Wednesday 10 July 2013

in praise of virgins

A pregnant question for all the Christians out there.

The Bible specifies that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Judas, Simon. Also, the Gospel of Matthew refers to “all his sisters”, suggesting Jesus had more than just one or two. Let’s call it three sisters, for the sake of argument. One of the girls, according to tradition, was named Salome. So Mary had perhaps eight children.

If Mary wasn’t a virgin, then the entire story establishing the divinity of Jesus began with a lie, the first of many, and the argument for divinity collapses. If Jesus was sired by an illiterate carpenter instead of the Holy Ghost, then the argument that Jesus was the Son of God falls apart. This is why Christians have insisted on Mary’s virginity for two thousand years, contrary to all logic, and will continue to do so. The Christian denominations insist that those siblings were really cousins of Jesus, or that they were Joseph’s kids from another marriage, or some other West-Virginia-meets-Chinatown explanation involving a family tree that made loops instead of branching. A transparent pile of evasive lies, disproved by their own scripture. Adelphos, “from the same womb”. Those kids were Jesus’ siblings.

Mary’s virginity implies that all eight of these siblings were conceived the same way. Via the Holy Ghost, with Father Joseph looking on as a helpless by-stander, eight times in a row. No wonder Joseph just disappeared when they were kids. Outperformed in bed….by a ghost. A very virile ghost.

How hard must it have been, for Mary to spend all her life insisting she was a virgin, while dragging eight little rug rats everywhere she went, evidence of a truly spectacular talent for fertility? “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!” And of course the kids – “My Mommy is a virgin and Daddy is a ghost!” The only reason these kids didn’t get smacked around at recess in kindergarten, is that there were eight of them.

Surely that means that all eight children, sired by the Holy Ghost, had magical powers like Jesus did…? If disciples like Peter and Paul learned to raise the dead, just by hanging around Jesus for three years, then surely the other children of the Holy Ghost could have done the same. Can you imagine raising eight children with super-powers? Imagine Mary running from crisis to crisis, with Simon in one corner killing bugs and then bringing them back to life, Salome walking across the Sea of Galilee just to show off for that hot boy down the street, Judah making the nails disappear from Joseph’s tables and chairs when he wasn’t looking....That might have hastened Joseph’s departure even more.

Does that mean that all eight kids were divine? Could anyone of the eight have become the messiah? Did they argue about which of them would be God, or just draw straws? Jesus went to great lengths to avoid getting killed, running away from crowds and the authorities, asking the Boss to change his plan in the Garden of Gethsemane, trying to escape the wrath of the Sanhedrin and Pilate by using double-talk: you think maybe he wished one of his siblings had got the “Redeemer” job instead?

Could we have had a female messiah? What if it had been Salome who blundered into John the Baptist and was inspired to preach, instead of Jesus? Could we have ended up with Salome nailed to the cross wearing a loincloth, and becoming God? Or Goddess?

Maybe God’s original plan was for all eight of the kids to be messiahs, marching across the Holy Land like the Avengers, fighting evil and solving crimes, overthrowing the Roman empire -- until Jesus messed it all up by exposing his super-powers to everybody, and then throwing that hissy fit at the temple and getting executed? Maybe Jesus was the stupid one, the clumsy Scooby-Doo of Team God? After all, Jesus’ choice for right-hand man, the guy who handled the money, was the guy who betrayed him, and his choice to found the church was the guy who denied him when it counted, three times – how smart could he be? The Gospel of John makes clear that the siblings didn’t believe Jesus was God, and in the Gospel of Mark, it seems that his siblings tried to pull Jesus away from his adoring crowds, because he was out of his mind.

And what did the siblings do afterward? Apparently they didn’t come to Jesus’ trial, or his execution, or his resurrection and ascension – in fact they seem to have steered clear as Jesus’ swiftly parabolic career crashed into the ground. Did they all just wander back to Galilee and become the Falafel Kings of the Eastern Mediterranean, while Mary sat in the corner nagging them to give her grandchildren?

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