Pharyngula

Mary gets around

i-3077e8694c70cce0542ac4f9dbaff9d6-MaryMRI.jpeg

Pareidolia is putting the Virgin Mary in all sorts of strange places. The latest: in the MRI of a woman’s brain. She’s trying to sell it off on eBay, of course.

It’s a silly illusion, but as I looked at it, I had an epiphany. It’s a body part. There’s a little nubbin for a head beneath a hood, with fleshy veils representing Mary’s robes below that.

You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…

So, when is someone going to start selling gynecological photos on eBay? Can we defend explicit porn as religious iconography?


By the way, there is a poll associated with this story: “Do you see the Virgin Mary in this MRI?” No is ahead with 49% of the vote so far.

Comments

  1. #1 Mikkel
    December 11, 2008

    If I had cancer, tonnes of bills and no insurance, I’d be selling that sucker too.

  2. #2 Twin-Skies
    December 11, 2008

    PZ, you might want to get some sleep – lack of it can do mean things to visual comprehension.

    …it looks like a jeellyfish to me, or a squid

  3. #3 Levi
    December 11, 2008

    The Virgin Mary? Seriously? I don’t buy it. That is clearly Gaston Lagaffe.

    http://www.gastonlagaffe.com/

  4. #4 Jackedagain
    December 11, 2008

    OMG Daniel Dennett was wrong! There is an internal viewer and it is the Vigin Mary!!1one!1!

  5. #5 ??
    December 11, 2008

    Oh wow, the vaginal virgin mary would actually be WORTH showing around. Best pareidolia ever!!

  6. #6 akshelby
    December 11, 2008

    The sad thing is that she is selling it to pay for medical bills and treatment and is also raising awareness about the high rates of cancer in her town. I hope she makes a ton of money from selling it.

  7. #7 Your Mighty Overload
    December 11, 2008

    … the MRI of a woman’s brain. She’s trying to sell it off on eBay, of course.

    The brain or the MRI? It would certainly seem clear she doesn’t require the former.

    Perhaps she shouldn’t quit her day job yet though, I doubt she’d get very much for that brain.

  8. #8 Milo Johnson
    December 11, 2008

    It’s the Vulva Mary!

  9. #9 hje
    December 11, 2008

    Delores!

  10. #10 gene
    December 11, 2008

    Well I think they missed something entirely, the giant alien face with improportionately small arms and legs. Clearly this woman was abducted by aliens and given a brain tattoo that could only be revealed with advanced medical technology that only a sentient race could produce. Maybe they’re trying to tell us something…

  11. #11 skepsci
    December 11, 2008

    I can sort of see the vulva, but no luck on the virgin. Help anyone?

  12. #12 Wayne Robinson
    December 11, 2008

    What is it actually? Is it the pineal gland? Now that is a structure which often looks abnormal even when it isn’t.

  13. #13 Chris Davis
    December 11, 2008

    Looks more like the evil emperor from Star Wars…

  14. #14 Darth Chimay
    December 11, 2008

    I saw this one on Dr. Novella’s blog earlier. I love pareidolia (a word that many spell-check programs sadly don’t recognize).

  15. #15 Tim H
    December 11, 2008

    The whole “It looks like the virgin Mary” thing never ceases to astound me. The actual phrase makes no sense. For something to resemble the vm, logically you must have a basis for comparison. Even if Mary existed, no one knows what she looked like. There are no descriptions, no surviving portraits. They could just as easily say, “It resembles Gertrude of Trier,” whoever that was.
    BTW, if the vm is appearing in your brain and you’re still not cured of your cancer, it doesn’t say much about the vm.

  16. #16 Andrew
    December 11, 2008

    I voted No, that’s not Mary. It’s quite clearly Jesus.

  17. #17 Pinko Punko
    December 11, 2008

    Mulva?

    Emperor Palpitine?

  18. #18 Dunc
    December 11, 2008

    It’s a body part. There’s a little nubbin for a head beneath a hood, with fleshy veils representing Mary’s robes below that.

    Yes, that actually is what early representations of Mary derive from. Stolen from the pagans, again. There’s actually a specific technical term for it, but I forget what it is…

  19. #19 John
    December 11, 2008

    Isee Altair from Assassin’s Creed…

  20. #20 Lago
    December 11, 2008

    That pose of the “Virgin Mary” is based upon a pagan idol and or image that was extremely common before Christianity, and is found in pagan tombs all the time. I am trying to remember the name of the image off the top of my head. I think it means “the mourners,” or something like that?

