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anti-virgin birth: I would like some input to refute this.

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  • Todd E. Tornow
    In this first installment of my investigation of the virgin birth, I will cover the following: I. History a.) Comparison/contrast of virgin births from other
    Message 1 of 28 , Jul 16, 2009
      In this first installment of my investigation of the virgin birth, I will cover the following:

      I. History

      a.) Comparison/contrast of "virgin births" from other cultures and religions to the example presented in the Gospels.

      By now it is probably common knowledge to both Christians and Jews (and those in between) that the concept of a "virgin birth" is not new to Christianity or the Gospels that Christianity draws its particular flavor of the virgin birth from. Although a comparison with the Gospel account of the virgin birth and those from pagan myth/history has been called by some as one of the "weakest arguments" presented by those that are anti-virgin birth—and this comparison and its counter argument really don't carry too much weight overall as we'll soon see—it however cannot be simply ruled out either because it also raises good questions.

      Some may ask, "So what if the virgin birth concept pre-existed the Gospel account? What's the big deal?" The heart of the problem is the commandment from HaShem, "not to learn the ways of the nations (i.e. pagan cultures)" found in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:13-15, Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 10, Maasei Sh'lichim (Acts) 17:30, etc. So in fact, if the current interpretation of G-d's stance towards other religions/gods/worship is true, then it would be sinful to adopt any of these practices or beliefs from foreign religions/cultures and apply them to the G-d of Israel and the way He prescribed for worship. This would then obviously apply to any texts that are claimed to be inspired by Him as well. Here is the heart of this particular problem, let's see what we find out when we weigh the evidence.

      maryandhorus.jpg *

      The pagan examples throughout human history:

      Deganawidah: "According to the legend, Dekanahwideh was born among the Huron Indians. His virgin mother had been informed in a dream by a messenger from the Creator that she was to bear a son destined to plant the Tree of Peace at Onondaga." Dekanahwideh, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

      Montezuma (the Pueblo god-hero, not the Aztec Emperor): Supposedly conceived from a beautiful virgin when she either ate [1] a pinyon pine nut, or when it fell from a tree and landed on her belly[2], depending on the version.

      Cúchulainn: according to "The Birth of Cúchulainn" he was born three times: the second and third may have been virgin births (the narrative is unclear).

      Mithras: The Persian yazata Mithra is often cited as a virgin birth, but this is unclear. By the 3rd Century BC, Mithra's myth had become attached to that of Anahita. The Seleucid temple at Kangavar in western Iran (c. 200 BC) is dedicated to "Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras." But it should be noted that Anāhitā was considered eternally immaculate, no matter how many sexual encounters she might have. (Author's note: We'll approach this "eternally immaculate" concept in depth later on in the study).

      Romulus: Mythical founder of Rome, his father was Mars, his mother was a vestal virgin. Hailed as a "god, son of god" he was also prayed to for grace (Livy, History 1:3-4).

      Perseus: Mother was Danae (a human virgin) and Zeus.

      Horus: An Egyptian deity born to Isis, an "eternal virgin" on 25 December. Also possibly born in a cave or manger.

      Tammuz: Born to the virgin, Mylitta (a.k.a. Isthtar) on 25 December in a cave or manger.

      Dionysius: Greek deity born to the virgin, Semele and Zeus in a manger and then raised in a cave.

      Krishna: Devaki, the radiant Virgin of Hindu mythology, bore Krishna to the god Vishnu (second god of the Trimurthi [also called the Hindu Trinity]).

      Zarathustra (Zoroaster): Born to a 15-year old virgin.

      Minverva: Although a "daughter of Jupiter" was apparently conceived without intercourse with the god.

      Alexander the Great: A historical general who conquered almost the entire "known world" during at the time. Because of his amazing military feats at such a young age and the fact that he referred to Zeus as "my father", a legend developed that Alexander's father was not King Philip of Macedon, but Zeus the King of Olympia.

      There are many, many more examples from literally every region of the world, but the ones I cited should be sufficient for a study of this scope.

      What can we learn from these examples?

      1.) There are several similarities among the birth of deities and historical figures that span many millennia and across cultures. We'll list them out in a moment.

      2.) If this information is new to you, it may be shocking how similar the accounts are. In fact, since nothing in the virgin birth account of Matthew and Luke is "new" or "unique" (all of the before mentioned examples either predate the Gospel accounts or are culturally isolated from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sun deity worship [i.e. Native American mythology]), it makes one begin to ask other questions—questions that we'll address shortly.
      What can we learn from these examples? #1 List of similarities:

      1.) Despite several minute details, all of the examples involved a human mother and a divine father.

      2.) At least one example from pagan mythology did not involve intercourse between the god and the virgin mother. (Important to note for later).

      3.) Several pagan deities were born on 25 December, and even possibly in a "manger".

      4.) Several pagan deities had virgin mothers that remained "eternally virgin" despite having other sexual partners in some cases, or remained chaste (life-long chastity is a popular pagan virtue) in others.

      5.) It was common for historical figures, after accomplishing a great feat to be deified by later people. Such examples as Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, and Scipio Africanus prove this. All were known for great accomplishments that were deemed "beyond human capability" and so they must have been half god and half man to do it. This ties into the pagan concept of deity in general. The gods were "up there somewhere" in their realm. Everything in this realm was mundane and human. So, when occurrences that appeared to be too miraculous to be "human" happened, obviously deity had to come down from their realm into ours—and in most cases this was done by the deity impregnating a human and the result of this union could live in this human realm, yet perform as if they were of heaven too.

      What can we learn from these examples? #2 Raised Questions:

      1.) Q) Why would early Christians make something like the virgin birth up?

      A) Several possible reasons—I'll address two of them here: (1) Primary reason that fits history and logic is that when many non-Jews began to believe in Yeshua (Jesus), they brought their pre-conceived notions from their pagan backgrounds with them (this occurred in the 1st century C.E. and fits a plausible timeline). I.e. Yeshua must be half god/half man (or all G-d and all man) to accomplish what he did—since all the examples of men we know of already had a god father and virgin mother, it must be the same for him (Acts 14:11 [see also 28:6] is a perfect Biblical example of this pagan mindset –but notice Paul's reaction only a few verses later–it isn't a positive one!). This belief then made its way into the oral traditions of Yeshua and then finally committed to writing to some extent. (2) This virgin birth notion may have been added to the oral accounts of Yeshua's life by non-Jews (or competing Christian sects) before they were committed to writing (or added in after the "Q" Source already existed in order to gain more non-Jewish or like-minded believers (this topic of early Christian sects, their beliefs and the evolution of "Christian theology" will be covered more thoroughly on a later date).

      2.) Q) How does the virgin birth account differ from the Gospels? It has to be different somehow…

      A) There are really no differences except for the names of those involved. The historical date (25 Dec), the location (manger), the mother's status (virgin), the father's status (deity), all the same.

      3.) Q) Why didn't the Church fathers or other earlier Christians address this problem before?

      A) They did. Using an argument which baffles the mind, Origen and Justin Martyr address this issue early on. Origen: "We [Christians] are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind…Danae, Melanippe, Auge and Antiope. The stories about these gods are ancient, but unlike the story of Jesus' virgin birth, only fables." (Origen, Against Celsus 1, 37). Sounds a lot like "Replacement Theology" but instead of the Church replacing Israel, the Christian version of the virgin birth replaced that of prior accounts. Justin Martyr's conclusion on the matter is at first similar to that of Origen's, but then takes an extreme logical leap. Justin Martyr: "He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you believe of Perseus" (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 22 [this happens to be a great proof text for my earlier theory that non-Jewish believers brought this virgin birth idea with them, or added this concept to attract more non-Jewish believers]). Here is the most shocking conclusion of all, "The devils…craftily feigned that Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter not by sexual union" (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 64). So now, demons "copied" the virgin birth from the Gospels, but long ago in the past and in many different cultures? Interesting…
      Pro-virgin arguments drawn from the pagan comparisons and possible responses:

      1.) The virgin birth account is different in that no sexual intercourse takes place between G-d and Miriam (Mary), but Yeshua is conceived by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) as in Mattityahu (Matthew), or the power of G-d will "cover" or "overshadow" her as in Lukas (Luke) and she'll become pregnant.

      Response: As already mentioned earlier, Minerva, the daughter of Jupiter was supposedly born without intercourse between her mother and Jupiter—the details are sketchy however. If you want a male version for greater similarity, Ishtar (known as Semiramis in the Bible), was traditionally made pregnant when the rays of the sun shone on her, and later gave birth to the reincarnated sun god Tammuz on 25 December. In these two examples, sexual intercourse was not performed between the human vessel and the divine stimulus. In fact, the power of G-d that will "cover" Miriam is extremely similar to the power of the sun god (his sunlight, i.e. rays) that "covered" Semiramis and impregnated her. Nothing unique about the Gospel version so far.

      2.) The statement, "If you are going to question the virgin birth because it exists in pagan cultures/beliefs, then you need to question all of the miracles of the Gospels as being pagan because even `miraculous occurrences' are found in pagan cultures/beliefs."

