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saint's avatar

What makes the notion of a "virgin birth" so attractive?

Asked by saint (3970 points ) October 31st, 2011

Plenty of folks believe that Jesus was conceived in the womb of a virgin. And yet, everything that anybody knows about the biological mechanics of conception requires sexual intercourse. Certainly in the time of the Ancients. So given the fact that nobody got pregnant 2000 years ago without “doing the deed”, why do people still imagine that a vigin conception is possible, much less virtuous.

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39 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Uhhhh. Cuz sex is EVIL!!...?

Blackberry's avatar

This is like asking why some people believe in anything on faith. They just do. There are various reasons why, but there are too many to name. I think it is mainly how they were raised, and religions’ awesome track record of getting people not to question things.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Faith. It may sound odd/impossible to many people, but for people who have this as part of their faith, it just is what it is.

rebbel's avatar

We had a conversation about religion in my job today and one of my colleagues stated that Jozef, being a carpenter with probably a busy workshop, lacked time to be with Maria most of the time, and that that is why Maria hit the sack with a neighbour.
I thought it was a bit far fetched but then again, I am not really in to the Bible anyway.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@rebbel I read a grade F novel along those lines once. It was pretty awful.

But in answer to your post….why wouldn’t a carpenter with his own shop not have time to be with his wife?

You have to consider the history. Today Islamic cultures believe that somehow women are responsible for men losing self control when it comes to wanting to have sex with them, hence the burka. It must have been the same thing 2000 years ago. I don’t know what it is, but in that regard, sex, their culture is more screwed up than our Victorian culture.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Because it’s often seen that sex and sexuality is sinful, so the only way to create life (good) is through sin (bad), so all life is then tainted a bit. But, by having a virgin birth, there is no tainted good life, so the life produced from virgin birth is actually and truly pure.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

‘Cause having him come out of the ‘dirty place’ is bad enough – at least he didn’t get there in a dirty place…although conception through hearsay/in dreams sounds dirty to me…

DrBill's avatar

Because it is possible, and it still happens today. There are literally thousands of documented cases throughout history.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrBill YouTube video or it didn’t happen.

marinelife's avatar

Where is your evidence for the fact that the concept is “attractive” to people? Partheogensis is possible in animals even large mammals.

DrBill's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir
You tube is not going to allow it to play

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrBill Wait, you’re serious?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Guys…most cultures don’t have the hang ups that we Americans have about sex. We have to take ourselves out of our crazy Victorian Age U.S.A attitudes and figure out why, 2000 ago, a completely different culture would find a virgin birth attractive. Did sex=sin then and how and why?

Jeruba's avatar

I suppose because it permits believers to claim a miracle. If it’s impossible in the normal course of things, it can be taken as proof of the miraculous, provided that you believe it happened.

There’s also the fact that a doctrine of virgin birth has a history older than the Judeo-Christian myths. It’s found in earlier traditions, just as many of the other Biblical themes and stories are, including death and resurrection of the god. Apparently it has held a claim on believers for a long time as a way of asserting divine status.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Dutchess_III Repression about sexuality did not start with Victorian England, it’s pretty steeped into the entirety of Western culture. Even before Christ, there was the Classical idea that the mind was good and the body was bad, and thus sex as part of the body was bad.

filmfann's avatar

So, do you discount the miracle of raising Lazerous and the feeding the masses on a few fish as well?
Is there some reason you focus on this specific miracle?
If any one is true, couldn’t they all be?

DrBill's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Yes, scientifically verified, on countless cases

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Aethelflaed But in this question we’re talking about the Middle Eastern culture, not the Western Culture.
What was the Classical period before Christ? Ummm….Greece? (I’m thinking and typing here..serious student question.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrBill Fascinating. And I suppose I, a person of science with a degree in science, has never heard of this miracle because there’s an atheist conspiracy to keep it hushed up?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait..Dr. Bill…are you saying there are scientifically verified accounts of virgin births among mammals?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well, Classical is Ancient Greek and Roman civilization. When Jesus was actually alive, Judea and Jerusalem were controlled by the Roman Empire. And the Jesus dies, but it’s another couple of decades or so before the New Testament starts being written, with Paul leading the way. And Paul travels all over, taking Christianity (quite successfully) in a sort of northwest trajectory over the Mediterranean, finally ending up in Rome (map). And actually, early Christianity is even more virulently anti-sex than later, institutionalized Christianity. So there’s a lot of cross-over between the Classical world and Christianity for a few centuries, where they meld and mesh and become one with each other.

