One of the most common arguments of the Jesus myth hypothesis is that the virgin birth of Jesus in the Gospels is just another version of the many virgin births in other religions. When one looks at these stories, it quickly becomes apparent that there are not as many virgin births as some claim (Horus and Mithras were not born of a virgin). But there are some virgin births in other religions.
One of the competing virgin births is that of Laozi or Lao Tzu, a major (and possibly mythical) figure in the foundation of Taoism. Although this is a virgin birth, it should be carefully compared with that of the accounts in the Gospels. Loazi was born to a virgin mother that conceived him through the power of a polar star, whose rays were holy. The virgin mother carried him for eighty-one years and then gave birth to him out of her left armpit while leaning against a plum tree. Laozi’s mother died after giving birth, but it is believed that her soul merged with the soul of her son and became one. Notice the details of an eighty-one year pregnancy and the birth from the armpit.
Compare that with the virgin birth of Jesus. While the Gospel account is obviously miraculous, it is much more restrained than that which we find concerning Laozi. We have no reason not to believe that Mary had a normal nine month pregnancy and then gave birth in the normal way that women give birth. In other religions, the virgin birth is one aspect of a fantastic series of events surrounding the birth. The Gospels, on the other hand, separate themselves by recounting believable and realistic events following the miraculous conception. The Gospel writers give no indication of a borrowing of a universal virgin birth myth.
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