Apparently some early Christians might have believed that Jesus was married.
This is probably blasphemous where you come from. But if a fourth-century fragment bearing Ancient Coptic Egyptian writing turns out to be authentic, then maybe you’re the one going to hell.
Personally, I find the suggestion of a Mrs Christ romantic. Imagine the fantastic Walt Disney movie that would have come out of that storyline.
There would be a big waltz scene, Jesus’ sidekick-animals looking on. A ferret, a tarantula in nanny glasses who knows all the Proverbs by heart, and the donkey from Shrek.
Then Jesus would suddenly run off because he was late for supper with the apostles.
But he promised to call her on Saturday.
We should pause now to acknowledge my christian loved ones. I am aware that this rendition of the Jesus story will seem offensive, perhaps.
So, let me tell you one thing in my defense.
I have a kitty.
He’s a six-and-a-half month old pure-bred Maine Coon we named Vince. He’s a healthy boy, with barely a mile on the odometer.
Purrs like a kitten.
He fetches small, woolen mice. He has inserted almost everything we own in his mouth. Except for maybe the refrigerator, but not from lack of trying. His ridiculous, outsized paws are an indication, I think, of the size he will reach once he has matured. This takes longer for Maine Coons than other varieties. Which is pretty cool, as far as Vince is concerned, because he loves being a kitten.
The tragedy is that Vince will never win a cat beauty contest. This is a huge disappointment for Jacquie in particular. You moms with ugly daughters know I’m talking about. Jacquie’s dreams have been dashed. But not because of Vince. It’s because of the “people who run those high society cat shows. They have this prejudice against polydactyls.
It doesn’t matter that Vince has a sexy breeder’s designation (Mainflame Red Hustler) and a documented pedigree, they’ll never think of a six-toed cat as anything but a freak.
Fuck ‘em. Doesn’t matter. Jacquie and I have been in love with Vince since we picked him up four Saturdays ago.
In fact, buying Vince was the second best pet decision we have ever made. And it really helped us get over the terrible loss of Sunny, our previous cat who we’d had euthanized the hour before.
So, anyway, back to that papyrus. Not everyone is convinced about its authenticity. Experts disagree about the text’s grammar, and the ink has yet to be scrutinized. Results of that analysis will be discussed next year in the Harvard Theological Review.
The Holy See didn’t like the sound of this. They rejected the fragment as a clumsy forgery in the editorial page of the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. Of course, they don’t give a reason. They do run a companion article in which a church scholar criticizes the release of this information before it was tested. Which might be a valid criticism of professional conduct, perhaps, but really is a moot point. The papyrus is going to be tested, and then we’ll know more.
I don’t blame the church for being pissed. If I were a priest, and it turned out that Jesus was married after all, I would start to resent my career choice. Oh sure, there would always be the rosary to comfort me. But instead of the Hail Mary, I’d be saying “Shit! Shit! Shit!”
If it makes Christians feel any better, I highly doubt Jesus was married. After all, I ask you: what woman is good enough for a Jewish mother’s son? And don’t pretend Jesus wasn’t a Jew. He lived at home until he was 30 and his mother thought he was god. What else could he be but Jewish. (Well, Italian, but that’s a whole other blog post). Judging by 2,000 years of depictions of the crucifix in Western art, I’m surprised there isn’t something in the gospels about Holy Mary at the cross, calling up to her son, “You’re skin and bones.”
Oh, um. What were we saying about Vince?
I’ve been trying my hardest, but I just can’t work up a damn about Sunny’s death.
Sunny had a lot of problems. He was relatively old when rescued by the SPCA. They probably de-sexed him after he’d already developed secondary sexual characteristics. Like that vampire tweener from Let the Right One In. So it was kind of understandable that he’d be unfit for domestic life. We were Sunny’s third or fourth home when we took him in. And we tried our best with expensive medication and talk therapy to integrate him with our lives. For two years. For nothing. We were constantly under attack. We couldn’t move from room to room, or even our bed, without Sunny trying to claw or chew us to death. The final straw came three months ago when Sunny wrapped his claws around Jacquie’s head, sinking his teeth into her face and giving her deep cuts across her neck.
So coming to the end of our rope, and foreseeing a return to the SPCA as an ultimate death sentence for the poor guy anyway–and that after some indefinite solitary confinement at the rescue center–we decided to put him down. And we’ve never been happier. Which is why killing Sunny was the first best pet decision we ever made.
So what is it about the papyrus story that made me write this post?
Because it illustrates to me a fundamental error in the way people of faith deal with reality. A person of faith thinks something is true for any number of reasons. In many conversations with christians over the last year, these reasons tend to have boiled down to personal experience, miracle claims, or circular reasoning, or a combination of these. Regardless of what the reason is, it is never supported by objective measures.
This is true for extraordinary claims of any kind, whether it’s about gods, astral traveling, ESP, the “plane of the eternal”, hydrotherapy, or anything else like what Carl Sagan writes about in The Demon Haunted World. Christianity just happens to be closest to my heart. Many in my family are highly devout, as I was until about 20 years. They are convinced that Jesus is part of a trinity. They absolutely believe that everyone in the world deserves to be put to death, and that Jesus Christ can somehow save them. And they base this all on a compendium of books they swear is the infallible word of a presumed god. And how do they know all this? Because one day god changed their life and like the Catholic Church in the face of a married Jesus, nothing is going to change their minds. Not even if it were verified to be true. And this isn’t how people deal with reality in any other realm of their life, for the most part.
Well, by now, I doubt I have any readers, let alone Christian readers following along.
But at least I still have my cute little atheist kitty.
Oh. Oh, dear.