      Response: Although this statement appears logical, it is in fact a fallacious argument. It goes from the specific against the general, as in induction, which is used in reasoning, but in a logical formula it doesn't fit. For example, it should go from specific to specific, or generality to generality, or even specific and broad to specific and broad—the formula has to balance. Remember algebra back in school? You couldn't treat one side of the formula differently than the other when working out the math. Same principle. So to work out that question logically, it would have to say, "There are miracles in the Bible, and there are miracles in pagan myth. What makes our miracles different?" That addresses generalities, the same would be done from specific to specific (virgin birth to virgin birth, resurrection to resurrection, etc.) Anyway, to answer the original statement, of course you should question the miracles in the Gospels, even if there weren't any found in pagan mythology (but especially since there are) because one should question his or her faith entirely in order to strengthen it, or realize it may be a false belief. Judaism teaches to "question everything" and then at least "taste and see that HaShem is good." Mainstream Christianity recently has gone more to this approach and it needs to. More on the reason for questioning the accounts at a later date in the Textual Criticism section. Back to the specifics of the question: if you can show me where a pagan god or hero walked on water, or turned five loaves of bread and two fish into a feast to feed many hundreds with plenty left over, healed someone with tza'raat (Biblical leprosy) and then knew enough Torah (a.k.a. Law of Moses) to tell that person to show the priests you've been healed as a sign (and to submit to their judgment that the man indeed was healed per the Torah) we can then re-examine those particular instances of specific or extremely similar cases of miraculous events–specific to specific. It is no accident that the elements of the Gospels that share the most resemblance to pagan myth (virgin birth, half-man and half-god (or all-man and all-G-d), Trinity, etc.) are the elements that receive the most scrutiny—as they should.

      3.) The virgin birth fits the trend of miraculous birth accounts given in the Bible so what's wrong with that?

      Response: Well, if it didn't really happen and many are teaching that it did and believe one's place in the world to come is affected by this knowledge, that's a problem. Even if one doesn't view it as a "salvation issue", the fact that lies are being propagated as truth in G-d's Name is a huge problem. Also, the problem with this logic is that not every "hero" of the Bible had a miraculous birth, as much as they had a miraculous life/faith and that's what matters most since we can learn from and emulate that. The next two arguments tie into this one to some degree.

      4.) The first Adam had a miraculous "birth", and since Yeshua is taught to be the "Second/Last Adam" it only makes sense that Yeshua would have a similar "birth".

      Response: Ok, but this is an assumption that is made in reverse. That is, because when someone already believes in the virgin birth, this reasoning makes sense because Yeshua is the "Second Adam" and since Yeshua had a unique birth, it would make sense if Adam did—and look, he did. However, just looking at the concept of the Second/Last Adam as taught by R' Sha'ul of Tarsus zt"l (Paul) in 1 Cor. 15, similarity in birth is not a component of his theology, nor is it automatically assumed that the entirety of Yeshua's life should imitate Adam's. In fact it can't or Yeshua would have sinned, got married, grown old and died. Why would Yeshua's birth have to be the same as Adam's but nothing else has to be in common? In fact, the only similarity that R' Sha'ul makes is that just as Adam was called in the Torah in the original text "a living soul" that fathered humanity, Yeshua became a "life-giving spirit" to all who believe in him.

      5.) The Tanakh (a.k.a. "Old" Testament) is not free from pagan influence so if you're going to dismiss the virgin birth and other things as "pagan" then you have to dismiss Moshe's (Moses') birth account which also bears resemblance to pagan myth.

      Response: This is referring to the birth narrative of Moshe as given in the Torah in Sh'mot (Exodus) 2:2-3: "The woman conceived and bore a son…but when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile" versus the account given of the birth of Sargon of Akkad (2,334 – 2279 BCE). Sargon was the third king in secular recorded history to create an empire. A Neo-Assyrian text (700 BCE) tells us this about his birth from the first person perspective, "My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me."

      The similarities are again as astonishing as the pagan virgin birth narratives versus that of the Gospels. If one goes by Ussher's Chronology (a popular 16th Century measurement of the age of the earth vs. events in Biblical and secular history [that by the way has practically been abandoned by Christian theologians only in the mid-1990s]) then the record of Sargon's birth predates that of Moshe's. However, if one goes by the Hebrew Calendar (which places the giving of the Torah at about 1312 BCE), the Torah's account predates the one we have recorded of Sargon's by almost 700 years! Because although Sargon lived long before Moshe did, the only surviving record of his birth was written after Moshe's and therefore is more suspect of borrowing from the Torah's account as opposed to the other way around.

      Another example that is often overlooked yet familiar to most is the account of a possible sexual relationship between spiritual beings and humans. Let's look at B'reisheet (Genesis) 6:1-4: "In time, when men began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of G-d saw the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose…The N'filim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of G-d came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown."

      I've seen this passage interpreted three primary ways: 1.) The predominant traditional Jewish interpretation is that the "sons of G-d" are the rulers or judges (a sort of early bourgeoisie) at that time, and the "daughters of men" are the common people or peasants (proletariat). The ruling class found the peasant women attractive and took wives at will–the result was children that were morally corrupt and caused others to become so. 2.) The other common Jewish interpretation is that the "sons of G-d" were the righteous descendents of Seth (Adam's third son) and the "daughters of men" were descendents of the wicked Cain–the result of this mixing again was the moral corruption of society. 3.) The primary Christian interpretation I've seen is that the "sons of G-d" were a type of spiritual entity such as a demon or angel, and the "daughters of men" were humans. The demons mated with the human women and the resulting offspring were giants and men capable of great feats.

      It is possible that upon exposure to this Christian interpretation in the Middle Ages, the rabbis favored the interpretation we have today which removes any "pagan" concept of a deity and human carnal relationship. However the Rabbinic translation used of that passage is consistent with the rest of the Tanakh and so it appears that the Jewish view that no "demon and human" sexual union probably didn't happen. However, if it did really take place, it may explain why in every other culture on earth (besides Hebraic) there is this concept of a divine being and human being producing a mixed offspring that is capable of divine feats yet in the human form. It's because it has been part of their oral tradition or collective conscience since its occurrence thousands of years ago–that is if this theory is true. If that is the case, when we look at the context of that passage from B'reisheet we can see that HaShem's reaction to this occurence is less than favorable (6:3 & v.5-7) which would be strong Biblical (i.e. contextual) evidence against the virgin birth because why would HaShem imitate something He earlier condemned?

      6.) HaSatan (the "Devil") imitated what he foreknew to occur as a virgin birth for the Mashiach (Messiah) in other religions and cultures.

      Response: It would be difficult to prove this wrong but one doesn't have to. When HaShem commands "not to know the ways of the nations and their foreign gods", one would then have to assume because of His honest character that He would not hide His truth in the "ways of nations and foreign gods" if we were first forbidden to know them. That would be like telling someone the combination to a sealed safe so they can open it and have access to all the money within, but the safe is locked from the inside. Logically it is a ludicrous notion, but again one that can't be proven wrong.

      Summary for this section:

      What did we cover?

      –Several examples of pagan virgin birth accounts and their similarity to the Gospels' account.

      –Some reasons behind why someone would invent the virgin birth and incorporate it into Christian belief.

      –What the Church fathers thought about the subject.

      –Six pro-virgin birth arguments (only drawing upon the pagan similarities in this section) I've encountered and possible responses that prove them wrong/improbable.

      Conclusion: At this point in the investigation, it appears that there's nothing unique or new about the virgin birth narrative given in the Gospels vs. that from pagan myth/belief. Although this alone doesn't prove that the virgin birth is a construct and not a truth, it does however weigh against a pro-virgin birth argument in my reckoning. Case in point is the fact that many believers use the same amount of comparative evidence provided in Genesis for the "Binding of Isaac" (Akeidah) vs. the "Binding of Messiah" of the Gospels as has been presented here regarding pagan virgin births. The only difference is the death and resurrection of the Messiah is requred belief per the Apostolic Talmud, but the virgin birth is not. Overall, using the pagan comparison is a weak argument to solely or even heavily depend upon because of lack of details and even conflicting details in a lot of the accounts that survived regarding pagan deities and their birth narratives. Onto the next section.

      (Author's note: Next topic I'll be covering is "The different 1st Century Christian sects and their Gospels/ideologies and How They Affected the Evolution of Christian Theology". Also, I will receive comments and will possibly update this post over time so keep checking back for the freshest information if you are interested in this subject.)

      *Image is of baby Horus and his virgin mother Isis, and to the right is a classical representation of Mary (Miriam) and baby Jesus (Yeshua).
    • Paul Leonard
      Hi, Just a thought. You speak of imitating the nations. not to learn the ways of the nations (i.e. pagan cultures) However if the account is true, then no
      Message 2 of 28 , Jul 16, 2009
        Hi,

        Just a thought.

        You speak of imitating the nations.

        "not to learn the ways of the nations (i.e. pagan cultures)"

        However if the account is true, then no "imitation" occurred. Reality occurred. Because the event is similar to a myth of another religion or religions, including many that would not have been known to the Israelites/Jews, does not mean that any imitation occurred.

        You first need to prove that the writers/proponents of the account did "learn the ways of the nations". I see no basis for that claim at this point. You would first need to provide some evidence that:

        1. The account WAS copied from a pagan account
        2. That it did not occur.

        --- On Thu, 7/16/09, Todd E. Tornow <tetornow@...> wrote:

         

        In this first installment of my investigation of the virgin birth, I will cover the following:

        I. History

        a.) Comparison/contrast of "virgin births" from other cultures and religions to the example presented in the Gospels.

