The Instigator
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
Galiban
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points

God has provided proficient evidence that Mary, mother of Christ, remained a virgin until her death

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,270 times Debate No: 10685
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (39)
Votes (6)

 

rougeagent21

Con

Resolved: God has provided proficient evidence (Whether it be physical, spiritual, written, human, or other) that affirms the statement that Mary, mother of Christ, remained a virgin until her death.

"Change the resolution to 'Is there valid reasons for believing Mary remained a virgin until death.'
If you do not mind clarifying the resolution and that we both conceded that Mary was a real person and that she was a virgin until after Jesus's birth and the debate is whether she remained a virgin until death or not."

I agree that she was a real person. I agree that she was a virgin until Jesus' birth at minimum. I agree that the debate should revolve around whether or not she remained a virgin her entire life. I will compromise on the resolution. As you are the affirmative, I will again allow you to open and start to frame the debate. Good luck!
Galiban

Pro

Though this is a fun debate it does not in any way detract from the Good News that all sinners can be set free in Jesus Christ.

Christians vary in worship and practice, which in most systems are not theological differences. (Example: Chanting monks vs. Gospel singers, most things are culture vs tradition)

To the debate:

My opponent will attempt to construct a positive argument that Mary was not perpetually a virgin after the birth of our Lord and I will construct a Positive case that she was perpetually a virgin.

We are not debating any other belief system about Mary as the resolution clearly shows.

Concerning Mary's Perpetual Virginity –

**1st. Positive Argument **– The belief that Mary remained a virgin until death was a staple belief system throughout the Church, despite contrary sounding scriptures.

The importance of this is displayed that in the church as early as the mid 300's a dissenting opinion within the church was scoffed at. That most of "Greek" speaking early church fathers believed in this viewpoint (again proven by the fact that by 383 A.D. a dissenting opinion was nearly unheard of and only possibly in the Arian and Monatist sects as alluded to by Origen in his commentaries on Matthew.)
Arguments against this did not come up until the mid 200's (Origen's Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [A.D. 248]). when a lot of the Church laity and a few of the pastorate were not versed in the Greek Language but Latin and were led away to gnosticism, arianism, monatism etc….
You would have expected to see a war raging in the other direction before the mid 200's in the early church documents if the perpetual virginity was a heresy coming into the Church.
The schism that came to the 400's –600's was from Latin speaking bishops that were reading the Bible ignoring traditional belief systems and also not having a complete knowledge of ALL scriptures.

The Arians/monatists in the late 200-300's were the only existing recorded dissenting opinions but not the apostolic fathers, which nearly all-Christian viewpoint is built upon.

We even see that St. Jerome even ridicules such an opposite viewpoint by the 400's. (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).

The person who purported the concept of the "brothers" of Jesus argument that Jerome wrote concerning and defending the perpetual virginity, this person could only come up with two writers to quote concerning the belief of Mary not being a perpetual virgin. Tertullian who was a monatist and may have believed, then there was Victorinus whom was misquoted (by Helvidius) and actually believed in the perpetual virginity.
So many others could be listed to believe in the perpetual virginity and these men were educated scholars, rhetoricians and powerful apologists of the Christian faith spending their time fighting heretical beliefs of many sorts.
That leads me to my second positive argument.

**2nd Positive Argument **– The Majority (of the confirmed Church fathers by God) and the most powerful apologists within the early Church Fathers Believed in Mary's Perpetual Virginity.

Ignatius [AD 100] (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).
Justin Martyr[AD 150] (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).
Polycarp [AD 100] (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).
Irenaeus [AD 220] (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).
Hilary of Poitiers(Commentary on Matthew 1:4 [A.D. 354]).
Athanasius(Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).
Epiphanius of Salamis(The Man Well-Anchored 120 [A.D. 374]).
Jerome(Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).
Didymus the Blind(The Trinity 3:4 [A.D. 386]).
Ambrose of Milan(Letters 63:111 [A.D. 388]).
Pope Siricius I(Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
Augustine(Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).
Leporius(Document of Amendment 3 [A.D. 426]).
Cyril of Alexandria(Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4 [A.D. 430]).
Pope Leo I (Sermons 22:2 [A.D. 450]).

