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Revision as of 16:17, 29 July 2012
According to the Christian mythology as related in the Bible, Jesus Christ, a very important character in Christianity, was born to a virgin mother. The first mention of the virgin birth in the Bible occurs in the Gospel of Matthew, which was written over 30 years after the birth.
The Gospel reads;
"But while he (Joseph) thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."- 20
One of the more remarkable aspects of the virgin birth is the belief in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary held by some Christian religions. The believers of this doctrine hold that Mary not only was a virgin when she conceived, but she continued to be a virgin after giving birth and for the rest of her life despite delivering Jesus with siblings. As said by Rufus in the film Dogma: "The nature of God and the Virgin Mary, those are leaps of faith. But to believe a married couple never got down? Well, that's just plain gullibility."
Another theory is that a Roman soldier called Pantera was the father of Jesus.
If any of these stories is true, it's pretty cool how Joseph took it all in stride.
Importantly, the original Jewish texts (the alleged prophecies) referred to the mother as almah (young woman), as opposed to bethulah (virgin). Using corrupted translations containing the incorrectly placed Greek word "parthenos" (virgin), the Greek-speaking New Testament writers unknowingly contrived their stories to fall in line with this error. Thus we have myth built upon error from a previous myth.
Virginal Conception should not be confused with Immaculate Conception (or the Immaculate Reception for that matter). The doctrine of Immaculate Conception arose because the question was asked how Christ could be born of a woman who would inevitably be tainted with original sin. In order to get round the problem the church decreed that Mary herself was immaculately conceived - without original sin - and this allowed Christ to be born without original sin. (It is not clear how Mary's parents avoided original sin or why an omnipotent God did not make more exceptions, though.)
There is a contradiction inherent in this myth, because the Bible also states that Jesus was a "direct" descendant of King David through the male line. Obviously, if God was the father, this is impossible by any stretch of the imagination. Or at least nonsensical to the point of comedy.
Jesus can be interpreted as being born through parthenogenesis, a phenomenon not naturally observed in mammals (although it has been artificially induced in rabbits). His genes would have come only from Mary, if the incredibly unlikely parthenogenesis ever occurred. Unfortunately for the Bible's claims, Mary is a female. In animals using the XY chromosome system, parthenogenesis always results in female offspring. Thus, Jesus would also have to be female, because only Mary's female genes were passed on to "him.". This would be cooler if Jesus was the first male in their religion, but noooo, nobody thought of nifty evolutionary science ideas when they wrote the Bible. Go figure. In addition, it is generally agreed that Jesus is a male, or a bearded lady, since nobody actually grabbed/peeked at Jesus' genitals. But that since the condition for growing a beard on a lady is dominant for congenital cases, Mary should have a similar beard on her as well. And boobs may be more difficult to explain this way. As such, it is possible to show that Jesus in all probability was conceived naturally through Reductio Ad Absurdum.  Not that you will have to believe in the natural way of reproduction, since alternative theories exists to explain that as well.
Sexless births and "special conception" in other religions
Okay, let's go into a little more detail and try to figure out if a pattern is emerging here. Yes, there were any number of divine and semi-divine figures born with fathers who were gods and human mothers. 
- Leda: Leda's father was the Aetolian king Thestius. The story goes that Zeus, the dude with the lightening bolts and thunder clouds, admired Leda very much. So, like any randy god, he took the form of a swan and seduced her. Ew. Anyway, the result of this celestial gettin' down were two eggs. From these eggs hatched Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, and Castor and Pollux. Technically, this isn't virgin birth since Zeus physically did the deed, but the sentiment is more or less the same, although termed 'miraculous birth.'
- Perseus: Son of Danae, who was locked away in a room while a child and impregnated by Zeus (busy fella, that Zeus) in the form of a shower of gold (no, really).
- Hephaestus: According to some accounts, the goddess Hera was so annoyed at how Athena had sprung forth from Zeus' head that she conceived Hephaestus without the aid of a man, by force of will alone. Apparently, it didn't go so well, as she threw him off Mount Olympus after seeing his ugly face. Hephaestus is the only Greek god who is lame.
Nothing in Hindu scripture suggests a "virgin" birth, though the idea of a miraculous conception is common.
- Krishna descended directly into the womb of his mother, Devaki.
- Avatars of the god, living in the Human realm descend into human women's wombs, i.e., without intercourse.
- Karna: Was the result of Queen Kunti asking the god Surya for a child, without taking Kunti's virginity, just before she married King Pandu.
- The Pandavas: Brahmin laid a curse upon King Pandu, telling him not to touch either of his two wives sexually or he'd die. Queen Kunti, ever resourceful, simply asked the other gods to give her and her co-wife children. The gods gave them the Pandavas.
Assyrian and Babylonian mythology
- The Buddha: His mother, Queen Maha ,was Koliyan princess. The night of her child's conception, she dreamed of a white elephant with six tusks entering her right side.
- While it is a popular belief that Horus was born of a virgin Isis, this is not supported by ancient authors. Herodotus records that the Egyptians believed that Isis was impregnated by having intercourse with the severed penis of the dead Osiris. Calling this parthenogenesis is a considerable stretch and a work of pseudohistory.
Finnish and Karelian mythology
- Marjatta: while herding, she eats a lingonberry and becomes pregnant. She gives birth to a boy who will grow up to be the king of Karelia.
- The myth of the virgin birth at infidels.org
- A virgin birth prophecy? At theskepticalreview.com
- Was she or was she not "a virgin"? - a good contextual refutation from the Hebrew, at messiahtruth.com
- Liberals and skeptics on the virgin birth at religioustolerance.org
- New Advent
- Did Jesus Have Brothers and Sisters?
- And no, "DNA wasn't invented then" is not one of the valid responses.
- That, or somehow one of the X chromosomes mutated into a Y chromosome
- Alternatively Christians may assume that God miraculously created a complete half set of chromosomes including an extra Y chromosome specially for Jesus or that Jesus was miraculously enabled to be male despite having only X chromosomes. Using Occam’s razor which is more likely?
- Is it more likely that all these unprecedented miracles happened?
- Is it more likely that some man or other did –you know what- to Mary and nine months later Jesus was born?
- Child of the Holy Spirit