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A New Take on Virgin Birth


spiritseeker
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Hi everyone! My friend Alexander Lang (Reverend and Author) wrote the message and article below and I encourage you all to have a read if you are interested. It is very progressive and thought provoking. If you enjoy the article I invite you to join our facebook group
"Restorative Faith Discussion Group" where you can chat with Alex directly and other like minded people!
 
 
Here is Alex's message!
 
"Hello everyone! As we barrel towards Christmas Eve, I would like to provide you with some food for thought concerning Jesus' birth. For those of you who have not read my book, you will find this blog post encapsulates my approach to the Christian faith. This article examines the scriptural evidence for the Virgin Birth and the implications of this story for our faith. Once you read it, feel free to comment below to provide your perspective."
 
 
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A pretty accurate summation of what biblical scholarship has been saying for the last several hundred years - but as you know, rarely heard within Christianity.  I believe this is because of the 'threat' factor - i.e. many Christians who know about the scholarship and are in a position to share this information, deliberately choose not to, fearing that God's 'sheep' might startle and decide to scatter!  They think that their congregations won't be able to re-understand Jesus,  and so they act as though they are Colonel Jessup - "You can't handle the truth!". 

I think there is a fear there that revisiting this Xmas story (and other biblical stories such as the creation myths and so-called 'original sin') will weaken the religion.  Quite possibly it will, but there is a way to re-frame Christianity, if Christian's could so choose, and that is by understanding some of the key messages of Jesus (love one another, turn the other cheek, put people before material items, etc) as a way to live in harmony with God and not Jesus worship as a cult behavior.

Jesus may have been preaching about an impending Kingdom that didn't come, but that doesn't mean all of his teachings should be disregarded.  Jesus taught some valuable lessons.  But we are where we are today because of cult worship of Jesus, and that's what needs to change in my opinion.  It looks like your friend Alex is contributing to breaking down centuries of misinformation and misunderstanding.

I think the other thing worth noting is that Christmas was surreptitiously introduced in Roman December because the people were already celebrating the summer equinox at that time of year.  The Romans called it Saturnalia and many cultures celebrated at that time of year for the equinox.  Christianity decided to introduce its celebrations at that time for a reason (to overtake the celebrations with a Christian purpose).  So culturally it is pretty normal for humans to celebrate life at this time of year, whether we want to call it Christmas or not.

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On 12/22/2021 at 9:59 PM, spiritseeker said:

This article examines the scriptural evidence for the Virgin Birth and the implications of this story for our faith

Jesus could have been born out of wedlock; equally, Mary could just have made up the story about the angel to avoid getting stoned, and Joseph was dim enough to believe it. Certainly most people back then (apart from Jews and skeptics) believed in gods coming to earth, having sex with women, often without their consent etc. Zeus for instance - though unlike the Christian God, he at least had the decency to marry Europa after he raped her. 

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25 minutes ago, John Hunt said:

Mary could just have made up the story about the angel to avoid getting stoned, and Joseph was dim enough to believe it.

Well if we are playing the perhaps game ... maybe some later scribe made up the whole thing?

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2 hours ago, romansh said:

Well if we are playing the perhaps game ... maybe some later scribe made up the whole thing?

I would guess that's almost certainly the case. The first NT documents, the letters, don't mention it. The gospels (unknown authors) came generations later. And the first gospel chronologically, Mark, doesn't mention it.

Kind of a bit baffling that in the 21st century people still take it literally.

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7 hours ago, John Hunt said:

I would guess that's almost certainly the case. The first NT documents, the letters, don't mention it. The gospels (unknown authors) came generations later. And the first gospel chronologically, Mark, doesn't mention it.

Kind of a bit baffling that in the 21st century people still take it literally.

The Gospel of Matthew presents Jesus's ministry as largely the fulfilment of prophecies from Isaiah, but in the time of Jesus the Jews of Palestine no longer spoke Hebrew, and Isaiah had to be translated into Greek and Aramaic, the two commonly used languages.

So in relation to the 'virgin' prophecy in Isaiah 7, Bart Erhman points out that the original meaning of the word parthenos in the Septuagint (i.e., the Hebrew Bible translated by Hellenistic Jews in Koine Greek) is "young woman", not "virgin", but the word changed meaning over the centuries, thus the authors of Matthew and Luke promoted the notion that Isaiah predicted a virgin birth for the coming Messiah, so they endorsed their choice by quoting the Greek translation (of course the story wasn't a prophecy but was an actual story for the time of writing).  And so the cult of Jesus worship begins and the focus becomes the person, not the teachings.

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