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 Why are virgin conception & resurrection so key?
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Zebra
Skeptic Friend

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  14:24:05  Show Profile Send Zebra a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Got a hankering for some religious discussion.

My understanding is that, in addition to accepting Christ, most Christians consider 3 specific beliefs to be key for one to be considered a Christian: the "virgin birth" (actually, virgin conception), the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus.

As a non-Christian, I "get" the crucifixion part - he served as a sacrifice for your sins so that you wouldn't have to. (One might wonder why a perfect little lamb wouldn't have sufficed, but that's not really my question.)

I don't get why the other parts are considered so crucial, though I do understand that Paul placed considerable emphasis on the resurrection part with 1 Corinthians 15:15-19 ("...if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith..." and so on), basically upping the ante about the resurrection part. (But Paul doesn't refer to the virgin conception part, "born of a woman" is about it, right?)

Questions for any Christians who happen to be reading here & would care to comment:

(1) Why is the virgin conception so important? Couldn't the divine Jesus have become a human through conception in the normal way? (God just puts Jesus inside that body at the moment when the soul would normally enter the body, or whatever.)

(2) Why is the resurrection of a physical human body of Jesus so important? Paul's argument seems poorly founded to me - Jesus was fully human AND fully divine, so the rules could have been different for him - in fact they were, because his human body walked around & interacted with people after reanimation, but had features which weren't quite normal-human. Why is it so important that the reanimated Jesus physically ascended to heaven; what need did he have of a (damaged) physical human body at that point?




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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  14:52:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am not sure that the immaculate conception is so important. All the mainstream Christian sects I can think of do consider the crucifixion/resurrection vital but some outright reject the virgin birth...

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  15:42:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My guess-- sort of off the top of my head-- is that the virgin birth is simply because the Gospels say that it's so. Even if among scholars it is generally regarded that Mark just botched his Hebrew and even if the OT verse that supposedly "predicts" the birth of Jesus is so unrelated to the actual event as to be a joke, some people cling to such claims simply because they must, or their faith will be ruined.
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Zebra
Skeptic Friend

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  17:42:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Zebra a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

My guess-- sort of off the top of my head-- is that the virgin birth is simply because the Gospels say that it's so. Even if among scholars it is generally regarded that Mark just botched his Hebrew and even if the OT verse that supposedly "predicts" the birth of Jesus is so unrelated to the actual event as to be a joke, some people cling to such claims simply because they must, or their faith will be ruined.
Mark doesn't mention anything about J's conception, birth, or childhood. Matthew's the one who quotes Isaiah 7:14 as if it were prophecy fulfilled. Luke has the whole bit between Mary & Gabriel, where Mary asks, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" and Gabriel answers, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you", which doesn't specifically vouch that her kid couldn't have had an earthly dad, though apparently that's what we're supposed to think.


I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone* -Dick Cheney

*some restrictions may apply
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  17:51:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The resurrection was the real "proof" of Jesus' divinity, wasn't it? And proof that He could raise the dead, which is what He'd been promising everyone.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  18:43:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Zebra

Originally posted by Cuneiformist

My guess-- sort of off the top of my head-- is that the virgin birth is simply because the Gospels say that it's so. Even if among scholars it is generally regarded that Mark just botched his Hebrew and even if the OT verse that supposedly "predicts" the birth of Jesus is so unrelated to the actual event as to be a joke, some people cling to such claims simply because they must, or their faith will be ruined.
Mark doesn't mention anything about J's conception, birth, or childhood. Matthew's the one who quotes Isaiah 7:14 as if it were prophecy fulfilled. Luke has the whole bit between Mary & Gabriel, where Mary asks, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" and Gabriel answers, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you", which doesn't specifically vouch that her kid couldn't have had an earthly dad, though apparently that's what we're supposed to think.
Yes, I apologize; of all the possible names, Synoptic Gospels include two that start with M. My point stands, but correct Matthew instead of Mark...

Edit: To further clarify: there clearly was some story floating around that Jesus had not "earthly" father. It has been suggested that this was to explain that he was a bastard child; that is, poor Mary got knocked up out of wedlock and the whole of Nazareth knew it, and so to explain this inconvenient story away, later apologists introduced a "virgin" birth. And Matthew (or someone he listened to) wrote this episode into his narrative, which was then picked up by others, including Luke (or, perhaps, Matthew and Luke drew upon the same source).

Anyhow, as Dave suggested, it is likely that at least in modern times that the story sticks around because it's "proof" of Jesus' divinity.
Edited by - Cuneiformist on 04/26/2009 18:49:13
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1264 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  18:56:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Virgin Birth also means that Jesus was conceived in purity, and so is not subject to Original Sin...if I remember correctly.
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1989 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  19:07:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just wondering...off hand, how many 'arose-from-the-dead and virgin-births' religious myths are in mankind's history, particularly B.C.? Guess I should consult the book 'The ABC's of Human Religious Fairy Tales' or the like.

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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Zebra
Skeptic Friend

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  19:08:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Zebra a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

The resurrection was the real "proof" of Jesus' divinity, wasn't it? And proof that He could raise the dead, which is what He'd been promising everyone.
But he'd already raised recently-deceased people, most notably his buddy Lazarus, after waiting a couple of days to make sure that L was dead & buried. Wasn't that good enough? (Oh, wait. I forgot that people were being raised from the dead left & right at that time in history.)

Besides, did J raise himself, or did Dad do it for him?

John 21:14
This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
John 2:22
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.

(note the passive voice)

And, does J (will J) raise the dead in general (not the ones in his time, in the gospels), or does Dad, or will the dead simply hear his voice & voila they are raised?