    So, is this is true, these images are really pagan gods trying to make us go back to the old ways..

  21. #21 clinteas
    December 11, 2008

    Cue Emmet and SC getting puns out of this for the next week in 3…2…1…

    You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…

    Her eye??
    oh,that one….The virgin Mary wouldnt want to be that body part to me,Ive been known to stick needles through it….:-)
    Nuff said.

  22. #22 Muffin
    December 11, 2008

    Well, there was dog butt Jesus, so vagina Mary wouldn’t be much of a stretch (no pun intended). :)

  23. #23 Marc Abian
    December 11, 2008

    It’s a body part. There’s a little nubbin for a head beneath a hood, with fleshy veils representing Mary’s robes below that.

    You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…

    At least there’s one girl out there who will have men that pay attention to her brain. Am I right ladies?

  24. #24 01Jack
    December 11, 2008

    Methinks it is like a weasel …

  25. #25 fish
    December 11, 2008

    It’s obviously Palpatine! I find this woman’s lack of faith disturbing

  26. #26 Masks of Eris
    December 11, 2008

    Well, it looks like a Mary, sure, but why is she surrounded by a mushroom cloud?

  27. #27 Cowcakes
    December 11, 2008

    The only virgin I see is on the ridiculous.

  28. #28 Ex Patriot
    December 11, 2008

    If she had universal health care she wouldn’t have to sell the scan of her brain and it is nothing more than that, I really do hope she finds religious nut to actually buy so she can pay her bills

  29. #29 clinteas
    December 11, 2008

    If she had universal health care she wouldn’t have to sell the scan of her brain

    Excellent point,one that is not made often enough.
    Health care,a social security net,better education—–> less existential fear——>no more need for religion

    It is that simple.

  30. #30 Flerndip22
    December 11, 2008

    Holy vagina? Perhaps. Pareidolia? Rather more likely. But I think any similarity to a virgin birth is all in her head. *rimshot*

  31. #31 jomega
    December 11, 2008

    All I see is a little man in a boat.

  32. #32 clinteas
    December 11, 2008

    *rimshot*

    Please define rimshot.

  33. #33 Wowbagger
    December 11, 2008

    Pedantic former percussionist here – what people refer to as a rimshot is actually called a sting – it’s that drum effect used after someone tells a joke. It usually goes a bit like ‘ba-doom-boom-tsss’.

  34. #34 clinteas
    December 11, 2008

    oh,ty Wowbagger…. bit of an anticlimax there LOL

  35. #35 Flerndip22
    December 11, 2008

    @Wowbagger:

    I appreciate the correction, though I don’t feel confident that anyone besides yourself would necessarily have understood *sting*.

    Being shallow and pedantic, I can live with the knowledge that you (a) got the joke, and (b) didn’t mistake *rimshot* for another less appetizing possible interpretation by default.

  36. #36 Xeric77
    December 11, 2008

    Funny, before I read the post I thought to myself “hmm, looks more like a clitoris to me”. Seems I’m not the only one with woman’s genetalia on the brain this morning. Ahem.

  37. #37 R
    December 11, 2008

    I totally see it! Try not to narrow it down to that small circle. If you look at the entire brain you can see her sitting on some throne, feet clasped tightly togehter, and with her wings fanned out behind her. Not sure what to make of her hands though. Remimds me of the hands of that creature from the movie 300. You know the executioner with blades for hands…

  38. #38 clinteas
    December 11, 2008

    didn’t mistake *rimshot* for another less appetizing possible interpretation by default.

    Flern,
    are you catholic?
    Or why do you think that my interpretation,not being familiar with the term,would have been less appetizing,as you say?
    Sounds very appetizing to me…..

  39. #39 R
    December 11, 2008

    I totally see it! Try not to narrow it down to that small circle. If you look at the entire brain you can see her sitting on some throne, feet clasped tightly togehter, and with her wings fanned out behind her. Not sure what to make of her hands though. Remimds me of the hands of that creature from the movie 300. You know the executioner with blades for hands…

  40. #40 Stephen Wells
    December 11, 2008

    @37: so basically, you see the Angel of Death?