        By now it is probably common knowledge to both Christians and Jews (and those in between) that the concept of a "virgin birth" is not new to Christianity or the Gospels that Christianity draws its particular flavor of the virgin birth from. Although a comparison with the Gospel account of the virgin birth and those from pagan myth/history has been called by some as one of the "weakest arguments" presented by those that are anti-virgin birth—and this comparison and its counter argument really don't carry too much weight overall as we'll soon see—it however cannot be simply ruled out either because it also raises good questions.

        Some may ask, "So what if the virgin birth concept pre-existed the Gospel account? What's the big deal?" The heart of the problem is the commandment from HaShem, "not to learn the ways of the nations (i.e. pagan cultures)" found in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:13-15, Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 10, Maasei Sh'lichim (Acts) 17:30, etc. So in fact, if the current interpretation of G-d's stance towards other religions/gods/ worship is true, then it would be sinful to adopt any of these practices or beliefs from foreign religions/cultures and apply them to the G-d of Israel and the way He prescribed for worship. This would then obviously apply to any texts that are claimed to be inspired by Him as well. Here is the heart of this particular problem, let's see what we find out when we weigh the evidence.

        maryandhorus. jpg *

        The pagan examples throughout human history:

        Deganawidah: "According to the legend, Dekanahwideh was born among the Huron Indians. His virgin mother had been informed in a dream by a messenger from the Creator that she was to bear a son destined to plant the Tree of Peace at Onondaga." Dekanahwideh, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

        Montezuma (the Pueblo god-hero, not the Aztec Emperor): Supposedly conceived from a beautiful virgin when she either ate [1] a pinyon pine nut, or when it fell from a tree and landed on her belly[2], depending on the version.

        Cúchulainn: according to "The Birth of Cúchulainn" he was born three times: the second and third may have been virgin births (the narrative is unclear).

        Mithras: The Persian yazata Mithra is often cited as a virgin birth, but this is unclear. By the 3rd Century BC, Mithra's myth had become attached to that of Anahita. The Seleucid temple at Kangavar in western Iran (c. 200 BC) is dedicated to "Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras." But it should be noted that An&#257;hit& #257; was considered eternally immaculate, no matter how many sexual encounters she might have. (Author's note: We'll approach this "eternally immaculate" concept in depth later on in the study).

        Romulus: Mythical founder of Rome, his father was Mars, his mother was a vestal virgin. Hailed as a "god, son of god" he was also prayed to for grace (Livy, History 1:3-4).

        Perseus: Mother was Danae (a human virgin) and Zeus.

        Horus: An Egyptian deity born to Isis, an "eternal virgin" on 25 December. Also possibly born in a cave or manger.

        Tammuz: Born to the virgin, Mylitta (a.k.a. Isthtar) on 25 December in a cave or manger.

        Dionysius: Greek deity born to the virgin, Semele and Zeus in a manger and then raised in a cave.

        Krishna: Devaki, the radiant Virgin of Hindu mythology, bore Krishna to the god Vishnu (second god of the Trimurthi [also called the Hindu Trinity]).

        Zarathustra (Zoroaster): Born to a 15-year old virgin.

        Minverva: Although a "daughter of Jupiter" was apparently conceived without intercourse with the god.

        Alexander the Great: A historical general who conquered almost the entire "known world" during at the time. Because of his amazing military feats at such a young age and the fact that he referred to Zeus as "my father", a legend developed that Alexander's father was not King Philip of Macedon, but Zeus the King of Olympia.

        There are many, many more examples from literally every region of the world, but the ones I cited should be sufficient for a study of this scope.

        What can we learn from these examples?

        1.) There are several similarities among the birth of deities and historical figures that span many millennia and across cultures. We'll list them out in a moment.

        2.) If this information is new to you, it may be shocking how similar the accounts are. In fact, since nothing in the virgin birth account of Matthew and Luke is "new" or "unique" (all of the before mentioned examples either predate the Gospel accounts or are culturally isolated from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sun deity worship [i.e. Native American mythology]), it makes one begin to ask other questions—questions that we'll address shortly.
        What can we learn from these examples? #1 List of similarities:

        1.) Despite several minute details, all of the examples involved a human mother and a divine father.

        2.) At least one example from pagan mythology did not involve intercourse between the god and the virgin mother. (Important to note for later).

        3.) Several pagan deities were born on 25 December, and even possibly in a "manger".

        4.) Several pagan deities had virgin mothers that remained "eternally virgin" despite having other sexual partners in some cases, or remained chaste (life-long chastity is a popular pagan virtue) in others.

        5.) It was common for historical figures, after accomplishing a great feat to be deified by later people. Such examples as Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, and Scipio Africanus prove this. All were known for great accomplishments that were deemed "beyond human capability" and so they must have been half god and half man to do it. This ties into the pagan concept of deity in general. The gods were "up there somewhere" in their realm. Everything in this realm was mundane and human. So, when occurrences that appeared to be too miraculous to be "human" happened, obviously deity had to come down from their realm into ours—and in most cases this was done by the deity impregnating a human and the result of this union could live in this human realm, yet perform as if they were of heaven too.

        What can we learn from these examples? #2 Raised Questions:

        1.) Q) Why would early Christians make something like the virgin birth up?

        A) Several possible reasons—I'll address two of them here: (1) Primary reason that fits history and logic is that when many non-Jews began to believe in Yeshua (Jesus), they brought their pre-conceived notions from their pagan backgrounds with them (this occurred in the 1st century C.E. and fits a plausible timeline). I.e. Yeshua must be half god/half man (or all G-d and all man) to accomplish what he did—since all the examples of men we know of already had a god father and virgin mother, it must be the same for him (Acts 14:11 [see also 28:6] is a perfect Biblical example of this pagan mindset –but notice Paul's reaction only a few verses later–it isn't a positive one!). This belief then made its way into the oral traditions of Yeshua and then finally committed to writing to some extent. (2) This virgin birth notion may have been added to the oral accounts of Yeshua's life by non-Jews (or competing Christian sects) before they were committed to writing (or added in after the "Q" Source already existed in order to gain more non-Jewish or like-minded believers (this topic of early Christian sects, their beliefs and the evolution of "Christian theology" will be covered more thoroughly on a later date).

        2.) Q) How does the virgin birth account differ from the Gospels? It has to be different somehow…

        A) There are really no differences except for the names of those involved. The historical date (25 Dec), the location (manger), the mother's status (virgin), the father's status (deity), all the same.

        3.) Q) Why didn't the Church fathers or other earlier Christians address this problem before?

        A) They did. Using an argument which baffles the mind, Origen and Justin Martyr address this issue early on. Origen: "We [Christians] are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind…Danae, Melanippe, Auge and Antiope. The stories about these gods are ancient, but unlike the story of Jesus' virgin birth, only fables." (Origen, Against Celsus 1, 37). Sounds a lot like "Replacement Theology" but instead of the Church replacing Israel, the Christian version of the virgin birth replaced that of prior accounts. Justin Martyr's conclusion on the matter is at first similar to that of Origen's, but then takes an extreme logical leap. Justin Martyr: "He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you believe of Perseus" (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 22 [this happens to be a great proof text for my earlier theory that non-Jewish believers brought this virgin birth idea with them, or added this concept to attract more non-Jewish believers]). Here is the most shocking conclusion of all, "The devils…craftily feigned that Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter not by sexual union" (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 64). So now, demons "copied" the virgin birth from the Gospels, but long ago in the past and in many different cultures? Interesting…
        Pro-virgin arguments drawn from the pagan comparisons and possible responses:

        1.) The virgin birth account is different in that no sexual intercourse takes place between G-d and Miriam (Mary), but Yeshua is conceived by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) as in Mattityahu (Matthew), or the power of G-d will "cover" or "overshadow" her as in Lukas (Luke) and she'll become pregnant.

        Response: As already mentioned earlier, Minerva, the daughter of Jupiter was supposedly born without intercourse between her mother and Jupiter—the details are sketchy however. If you want a male version for greater similarity, Ishtar (known as Semiramis in the Bible), was traditionally made pregnant when the rays of the sun shone on her, and later gave birth to the reincarnated sun god Tammuz on 25 December. In these two examples, sexual intercourse was not performed between the human vessel and the divine stimulus. In fact, the power of G-d that will "cover" Miriam is extremely similar to the power of the sun god (his sunlight, i.e. rays) that "covered" Semiramis and impregnated her. Nothing unique about the Gospel version so far.