JLeslie's avatar

I think people just like the idea of a miracle. I find the story of the virgin birth to be horrific. A virgin girl having to push out a baby? She must have been terrified! I find it to be a horribly abusive story. If I believed in God, my God certainly would not ask a virgin woman to break her hymen and push out a baby from a part of her body that has never been touched.

However, most likely it is the dirty place explanation. In Judaism women were unclean during menstruation. Religion typically makes sex a bad thing. Plus, if Mary had had sex she probably would have been stoned to death. At minimum had a scarlet letter.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@DrBill According to Snopes, that story was a hoax. And, it’s also in a bit of a gray area for “virgin birth” – it’s more like how IVF doesn’t require intercourse, so theoretically someone who’s never had sex could give birth by using IVF, but sperm would have still be involved. But, it is not partheogensis, and I’m having trouble finding any accounts of partheogensis in mammals (especially humans).

Jeruba's avatar

Try spelling it parthenogenesis.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Well, it’s too late for me to edit, so what would you like me to do?

Jeruba's avatar

I just mean that if you’re searching on the term, you might find more hits with the correct spelling.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Oh, thanks, but Google autocorrects for me. Google knows my every need. :)

Jeruba's avatar

I’m guessing you didn’t find anything about countless scientifically verified cases. Neither did I. Maybe they were scientifically verified the same way this was.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Pretty much, yeah. I mean, there’s the occasional forum where someone goes “no, I just heard about a case of parthenogenesis in a mammal the other day”, but nothing really concrete.

DrBill's avatar

I did not mean to imply parthenogenesis. Hope I don’t get modded for this. The hymen is not solid, it is perforated with holes (you could not have a period if it were solid) if a virgin vagina is exposed to sperm, even if it is not inside, can make it’s way in and cause impregnation. and this could happen through heavy petting, or her masturbating him, getting the sperm on her hand, then she goes to the bathroom. She does not have to be entered to be exposed to sperm.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrBill But, the virgin birth is more than just an unbroken hymen, it is a baby born without a man in the equation at all. I don’t think most people think about hymens when thinking about this topic. But, I see where you are going. If Mary was verified a physical virgin at the time of her pregnancy it would have helped the whole miracle from God concept. I would think it is still very unlikely for a woman to be a virgin and get pregnant. Sperm just out on the vulva would have such a small probability of causing a pregnancy. Not impossible I guess, but very low chance.

smilingheart1's avatar

@saint, is this a sincere question soliciting sincere answers or a set up for a scoffer’s paradise?

smilingheart1's avatar

To accept the Virgin birth, one has to recognize Christianity as Truth rather than numbered among world religions. World religions are about gods humanity makes in its need to worship something and Christianity is about the God who made us to share His LIFE with us.

The premise of the Bible is sequential knowledge. The human mind must be open to consider precept upon precept to arrive at the place where the Virgin birth or even the need of the Virgin birth makes sense. God is HOLY and to be reverenced. This is a concept that is very far removed from modern man’s thinking.

The Bible asserts many things about itself commencing with God is, Creation is His, mankind is here on purpose, God is active in the affairs of mankind and individuals when sought, though never over riding mankind’s free will. He does not want puppets and clones. We are all unique and individual.

Life on this planet had a beginning and will have a conclusion. Every life has a beginning and conclusion on this earth, none of us can deny. The Bible asserts outcomes for the world, for the earth in Revelation.