  41. #41 Flerndip22
    December 11, 2008

    @clinteas

    I can’t speak for you or your preferences, nor would I presume to. I only meant that I wouldn’t sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper and that and tuck in. Hey, more for you! =)

  42. #42 Wowbagger
    December 11, 2008

    Sorry, I should have made that frustrated former percussionist. I’m far better on the pedantry than I ever was on the drums. So I take what I can get.

  43. #43 george
    December 11, 2008

    Light hearted piss takes at silly virgin mary paradolia apart, this is is a seriously sad story and a powerful indictment of the US health system. In the circumstances the internet poll is in bad taste. A person with brain cancer is obliged to auction her brain scan in the hope of paying her medical bills. That is sick.

  44. #44 David
    December 11, 2008

    I see Yosemite Sam.

  45. #45 conelrad
    December 11, 2008

    I have acquired a copy of an old photograph
    which seems to show an image of the face of
    Hermann Rorschach. Can anyone tell me how
    I can break into this pareidolia racket?

  46. #46 pete moulton
    December 11, 2008

    Lenin, maybe. Who is this Virgin Mary of whom you speak?

  47. #47 firemancarl
    December 11, 2008

    When I first saw this on the news (CNN?) I thought, “Wow! That looks like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Carribean!”

  48. #48 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    Pedantic former percussionist here – what people refer to as a rimshot is actually called a sting – it’s that drum effect used after someone tells a joke. It usually goes a bit like ‘ba-doom-boom-tsss’.

    This Wowbagger?

    Sting not rimshot, correct?

  49. #49 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    People people

    Come on, it’s obviously elvis. The dark long bottom of the triangle are his legs.

  50. #50 Zeno
    December 11, 2008

    Hmm. So we both did posts on naughty pictures today. Did the Virgin Mary make us do it? Or was it the dark side of the force?

  51. #51 Peter Ashby
    December 11, 2008

    I have from my PhD a collection of large format electron microscope plates of cross sections through developing mouse muscle myotubes. I call it my micro mutant muscle menagerie since in each picture the large central nucleus resembles an animal. The best is a duck (rubber sp) swimming in an egg shaped cell. I also have a rhino, a goldfish with flowing fins and various others. But no mice alas. All were found in mutant muscles, but i put that down to chance.

    If you section any complex structures enough you will find profiles that our pattern recognition prone to false positive brains will recognise as something. All it says is something about how our brains work.

  52. #52 Orac
    December 11, 2008

    As a physician, I’m particularly amused that they had to turn the image upside down in order to see the Virgin Mary. The usual convention among radiologists is that MRI images of horizontal sections are viewed anterior up; so the eyes and nose should be facing up. True, it’s just a convention, but standard CT scans and MRIs from all over the world are viewed this way.

    Whoever saw this was looking at the images upside down.

  53. #53 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    Wait, not Elvis.

    Joe Strummer.

  54. #54 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    Whoever saw this was looking at the images upside down.

    That’s not really surprising is it?

  55. #55 Zeno
    December 11, 2008

    By the way, there is a fascinating little film over at Crooked Timber this morning: A Photograph of Jesus. If you ran a photograph archive, how would you respond to a request for a photograph of Jesus? Or Jack the Ripper? Or a pic of a yeti? Funny stuff.

  56. #56 GodIsLove
    December 11, 2008

    Didn’t someone ask for PROOF?
    HERE it is!

  57. #57 Nerd of Redhead
    December 11, 2008

    GIF, Yawn, no proof, just imagination of the behold. Lets imagine a world with no god. Much better.

  58. #58 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    go away poe

  59. #59 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Whoever saw this was looking at the images upside down.

    They must’ve done the MRI doggy-style.

  60. #60 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    They must’ve done the MRI doggy-style.

    Or would that make it a PET scan?

  61. #61 GodIsLove
    December 11, 2008

    Let me guess. You GODLESS atheists want to cut her brain open so you can get rid of GOD so u can continue your life of SIN

  62. #62 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    Or would that make it a PET scan?

    zing!

  63. #63 CosmicTeapot
    December 11, 2008

    I see E.T. In a hoody

  64. #64 Michelle
    December 11, 2008

    I see a Metroid…

  65. #65 Amadán
    December 11, 2008

    Ha! But atheists don’t need to turn their proof upside-down to make it recognisable!

