee woman?”), or the one who supposedly loved us so much? Sometimes I think that Jesus was the first real PETA member and sacrificed himself in an effort to save all those poor lambs and turtle doves.
    @Aqbar “Maybe one day after the world is coming to its end, this whole of issues will be cleared to all.”
    Another scary mindset, Aqbar is waiting gleefully for the end when God will save him, and burn all the rest.
    @Frastrada “God’s Power is large and grand; you ought quake when you speak of Him.”
    So I should live in Fear of my loving father-God? Sounds pretty damn dysfunctional to me. If God is loving, as you think, and all powerful, why would he not re-educate all us thinkers rather than torture us for all eternity? Why would this loving God give us minds, and then command us not to think but believe what another man tells us God wants?
    @Boywidacoin “Til then…some day you’re going to get it and your mouth will be stopped.”
    Again with the rage and hatred, wanting anyone not like them to burn, so they are justified. This is your loving God and Christian morals?
    @A soldier for god ”GOD SAYS. thats why you should belive.”
    My mothers “because I say so” argument was used when she was flabbergasted and did not have a response, I outgrew that argument by 8 or 9.God hasn’t told me a thing. A book written by men, manipulated by religion and then retold by other men 2000 years later claims to say God says this or that. If God is loving and all powerful I would think he would tell us all and end this endless “debate”, unless of course he likes watching us all suffer?
    @2preacher “Gen:22:1-13; shows us that a ram was created to take the place of Issac to be sacrificed”
    Again with the blood sacrifice, I am sure the Aztecs and Mayans had a good solid faith surrounding their sacrifices too. One which they believed in as much as you do yours.

    And NO, I don’t believe in the virgin birth.

  • http://www.dougwadedesign.com dwade

    The rock of offense:
    “Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” (Jeremiah 13:16)

    The figurative representations of Christ as the foundation rock of the great spiritual house of God (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6) and also as the water-yielding rock of sustenance in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4) are two of the great symbols of the Bible.

    But for those who reject Him, He becomes “a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense. . . . And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken” (Isaiah 8:14-15).

    Not only will the stone cause such a one to stumble, but Jesus said, “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44). This figure is taken from the fall of the great image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet . . . and brake them to pieces” (Daniel 2:34). All the kingdoms of the world were represented in the image, but “the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

    “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient” (1 Peter 2:7-8).

    Thus, the stone of stumbling, which is Christ, is also the Word, and it is deadly dangerous to stumble over the holy Scriptures. One should give glory to God before darkness falls and he stumbles upon the dark mountain in the shadow of death.

    • Roger

      …you do realize that spouting Bible verses on an atheist’s blog is kinda counterproductive, don’t you?

  • http://livingasatheist.blogspot.com Raed Al-Jawad

    I will look at it from different perspective. Why GOD , the powerfull wise creature choose such as dirty way to deliver his message why just say it in public, why he is using a teenager who is still vergin, get her in troubles then claim that the baby is baby of HIM !!!.

    If I have that power and all of that wisdom and I had created those people in the first place, isn’t easier that I appear (come out from my darkness place) and talk to people directly why it always behind the scene , behind prophets and by sending angles. At least the Angle appear or if he is not visible I think he can do many things to show he is there other than choosing a vergin in a bad day.

  • Jeff S

    Genetic Engineering.

  • ebber

    Well……….. Quite interresting
    First off; i like your blog a lot! you’re quite more respectfull and friendly than (allmost) all other blogs i’ve read dealing with the same subject!

    But;
    Believeing in a omnipotent god, as i do, i must nessicarily admit that he (or she or it or whatever) is just that: Omnipotent. As such he would be able to impregnate a virgin.

    – and hey. Supposing someone close to me suddenly got pregnant; i’d talk with her about it, if she told me she were impregnated by god, well, if she were sincere enough, i might just beleive her!

    Actually: One of our theoligians back here in DK has said the following: “when jesus passed thru that door, to his disicples? Impossible! Noone can do that!”
    The simple term to describe this is: “to shoot yourself in the foot”

    Recognizing a person as a god (and thus as being omnipotent), and at the same time taking that Omnipotent’ness away.. well: If you believe that there is a omnipotent being, you must nessciraliey (*meeh* good grammer.. rite?) admit that “anything is possible”

    • Francesc

      Anything is possible. You got it. That’s the problem.

      As I was saying, the problem with magic is that anything is possible. Consider that…
      1.- God created us one minute ago. All of our memories and any type of record of our past was created exactly as it is now. It’s possible? Of course, He is omnipotent
      2.- God lied to us in the Bible, so everything we believe about him is false. Is that possible? Of course, it is. Is bad lying? Nope, when he said so he was lying, because it is good to lie :p
      3.- God is bad and hatefull. He created us to have someone to torture. Again, he lied.
      4.- There is a god, or multiple gods? Anything is possible. They work together or they are fighting? We can’t know.

      So, what do we know about an almighty god? Nothing. We can’t know even if such a being exists, so… why should we believe?

      By the way, I’m a man and got impregnated me. Do you believe me? What do you mean by “sincere enough”? How can you know about the sincerity of a girl born 2000 years ago?

      If a girl, any girl, explains to me that god impregnated her i won’t believe that. Maybe even she believes so, but without more proofs i will only think she is either crazy or lying