John 5:19-21
Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.


And John 5:28-30
[J speaking] "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his [the Son's] voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing...


I like this business of only quoting from one book, to support my point ;-)

I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone* -Dick Cheney

*some restrictions may apply
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Zebra
Skeptic Friend

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  19:16:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Zebra a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Boron10

The Virgin Birth also means that Jesus was conceived in purity, and so is not subject to Original Sin...if I remember correctly.
"Original Sin" thus meaning "sex", rather than meaning either "eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when you were told not to", or meaning "having had something to do with Woman, who brings sin"? (Since having a "daughter of that original sinner Eve" as his biological mom apparently didn't taint J, who presumably passed through the sinful birth canal (vagina) - or is the vagina only sinful after it's been used for intercourse?)


Edited for punctuation




I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone* -Dick Cheney

*some restrictions may apply
Edited by - Zebra on 04/26/2009 19:17:55
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  19:19:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Zebra

But he'd already raised recently-deceased people...
I was guessing, from memory.
Besides, did J raise himself, or did Dad do it for him?
They were one-and-the-same, except different. Your quesion thus makes no sense, because the apologetics make no sense.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Zebra
Skeptic Friend

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  19:55:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Zebra a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Zebra

But he'd already raised recently-deceased people...
I was guessing, from memory.
Besides, did J raise himself, or did Dad do it for him?
They were one-and-the-same, except different. Your quesion thus makes no sense, because the apologetics make no sense.
Well, JC apparently didn't know they were one & the same. Guess he didn't know what Paul or any of the Christian apologists was going to write. From one of the lists of contradictions at the Skeptics Annotated Bible, come these quotes "proving" that JC was not/was not God (or, if so God hadn't told him that part yet):


Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 16:19
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

John 8:40
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God.

John 14:28
My Father is greater than I.

John 20:17
I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

1 Corinthians 11:3
The head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 15:28
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Colossians 3:1
Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
That last one is my favorite, flies right in the face of trinitarianism.
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  20:06:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Zebra

Originally posted by Boron10

The Virgin Birth also means that Jesus was conceived in purity, and so is not subject to Original Sin...if I remember correctly.
"Original Sin" thus meaning "sex", rather than meaning either "eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when you were told not to", or meaning "having had something to do with Woman, who brings sin"? (Since having a "daughter of that original sinner Eve" as his biological mom apparently didn't taint J, who presumably passed through the sinful birth canal (vagina) - or is the vagina only sinful after it's been used for intercourse?)


Edited for punctuation






That seems to be a bit of a question.

Leviticus has all sorts of really bizzare and funny conditions that will render a woman "unclean". (Most notably that the birth of a male child is less "dirtying" than the birth of a female child.)

Virgin birth (or as I call it, "I can't believe Joseph FELL for that line") in this case means a supernatural conception. Nothing about purity of the vessel, just that the God implanted his child (and don't get me started on the whole praying to Jesus/10 Commandments problem when dogma indicates Jesus is the "son of God" vs "Thou shalt not have any other God's before me thing).

Had Mary danced the dirty hula with Joseph and Jesus wasn't the first child, they would not have the ability to claim divine conception. Even back then, people could figure a snow job out.

Jesus could not be tainted by Mary because of his inherent divinity.

The original sin argument always has a BIG problem when applied to the virgin birth because the original sin was disobediance of God. (God said, "don't eat that". Eve and Adam ate that. God said, "everyone out of the pool". Adam pointed to Eve and said, "She made me do it". So, God punished Eve with a mensrual cycle and childbearing pains. Boy, what an asshole.)

One caveat. I haven't been Christian for 20 years. So this is based on the study I did when I was searching.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Edited by - Valiant Dancer on 04/26/2009 20:08:02
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  20:22:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Simon

I am not sure that the immaculate conception is so important. All the mainstream Christian sects I can think of do consider the crucifixion/resurrection vital but some outright reject the virgin birth...
I seem to recall that the Immaculate Conception was the conception of Mary within her mother, not Jesus within Mary. The latter was also magical, but wasn't The Immaculate Conception. It appears the gospel mythologists thought just one layer of "purity" wasn't good enough to separate Jesus' human self from Original Sin, so they made up a tale to make his mother more pure.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  20:23:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because it trivializes and devalues human lives, breaking down competing loyalties to the contrivance that is their faith? I mean, why do religions hate women so much? Competing interests.

I wonder what it was like, living in a time when it was "out by 30" on average? Hell, you don't even have a chance to get bored of life by 30. Must have been a lot of grieving going on all the time. In our modern culture, average life-span is, what?, 70 or more and people are segregated away by age groups.

It does seem as if their miracles were rather limited in imagination, doesn't it?

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
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The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
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Zebra
Skeptic Friend

USA
354 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  20:33:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Zebra a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

Originally posted by Simon

I am not sure that the immaculate conception is so important. All the mainstream Christian sects I can think of do consider the crucifixion/resurrection vital but some outright reject the virgin birth...
I seem to recall that the Immaculate Conception was the conception of Mary within her mother, not Jesus within Mary. The latter was also magical, but wasn't The Immaculate Conception. It appears the gospel mythologists thought just one layer of "purity" wasn't good enough to separate Jesus' human self from Original Sin, so they made up a tale to make his mother more pure.


Well, I'm pretty sure it was early Catholic theologians with too much time on their hands and a real fear of sex and/or women who thought up the Immaculate Conception (of Mary) wholesale; there's nothing like that in the gospels (unless I'm failing somehow to read a whole lotta meaning into some obscure little quote; that could be the case).


I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone* -Dick Cheney

*some restrictions may apply
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