  66. #66 300baud
    December 11, 2008

    Can’t imagine how a bit of a person’s skin could be more pornographic than the inside of their skull. That’s so hard core they don’t even have a word for that kind of porn yet.

  67. #67 Lago
    December 11, 2008

    “That’s so hard core they don’t even have a word for that kind of porn yet.”

    Where have you been? We’ve been calling it “skully” for decades!!

  68. #68 Ric
    December 11, 2008

    Wait, the poll is rigged. I DO see the Virgin Mary– I just know it’s pareidolia. That’s not one of the choices.

    Oh, and PZ, I like how after saying this:

    “There’s a little nubbin for a head beneath a hood, with fleshy veils representing Mary’s robes below that.”

    You had to follow up with this:

    “You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…”

    Come on, you don’t have to hit us over the head with it. We got it. ;)

  69. #69 PZ Myers
    December 11, 2008

    According to Vox Day, we’re all virgins over here, so I had to make sure. I thought about putting in 27 8×10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to make absolutely sure, but even that wouldn’t have helped some of us who are so far gone in nerdishness that we need a seeing eye dog trained in conversational skills to say hello to a member of the opposite sex.

  70. #70 dingo
    December 11, 2008

    “You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…”

    I’m certainly glad I’m not the only one to have that reaction, and there’s far more reason to feel reverent about it.

  71. #71 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    but even that wouldn’t have helped some of us who are so far gone in nerdishness that we need a seeing eye dog trained in conversational skills to say hello to a member of the opposite sex.

    My wife tells me that all the time….

  72. #72 Brad D
    December 11, 2008

    Looks more like a dementor from the Harry Potter movies to me.

    I’m sure you can find all sorts of interesting images in a 2d slice of a complicated 3d structures.

  73. #73 Brad D
    December 11, 2008

    oops… pluralization fail.

  74. #74 SC, OM
    December 11, 2008

    I thought about putting in 27 8×10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to make absolutely sure,

    Not too succesful last time it was tried, but that was just a typical case of American blind justice.

    According to Vox Day, we’re all virgins over here,

    Well, I don’t know if he thinks I’m a virgin, but he’s positive all of the women here are fat (and therefore “don’t count”) and one of his fanboys wonders why any man would want to “put his Mr. Happy” in one of us “foul-mouthed harpies” (which is a real shame, because I’m irresistibly attracted to men who call it Mr. Happy).

  75. #75 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    According to Vox Day, we’re all virgins over here, so I had to make sure.

    We’re not the ones with the sexual morality of bronze-age goatherds, who disparage women and want to prescribe, and proscribe, what others may do with their genitals.

    Anyway, isn’t chastity one of those Christian “virtues” that us atheists are accused of disparaging? We can’t be evil fornicators and virgins.

  76. #76 Paul Lundgren
    December 11, 2008

    Technically, Mary could only have been a virgin before Jesus was born, right? I mean, his birth took care of the whole hymen thing. (I’m plagiarizing Dan Savage).

    And I find it amusing how the Catholic Church, among others, is so sex-phobic it never talks about Jesus’s 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Either Joseph had other wives before Mary, or they had kids after Jesus was born. That would imply they were playing hide the (kosher) sausage, wouldn’t it? But noooooo, we have to hold Our Lady of Perpetual Frigidity to the highest of phony purity standards.

  77. #77 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    I have acquired a copy of an old photograph
    which seems to show an image of the face of
    Hermann Rorschach. Can anyone tell me how
    I can break into this pareidolia racket?

    Ha! I now have a new favorite response to “doesn’t this look like Jesus/Mary?”

  78. #78 SC, OM
    December 11, 2008

    Speaking of images of scientists, the other day I watched the episode of the History Channel show “The Universe” about the speed of light. It was pretty good content-wise, but I was also pleased that it featured a diverse group of scientists, and the people interviewed were attractive and personable. (Bonus for Benjamin Franklin – Michio Kaku!)

  79. #79 And-U-Say
    December 11, 2008

    Somewhere in all of this is lurking both a great name for a convent (Our Lady of the Perpetual Shroud) and a rock band (The Happy Hoodies).

    Gotta love it.

