An excellent book written by Joseph Lewis in 1926. Read complete book here
Excerpts from 2 chapters:
The Virgin Birth, or Mary,
The Holy Ghost, Joseph and Jesus.
In a public debate with the Reverend Charles Francis Potter on the question of the “Virgin Birth of Christ,” the Reverend John Roach Straton, before a crowded audience in Carnegie Hall read the details of the birth of Christ as recorded in the book of St. Matthew of the New Testament.
In reading the description of the birth of Christ before this public gathering I maintain that the Reverend Mr. Straton insulted not only the moral sensibilities of the people who heard him, but also their mental sensibilities, when he exposed his monumental ignorance in accepting this narrative as the truth. I venture to say, if the Reverend John Roach Straton were to detail the birth of any other person in the same language which was used relative to Christ, his audience would have rebuked this insult in the unmistakable terms of hoots and hisses. No less a person than the Reverend John Haynes Holmes, in a public statement, has characterized this narrative as obscene.
From the pulpit of Calvary Baptist Church, of which Reverend John Roach Straton is pastor, the Reverend W. L. Pettingill, as reported in the New York Sun of December 4, 1923, said this:
|“Only those who believe in Christ as God, in His Virgin Birth and in His Resurrection in the body — the irreducible minimum of the Christian faith — will go to heaven. Those who deny any or all of these tenets will be lost — they will go to hell.”|
“We have got to smoke them out,” cried the reverend, and when he made this last statement I suppose he forgot for the moment that he was not living in the days when thousands suffered death by fire and fagot for denying the very things that he now demands that we all accept. If the ecclesiastical arm were as strong now as it was then, how sweet would the “smoke” of my flesh be to the nostrils of the Reverend Mr. Pettingill. What this reverend gentleman said further particularly interests us at this moment.
|“These things do not permit of interpretation. There is no altering the words written. Either the Virgin Birth is truth, or two things must be — the Bible must be false in regard to this or Jesus of Nazareth was a bastard. Either Jesus was God or a hideous impostor.” [Italics Mine.]|
I reject the Virgin Birth as Biblically related, Reverend Mr. Pettingill, and accept the alternative.
That Jesus was a hideous impostor has been conclusively proven by others. As we are not concerned with his imposture in this book, we cannot go into details of that element of his deception. We are concerned with his illegitimacy, and to that end we will continue; although in doing so I will be acting contrary to the attitude of a celebrated author, who, when asked during an address before the students of a prominent college what he thought of Christianity, replied: “I am not interested in Jewish family scandals.”
I quote the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Chapter 1, Verse 18.
|18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.|
The inference here is too plain for even a dullard not to understand. A young girl is betrothed to a young man. Mind you, not to a “holy ghost”; not to something intangible and unseen, but to a young man, virile and in possession of all his faculties. “Before they came together,” which needs no elucidation, the girl was found to be “with child.” Now the writer of this narrative was fully aware of the fact that before a child is born it is necessary for a man and a woman to “come together.”
Laying aside the pertinency of a child asking an explanation of what is meant by “coming together,” we see the necessary male adjunct of this union by the introduction of the Holy Ghost. In claiming that it was the Holy Ghost who cohabited with Mary and was the father of Jesus, Elbert Hubbard thought it was the greatest compliment ever paid to man.
I say this solemnly and with deep conviction: If all the acts of adultery and unfaithfulness could be blamed upon the Holy Ghost and accepted as such by the injured party, a great deal of misery and sorrow of the world would be avoided. Men are so jealous of their loved ones, that if they find them liberal even with their glances and smiles to other men, a situation hard to overcome presents itself. What, I pray you, would be the result of the situation in which we find Mary, the espoused of Joseph and mother of Jesus? I am sure the Holy Ghost story would not hold water. I am sure the young man would say: “If you are unfaithful to me before we are married, what can I expect after we are wedded?” I am inclined to think the young man would say that he was “finished with her” and would demand the return of his diamond ring. More than one proposed marriage has been broken for a far less cause than that of finding the espoused “with child.”
