There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff — we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone seeing this today donates $5, we will meet our goal for 2018.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
Mary (mother of Jesus)
| Light iron-age reading|
|Gabbin' with God|
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 ("alma" 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 - as it presumably was after the birth of Jesus. (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 ascended bodily into heaven, meaning that her body is there as well as her soul. The rest of the blessed will have to wait till judgment 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.
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.
- 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)
- Which may, or may not, have been painful every time, depend on the techniques used.
- Since the church dogma holds that Jesus was her only son, this may imply some sort of infertility or permanent contraception that God implemented for Joseph or Mary.
- In case you were in any doubt about this.
- 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.