  80. #80 JimboB
    December 11, 2008

    People almost always see these visions of holy figures in benign places. Aside from the “dog-butt jesus”, when is the last time a holy figure appeared in a lewd location?

    Why do people never see visions of Jesus in cum shots, or an image of Mary in a pile of vomit? These people obviously aren’t looking hard enough ;)

  81. #81 George
    December 11, 2008

    Wow, great minds do think alike. I presume that my first thought was the same as yours when I looked at the MRI. It did definitely say female – body part.

  82. #82 CJ
    December 11, 2008

    Where’s the choice: No and, if you do, you need your head examined. ;)

  83. #83 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    We can’t be evil fornicators and virgins.

    But, but…what about born-again virginity, Bruno?
    http://tinyurl.com/5xdmoc http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23254178/

  84. #84 watercat
    December 11, 2008

    #18 and #20: More information! Now!! Must have!
    Is it like Islam’s vagina?

  85. #85 Buridan
    December 11, 2008

    If the picture is turned right-side up, as Orac suggests is the proper viewpoint, I see a picture of a devilish face smiling, horns and all.

  86. #86 Alethias
    December 11, 2008

    It’s not the virgin mary. It’s the head of jesus with a crown of thorns.

    If I had a malignant tumor and needed to pay doctor bills, I wouldn’t feel a need to believe anything to sell that sucker on ebay. I’d title it “I found Jesus!!! He’s in my Brain!!!”.

  87. #87 Nick Gotts
    December 11, 2008

    What’s with the rash of pseudo-religidiots, like “GodIsLove” and “Virginie” (the latter subsequently admitted to be negentropyeater)? Because “it’s not funny, and it’s not clever”. Really; you just make yourself look as much of a fucking idiot as the people who really believe that sort of crap.

  88. #88 Voltaire Kinison
    December 11, 2008
  89. #89 LisaJ
    December 11, 2008

    Thanks for the link, Voltaire. That is really something else.

  90. #90 CrypticLife
    December 11, 2008

    Anyway, isn’t chastity one of those Christian “virtues” that us atheists are accused of disparaging? We can’t be evil fornicators and virgins.

    You forget that Christianity has thought-crime. Even if you just think about evil fornication, you’re an evil fornicator.

    In fact, really Christianity is all just thought-crime, since the worst and only unforgivable offense is lack of belief. A Christian who’s holding to their religion can never admit an atheist is moral, because Christian morality excludes it by definition.

  91. #91 CrypticLife
    December 11, 2008

    And yes, I see the vm, with her hood, and face, and bat-wings ready to unfurl behind her, and her mantis-claws ready to reach out and snatch up any unsuspecting sinners, while sitting on her mushroom perch.

  92. #92 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    @ CrypticLife

    You forget that Christianity has thought-crime. Even if you just think about evil fornication, you’re an evil fornicator.

    But remember, the thought crime isn’t a grounds for divorce according to their interpretation of their imaginary friend’s-blood-sacrifice-kidlet’s words. Only a physical act in tandem with said words = okay to divorce. http://www.padfield.com/1996/fornicat.html

  93. #93 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    * correction – in tandem with said thoughts, not words.

  94. #94 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Diagoras skrev:

    But, but…what about born-again virginity, Bruno?
    http://tinyurl.com/5xdmoc http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23254178/

    Obviously, I previously completely misunderstood the concept of virginity. By this new standard, I am a virgin.

    Now, any of you nubile young women want to pop my cherry?

  95. #95 Nick
    December 11, 2008

    My thoughts, as I read this post:

    “Huh, you know, that kind of looks like a OH SHIT HE WENT THERE.”

  96. #96 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    Emmet Caulfield skrev:

    Now, any of you nubile young women want to pop my cherry?

    How about we just go with the pouring of bovine blood on the sheets, and say we did?

  97. #97 Stephen Wells
    December 11, 2008

    @91: So to you, vm stands for the Virgin Mantis?

    *God approaches VM and suggests nookie.
    *VM decapitates and consumes God.
    *Hasty rewrites.

  98. #98 Black Jack Shellac
    December 11, 2008

    My first thought was also that it looked like a clitoris, which is kind of apropos since Mary really is the personification of women in this ridiculous father/son/ghost and sometimes mom religion called xtianity.