        2.) The statement, "If you are going to question the virgin birth because it exists in pagan cultures/beliefs, then you need to question all of the miracles of the Gospels as being pagan because even `miraculous occurrences' are found in pagan cultures/beliefs. "

        Response: Although this statement appears logical, it is in fact a fallacious argument. It goes from the specific against the general, as in induction, which is used in reasoning, but in a logical formula it doesn't fit. For example, it should go from specific to specific, or generality to generality, or even specific and broad to specific and broad—the formula has to balance. Remember algebra back in school? You couldn't treat one side of the formula differently than the other when working out the math. Same principle. So to work out that question logically, it would have to say, "There are miracles in the Bible, and there are miracles in pagan myth. What makes our miracles different?" That addresses generalities, the same would be done from specific to specific (virgin birth to virgin birth, resurrection to resurrection, etc.) Anyway, to answer the original statement, of course you should question the miracles in the Gospels, even if there weren't any found in pagan mythology (but especially since there are) because one should question his or her faith entirely in order to strengthen it, or realize it may be a false belief. Judaism teaches to "question everything" and then at least "taste and see that HaShem is good." Mainstream Christianity recently has gone more to this approach and it needs to. More on the reason for questioning the accounts at a later date in the Textual Criticism section. Back to the specifics of the question: if you can show me where a pagan god or hero walked on water, or turned five loaves of bread and two fish into a feast to feed many hundreds with plenty left over, healed someone with tza'raat (Biblical leprosy) and then knew enough Torah (a.k.a. Law of Moses) to tell that person to show the priests you've been healed as a sign (and to submit to their judgment that the man indeed was healed per the Torah) we can then re-examine those particular instances of specific or extremely similar cases of miraculous events–specific to specific. It is no accident that the elements of the Gospels that share the most resemblance to pagan myth (virgin birth, half-man and half-god (or all-man and all-G-d), Trinity, etc.) are the elements that receive the most scrutiny—as they should.

        3.) The virgin birth fits the trend of miraculous birth accounts given in the Bible so what's wrong with that?

        Response: Well, if it didn't really happen and many are teaching that it did and believe one's place in the world to come is affected by this knowledge, that's a problem. Even if one doesn't view it as a "salvation issue", the fact that lies are being propagated as truth in G-d's Name is a huge problem. Also, the problem with this logic is that not every "hero" of the Bible had a miraculous birth, as much as they had a miraculous life/faith and that's what matters most since we can learn from and emulate that. The next two arguments tie into this one to some degree.

        4.) The first Adam had a miraculous "birth", and since Yeshua is taught to be the "Second/Last Adam" it only makes sense that Yeshua would have a similar "birth".

        Response: Ok, but this is an assumption that is made in reverse. That is, because when someone already believes in the virgin birth, this reasoning makes sense because Yeshua is the "Second Adam" and since Yeshua had a unique birth, it would make sense if Adam did—and look, he did. However, just looking at the concept of the Second/Last Adam as taught by R' Sha'ul of Tarsus zt"l (Paul) in 1 Cor. 15, similarity in birth is not a component of his theology, nor is it automatically assumed that the entirety of Yeshua's life should imitate Adam's. In fact it can't or Yeshua would have sinned, got married, grown old and died. Why would Yeshua's birth have to be the same as Adam's but nothing else has to be in common? In fact, the only similarity that R' Sha'ul makes is that just as Adam was called in the Torah in the original text "a living soul" that fathered humanity, Yeshua became a "life-giving spirit" to all who believe in him.

        5.) The Tanakh (a.k.a. "Old" Testament) is not free from pagan influence so if you're going to dismiss the virgin birth and other things as "pagan" then you have to dismiss Moshe's (Moses') birth account which also bears resemblance to pagan myth.

        Response: This is referring to the birth narrative of Moshe as given in the Torah in Sh'mot (Exodus) 2:2-3: "The woman conceived and bore a son…but when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile" versus the account given of the birth of Sargon of Akkad (2,334 – 2279 BCE). Sargon was the third king in secular recorded history to create an empire. A Neo-Assyrian text (700 BCE) tells us this about his birth from the first person perspective, "My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me."

        The similarities are again as astonishing as the pagan virgin birth narratives versus that of the Gospels. If one goes by Ussher's Chronology (a popular 16th Century measurement of the age of the earth vs. events in Biblical and secular history [that by the way has practically been abandoned by Christian theologians only in the mid-1990s]) then the record of Sargon's birth predates that of Moshe's. However, if one goes by the Hebrew Calendar (which places the giving of the Torah at about 1312 BCE), the Torah's account predates the one we have recorded of Sargon's by almost 700 years! Because although Sargon lived long before Moshe did, the only surviving record of his birth was written after Moshe's and therefore is more suspect of borrowing from the Torah's account as opposed to the other way around.

        Another example that is often overlooked yet familiar to most is the account of a possible sexual relationship between spiritual beings and humans. Let's look at B'reisheet (Genesis) 6:1-4: "In time, when men began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of G-d saw the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose…The N'filim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of G-d came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown."

        I've seen this passage interpreted three primary ways: 1.) The predominant traditional Jewish interpretation is that the "sons of G-d" are the rulers or judges (a sort of early bourgeoisie) at that time, and the "daughters of men" are the common people or peasants (proletariat) . The ruling class found the peasant women attractive and took wives at will–the result was children that were morally corrupt and caused others to become so. 2.) The other common Jewish interpretation is that the "sons of G-d" were the righteous descendents of Seth (Adam's third son) and the "daughters of men" were descendents of the wicked Cain–the result of this mixing again was the moral corruption of society. 3.) The primary Christian interpretation I've seen is that the "sons of G-d" were a type of spiritual entity such as a demon or angel, and the "daughters of men" were humans. The demons mated with the human women and the resulting offspring were giants and men capable of great feats.

        It is possible that upon exposure to this Christian interpretation in the Middle Ages, the rabbis favored the interpretation we have today which removes any "pagan" concept of a deity and human carnal relationship. However the Rabbinic translation used of that passage is consistent with the rest of the Tanakh and so it appears that the Jewish view that no "demon and human" sexual union probably didn't happen. However, if it did really take place, it may explain why in every other culture on earth (besides Hebraic) there is this concept of a divine being and human being producing a mixed offspring that is capable of divine feats yet in the human form. It's because it has been part of their oral tradition or collective conscience since its occurrence thousands of years ago–that is if this theory is true. If that is the case, when we look at the context of that passage from B'reisheet we can see that HaShem's reaction to this occurence is less than favorable (6:3 & v.5-7) which would be strong Biblical (i.e. contextual) evidence against the virgin birth because why would HaShem imitate something He earlier condemned?

        6.) HaSatan (the "Devil") imitated what he foreknew to occur as a virgin birth for the Mashiach (Messiah) in other religions and cultures.

        Response: It would be difficult to prove this wrong but one doesn't have to. When HaShem commands "not to know the ways of the nations and their foreign gods", one would then have to assume because of His honest character that He would not hide His truth in the "ways of nations and foreign gods" if we were first forbidden to know them. That would be like telling someone the combination to a sealed safe so they can open it and have access to all the money within, but the safe is locked from the inside. Logically it is a ludicrous notion, but again one that can't be proven wrong.

        Summary for this section:

        What did we cover?

        –Several examples of pagan virgin birth accounts and their similarity to the Gospels' account.

        –Some reasons behind why someone would invent the virgin birth and incorporate it into Christian belief.

        –What the Church fathers thought about the subject.

        –Six pro-virgin birth arguments (only drawing upon the pagan similarities in this section) I've encountered and possible responses that prove them wrong/improbable.

        Conclusion: At this point in the investigation, it appears that there's nothing unique or new about the virgin birth narrative given in the Gospels vs. that from pagan myth/belief. Although this alone doesn't prove that the virgin birth is a construct and not a truth, it does however weigh against a pro-virgin birth argument in my reckoning. Case in point is the fact that many believers use the same amount of comparative evidence provided in Genesis for the "Binding of Isaac" (Akeidah) vs. the "Binding of Messiah" of the Gospels as has been presented here regarding pagan virgin births. The only difference is the death and resurrection of the Messiah is requred belief per the Apostolic Talmud, but the virgin birth is not. Overall, using the pagan comparison is a weak argument to solely or even heavily depend upon because of lack of details and even conflicting details in a lot of the accounts that survived regarding pagan deities and their birth narratives. Onto the next section.

        (Author's note: Next topic I'll be covering is "The different 1st Century Christian sects and their Gospels/ideologies and How They Affected the Evolution of Christian Theology". Also, I will receive comments and will possibly update this post over time so keep checking back for the freshest information if you are interested in this subject.)

        *Image is of baby Horus and his virgin mother Isis, and to the right is a classical representation of Mary (Miriam) and baby Jesus (Yeshua).

      • Todd E. Tornow
        The real core of this six page text is the section that is between The pagan examples throughout human history and What can we learn from these examples?
        Message 3 of 28 , Jul 17, 2009
          The real core of this six page text is the section that is between "The pagan examples throughout human history" and "What can we learn from these examples?"

          The rest is academic and can be passed over.

          My first thoughts after reading this are the following.

          What is the logical fallacy which makes the false claim that if things are similar, they must be the same?

          The American Indian examples are invalid because they had no real contact with anyone outside of the Americas until the 1500's.

          If National Geographic DNA migration story is correct, the ancestors of the American Indians left the Mesopotamian valley about 4000 BC at the latest. Thus breaking all contact with the Mid-East cultures.

          The Biblical reports of Jesus' birth do not give a date or month of birth.

          The Winter Solstice was picked for a number of other reasons, not because that was his actual date of birth.

          I will not defend Roman Catholicism on the issue of 'Eternal Virginity' or on any other issue that is not Biblical.

          What is the date of the text of the first prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah? I'll bet ya that it predates earliest evidence of the Persian legend of Mithra.

          I'll have to look for more information on the other 'pagan examples'.