Men are very adverse to supporting other men’s children. As each man, in a situation of this kind, is a law unto himself, we will proceed with the story as it concerns Joseph.
St. Matthew, Chapter 1, Verse 19.
|19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.|
Bully for Joseph! His act is commendable. Surely worthy of our praise. But why “put her away privily”? And why was he not willing “to make her a public example”? Why was he not jubilant that God complimented him to such an extent that he chose his sweetheart to bear his son and Savior of the world?
It is quite evident from the narrative that Joseph bore a great love for Mary and was willing to marry her despite the fact that she had slipped from the path of virtue even after her betrothal to him.
That some sly and smooth-tongued seducer was responsible for Mary’s plight cannot be denied. A super Don Juan he must have been to be able to entice a girl already pledged to another to suffer his embrace.
And although it is claimed by some that Pandora, a “good for nothing” neighbor, was responsible for Mary’s condition, the time is far too distant for the production of any credible evidence regarding the notorious affair, as evidence in such cases is considered the most difficult to secure. “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily,” is sufficient evidence alone to brand Mary’s condition with the stamp of unfaithfulness.
No doubt the parents of Mary, to avoid having a public scandal and to check the vile tongue of Mrs. Grundy, pleaded with Joseph to take Mary to a place where they were unknown until after the delivery of the child. Such a thing is done now, and there is no reason to suppose that it wasn’t done then. No doubt Mary herself was anxious to repent, and in her pleadings with Joseph must have promised him — faithfully — that she would never again stray from the path of virtue and rectitude. Joseph evidently believed with Shakespeare, “that love is not love that alters when it alteration finds,” and so he overlooked the slight “alteration” he found in Mary. If the angel of the Lord could tell Joseph about the Holy Ghost, he could surely inform him what Shakespeare was to write more than 1,500 years hence!
But despite his great love for Mary and despite her “slight alteration” Joseph began to have his doubts about the Holy Ghost version of her condition as the narrative continues.
St. Matthew, Chapter 1, Verse 20.
|20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.|
One thing the above quotation proves. It proves that Joseph did not believe that the child conceived by Mary was of the Holy Ghost. Joseph gave the matter serious consideration.
And if Joseph, who was on the scene and acquainted with all the facts of the deed, did not believe the “ghost story” how can you expect us, after nearly two thousand years have elapsed, to accept it as a verity? As for having the truth revealed to him in a dream by an angel, that is too laughable for mention. Truly that is “such stuff as dreams are made of.”
That the story of Christ and his so-called virgin birth is a pure fabrication and myth, and was invented by the deluded and superstitious believers of that time, is attested to by the following verses of the narrative. It was an attempt on the part of some to “contest or reinterpret” the “first will” or Old Testament, in an endeavor that they might become the favored ones of God. The text proves unequivocally that it was not the miraculous birth of Christ that was of so much concern; the supreme importance was the fulfillment of the so-called prophecy that “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son”; as the following text proves.
St. Matthew, Chapter 1, Verses 21-25.
|21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
It is unnecessary for me to show the falsity of the prophecy, “now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying:
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel; which being interpreted is, God with us,” because Thomas Paine has so admirably unmasked this monstrous lie, I am going to quote his version of it from his celebrated “Age of Reason.”
|“Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,” Isaiah, chap. vii. ver. 14, has been interpreted to mean the person called Jesus Christ, and his mother Mary, and has been echoed through Christendom for more than a thousand years; and such has been the rage of this opinion that scarcely a spot in it but has been stained with blood, and marked with desolation in consequence of it. Though it is not my intention to enter into controversy on subjects of this kind, but to confine myself to show that the Bible is spurious, and thus, by taking away the foundation, to overthrow at once the whole structure of superstition raised thereon, I will, however, stop a moment to expose the fallacious application of this passage.Whether Isaiah was playing a trick with Ahaz, king of Judah, to whom this passage is spoken, is no business of mine; I mean only to show the misapplication of the passage, and that it has no more reference to Christ and his mother than it has to me and my mother. The story is simply this: The king of Syria and the king of Israel, (I have already mentioned that the Jews were split into two nations, one of which was called Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, and the other Israel), made war jointly against Ahaz, king of Judah, and marched their armies toward Jerusalem. Ahaz and his people became alarmed, and the account says, verse 2, “And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.”