*******
Dissenting authors to this viewpoint –

Helvidius – Writings recorded by St. Jerome in 383 A.D.
Arians might have had a dissenting opinion early concerning this but they had many teachings that were not backed up by the scriptures, and only Origens refutation of the Arians exists and it is not necessarily stating they believed that only that someone did.
Tertullian – Monatist (who believed in…a lot of strange things…)

Victorinus (misquoted by Helvidius)
*********
(a point of note even Origen which had many heretical beliefs believed in this was not a dissenting opinion, He also agreed with her Perpetual Virginity.)

All of these early church fathers works can be read in the online library at New Advent.
http://www.newadvent.org...

I will not rebut any negative arguments at this point to avoid attacking straw man arguments. I will allow my opponent to choose His strongest arguments against the perpetual virginity of Mary.

I will only say this concerning the "Brothers" of Jesus argument of my esteemed protestant brothers…. With so many Greek Theologians in the early Church history clearly not having any difficulty with these scriptures and holding to a belief of the perpetual virginity, and even having written commentaries on the Gospels, as well being able to read and write Greek (having memorized scripture unlike most theologians today who have to do word searches), they did not believe this to be an issue. Does that not 'raise the question' why?
Debate Round No. 1
rougeagent21

Con

rougeagent21 forfeited this round.
Galiban

Pro

Extend...
Debate Round No. 2
rougeagent21

Con

I agree completely with my opponent's observation, that this debate does nothing to take away from the good news of Jesus Christ.

===============
Positive Argument #1
===============

It is recorded in several places of the Bible that Jesus was not an only child.

Jesus' brothers are mentioned in several Bible verses. Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say that Jesus' mother and brothers came to see Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. Galatians 1:19 mentions that James was Jesus' brother. The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood half-siblings.

Since it is believed that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, it is undeniable that it should be considered as valid evidence for anything of which it speaks about. Therefore, God has provided sufficient evidence that Mary was not a perpetual virgin.

"The belief that Mary remained a virgin until death was a staple belief system throughout the Church, despite contrary sounding scriptures."

I agree that this was unfortunately the case.

"Arguments against this did not come up until the mid 200's (Origen's Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [A.D. 248]). when a lot of the Church laity and a few of the pastorate were not versed in the Greek Language but Latin and were led away to gnosticism, arianism, monatism etc…."

My opponent frames that the idea of Mary's non-virginity was spawned by people who were not well versed in the Bible. While this may have been true, they were not the only ones who disagreed with this belief. Nowadays, there are numerous protestant believers, who are extremely well versed, that believe in Mary's lack of perpetual virginity. My opponent's logic can be applied to both sides, and becomes non-unique.

"The Majority (of the confirmed Church fathers by God) and the most powerful apologists within the early Church Fathers Believed in Mary's Perpetual Virginity."

This seems very similar to his first contention...

I once again agree. However, I do not agree with these early fathers. As a believer, I trust in the Bible. I would much sooner believe the Bible, with EYEWITNESSES to the scenes described, than an early father who was not at the scene. Why would God have a lie put into his word? Our God is not a God of lies, and we can then deduce that He would not lie in his word.

"I will only say this concerning the "Brothers" of Jesus argument of my esteemed protestant brothers…. With so many Greek Theologians in the early Church history clearly not having any difficulty with these scriptures and holding to a belief of the perpetual virginity, and even having written commentaries on the Gospels, as well being able to read and write Greek (having memorized scripture unlike most theologians today who have to do word searches), they did not believe this to be an issue. Does that not 'raise the question' why?"