We do not have to get past the early pages of Genesis to discover many disclosures. We see that God created mankind for fellowship with Himself. Mankind forfeited his/her fellowship with God and fell from Grace. None of this was a surprise to God. God’s whole plan has always been to have a free will family, those who choose Him and it was only the power of choice that could get us there. So right from the get -go he gave individuals and all of mankind choice.

The Old Testament is a record of God’s dealings with the Jews and his protection of the lineage that would bring forth the Messiah, The Christ. (Christ means anointed One). The Fall of Mankind necessitated redemption because God’s goal has always been to gather a forever family from every ethnicity, nation, tribe, tongue….

God states in early Genesis after the fall of man that He will bring forth a Deliverer, a Redeemer. And the Good News of the New Testament is just that: let the bells ring, the score has been settled. Jesus has redeemed us. This took place over 2000 years ago. It’s a done deal. Now it is up to each person whether they ratify the agreement which has already satisfied Holy justice. That is what is meant by being born again, to have God’s divine seed of truth fertilized in your heart so that one’s spiritual eyes can be opened. . Each of us comes into this world physically, emotionally, mentally alive but spiritually dead.

If you are one who can come to accept the background precepts of what the Bible is all about, you are aligned to come to a place where you can begin to recognize the necessity for the Virgin birth. God is love, justice, sacrifice and VERY responsible. To reverse completely the stain of original sin, He had to come Himself in the form of man and wipe out sin. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the Bible says she conceived in her womb, not her fallopian tubes. Jesus, the Christ was implanted directly into her womb by God’s holy presence, not a penis. Hence, Jesus came forth God-man. He identified with man 100%, calling himself the Son of Man in most cases. This is why so much is made by believers about the Blood of Christ. God, through this immaculate conception was indwelling Jesus’ blood matrix as well as His spirit. No one can live without blood very long. Jesus poured out His own blood for us. The redemption precepts are detailed and can be studied out by any person sincerely seeking. Others will just find it foolishness. Scriptures also tell us this. However God loves each one of us passionately and nothing can change this love. It shines on. Mankind fails, fundamental Christians and all humanity can fail but that does not change God’s eternal truth.

The Catholic church has always held that Mary was once virgin, ever virgin. The Bible, on the other hand, speaks of Jesus’ brothers and sisters, that Joseph and Mary had children together after the Holy birth. They were normal flesh and blood children and had to make belief choices just as we all do.

God wants you to enjoy your sexuality in intimate, committed, marriage. God is the Creator of not just you, but human genitalia are completely His invention as well.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrBill Ah, you’re talking about a technicality. Right, see @JLeslie ‘s response. Yes, sperm can get up there without intercourse but that’s still not the virgin birth as it’s explained, religiously. On a tangent, btw, I thought I was one of those people that got pregnant while still a virgin back when I was 14 and sat in a bathtub that I later realized was probably still full of my brother’s sperm (he masturbated in the shower a lot). And so I actually took my mom with me to the gyno to confirm and he thought I was insane. Incidentally, the Bill+Monica scandal was in full rage on TV.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DrBill You said that example was “one of a lot” of cases….?

Back to Classical Greece then @Aethelflaed ...what were THEIR attitudes about sex and do we know why?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well, there comes this idea from Plato’s allegorical cave (and before, but simplifying for brevity) that the mind is good, and the body is bad; the body is temptation and the mind (especially logic/reason) is where we can find truth and reality and goodness. And this idea just really takes hold, and men (women don’t exist… shhhhhh…) aren’t supposed to be sexual or drunk or physical, but rather philosophers. This article actually says it much better than I am right now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah! Well! Dang! If the world followed Plato’s reasoning…I guess that would have been the end of us!
But the root of it all has to go back to higher reasoning somehow. As we evolved, our “instincts” to have sex willy-nilly, for no other reason than to produce as many offspring as possible, had to change with our brains, for whatever reason. More than likely because women were having to care for offspring for longer and longer periods than other animals, so started demanding some sort of monogamy for their own protection. This could have lead to social mores and who knows what. This is an interesting line of thought.

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