In this situation of things, Isaiah addresses himself to Ahaz, and assures him in the name of the Lord (the cant phrase of all the prophets) that these two kings should not succeed against him; and to satisfy Ahaz that this should be the case, tells him to ask a sign. This, the account says, Ahaz declined doing, giving as a reason that he would not tempt the Lord; upon which Isaiah, who is the speaker, says, ver. 14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son“; and the 16th verse says, “For before this child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest, (or dreadest, meaning Syria and the kingdom of Israel) shall be forsaken of both her kings.” Here then was the sign, and the time limited for the completion of the assurance or promise, namely, before this child should know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
Isaiah having committed himself thus far, it became necessary to him, in order to avoid the imputation of being a false prophet and the consequence thereof, to take measures to make this sign appear. It certainly was not a difficult thing, in any time of the world, to find a girl with child, or to make her so, and perhaps Isaiah knew of one beforehand; for I do not suppose that the prophets of that day were any more to be trusted than the priests of this. Be that, however, as it may, he says in the next chapter, ver. 2, “And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, and I went unto the prophetess, and she conceived and bare a son.”
Here, then, is the whole story, foolish as it is, of this child and this virgin; and it is upon the barefaced perversion of this story, that the book of Matthew, and the impudence and sordid interests of priests in later times, have founded a theory which they call the Gospel; and have applied this story to signify the person they call Jesus Christ, begotten, they say, by a ghost, whom they call holy, on the body of a woman, engaged in marriage, and afterward married, whom they call a virgin, 700 years after this foolish story was told; a theory which, speaking for myself, I hesitate not to disbelieve, and to say, is as fabulous and as false as God is true.[*]
But to show the imposition and falsehood of Isaiah, we have only to attend to the sequel of this story, which, though it is passed over in silence in the book of Isaiah, is related in the 28th chapter of the second Chronicles, and which is, that instead of these two kings failing in their attempt against Ahaz, king of Judah, as Isaiah had pretended to foretell in the name of the Lord, they succeeded; Ahaz was defeated and destroyed, a hundred and twenty thousand of his people were slaughtered, Jerusalem was plundered, and two hundred thousand women, and sons and daughters, carried into captivity. Thus much for this lying prophet and imposter, Isaiah, and the book of falsehoods that bears his name.
* In the 14th verse of the 7th chapter, it is said that the child should be called Immanuel; but this name was not given to either of the children otherwise than as a character which the word signifies. That of the prophetess was called Maher-shalal-hash-baz, and that of Mary was called Jesus.
I challenge every minister of Christianity to refute Thomas Paine’s exposure of this all too monstrous lie and the most dastardly piece of imposition ever perpetrated upon the human race! I make no restrictions to this challenge. It includes every gentleman of the cloth of every church professing the Christian doctrine.
Prove Thomas Paine false or cease your hypocrisy with its unholy gain!
The Birth of Jesus Christ
The Gospel of St. Luke
Perhaps the birth of Christ as related by St. Matthew was not minute and conclusive enough as to the details of the sexual act and so we turn to the Gospel of St. Luke to supply this most interesting account.
As we have already reviewed cases of unfaithfulness, incest, polygamy, prostitution, rape, adultery, child by whoredom, and almost every phase of immorality known to man, it will not, I am sure, be inappropriate to continue with this version of the birth of Christ.
I quote The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 1, Verses 26-28.
|26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
One difference already noted between the narrative of St. Matthew and St. Luke regarding Mary and the conception of her child, is that in St. Matthew it is the Holy Ghost who is responsible for her pregnant condition and in St. Luke the angel Gabriel is mentioned. And although here is a distinct contradiction between the two accounts, the designation of the character by different names responsible for the condition makes very little real difference. What we are concerned with is the fact that it was someone else than the man she had promised to wed.
