The Virgin Birth in Context

There are many unusual stories of children being made by gods and mortals in ancient mythologies. In the Greek myths alone, Zeus has a legion of children conceived through bizarre and, one might say, kinky methods.

There was Danae, whom Zeus approached, seduced, and in all probability had, as a shower of coins. I submit to the gentle reader that Japanese tentacle porn has never given us anything as bizarre as a woman penetrated by a flood of animate coins. That's a golden shower to remember!

(Worse still, some accounts do not say "a shower of coins"; they outright say "Zeus came to her as a golden rain". Truly in the realm of fetishes there is nothing new under the sun; though impregnation by urine is something that is rarely seen.)

The resulting son, the hero Perseus, presumably was more unwilling than is usual to hear of his parents' romancing.

And what of Leda, the Queen of Sparta? Zeus took a fancy to her, turned himself into a swan, and in swan form seduced Leda and had sexual relations with her.

Let that sink in for a while. Hot swan-on-woman sex. By the way, there are entirely too many too hot Renaissance paintings of this subject. One suspects they were presented in small locked rooms with no windows, with a stool right in front of the image. "Why mwahaha it is art, yes. Now leave me to... behold the painting.")

As a consequence of this outré consummation, this avian flap, this business most fowl, Leda gave birth to two eggs, one of which cracked open to reveal the future-famous beauty Helen of Troy.

"Mommy, how did you meet my papa?"

"Not now, Helen. Go and brush those feathery curls of yours some more."


"To your room, Helen! I will not be spoken to with such a tone!"

Some wonder Helen was so easily stolen by Paris of Troy. I submit it was much better than watching her mother stiffen every time a herd of fowl went by.

(Orgasm is the little death. Swans only sing when they die. What on earth did Zeus utter at the peak of his ecstasy? If you want to know, you are a wicked, wicked, wicked person and I dearly love you.)

Then there was Athena, the goddess of wisdom, whom Zeus generated by pushing the brute thought of her through his forehead and into flesh.

The alternative legend is worse, by the way: Athena's mother was impregnated by Zeus, but in a moment of panic he ate her. Then when he began to have these blinding headaches, he had his buddy Hephaestus to...

Ah, fuck it. To split Zeus's head open with a two-headed axe, because that's how you deal with a god's headache, goddamnit! And out crawled Athena, newly born, mysteriously already clad and armed, and presumably very fucking confused.

Does it begin to be a great relief to the dear reader that the Bible does not go into any detail about the impregnation of Mary and the birth of Jesus? If the easygoing, philosophical Greeks had this kind of shit for their entertainment, what would the dour, misery-loving, Hell-preaching, God-torturing Christians think for the birth into the valley of sorrow of the man doomed to most graphically die?

"Ho ho ho, and then God came to Mary in the dark of the night; and she was terrified and could not move. And the many tentacles of God, slimy and barbed and long, did slither to her; and each had the head of a prophet at the end of it, and from the mouth of each prophet there came a swarm of bees."

Most probably the early Christians knew the twisted shit the Greeks told, and decided that they were not going to go into any detail; they didn't want a sculpture of that adorning their living room.

But maybe not so --- there was Heracles, who in a case not very different from dozens of others was the result of Zeus impersonating the husband of Heracles's mother.

"Joseph, why do your eyes glow so tonight? Joseph, why are you so insistent?"


If one considers this casual blasphemy, one should not forget that the Old Testament mentions "the sons of God" lying with women: where did these apparently physical sons of God come from? If they were fallen angels instead, well, that still shows divine beings preferring as a method of generating progeny some form of sex, possibly a kinky one. What then of God and his generations? The Bible offers only one specific example of a physical son of god --- Jesus. If one questions Jesus's physical generation, why not take a hint from other divine generations, the Old Testamental and the Greek ones? That's superficially plausible, in both the theological and the mythological sense.

last updated: (Mar 14 2011)