          I should be able to find more information to deal with this.
        • tcmadd2@aol.com
          Another problem for the author of the article you quoted is that Jesus was an actual historical person whose acts were remembered and recorded by eyewitnesses.
          Message 4 of 28 , Jul 17, 2009
            Another problem for the author of the article you quoted is that Jesus was an actual historical person whose acts were remembered and recorded by eyewitnesses. Our information about him is of a very different kind from ancient legends.

            Another issue is the source of the information about the various claims of virgin births amongst the pagans. Many of these claims are based on sources that come from the early Christian era. So it can well be the case that the pagans have "learned the way of the Christians." This is especially true of the "dying and rising gods" claims one encounters.

            Tom Maddux

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Todd E. Tornow tetornow@...
            To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Fri, Jul 17, 2009 1:58 am
            Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: anti-virgin birth: I would like some input to refute this.

             
            The real core of this six page text is the section that is between "The pagan examples throughout human history" and "What can we learn from these examples?"

            The rest is academic and can be passed over.

            My first thoughts after reading this are the following.

            What is the logical fallacy which makes the false claim that if things are similar, they must be the same?

            The American Indian examples are invalid because they had no real contact with anyone outside of the Americas until the 1500's.

            If National Geographic DNA migration story is correct, the ancestors of the American Indians left the Mesopotamian valley about 4000 BC at the latest. Thus breaking all contact with the Mid-East cultures.

            The Biblical reports of Jesus' birth do not give a date or month of birth.

            The Winter Solstice was picked for a number of other reasons, not because that was his actual date of birth.

            I will not defend Roman Catholicism on the issue of 'Eternal Virginity' or on any other issue that is not Biblical.

            What is the date of the text of the first prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah? I'll bet ya that it predates earliest evidence of the Persian legend of Mithra.

            I'll have to look for more information on the other 'pagan examples'.

            I should be able to find more information to deal with this.

          • Heinz Schmitz
            ... I love the humorous attempts made early on to wave away the blatant copying early Christians did. This is from religioustolerance.org: Various early church
            Message 5 of 28 , Jul 17, 2009
              --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Todd E. Tornow" <tetornow@...> wrote:
              >
              > In this first installment of my investigation of the virgin birth, I will cover the following:
              >
              > I. History
              >
              > a.) Comparison/contrast of "virgin births" from other cultures and religions to the example presented in the Gospels.
              >

              I love the humorous attempts made early on to wave away the blatant copying early Christians did. This is from religioustolerance.org:

              Various early church writers, such as Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyons; circa 120CE to ?) Justin Martyr (Christian apologist; 100 to 165), Tertullian (Christian theologian; circa 160 to 220 +) concluded that the Pagan/Christian similarities were a Satanic attempt at "diabolical mimicry." Satan was said to have use "plagiarism by anticipation." That is, the Devil made a pre-emptive strike against the gospel stories centuries before Jesus was born. The reason was to confuse the public into thinking that Jesus was merely a copy of previous god-men. The goal was to demolish the credibility of Christianity in the people's eyes.
            • Heinz Schmitz
              ... Reply: Jesus was probably an historical person, as was the original Santa Claus, but the things written of these two has all the elements of fiction. I
              Message 6 of 28 , Jul 18, 2009
                --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, tcmadd2@... wrote:
                >
                > Another problem for the author of the article you quoted is that Jesus was an actual historical person whose acts were remembered and recorded by eyewitnesses.

                Reply: Jesus was probably an historical person, as was the original Santa Claus, but the things written of these two has all the elements of fiction. I don't really think we have eyewitness accounts of anything Jesus did. The Gospels were written long after he died, and probably not by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

                > Another issue is the source of the information about the various claims of virgin births amongst the pagans. Many of these claims are based on sources that come from the early Christian era. So it can well be the case that the pagans have "learned the way of the Christians." This is especially true of the "dying and rising gods" claims one encounters.
                >
                > Tom Maddux
                >

                Reply: Actually many of the stories preceded Christ, yet mirrored him in great detail.
                Heinz
              • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                Todd, What is the source of this material? In Christ s service, Rob Bowman
                Message 7 of 28 , Jul 22, 2009
                  Todd,

                  What is the source of this material?

                  In Christ's service,
                  Rob Bowman



                  --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Todd E. Tornow" <tetornow@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > In this first installment of my investigation of the virgin birth, I will cover the following:
                • Todd E. Tornow
                  Facebook group: 101 CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jul 23, 2009
                    Facebook group: 101 CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE

                    --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Bowman, Jr." <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Todd,
                    >
                    > What is the source of this material?
                    >
                    > In Christ's service,
                    > Rob Bowman
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Todd E. Tornow" <tetornow@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > In this first installment of my investigation of the virgin birth, I will cover the following:
                    >
                  • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                    Todd, I m guessing that the Facebook group 101 Contradictions in the Bible does not provide documentation for its claims. That s one of the main problems
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jul 24, 2009
                      Todd,

                      I'm guessing that the Facebook group "101 Contradictions in the Bible" does not provide documentation for its claims. That's one of the main problems with this material you posted (and dozens of similar collections of claims I've seen on the Internet).

                      Let me begin by directing you to a number of excellent websites that respond in detail to the "Jesus as myth" claims, including the claim that Jesus' virgin birth was borrowed from pagan mythologies:

                      http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch14/default.htm

                      http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycat.html (several long but excellent pages)

                      http://www.doxa.ws/Myth/copycat1.html (three pages; also very good)

                      http://www.rim.org/muslim/pagannt.htm (important article by Ronald Nash, one of the best writers on this topic)

                      http://www.frontline-apologetics.com/religions_christianity.html (significant article by a leading New Testament scholar)

                      http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/156 (two lengthy pages)

                      http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2006/10/07/jesus-is-not-a-mithras-redux/ (specifically on Mithraism and Christianity; if link is broken, try http://tinyurl.com/2om45t)

                      http://www.carm.org/evidence/mithra.htm (another article specifically on Mithraism and Christianity)

                      http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/_PDFArchives/theological-dictionary/TD4W0304.pdf (if link is broken, try http://tinyurl.com/2rwhw8)

                      http://confidentchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/07/resurrection-myths-vs-resurrection-of.html (an excellent short blog on the subject)

                      And see the following web page for a roundup of many other relevant articles on the historical existence of Jesus, alleged pagan sources or parallels, and the like:

                      http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/historicaljesus.html

                      Now, let me comment briefly on some of the specific arguments in the material you posted.

                      1. From the alleged fact (itself very much in dispute) that there were "virgin birth" stories before Jesus, it does not follow that the New Testament writers (Matthew and Luke) got their story from those earlier stories. In fact, we can be reasonably sure they did not, for two main reasons.

                      a. Matthew and Luke reflect the first-century, traditional Jewish monotheistic worldview with its utter disdain for polytheistic myths. This is a crucial point, since the material you posted concedes that its view is only plausible if Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians later deified Jesus and posited a virgin birth for him. Deifying political figures was common in Greco-Roman culture; deifying religious figures was anathema in Jewish culture.

                      b. Matthew and Luke's accounts of the virgin birth of Christ are suffused with allusions (as well as direct quotations, especially in Matthew) to the Old Testament, but do not contain any obvious or probable allusions to specific Greco-Roman mythologies (the only mythologies close enough to Matthew and Luke geographically and culturally to have any chance at all of being relevant).

                      2. Since there are good reasons to reject the claim that the Virgin Birth story derived from pagan sources, the criticism that God's people are not to imitate the ways of the nations has no bearing on this issue.

                      3. The idea of celebrating Jesus' birthday on December 25th has nothing to do with the origins of the Virgin Birth story. Christians did not start celebrating Jesus' birth on December 25th until the fourth century, three centuries after Matthew and Luke's Gospels. The NT gives no clear indication of the day or even the month of Jesus' birth (most think that Luke implies it took place in the spring, though even this is debatable). Christians settled on December 25th for Christmas in order to *replace* the pagan celebrations connected to that day (and to the winter solstice).

                      4. In most if not all of the pagan stories mentioned, the mothers were not really "virgin mothers." They were sometimes virgins *until* the male deities impregnated them--which was generally described as a physical act.

                      5. The author of the material you posted makes the common confusion between the medieval doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary (which is not in the NT) and the medieval doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary (which is also not in the NT). The Immaculate Conception is the doctrine that Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin from the moment of *her* conception in her mother's womb. This is a separate idea from the idea that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born (let alone the unbiblical idea that Mary remained a virgin throughout the rest of her life).

                      6. Some early church fathers, especially those steeped in Hellenistic philosophy and culture like Justin Martyr and Origen, actually played up the weak parallels between the Virgin Birth and pagan stories in order to make Christianity seem more credible -- less out of left field -- to their Gentile readers. But these comments come a century and more after Matthew and Luke, and so tells us nothing about where the story originated.