We have read of angels “whispering” to a person, but we have never heard of an instance where “the angel came in unto her.” And the word Angel is equally appropriate as that of the Holy Ghost.
The Gospel according to St. Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 29.
|29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.|
Ah! We have the secret direct from the Bible. Let me repeat the above quotation to bring its full significance to you. “And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” I wonder what this he angel proposed to Mary that made her “cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be”? Is it possible that she was innocent of the relationship he proposed, or was she simply amazed at his daring and boldness? especially so, since she was already engaged to some one else and was mindful of her virginity. And what an altogether different story it would have been if God had sent a she angel to visit Mary! To my mind a woman is a nearer approach to an angel than a man could ever be.
No wonder the poor girl was troubled. She had a difficult problem on her hands. Although the Bible is not explicit in what this he angel said to Mary, we are not devoid of imagination; and so continue.
The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 30.
|30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.|
From this verse we glean the manner of pursuit and what the angel was after. “Fear not” is the pet phrase of the seducer. The angel’s courting has not been in vain. Victory has been achieved. Similar action to that of Mary is taking place, at this very moment, throughout the world. Seduction, unfortunately, is still too commonly prevalent. Is it possible that the angel “doped” Mary as sometimes happens in cases of this kind and when she “awoke” she was unaware of what had transpired? For she says,
The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 34.
|34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?|
You see Mary was aware of the fact that without a man’s help she could not have a child. Where Mary received her sex education I do not know; perhaps from the story of Tamar and Judah? And so we continue with the unusual story of the intercourse of an angel with a maid.
The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 31.
|31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.|
Yes, the deed is done. The angel has satisfied his desire. The prophecy is well founded. As truly “prophetic” as Isaiah and his subsequent action. Although any potent man could accomplish the same result. For more of this kind of “literature” continue the narrative as it consecutively appears in the Bible.
But it occurs to me that if Jesus was to be immaculately conceived, and God was to be his father, he should have chosen a different place of incubation than that of a woman’s womb. It is in the womb that all of us mortals are conceived and the Bible’s own testimony regarding this birth is rather disconcerting to those devout believers in the miraculous birth of Christ. If there were to be a really and truly miraculous birth, conception should have taken place in the ear, or arm, or leg, but in the womb — never!
It is quite probable that a story like the one just related, detailed in any other book than the Bible, would be construed as being of a highly spicy tone and condemned as being vicious in its moral conclusion. Surely, Mary would be looked upon as a girl whose character was not worthy of emulation. Her actions indicate that a knowledge of sex would have been very helpful, because her ignorance was certainly not bliss. I wish for the moment to speak to the fathers and mothers of young girls; particularly those of the Christian faith. What would you say if your daughter came and told you that she was “with child by an angel”? What would the young man to whom she was engaged in marriage say about her condition? I am sure you would immediately make a thorough search for this angel and bring him to account. In certain parts of this country, this angel, if caught, would not be given much of an opportunity to explain himself. And if he said that he was “an angel of the Lord” you know how much weight that would have.
And now you parents, you who are so anxious about the welfare of your daughter, and so mindful of her amusements and companions; if your daughter were reading a book, whose plot corresponded to the story of Mary, would you not admonish her that such a book was unfit to be read, that its example was vicious and detrimental, and that “nothing good” can come from such stories? Wouldn’t you make an effort to discourage her interest in such literature? By what rule, then, does a story which is suggestive in any other book, become of high moral value when it is found in the Bible?
Now let me say a word about the moral import of this narrative. It is of the grossest obscenity. It poisons the minds of children not only to the vital facts of biological science, but even prejudices the minds of adults to these vital facts. Would you think of reading this story to your children for the purpose of drawing a moral lesson? What moral principle can be inculcated from this narrative? Is it the seduction of Mary and the illegitimacy of Christ?