OK, now I’ve seen it all from twitter.
As Campus Reform (and other sources) reported, an atheist professor from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Eric Sprankle, thought he was going to own the Christians with respect to the Incarnation, when he tweeted the following:
The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.
— Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 3, 2018
In response to replies that Mary indeed gave her consent in the scriptural account, he followed up:
The biblical god regularly punished disobedience. The power difference (deity vs mortal) and the potential for violence for saying “no” negates her “yes.” To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst.
— Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 4, 2018
And in doing so, unwittingly explained the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
After all, let’s face it, most people, especially most non-Catholics, don’t really understand what it’s all about, and think it refers to the conception of Christ, rather than the idea that Mary was herself conceived (while in an ordinary human way) without original sin, and was preserved sinless. Why on earth would it be necessary to add on another layer that Mary was sinless? Protestants have a hard time with this, since it all just seems a bit weird and unbiblical. And this doctrine isn’t necessarily explained particularly well; some explanations (see this one by Catholic Answers) describe it in a way that tends to sound more like “God did a nice thing for Mary.”
But if you look at Sprankle’s objection, it falls apart if Mary, being free from sin, was uniquely enabled to give her consent without fear of the Almighty. And given that I’d always found this one of the less-compelling doctrines of the church, I’m pleased as punch that out of all of this Me Too-ism comes an amazing, if unintended, explanation.
Image: Queen Of Heaven; https://www.maxpixel.net/Queen-Of-Heaven-Iconography-Virgin-Mary-Religion-2176697