An Analysis of My Recent Debate On the Virgin Birth of Jesus

I've already published my debate opener on the virgin birth right here. One of the best things about debates, for me anyway, is that they force me to write debate openers. They are succinct statements of why I don't believe. They will stand the test of time, even if public debates allow for the irrelevancies and non-sequiturs of my debate opponents to muddy the waters.

To write them means I must also participate in a public debates, so I do. In this debate I had some problems with the logistics for several reasons. It was supposed to give presenters 30 minutes each for their opening statements. That's was too long. So we agreed to limit it to 20 minutes just prior to the debate. I thought it would be better for the audience, and that I could fit my opener into that time. I was wrong. I was also wrong to ask my opponent to time it. There should've been someone chosen in the audience to time our debates, and to give us a 5 minute, 2 minute, then 1 minute warning. There should also have been a moderator during our cross-examination, and someone to field questions for us during the Q & A period. I wasn't in charge of these details but I should have inquired. For without a moderator we interrupted each other far too often. That's what happens without a moderator, and it sucked. Big Time! For I have a hard time listening and responding to utter nonsense.

I eventually got through my debate opener since during the cross-examination phase I finished it.

On the substantive issues I did well.

One of the most significant points made by my opponent was based on an early Christian forgery called the Proto-Gospel of James (Dated 140-170 AD) which was falsely claimed to be written by James the brother of Jesus. This Gospel was rejected as authentic by the early church. It's supposed to provide the objective evidence that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary, my opponent said. I didn't respond too well, but I did respond adequately. I had said such an account is irrelevant to the case for the virginity of Mary.

The Proto-Gospel of James follows a lot of what we read in the canonical gospel accounts, which is significant, since it repeats some of the fraudulent claims in the gospels, such as the world-wide census under Augustus Caesar, the sign of the Star, the slaughter of the innocents, and Bethlehem being the birthplace of Jesus, which my opening statement debunks. It also repeats the claim that Joseph was initially convinced by a dream that Mary was impregnated by God. *cough*

In the Proto-Gospel of James both Joseph and Mary participated in a barbaric trial by ordeal (based on passages like Numbers 5 quoted below). After drinking contaminated water they did not show evidence of "sin", that is, adultery or fornication. Exonerated, right? No, not at all. Trial by ordeals do not work. They're barbaric and unbecoming of a God to require it. One might as well use it on people convicted of a capital crime to determine if juries were correct to find them guilty. If they pass the ordeal then free them, despite what juries had just determined. Why not? If the one in the Proto-Gospel of James is good, so is the other.

In the Proto-Gospel of James there was a midwife for Mary named Salome. She testified Mary was still a virgin afer she gave birth to Jesus, and by doing so, provided testimony that Mary was also perpetual virgin! Reminiscent of the tale of Doubting Thomas, who refused to believe Jesus was resurrected until he saw Jesus and touched his wounds, Salome refused to believe Mary was a virgin until she checked Mary's hymen after the birth of Jesus! Upon testing Mary for an intact hymen her hand began to burn as if it caught on fire. Salome prays for forgiveness for questioning, and her hand was subsequently healed. [In the tale of Doubting Thomas we're told to believe without seeing, whereas here we're told God is displeased when we question--even though in this case it supposedly produced a good result!] You can read a summary of Salome's bizarre story right here.

A late dated forgery containing an additional miracle such as Salome's supposed healed hand doesn't provide support for the original miracle claim of the virgin birth. It isn't considered objective evidence nor is it considered good testimonial evidence. In fact, if it takes an additional miracle claim to support the original miracle claim of the virgin birth, then this compounds the problem of verification. That's because Salome's unevidenced miracle is not evidence for another unevidenced miracle of the virgin birth!

This forged gospel contains known historical falsehoods as it's based on what we read in the gospels. It is late, untrustworthy and inauthentic. It doesn't provide the needed objective evidence or testimonial evidence to support a miracle claim, as I mentioned in my opening statement. It is therefore irrelevant!


Follow this link to read the The Proto-Gospel of James.

Trial by Ordeal, Numbers 5:16-27

16 ‘Then the priest shall bring her near and have her stand before the Lord, 17 and the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel; and he shall take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18 The priest shall then have the woman stand before the Lord and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose, and place the grain offering of memorial in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest is to be the water of bitterness that brings a curse. 19 The priest shall have her take an oath and shall say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you and if you have not gone astray into uncleanness, being under the authority of your husband, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings a curse; 20 if you, however, have gone astray, being under the authority of your husband, and if you have defiled yourself and a man other than your husband has had intercourse with you” 21 (then the priest shall have the woman swear with the oath of the curse, and the priest shall say to the woman), “the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people by the Lord’s making your thigh waste away and your abdomen swell; 22 and this water that brings a curse shall go into your stomach, and make your abdomen swell and your thigh waste away.” And the woman shall say, “Amen. Amen.”

23 ‘The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24 Then he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings a curse, so that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness. 25 The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, and he shall wave the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar; 26 and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering as its memorial offering and offer it up in smoke on the altar, and afterward he shall make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come about, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness, and her abdomen will swell and her thigh will waste away, and the woman will become a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children.