                      7. There are good reasons to take the Virgin Birth accounts in Matthew and Luke seriously (although, in the nature of the case, it is probably impossible to *prove* them to be accurate).

                      a. Matthew and Luke's accounts are independent of one another (as virtually all NT scholars agree).

                      b. This means the story dated from earlier than either of these writings -- probably at least to the 50s, roughly 20 years after Jesus' death.

                      c. Although Matthew and Luke's accounts are difficult (not impossible) to harmonize in detail, they agree on a surprisingly large number of points: that Jesus' human parents were Joseph and Mary, that Joseph was not the biological father, that Joseph and Mary were betrothed but not formally married when Mary became pregnant, that they then got married before Jesus was born, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem even though his parents lived in Nazareth, and that Jesus was born toward the end of the reign of Herod the Great. This considerable body of agreement in these independent accounts is best explained if there is at least a core element of historical truth to them.

                      d. For the above reasons, an increasing number of skeptical and liberal scholars have concluded that Jesus was indeed Mary's son but not Joseph's biological offspring; these scholars reject the Virgin Birth, of course, concluding instead that Jesus was an illegitimate child. This is about as much as one could hope for avowedly non-Christian scholars to conclude. That is, they concede about as much of the factual core of the Gospel accounts as they can without conceding the Virgin Birth itself.

                      In Christ's service,
                      Rob Bowman
                    • Paul Leonard
                      Hi Rob, Some Very good information. I hope you don t mind if I save your points as well as the links) for future use. ... From: Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jul 24, 2009
                        Hi Rob,

                        Some Very good information. I hope you don't mind if I save your points as well as the links) for future use.

                        --- On Fri, 7/24/09, Robert M. Bowman, Jr. <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:

                        From: Robert M. Bowman, Jr. <faithhasitsreasons@...>
                        Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: anti-virgin birth: I would like some input to refute this.
                        To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Friday, July 24, 2009, 12:10 PM

                         

                        Todd,

                        I'm guessing that the Facebook group "101 Contradictions in the Bible" does not provide documentation for its claims. That's one of the main problems with this material you posted (and dozens of similar collections of claims I've seen on the Internet).

                        Let me begin by directing you to a number of excellent websites that respond in detail to the "Jesus as myth" claims, including the claim that Jesus' virgin birth was borrowed from pagan mythologies:

                        http://www.greatcom .org/resources/ areadydefense/ ch14/default. htm

                        http://www.christia n-thinktank. com/copycat. html (several long but excellent pages)

                        http://www.doxa. ws/Myth/copycat1 .html (three pages; also very good)

                        http://www.rim. org/muslim/ pagannt.htm (important article by Ronald Nash, one of the best writers on this topic)

                        http://www.frontlin e-apologetics. com/religions_ christianity. html (significant article by a leading New Testament scholar)

                        http://www.apologet icspress. org/articles/ 156 (two lengthy pages)

                        http://christopherb utler.wordpress. com/2006/ 10/07/jesus- is-not-a- mithras-redux/ (specifically on Mithraism and Christianity; if link is broken, try http://tinyurl. com/2om45t)

                        http://www.carm. org/evidence/ mithra.htm (another article specifically on Mithraism and Christianity)

                        http://www.johnanke rberg.org/ Articles/ _PDFArchives/ theological- dictionary/ TD4W0304. pdf (if link is broken, try http://tinyurl. com/2rwhw8)

                        http://confidentchr istianity. blogspot. com/2007/ 07/resurrection- myths-vs- resurrection- of.html (an excellent short blog on the subject)

                        And see the following web page for a roundup of many other relevant articles on the historical existence of Jesus, alleged pagan sources or parallels, and the like:

                        http://www.christia ncadre.org/ topics/historica ljesus.html

                        Now, let me comment briefly on some of the specific arguments in the material you posted.

                        1. From the alleged fact (itself very much in dispute) that there were "virgin birth" stories before Jesus, it does not follow that the New Testament writers (Matthew and Luke) got their story from those earlier stories. In fact, we can be reasonably sure they did not, for two main reasons.

                        a. Matthew and Luke reflect the first-century, traditional Jewish monotheistic worldview with its utter disdain for polytheistic myths. This is a crucial point, since the material you posted concedes that its view is only plausible if Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians later deified Jesus and posited a virgin birth for him. Deifying political figures was common in Greco-Roman culture; deifying religious figures was anathema in Jewish culture.

                        b. Matthew and Luke's accounts of the virgin birth of Christ are suffused with allusions (as well as direct quotations, especially in Matthew) to the Old Testament, but do not contain any obvious or probable allusions to specific Greco-Roman mythologies (the only mythologies close enough to Matthew and Luke geographically and culturally to have any chance at all of being relevant).

                        2. Since there are good reasons to reject the claim that the Virgin Birth story derived from pagan sources, the criticism that God's people are not to imitate the ways of the nations has no bearing on this issue.

                        3. The idea of celebrating Jesus' birthday on December 25th has nothing to do with the origins of the Virgin Birth story. Christians did not start celebrating Jesus' birth on December 25th until the fourth century, three centuries after Matthew and Luke's Gospels. The NT gives no clear indication of the day or even the month of Jesus' birth (most think that Luke implies it took place in the spring, though even this is debatable). Christians settled on December 25th for Christmas in order to *replace* the pagan celebrations connected to that day (and to the winter solstice).

                        4. In most if not all of the pagan stories mentioned, the mothers were not really "virgin mothers." They were sometimes virgins *until* the male deities impregnated them--which was generally described as a physical act.

                        5. The author of the material you posted makes the common confusion between the medieval doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary (which is not in the NT) and the medieval doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary (which is also not in the NT). The Immaculate Conception is the doctrine that Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin from the moment of *her* conception in her mother's womb. This is a separate idea from the idea that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born (let alone the unbiblical idea that Mary remained a virgin throughout the rest of her life).

                        6. Some early church fathers, especially those steeped in Hellenistic philosophy and culture like Justin Martyr and Origen, actually played up the weak parallels between the Virgin Birth and pagan stories in order to make Christianity seem more credible -- less out of left field -- to their Gentile readers. But these comments come a century and more after Matthew and Luke, and so tells us nothing about where the story originated.

                        7. There are good reasons to take the Virgin Birth accounts in Matthew and Luke seriously (although, in the nature of the case, it is probably impossible to *prove* them to be accurate).

                        a. Matthew and Luke's accounts are independent of one another (as virtually all NT scholars agree).

                        b. This means the story dated from earlier than either of these writings -- probably at least to the 50s, roughly 20 years after Jesus' death.

                        c. Although Matthew and Luke's accounts are difficult (not impossible) to harmonize in detail, they agree on a surprisingly large number of points: that Jesus' human parents were Joseph and Mary, that Joseph was not the biological father, that Joseph and Mary were betrothed but not formally married when Mary became pregnant, that they then got married before Jesus was born, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem even though his parents lived in Nazareth, and that Jesus was born toward the end of the reign of Herod the Great. This considerable body of agreement in these independent accounts is best explained if there is at least a core element of historical truth to them.

                        d. For the above reasons, an increasing number of skeptical and liberal scholars have concluded that Jesus was indeed Mary's son but not Joseph's biological offspring; these scholars reject the Virgin Birth, of course, concluding instead that Jesus was an illegitimate child. This is about as much as one could hope for avowedly non-Christian scholars to conclude. That is, they concede about as much of the factual core of the Gospel accounts as they can without conceding the Virgin Birth itself.

                        In Christ's service,
                        Rob Bowman

                      • wglmp
                        ... This site does document: 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible http://1001errors.com/ Matt
                        Message 11 of 28 , Sep 1, 2009
                          --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Bowman, Jr." <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Todd,
                          >
                          > I'm guessing that the Facebook group "101 Contradictions in the Bible" does not provide documentation for its claims. That's one of the main problems with this material you posted (and dozens of similar collections of claims I've seen on the Internet). <

                          This site does document:
                          1001 Errors in the Christian Bible
                          http://1001errors.com/

                          Matt
                        • faithhasitsreasons
                          Matt, You cited the following website: 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible http://1001errors.com/ I m afraid many of these errors are nothing of the sort. For
                          Message 12 of 28 , Sep 1, 2009
                            Matt,

                            You cited the following website:

                            1001 Errors in the Christian Bible
                            http://1001errors.com/

                            I'm afraid many of these "errors" are nothing of the sort.

                            For example, the first supposed error listed on the site is the claim that putting Matthew in front of Mark is an error because (most scholars say) Mark was written first. But this assumes the order was intended to be chronological. In the collection of Paul's epistles, Romans comes before the Corinthian epistles, but everybody in the early church understood that Paul wrote Romans after the Corinthian epistles. Not a good start.

                            The site also claims that calling the first Gospel "Matthew" is a mistake because this title was added "much later." Well, how much later is now a subject of some discussion, but the trend is now to admit that it was rather sooner than many had guessed (the late Martin Hengel wrote on this subject). In any case, since the title was added later (though probably not much later), if it turned out that Matthew didn't write that Gospel this news would not contradict anything that the Gospel itself says. So the error, if there is one, is not in the text of the biblical writing itself but in the postbiblical apparatus. The author of the website does not seem to know the difference.

                            The claim that the inclusion of chapter and verse divisions is another "error" is ludicrous. These are simply convenient marking points to aid in directing readers to specific locations in the text. They have no bearing on whether the Bible was originally inspired or whether its factual statements are true.

                            Those are the first three errors discussed on the site, and they all demonstrate a superficiality that, frankly, is embarrassing to see. You'd have to pay me good money before I agreed to go through the other 998.

