Showing posts with label Virgin birth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virgin birth. Show all posts

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.

Tonight's Debate Opener vs William Albrecht On "Was Jesus Born of a Virgin?"

My debate opponent believes a virgin named Mary gave birth to a divine child named Jesus over two-thousand years ago. The most significant problem is that theologians cannot explain how a human being and a god can be one and the same, that is, 100% human and 100% divine, with every essential characteristic of humanity and divinity included. How can a god be a god if he has a body? How can an infinite timeless god exist in time? Conversely, how can a human be a human if he or she doesn’t have a body? How can a finite human take on eternal godlike characteristics and still remain a human being? How can a human be perfectly good incapable of being tempted to sin, and yet also be tempted to sin? Christians themselves have shown the incoherence of a divine/human being by their 2000 year long disagreements over it.

Make no mistake about it. This is what my debate opponent is aiming at in this debate. The virgin birth is a first step toward claiming Jesus was God incarnate. My aim is to stop him short of this first step, even though his case isn’t done until he tackles the second step by dealing with some formidable philosophical objections to a divine/human being. With no such being there's no virgin birth either.

Let’s start by talking about the kind of evidence we need.

Was Jesus Born of a Virgin?, Part 3

Part 2 can be found here. Realist1234 responded. My introductory remarks: 'Q' is a hypothetical document that most NT scholars think best explain the synoptic gospels. Yes, there is a minority view. Do you want to hang your belief in the resurrection on a minority view? And if your god desires belief unto salvation why did he allow the evidence to lead most scholars to think Q exists?

Paul may not have needed to talk about the virgin birth, or indeed of many realities about Jesus' life. But why not? You assume he believed what we find in the canonical Gospels even though he doesn't mention the virgin birth. Can you establish that? He and Peter disagreed on circumcision. What else did they disagree about? Surely there were other things. Nonetheless, there was a need to discuss the virgin birth. His discussion of original sin in Rom. 5-8 (according to most theologians) demands it. Had he done so he would've disarmed critics who would say Jesus suffered from original sin if he was born the natural way. So why didn't he?

Was Jesus Born of a Virgin?, Part 2

Part 1 can be found here. I received a response from a Christian who switched topics from the virgin birth to the resurrection of Jesus and the mysteries that science hasn't solved yet. He argued the resurrection of Jesus supports the virgin birth of Jesus and that, even if the virgin birth is hard to believe he could never believe what an atheist like me does. My brief reply is instructive I think.

Billions of people were raised to believe something differently. As outsiders they could no more be convinced of your type of Christianity, than you could be convinced of their particular religion. Given this, the most charitable thing we can say about how people adopt their religion is that learning one's religion on Mama's knees is an unreliable way to know which religion is true, if there is one. Agreed? In other words, billions of people have been indoctrinated to believe something false. How do you know you aren't one of them? Do you want to know? Or are you having fun trying to match wits with me/us?

Was Jesus born of a virgin?

You would think that if Jesus was born of a virgin, and that such a belief is important to Christianity, the Christian clergy would all believe it. But significant numbers of them don't:

According to a 1998 poll of 7,441 Protestant clergy in the U.S., the following ministers said they didn’t believe in the virgin birth:

American Lutherans, 19 percent
American Baptists, 34 percent
Episcopalians, 44 percent
Presbyterians, 49 percent
Methodists, 60 percent

Yet another poll, in 1999, surveyed 103 Roman Catholic priests, Anglican priests and Protestant ministers in the U.K. That poll found 25 percent did not believe in the virgin birth, according to A 2004 survey of ministers in the Church of Scotland found 37 percent don’t accept the virgin account.

The clergy are educated Christians and they have much more at stake in maintaining their faith as traditionally believed. We would not expect so many of them to reject the virgin birth. The fact so many of them do so shows the evidence for the virgin birth is not there.