Familiarity with your own religion (or at the least, the one you were raised in) often immunizes you from recognizing how weird it is. When I first met my husband I recall thinking “Mormons believe some really weird stuff! How can anyone with half a brain believe this!?” Then he asked me if I believed in transubstantiation and the ever-virgin Mary. The answer was that no, I didn’t and that furthermore, I didn’t know that as a Catholic I was even supposed to! The fact that I didn’t believe in half the things the Catholic church taught was actually one of the things that made me start questioning my faith. As soon as I started to see my own religion from the same distance as all the other ones, it ceased to hold any real significance for me. I quite happily threw the baby out with the bath water.
The ever-Virgin Mary was always a strange concept to me and one that I had given a lot of thought to. So, when I heard an author on the radio not too long ago, talking about sex and the bible I was very interested. His point was that in the Catholic church, it is believed that each human is born with original sin. This is why it was necessary for Jesus to have been born of a virgin, so that he was not tainted by this sin. It is also why Mary was forced to remain a virgin, so that she could remain a saint and sinless forever. Except, there is a problem. For Mary to her herself remain sinless, she too must have been born of a virgin. Uh oh. This is where the whole thing starts to unravel. (To be fair, anyone with a heart beat should recognize the absurdity of the ever-virgin claim before we get to this point, but I digress.) So was Mary’s mother also a virgin? And her mother and so on? Nobody ever gets into that because theological muddy waters are best avoided if you want to keep up the ruse.
Poor, poor Mary and Joseph. Born of a virgin-mother and a sexually frustrated father, forced to remain chaste and endure the death of her only (only?! that’s a whole other post) son on a stick in the desert, and wife to a very bitter man who must have been on the receiving end of a lot of jokes. And all for the love of a non-existent God and beatification by a sexually perverted church. Not much of a life is it? Better to have never existed at all. :)