                            In Christ's service,
                            Rob Bowman
                          • Paul Leonard
                            Correct, We could just as easily do a blog called the 10001 (added zero intentional) errors in the site:http://1001errors. com/ There is a vast difference
                            Message 13 of 28 , Sep 1, 2009
                              Correct,

                              We could just as easily do a blog called the 10001 (added zero intentional) errors in the site:http://1001errors. com/

                              There is a vast difference between claiming something and proving it.

                              --- On Tue, 9/1/09, wglmp <mtillman@...> wrote:

                              From: wglmp <mtillman@...>
                              Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: anti-virgin birth: I would like some input to refute this.
                              To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
                              Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009, 8:13 AM

                               

                              --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, "Robert M. Bowman, Jr." <faithhasitsreasons @...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Todd,
                              >
                              > I'm guessing that the Facebook group "101 Contradictions in the Bible" does not provide documentation for its claims. That's one of the main problems with this material you posted (and dozens of similar collections of claims I've seen on the Internet). <

                              This site does document:
                              1001 Errors in the Christian Bible
                              http://1001errors. com/

                              Matt

                            • christian_skeptic
                              ... Interesting site. He even argues for the a god translation at John 1:1 (http://1001errors.com/files/Err479-485.html) Rob, your very presence as an
                              Message 14 of 28 , Sep 2, 2009
                                --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "faithhasitsreasons" <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Matt,
                                >
                                > You cited the following website:
                                >
                                > 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible
                                > http://1001errors.com/
                                >
                                > I'm afraid many of these "errors" are nothing of the sort.

                                Interesting site. He even argues for the "a god" translation at John 1:1 (http://1001errors.com/files/Err479-485.html)

                                Rob, your very presence as an "apologist" indicates there is something wrong with the Bible. For instance, Math textbooks don't need apologists. If the Bible is the greatest and most perfect book ever written this should be abundantly clear in its text.

                                Heinz

                                "EVERY commentary and annotation on the Bible, implicitly declares its fallibility; for if the Scriptures remained genuine and entire, they would not stand in need of commentaries and expositions, but would shine in their infallible lustre and purity without them."
                                Ethan Allen
                              • faithhasitsreasons
                                Heinz, You wrote:
                                Message 15 of 28 , Sep 5, 2009
                                  Heinz,

                                  You wrote:

                                  << Rob, your very presence as an "apologist" indicates there is something wrong with the Bible. For instance, Math textbooks don't need apologists. If the Bible is the greatest and most perfect book ever written this should be abundantly clear in its text. >>

                                  A ridiculous argument. Atheism has its "apologists" as well (e.g., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens); does this prove that there is something wrong with atheism? Why does atheism need apologists?

                                  In Christ's service,
                                  Rob Bowman
                                • Jimmy Sloan
                                  Even mathematics needs teachers to clear up misconceptions. ;) To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com From: faithhasitsreasons@yahoo.com Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Sep 5, 2009
                                    Even mathematics needs teachers to clear up misconceptions. ;)


                                    To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
                                    From: faithhasitsreasons@...
                                    Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 04:59:39 +0000
                                    Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible

                                     
                                    Heinz,

                                    You wrote:

                                    << Rob, your very presence as an "apologist" indicates there is something wrong with the Bible. For instance, Math textbooks don't need apologists. If the Bible is the greatest and most perfect book ever written this should be abundantly clear in its text. >>

                                    A ridiculous argument. Atheism has its "apologists" as well (e.g., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens); does this prove that there is something wrong with atheism? Why does atheism need apologists?

                                    In Christ's service,
                                    Rob Bowman


                                  • christian_skeptic
                                    ... Yes, but in the end there aren t differing factions over whether 1 plus 1 equals 2. Heinz
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Sep 6, 2009
                                      --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Jimmy Sloan <jimmysloan@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Even mathematics needs teachers to clear up misconceptions. ;)
                                      >
                                      >

                                      Yes, but in the end there aren't differing factions over whether 1 plus 1 equals 2.
                                      Heinz
                                    • christian_skeptic
                                      ... Rob, there are many things wrong with Atheism. It isn t an affirmation position, it is simply a denial of a belief in gods. I belong to other atheist yahoo
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Sep 6, 2009
                                        --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "faithhasitsreasons" <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Heinz,
                                        >
                                        > You wrote:
                                        >
                                        > << Rob, your very presence as an "apologist" indicates there is something wrong with the Bible. For instance, Math textbooks don't need apologists. If the Bible is the greatest and most perfect book ever written this should be abundantly clear in its text. >>
                                        >
                                        > A ridiculous argument. Atheism has its "apologists" as well (e.g., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens); does this prove that there is something wrong with atheism? Why does atheism need apologists?
                                        >
                                        > In Christ's service,
                                        > Rob Bowman
                                        >

                                        Rob, there are many things wrong with Atheism. It isn't an affirmation position, it is simply a denial of a belief in gods. I belong to other atheist yahoo groups where they don't like me either since I am not a Socialist like a lot of them tend to be.

                                        However, atheists don't have a centralized text they adhere to, and if we had one we thought was perfect it should withstand scrutiny and shine as most evidently perfect. There would be no need for apologists of it.
                                        Heinz
                                      • Jimmy Sloan
                                        Which only proves my point since mathematics still has mathematicians to clear up misconceptions. The obvious point here is that just because there is a need
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Sep 6, 2009
                                          Which only proves my point since mathematics still has mathematicians to clear up misconceptions.  The obvious point here is that just because there is a need for someone to clear up misunderstandings, it does not follow that the actual thing that needs clarification is lacking in some way.  There are no factions among apologists as to whether God exists but that says very little about the truth of whether or not God exists.

                                          ~ J. Sloan



                                          To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
                                          From: christian_skeptic@...
                                          Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 13:34:34 +0000
                                          Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible

                                           
                                          --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Jimmy Sloan <jimmysloan@ ...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Even mathematics needs teachers to clear up misconceptions. ;)
                                          >
                                          >

                                          Yes, but in the end there aren't differing factions over whether 1 plus 1 equals 2.
                                          Heinz


                                        • ssando2479@aol.com
                                          _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_apologist_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_apologist) apologetics is a field of _Christian theology_
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Sep 6, 2009

                                             

                                             

                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_apologist

                                             apologetics is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views.[1] Christian apologetics have taken many forms over the centuries, starting with Paul of Tarsus, including writers such as Origen and Augustine of Hippo, and continuing currently with the modern Christian community, through the efforts of many authors in various Christian traditions such as C.S. Lewis. Apologists have based their defense of Christianity on historical evidence, philosophical arguments, scientific investigation, rhetorical persuasion and other disciplines.

                                             
                                            In a message dated 9/6/2009 6:50:50 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, christian_skeptic@... writes:
                                             

                                            --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, "faithhasitsreasons " <faithhasitsreasons @...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Heinz,
                                            >
                                            > You wrote:
                                            >
                                            > << Rob, your very presence as an "apologist" indicates there is something wrong with the Bible. For instance, Math textbooks don't need apologists. If the Bible is the greatest and most perfect book ever written this should be abundantly clear in its text. >>
                                            >
                                            > A ridiculous argument. Atheism has its "apologists" as well (e.g., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens); does this prove that there is something wrong with atheism? Why does atheism need apologists?
                                            >
                                            > In Christ's service,
                                            > Rob Bowman
                                            >

                                            Rob, there are many things wrong with Atheism. It isn't an affirmation position, it is simply a denial of a belief in gods. I belong to other atheist yahoo groups where they don't like me either since I am not a Socialist like a lot of them tend to be.

                                            However, atheists don't have a centralized text they adhere to, and if we had one we thought was perfect it should withstand scrutiny and shine as most evidently perfect. There would be no need for apologists of it.
                                            Heinz

                                          • Paul Leonard
                                            Yep and depending on context etc 2 + 2 could be 4 or any other number depending on the base number . Remember New math ? ... From: Jimmy Sloan
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Sep 6, 2009
                                              Yep and depending on context etc 2 + 2 could be 4 or any other number depending on the "base number". Remember "New math"?

                                              --- On Sat, 9/5/09, Jimmy Sloan <jimmysloan@...> wrote:

                                              From: Jimmy Sloan <jimmysloan@...>
                                              Subject: RE: [biblicalapologetics] Re: 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible
                                              To: "biblicalapologetics" <biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com>
                                              Date: Saturday, September 5, 2009, 10:27 PM

                                               

                                              Even mathematics needs teachers to clear up misconceptions. ;)


                                              To: biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com
                                              From: faithhasitsreasons@ yahoo.com
                                              Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 04:59:39 +0000
                                              Subject: [biblicalapologetic s] Re: 1001 Errors in the Christian Bible

                                               
                                              Heinz,

                                              You wrote:

                                              << Rob, your very presence as an "apologist" indicates there is something wrong with the Bible. For instance, Math textbooks don't need apologists. If the Bible is the greatest and most perfect book ever written this should be abundantly clear in its text. >>

                                              A ridiculous argument. Atheism has its "apologists" as well (e.g., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens); does this prove that there is something wrong with atheism? Why does atheism need apologists?

                                              In Christ's service,
                                              Rob Bowman


                                            • christian_skeptic
                                              ... Reply: and what are these misconceptions about math?
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Sep 7, 2009
                                                --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Jimmy Sloan <jimmysloan@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Which only proves my point since mathematics still has mathematicians to clear up misconceptions.

