Mary (mother of Jesus)
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God as adulterer
"Like a virgin, touched for the very first time..."
Many Christians believe that Mary was a virgin when she bore Jesus, thus fulfilling an Old Testament prophesy. In fact, the so-called prophesy might be a mistranslation. The original text said a young woman ("almah" usually means "young woman" but can also mean "virgin") would give birth; the passage was translated using the Greek word "parthenos" (which can mean "young woman" but usually means "virgin").
The idea of a woman getting pregnant by divine and not more natural means had some traction in the world in which Mary lived. In Ancient Greece, so many women claimed a god had fathered their child that one king decreed the death penalty for women who insulted a god by making that claim. In the Ancient World at Mary's time there were many cults worshiping a god and his mother and there were many other supposed cases of Virgin birth.
The doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, a belief held by some Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians, affirms that Mary was a virgin for her whole life, including before, during, and after the birth of Jesus, as well as his siblings. One or more of the following inferences can be drawn from the perpetual virginity of Mary:
- Joseph was the first recorded case of asexuality (whether it was his personal choice, he is born with it, or he has been forced by God to be asexual).
- After every time that Joseph and Mary had sexual intercourse, Mary's virginity was miraculously restored[note 1] — as it presumably was after the birth of Jesus.[note 2] (Something which is strangely reminiscent of what the Houri promised devout Muslims).
- Joseph was the first recorded case of impotence (other cases simply aren't recorded).
- God's abstinence program probably went one step too far.
"I was born an original sinner, I was born from original sin..."
Mary was traditionally conceived without the taint of original sin, a neat trick which the rest of us unfortunately can't duplicate. Roman Catholics believe that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven, meaning that her body is there as well as her soul. The rest of the blessed will have to wait till Judgement Day to be reunited with their bodies or given new bodies.
Alternative possible explanations for the generation of Jesus include the hypothesis that Joseph did it or that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier named Pantera. There were any number of men in Judea at the time who were biologically capable of fathering a child.[note 3]
A Marian apparition is an event in which visions or images on objects of Mary allegedly appear in modern times. Marian apparitions are a popular way of encouraging pilgrims and tourists to visit a place.
Around Christmas 2009 a dispute erupted in New Zealand over a billboard which hinted that Joseph may have gotten lucky at some point after the birth of Jesus. Two years later another billboard from the same church depicted Mary holding a positive pregnancy test, and was promptly vandalised by Catholics.
As a defense for pedophilia
In 2017, Alabama State auditor Jim Ziegler claimed that "Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter", and therefore Alabama Senate contender Roy Moore would have been justified in allegedly molesting a 14-year old girl. Ziegler also invoked the Bible as a defense with Zachariah and Elizabeth:
“”Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.
There are three problems with this bizarre line of reasoning, just from a Christian perspective:
- Zachariah and Elizabeth were both elderly adults even though there was an age difference.
- The claim the Mary was a teenager is based on the Apocrypha, which are regarded as unreliable (and non-canonical) by all mainstream Christians.
- Mary was a virgin, meaning Joseph did not have sex with her, at least until after Jesus' birth.
- Also being a mother/having sex at that age was common at the time. and still was until more modern times.
- jews for Judaism, What are the implications of the New Testament claim that Jesus was "born under law"?
- Skeptics Annotated Bible, Deuteronomy
- Skeptics Annotated Bible, Isiah
- The Problem of the Virgin Birth Prophecy (2003)
- Unholy row over New Zealand Mary and Joseph billboard (11:32 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009) BBC.
- Chttp://www.ibtimes.co.uk/new-zealand-virgin-mary-pregnancy-test-poster-267628 by Ewan Palmer (December 15, 2011 09:50 GMT) International Business Times.
- Bible Scholars Disagree With the 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph' Defense of Roy Moore by Calvin Woodward (November 10, 2017) Time.
- Alabama state auditor defends Roy Moore against sexual allegations, invokes Mary and Joseph by Philip Wegmann (Nov 9, 2017, 3:30 PM) Washington Examiner.
- St. Joseph Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent)