Thomas Quinn is an Emmy-nominated producer and writer for television and print, an author and speaker, and a skeptic.

He received his M.F.A. from the American Film Institute, worked as a story analyst for DreamWorks, Universal and HBO, and was a film critic and entertainment reporter for a Los Angeles weekly.

In 2005, Tom received two Emmy nominations as writer and producer of "Beyond the Da Vinci Code" for the History Channel.

Originally from New Jersey, he now lives in Los Angeles.

Virgin Birth Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

‘Tis the season for really bad sex advice. Face it, Christmas, or Hanukkah for that matter, are not the best occasions for talking about sex. The holidays are a time for schmaltz: sappy songs, achingly wholesome TV specials, and fashion crimes that range from horrid reindeer sweaters to garish wreath broaches. Sex doesn’t really fit well into that nerdy milieu. After all, it’s a time of year that hovers around the miracle of a virgin birth.

There are a lot of problems with the virgin birth idea. First, it’ll get you an “F” in biology class. Second, it tells those who have problems with teaching contraception in sex education classes that “abstinence only” is no guarantee against teenage pregnancy. Third, virgin birth idea is just a bad concept to begin with. The pain of childbirth without the joys of sex? Who thought this was a good idea? Certainly not a woman. Oh yeah… that Yahweh guy. All powerful, but kind of a control freak when it comes to nookie.

Despite the huge fuss we make over the Virgin Mary, she wasn’t the first to pull this off this feat. Earlier pagan god-men like Egypt’s Horus, or Dionysus and Attis from Greece, were all products of a virgin birth—usually because they were born of a godly father and a mortal woman. Dionysus, the god of grain and the vine, was a son of Zeus, king of the gods, and Semele, a mortal woman. She remained a virgin because Zeus impregnated her with a bolt of lightning. Must have been some honeymoon.

Frankly, it’s a little insulating for the mother of Jesus to be saddled with the Virgin Mary moniker, as if not having sex were her greatest accomplishment. It must have tough going through life known to all by the condition of her genitals. It’s seems unfair. Nobody talks about the Circumcised Jesus, even though he was snipped on what is now the Eighth Day of Christmas. (Maybe that’s why it has “Lords ‘a Leaping.” Ow!) At one point, the medieval Church claimed to have preserved Christ’s foreskin. Apparently they didn’t throw anything away.

Of course, there’s debate about whether or not Mary was actually a virgin. The Greek word used in the New Testament referring to her translates literally to “young woman,” not “virgin.” As we well know, assuming a young woman is a virgin isn’t a sure bet. They’re not identical categories. In California there’s almost no overlap at all.

Yes, Mary was a nice Jewish girl in the first century. But she got news of her pregnancy while she was still only engaged. What would everyone think? What would Joseph think? If your fiancé ended up pregnant and she told you it was a miracle, would you buy that or would you go looking for this Holy Spirit guy with a shotgun? Virgin birth is more trouble than it’s worth.


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  • Hi Thomas, as you point out, anyone who really looks into this story can quickly see the whole thing was made up to fill in the blanks about the misunderstood virgin translation. This is made clear by the fact that neither Paul, Mark, or John even mentioned it….

    • tom:

      Yes… the Virgin Birth, along with the miracle star, the Roman census, the slaughter of the innocents, and all that frankincense and myrrh brought by the Wise Men, had to be invented…otherwise there would be plenty of evidence for these events outside the Bible. Somebody forgot to write all that down.

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