It absolutely raises the question. Why on Earth would they believe that when the Bible so clearly iterates that Mary had other children? While these theologians that my opponent speaks of may well have been respected men, they are not infallible. As a follower of Christ, why would you not believe the Bible over fallible human teachings? Even great teachers have faults. However, God is a perfect God, Who does not lie. Since God's word rebukes the idea of Mary as a perpetual virgin, I rebuke it also.

I would apologize to my opponent for my previous absence. Thank you for taking on this debate, and being very patient. Again, my wish is that this debate would not create schisms in the already fractured church. It is meant to be informational, and to hopefully bring understanding.

http://www.gotquestions.org...
http://www.biblegateway.com...
Galiban

Pro

My opponent concedes my first and second positive arguments
**1st. Positive Argument **– The belief that Mary remained a virgin until death was a staple belief system throughout the Church, despite contrary sounding scriptures.

**2nd Positive Argument **– The Majority (of the confirmed Church fathers by God) and the most powerful apologists within the early Church Fathers Believed in Mary's Perpetual Virginity.

He concedes these two positive arguments… with a point… they were sorely mistaken.

At this point I need only prove they were NOT mistaken.

In addition my opponent affirms 1 scriptural argument to support his view point.
That brothers and sisters are stated clearly in the Bible. I also concede that my opponent does indeed read those scriptures correctly. It does in both the Greek and English state brothers and sisters.

His source does make note of contrary arguments but does academic injustice to not point to the "source" of that argument that led the entirety of the early church to a belief that Mary was perpetually a virgin and many of the protestant fathers as well.

This source points out 2 contrary view points:
1. The Catholic Church says they were cousins.
2. It details a remote belief that Joseph had a whole other family.

It mentions the first in passing and does nothing to explain why anyone, much less the entire early church, would believe that. It merely quotes scriptures and makes allusions that such a belief is nonsensical and not worth pursuing.

It then proceeds to butcher a belief that is held by very very few people in the church (Joseph had a past family) at large which also it rightly points out has only 1 source as support.

I again want to restate my positive arguments:
**1st. Positive Argument **– The belief that Mary remained a virgin until death was a staple belief system throughout the Church, despite contrary sounding scriptures.

**2nd Positive Argument **– The Majority (of the confirmed Church fathers by God) and the most powerful apologists within the early Church Fathers Believed in Mary's Perpetual Virginity.

Though my opponent does point to the similar sounding nature of these arguments they are different in implication if not so much in systematic understanding.

The first shows that the Hellenistic world saturated with Judeo-Christian viewpoint had no problem believing this resolution despite what my opponent's source would consider "undeniable" evidence.

The second positive argument shows that the majority of the Authority, leadership, scholars and apologists had no problem believing this.

My opponent's refutation has a deductive fallacy:
1.The word of God is infallible.
2.The word of God uses the word for brothers and sisters.
3.Jesus Had brothers and sisters.
4.There is no evidence Joseph was married to anyone else.

Conclusion Mary could not have remained a virgin.

He also asserts that one must draw this conclusion, as the word of God is infallible.

I COMPLETELY agree with my opponent's assertion that the Word of God is infallible. I still cannot draw that conclusion though. There is more information needed.

Again lets look at the first contrary viewpoint my opponent's source alludes to but passes off.

It is believed by the Majority of the Christian Church (Catholic, Anglican, Methodist etc, most non "Calvinist" churches) today that Mary was perpetually a virgin and that the Brothers and sisters in scriptures were indeed cousins.

Now the information my opponent's source left out:
1.In the Semitic culture of Moses day through Jesus' day cousins were indeed called brothers. In fact near relatives were also called brother.
2.The entire early church knew this.
3.ST Jerome in 383 A.D. wrote an entire letter detailing this out, when some person with very little knowledge of the scriptures brought this up at that time. I will quote it here for all as very few people read the sources.
4.Gen 14:14 & Gen 29 also shows that the Semitic culture used brother to refer to near relatives.