                                                Reply: and what are these misconceptions about math?
                                              • christian_skeptic
                                                ... Reply: Ask anyone in the world what 2 + 2 is, and unless that person is an idiot, you will get the same answer. Only a Christian could obfuscate this
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Sep 7, 2009
                                                  --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Yep and depending on context etc 2 + 2 could be 4 or any other number depending on the "base number". Remember "New math"?

                                                  Reply: Ask anyone in the world what 2 + 2 is, and unless that person is an idiot, you will get the same answer. Only a Christian could obfuscate this point.
                                                • Jimmy Sloan
                                                  ... Reply: and what are these misconceptions about math? That 2 + 2 = 7, that the least common denominator of 1/5, 1/6, and 1/15 is 15, that 1 is a prime
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Sep 7, 2009


                                                    > Which only proves my point since mathematics still has mathematicians to clear up misconceptions.

                                                    Reply: and what are these misconceptions about math?


                                                    That 2 + 2 = 7, that the least common denominator of 1/5, 1/6, and 1/15 is 15, that 1 is a prime number, etc. But the point here is that simply because there are apologists, it does not follow that there is something lacking with what the apologist is defending.  Thanks!
                                                    _

                                                  • Paul Leonard
                                                    I think you will find it was progressives , etc that obfuscated the issue by trying to force new math on the populace and replace traditional math.
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Sep 7, 2009
                                                      I think you will find it was "progressives", etc that obfuscated the issue by trying to force "new math" on the populace and replace traditional math. Fortunately those poor stupid parents, most of whom believed in the Bible, spoke up in great numbers against the idiocy of teaching something that was only needed in higher math classes. Oh by the way I am a Christian and took higher math classes. Strangely enough today, while I am not a nuclear scientist, or a physicist I am involved in Chemistry and the old math is just fine for that.

                                                      The reason anyone in the world will answer  2 + 2 = 4 is because they "progressive" (read secular and anti Christian) ideas were tossed out. Do a little research on the subject and then criticize those stupid progressives (read secular and anti Christian dummies) over it, not Christians.

                                                      --- On Mon, 9/7/09, christian_skeptic <christian_skeptic@...> wrote:

                                                       

                                                      --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > Yep and depending on context etc 2 + 2 could be 4 or any other number depending on the "base number". Remember "New math"?

                                                      Reply: Ask anyone in the world what 2 + 2 is, and unless that person is an idiot, you will get the same answer. Only a Christian could obfuscate this point.

                                                    • tcmadd2@aol.com
                                                      Dear anotherpaul I was a 6th grade teacher the year the New Math was introduced in my district. The problem was not that the parents were stupid or
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Sep 7, 2009
                                                        Dear "anotherpaul"
                                                         
                                                        I was a 6th grade teacher the year the "New" Math was introduced in my district.  The problem was not that the parents were "stupid" or necessarily Christian. (My school was located in a largely Jewish neighborhood. The liberal, secular Jewish parents were upset as well.)
                                                         
                                                        The problem with the new math was the method of implementation. Bowing to political pressure the school districts tried to reform the entire math curriculum in one big change.  Students who had never had to deal with concepts that sophisticated were now being taught mathematics in a completely new way. They could handle it, but the time devoted to set theory and operations in different bases meant that there was less time for traditional calculating skills. So, state test scores declined dramatically, which "proved" to the public that the new math "did not work".  The degree of indulgence and refusal to work hard in our public education systems were also contributory factors.
                                                         
                                                        The people who make the decisions in education are mostly school administrators, who are very political, and college professors. No one asked the classroom teachers about what really works with kids.
                                                         
                                                        Tom M.
                                                         
                                                         
                                                        In a message dated 9/7/2009 1:11:40 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, anotherpaul2001@... writes:
                                                         

                                                        I think you will find it was "progressives" , etc that obfuscated the issue by trying to force "new math" on the populace and replace traditional math. Fortunately those poor stupid parents, most of whom believed in the Bible, spoke up in great numbers against the idiocy of teaching something that was only needed in higher math classes. Oh by the way I am a Christian and took higher math classes. Strangely enough today, while I am not a nuclear scientist, or a physicist I am involved in Chemistry and the old math is just fine for that.

                                                        The reason anyone in the world will answer  2 + 2 = 4 is because they "progressive" (read secular and anti Christian) ideas were tossed out. Do a little research on the subject and then criticize those stupid progressives (read secular and anti Christian dummies) over it, not Christians.

                                                        --- On Mon, 9/7/09, christian_skeptic <christian_skeptic@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                                                         

                                                        --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > Yep and depending on context etc 2 + 2 could be 4 or any other number depending on the "base number". Remember "New math"?

                                                        Reply: Ask anyone in the world what 2 + 2 is, and unless that person is an idiot, you will get the same answer. Only a Christian could obfuscate this point.

                                                      • Paul Leonard
                                                        Hi, I do understand. I was being a bit facetious in response to the previous writer. It is so easy to categorize a group you do not like using minimal fact and
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Sep 7, 2009
                                                          Hi,

                                                          I do understand. I was being a bit facetious in response to the previous writer.

                                                          It is so easy to categorize a group you do not like using minimal fact and a lot of innuendo.

                                                          There was so many problems with the implementation of the New Math program at all levels. The basic idea was not bad, but the means of introducing it was simply miserable. I agree it wasn't simply Christian parents that objected. Virtually every parent, or at least those with any concern about their children's education, objected. These things should be left to the educators directly involved, not administrators, college professors and politically/ideologically motivated individuals/groups.

                                                          I am sure you tried but saw the same problems that everyone else did with the methodology, not the idea, of introducing new math to students.

                                                          --- On Mon, 9/7/09, tcmadd2@... <tcmadd2@...> wrote:

                                                           

                                                          Dear "anotherpaul"
                                                           
                                                          I was a 6th grade teacher the year the "New" Math was introduced in my district.  The problem was not that the parents were "stupid" or necessarily Christian. (My school was located in a largely Jewish neighborhood. The liberal, secular Jewish parents were upset as well.)
                                                           
                                                          The problem with the new math was the method of implementation. Bowing to political pressure the school districts tried to reform the entire math curriculum in one big change.  Students who had never had to deal with concepts that sophisticated were now being taught mathematics in a completely new way. They could handle it, but the time devoted to set theory and operations in different bases meant that there was less time for traditional calculating skills. So, state test scores declined dramatically, which "proved" to the public that the new math "did not work".  The degree of indulgence and refusal to work hard in our public education systems were also contributory factors.
                                                           
                                                          The people who make the decisions in education are mostly school administrators, who are very political, and college professors. No one asked the classroom teachers about what really works with kids.
                                                           
                                                          Tom M.
                                                           
                                                           
                                                          In a message dated 9/7/2009 1:11:40 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, anotherpaul2001@ yahoo.com writes:
                                                           

                                                          I think you will find it was "progressives" , etc that obfuscated the issue by trying to force "new math" on the populace and replace traditional math. Fortunately those poor stupid parents, most of whom believed in the Bible, spoke up in great numbers against the idiocy of teaching something that was only needed in higher math classes. Oh by the way I am a Christian and took higher math classes. Strangely enough today, while I am not a nuclear scientist, or a physicist I am involved in Chemistry and the old math is just fine for that.

                                                          The reason anyone in the world will answer  2 + 2 = 4 is because they "progressive" (read secular and anti Christian) ideas were tossed out. Do a little research on the subject and then criticize those stupid progressives (read secular and anti Christian dummies) over it, not Christians.

                                                          --- On Mon, 9/7/09, christian_skeptic <christian_skeptic@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                                                           

                                                          --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote:
                                                          >
                                                          > Yep and depending on context etc 2 + 2 could be 4 or any other number depending on the "base number". Remember "New math"?

                                                          Reply: Ask anyone in the world what 2 + 2 is, and unless that person is an idiot, you will get the same answer. Only a Christian could obfuscate this point.

                                                        • christian_skeptic
                                                          Unbelievable! Again, only Christians can confuse issues like this. 2 apples and another 2 apples always made 4 apples, before and after the new math. 2 apples
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Sep 8, 2009
                                                            Unbelievable! Again, only Christians can confuse issues like this. 2 apples and another 2 apples always made 4 apples, before and after the new math. 2 apples and another 2 apples always made 4 apples at any time in history - no one can argue this - but since you are, this shows the dangers of embracing Christianity. Something happens to an apologetic mind, you have to win the argument at all costs, even at the cost of rationality.
                                                            Heinz

                                                            --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
                                                            >
                                                            > I think you will find it was "progressives", etc that obfuscated the issue by trying to force "new math" on the populace and replace traditional math. Fortunately those poor stupid parents, most of whom believed in the Bible, spoke up in great numbers against the idiocy of teaching something that was only needed in higher math classes. Oh by the way I am a Christian and took higher math classes. Strangely enough today, while I am not a nuclear scientist, or a physicist I am involved in Chemistry and the old math is just fine for that.
                                                            >
                                                            > The reason anyone in the world will answer� 2 + 2 = 4 is because they "progressive" (read secular and anti Christian) ideas were tossed out. Do a little research on the subject and then criticize those stupid progressives (read secular and anti Christian dummies) over it, not Christians.
                                                            >
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