How much is myth? How much is fact? How much is fiction?
None of the gospels were actually written firsthand. Most of them were written thirty or forty years after Christ died. Try to write a detailed autobiography of someone you knew thirty years ago (if you’re old enough). How much can you really remember about someone other than yourself?
During Catechism, I had serious doubts about the veracity of the stories I was being told about a man, a son of God (Are we not all children of God? Why is he so special?), who had wandered the Earth teaching people about the “true” religion.
I could feel potential truth in the idea of the existence of a God, but the stories I was being told struck me as simply that—stories. Not truth. To me they were methods of bringing across important teachings.
Yet some people believe J.C. existed, lived. They believe he died at the cross and was reborn. (Which, I may add, is a form of reincarnation, so to all those ardent Christians out there saying Asian religions are utterly wrong, stop to think before speaking. Please.)
Was he really reborn? Maybe he just died on the cross and everything else following is fiction. Maybe he was only unconscious when he was taken down, or maybe a conspirator had him drugged to look dead.
Maybe he lived a long life, married, had children. What would be so wrong with a life like that, which after all is the kind of life people lead? Having family does not impair your ability to do good. Why do holy people have to be celibate?
Like Mary, Jesus’ mother; the virgin mother. She was married. It is impossible that she was a virgin, considering that Jewish tradition dictates that a marriage should be consummated on the very same night the union is formed.
And then the poor other Mary: Mary Magdalene, the (supposed) prostitute. Perhaps she was just unlucky enough to fall in love with a man who was supposed to remain celibate, and as she couldn’t have an immaculate conception, she was deemed to be the epitome of all things evil in women.
Which Mary are we? (I, for one, cannot conceive without some assistance.)
The Church seems to like having a woman to pick on. First, everything is blamed on Eve, then a woman who might have been or would have liked to be involved with Jesus is called a prostitute. (In any case, how dumb must Adam have been?)
I am hard-pressed to accept stories from the bible and gospels as true. Perhaps I am the modern Doubting Thomas, or maybe it is the result of a series of disillusionments. I cannot have faith in stories like these. All I can do is have faith in people.
After all, who cares what someone did two thousand years ago? The past is dead.