(St. Jerome - Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 16 [A.D. 383]).
http://www.newadvent.org...
"But if you still doubt whether a nephew can be called a son, let me give you an instance. Genesis 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen. And after describing the night attack and the slaughter, he adds, And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot. Let this suffice by way of proof of my assertion. But for fear you may make some cavilling objection, and wriggle out of your difficulty like a snake, I must bind you fast with the bonds of proof to stop your hissing and complaining, for I know you would like to say you have been overcome not so much by Scripture truth as by intricate arguments. Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebecca, when in fear of his brother's treachery he had gone to Mesopotamia, drew near and rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, and watered the flocks of Laban, his mother's brother. Genesis 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son. Here is an example of the rule already referred to, by which a nephew is called a brother. And again, Genesis 29:15 Laban said unto Jacob. Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nought? Tell me what shall your wages be. And so, when, at the end of twenty years, without the knowledge of his father-in-law and accompanied by his wives and sons he was returning to his country, on Laban overtaking him in the mountain of Gilead and failing to find the idols which Rachel hid among the baggage, Jacob answered and said to Laban, Genesis 31:36-37 What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued after me? Whereas you have felt all about my stuff, what have you found of all your household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and your brethren, that they may judge between us two.

* ** * * *
This is scripture.
Scripture is infallible. It is irrelevant if the Greek had a word for cousins. The New Testament writers wrote to a Greek audience that understood the Semitic cultural concept.
This cultural concept can be shown "undeniably" in Genesis.

To summarize:
1.The entire Greek Speaking Early Church believed Mary remained a virgin.
2.The early church fathers believed this and even defended it.
3.The early church supported a better scriptural interpretation of cousin rather than blood brothers.
4.The scriptures of Genesis have proven the cultural system of such language usage.
5.The New Testament was translating a Semitic language and word usage into Greek.
6.Even the protestant fathers held that Mary remained a virgin until death; Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin.. all knowing both sides of the argument. http://en.wikipedia.org...

"John Wesley wrote to a Roman Catholic, as regarding what a Protestant may declare: "I believe that He was made man, joining the human nature with the divine in one person; being conceived by the singular operation of the Holy Ghost, and born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought Him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."

****** ***** ******

I have no problem with the infallibility of the Bible. I in fact endorse it.
I do however believe in the fallibility of the people interpreting the Bible.

I believe that I have shown that my opponent's source shows NOT a lack of scriptural belief or understanding but a lack of knowledge of ALL scriptures. As well my opponent's source did not understand the argument behind the Historic interpretation the Church has held. My opponents source also does not have a knowledge of the Semitic culture.

I also believe I have shown this conclusively.
Debate Round No. 3
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
Roug have you read and researched St. Jerome's arguments and the reasoning of the protestant fathers for believing the perpetual virginity?
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
To Everyone,
It appears from these comments that no scriptural support for Mary's virginity was given by me during the debate. Though that was not posted directly by me, the intent was that the readers should read my source (St. Jerome 383). He gave all of the positive arguments from scriptures you could possibly ever read. Please read those positive arguments.
His entire work, which I posted in the debate, is entirely that. Please read the matter than has been settled from scripture and CHurch history since 383 A.D. which I believe I proved completely.
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
head,
How many times have you read through the Bible and how many times have you spoken with God?
Posted by headphonegut 7 years ago
headphonegut
the bible is a piece of literature written by people over time so it was not evidence provided by god rather an array of people over time
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
Another positive argument from scriptures is when Jesus was on the cross... He gave John Guardianship over his mother.

John 19:25-27
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother , his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother , "Dear woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother ." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
NIV

Also Church tradition holds that Mary and John lived together in ephesus until Mary was assumed.

Additionally Mary the wife of Clopas was the mother of the "cousins" of Jesus. That is the reason they are called Mary's Children you mentioned briefly below.

Hopefully that answers all of your objections and shows from scriptures
1. Mary was given to John who was not a blood brother as guardianship.
2. Mary had given a vow of Purity, which is important to God.
3. No mention of "brothers" is given during the account of Jesus at the age of 12 and teaching in the Temple.
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
Couple more things on purity vow.
Rev 14:2-5
3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
NIV

These men could have very well be married but they are men that pursued purity. This I think is the most powerful.

