Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Meaning of the Virgin Birth




Photo: John Cocking

The meaning of a virgin birth is that it is not a corporal birth, such as a human or animal experiences. It represents the birth of the spiritual self, hence it is often called a "second birth" or a re-birth. (NO, it doesn't mean that you're a 'Christian again' and decided to go to church regularly!) All animals have a corporal birth, but it is generally believed that only humans can experience a spiritual birth. Some say this is the "Holy Ghost", but that concept is problematic and debatable; many would say this term represents the soul which gives life to the inanimate matter (the earth or clay) that was used to form the human body. This concept is not only not unique to Christianity, but has been a common motif in much religious mythology, as it does not represent a 'miraculous human conception' at all, but an individual's awakening as a spiritual being, a concept not unique to any one culture, hence it often falls under the general term of "perennial wisdom", or universal truths common to most religions or philosophies.

In the Christian version, the acceptance of this awakening leads to the baptism, or holy cleansing of one's soul, when the individual now devotes him or herself to the mission of following a life of selfless spirituality. In ancient Israel, some sects, such as Essenes, both men and women, did the ritual baptism every day at midday as a constant daily affirmation of the spiritual cleansing.

Historically, there have been numerous corporal virgin births documented, including a famous one in the Civil War, when a soldier was shot and the ball continued into a house and impregnated a virgin teenager; when the soldier found out, he saw this as 'providence', and married the woman and they had several more children together. However, none of the other virgin births became anyone more famous than this incident.

If you think this represents a material, historical accuracy, then it's nothing unique when compared to other religions, and you'll have to find a meaning to the story that includes why it would be retold or common to various religions and cultures.

[Note: I also posted this at WikiAnswers in response to the question: "What is the meaning of the virgin birth?", and some clown had answered, "A woman, never having known a man, gives birth; there has been only one." Not only is that innacurate, but "The Gospel of the Birth of Mary", later removed by some early Pope, give the exact same story for Mary's birth, born of a virgin herself. Metaphysically, this means that the "Mary" concept is not a real person, but a spiritual concept. This is likely why the book was removed. Ironically, all editing or changing of the Bible, including removing books, is prohibited at the end of Revelations, in a paragraph that was certainly added later by monks! In spite of this, the King James Version has over 14,000 changes made in just the new testament alone since the Codex Sinaiticus version from 180 a.d., the oldest known copy of these books, so it may be the original versions.]

5 comments:

The Buddhist Conservative said...

From their desire to believe beyond doubt, I think people don't realize that Jesus routinely spoke in parables rather than literal events.

We need to remember that the Bible is a historical document missing much of history. It is not a document that has been preserved through the centuries by people faithful to its original teachings.

The "Church" has changed the teachings to fit in with many not so holy intentions since it was first written.

Namaste,
Roger

Jose Sinclair said...

I believe "mass" is what is taught to the masses, while the "mysteries" are reserved for the initiates and true students.

Even Jesus' disciples asked why he spoke in parables. For me the answer is simple: there's no language for the spiritual so it has to be related in everyday, materialistic terminology so the "masses" can begin to understand.

thanks for the comment,
..El, the jman..

Count Sneaky said...

What was taught to the initiates and true students in the "mysteries" was even more bizarre and unbelievable than the "mass"... or it was the explanation that none of this was to be taken literally. What other alternatives exist? Count Sneaky

Jose Sinclair said...

Possible secret teachings? Most surmise: meditation, healing science, reincarnation, meanings of parables. There were Buddhist monasteries all the way to Greece by this time, so these were all well known yuet there's no mention of them in the Bible, that being more into the Egyptian and Persian "mysteries".

The Egyptians believed we came here from Sirius, the Dog Star, and the hidden 'passage' in the great pyramid actually points right to Sirius during an equinox, I think. Moses got his "10 commandments" from the 11 (times 4) you have in the Egyptian House of the Dead, which go like this:
I have not killed
I have not ordered anyone killed
I have not allowed anyone to be killed
one other (?) - caused anyone to be killed through neglect (?)
not sure on these - I'm gonna look them up and post them so people can see that Moses didn't really add anything unique at all.

As an aside, Peter and Jesus' brother James argued with Paul about (a) virgin birth (Paul added it?) (b) Jesus' divinity (also Paul's).. they said they knew Jesus and that Paul didn't, it all came from his head. He created his own religion using mostly Persian mystery cults mixed with Judaic and Buddhist teachings. It was Buddha who said "do not do unto other that which you would not have done to oneself", about 650 b.c.

Count Sneaky said...

There were known Buddhists monesteries in Galilee. I think somewhere Jesus was referred to as the Man fom Galilee."
The so-called Golden Rule obviously came from Gautama's teachings. No one knows what was taught in the Egyptian and Eleusinian Mysteries. Judging from modern societies with a "secret" like the Masons, A sense of brotherhood is strongly inculcated and a social network is formed for mutual aid. There are no "secret teachings and they in fact teach friendship. morality, patriotism,and brotherly love. I don't think that there is little question that all of these "Mystery Societies"
worked this way. They were highly respected in every society because they promoted the values of that society.The secrecy and mystery that was promoted attracted the better element of societies and common experience bound the initiates together...but there were no big "secrets" that were ever revealed down to the present day.
It has proved to be a boon to fiction writers. Jose is correct also.
These schools may well have taught meditation and the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. And yes, the Book of the Dead is the foundation of the 10Commandments. Count Sneaky