This is a clear concept in the scriptures, Leviticus, Jesus in Matthew, Corinthians, Revelation etc...
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
""My point is that we have no scriptural reason to believe that Mary remained a virgin for her entire life.
Since scripture does not say otherwise, we have no reason to believe that she, a married woman, would abstain from the normal, God-sanctioned intimacy of marriage.""

I would really like to focus on the Purity that God calls for within a marriage. Paul does a great job expressing what that purity entails in Corinthians. That to be married is not a sin but inferior to abstinence from a standpoint of purity.
We are called to purify ourselves as Jesus did. 1 John 3:3.
Paul considers this purity something to be attained in Corinthians. It is superior to not be married, but if necessary there is only one call if you are going to involve yourself in bed. That is to raise Godly Children (Malachi 3:15).
The marriage bed can be forsaken by a married couple if the desire for serving God is powerful enough as Jesus teaches. He stated that many would be eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

Joseph and Mary knew all of this and the Church has recorded their call to purity even though the Bible has not. We see many things the bible has not explained fully or delved into or just made mention of that the Church has had a teaching on from the beginning.
Laying on of Hands for one.
The key is that the Church of God is alive and powerful and God speaks to us through His Spirit today.

Let me know your thoughts. I believe you may not have studied purity as well as the brother aspect of all family in the Semitic culture.
Posted by Galiban 7 years ago
Galiban
Concerning the argument from Family.
Early on there was NO dissenting opinion that Brothers and Sisters of Jesus were actually near relatives. That is all of the people that started the Church and knew the apostles did not believe they were anything more than cousins.
Hence the first positive argument. All the people that knew the people... that knew the people... etc that knew Jesus and family...
The second positive argument was that nothing was recorded early on within 100-400 A.D. that was a dissenting opinion. Even if such material did not survive we would see quotations or discussions surrounding that belief which supposedly all of our founding fathers of the Church would have told people....

I did not get a chance to go into the positive scriptural support because you opted out a round.

When Mary and Joseph looking for Jesus, Mary would have had 5-? how many other children very little and young. There is no mention of her staying with the other children at the time. Did she abandon them? Leave them with someone else?(I cannot do this argument justice in a comments page)

The purity vow. Do you not know that many christian husbands and wives give up "the marriage bed" to keep only God? In fact Paul Encourages such things in Corinthians? That to be a virgin is better and more pure, but if you have to come together do so very briefly to fullfil that need and then get back to God. It is not sin but NOT pure.

Do you believe that Joseph and Mary both powerful believers and devoted to God enough to raise Jesus would have a problem with Purity? Especially as Paul lays it out?

Even Jesus teaches some will choose to be eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven.

These are just two positive arguments from the scriptures. Combine FULL knowledge of scriptures and God's will or a married couple and then with the Historical knowledge of the Church one must conclude that Mary remained a Virgin as up until death as all of our forefathers did indeed conclude
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Due to character limits, I could not post the entirety of the argument in one comment. The order reads from bottom to top.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
(continued)

Lets briefly analyze a couple of verses dealing with the brothers of Jesus.

Matthew 12:46-47, "While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."

Matthew 13:55 - "Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"

In both of these verses, if the brothers of Jesus are not brothers, but His cousins, then who is His mother and who is the carpenters father? In other words, mother here refers to Mary. The carpenter in Matt. 13:55, refers to Joseph. These are literal. Yet, the Catholic theologian will then stop there and say, "Though carpenters son refers to Joseph, and mother refers to Mary, brothers does not mean brothers, but "cousins." This does not seem to be a legitimate assertion. You cannot simply switch contextual meanings in the middle of a sentence unless it is obviously required. The context is clear. This verse is speaking of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus brothers. The whole context is of familial relationship: father, mother, and brothers.
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