  99. #99 moother
    December 11, 2008

    looks like a clitoris to me.

  100. #100 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Thus spake Diagoras:

    How about we just go with the pouring of bovine blood on the sheets, and say we did?

    That doesn’t sound like nearly as much fun, somehow, and fun was a major reason for all the fornicating in between my two virginities.

  101. #101 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    Obviously, I previously completely misunderstood the concept of virginity. By this new standard, I am a virgin.

    Now, any of you nubile young women want to pop my cherry?

    Oh, no you don’t. You don’t get to have your virginity back when you were in such a hurry to lose it in the first place.

  102. #102 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    So sayth Emmet:

    That doesn’t sound like nearly as much fun, somehow, and fun was a major reason for all the fornicating in between my two virginities.

    Fun? Are you sure you were doing it right, then? Because I’m told by the Good Christians(tm) that fornication is only for the purpose of baby-making. And you aren’t supposed to enjoy it. Something about an apple and a snake, and flaming swords, and thousands of pages of other random stuff. I’ll admit that I was playing Gameboy under my desk rather than listening in religion class at Catholic school. I’m pretty sure they mentioned something about feeling guilty afterward, too.

    But fun – that does sound like a better plan.

  103. #103 Andreas Johansson
    December 11, 2008

    Technically, Mary could only have been a virgin before Jesus was born, right? I mean, his birth took care of the whole hymen thing. (I’m plagiarizing Dan Savage).

    According to St Birgitta of Vadstena, Jesus’s birth was wholly miraculous and left the hymen intact. I don’t recall if this is orthodox.

    (I once read a piece by a Protestant woman who objected to this on the grounds that itd left the placenta inside the uterus, which is fatal for the mother. It must require a special grade of stupid to believe in a God who could magic out a baby from the womb but not magic away the placenta.)

    And I find it amusing how the Catholic Church, among others, is so sex-phobic it never talks about Jesus’s 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Either Joseph had other wives before Mary, or they had kids after Jesus was born. That would imply they were playing hide the (kosher) sausage, wouldn’t it? But noooooo, we have to hold Our Lady of Perpetual Frigidity to the highest of phony purity standards.

    Catholics believe Jesus’s siblings were figurative siblings only, being cousins or whatever in blood. Not that anyone ever talks much about them – neither the Bible nor tradition has much to say concerning them.

  104. #104 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Oh, no you don’t. You don’t get to have your virginity back when you were in such a hurry to lose it in the first place.

    Hey, if someone can have sex at 16, be married seven years, have two kids, and then pronounce herself a virgin, I don’t see how the new rules could exclude me for mere youthful enthusiasm.

  105. #105 Andreas Johansson
    December 11, 2008

    Of course, when I say “Catholics believe”, I actually mean something like “Catholic dogma holds” – any given Catholic is likely enough to believe some entirely different crap.

  106. #106 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Also sprach Diagoras:

    Fun? Are you sure you were doing it right, then?

    Doing it right by Catholic standards is pretty risky. I’m sure I did it wrong most of the time.

  107. #107 CortxVortx
    December 11, 2008

    Has this anything to do with the reputed “God-shaped hole in our hearts” that the Christers talk about?

  108. #108 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    Caulfield muttered something like:

    Hey, if someone can have sex at 16, be married seven years, have two kids, and then pronounce herself a virgin, I don’t see how the new rules could exclude me for mere youthful enthusiasm.

    But that former virgin chica didn’t dare to enjoy sex. She only had it to pop out the children. Besides her husband was just born again – she needed to be a virgin for the new man he became. Jeez.

  109. #109 CrypticLife
    December 11, 2008

    Stephen @97,

    @91: So to you, vm stands for the Virgin Mantis?

    Oh, yes! — that’s a lot more explanatory — the Old Testament God was decaptitated and they needed to find a New God, who is naturally pussyfooting around VM so can’t do his customary slayings of mass portions of humanity.

    And there are MUCH better reasons for abstinence under the Virgin Mantis religion.

  110. #110 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Scríobh Diagoras:

    But that former virgin chica didn’t dare to enjoy sex. She only had it to pop out the children. Besides her husband was just born again – she needed to be a virgin for the new man he became. Jeez.

    Hmmm… the “lack of enjoyment” part is problematic, but I don’t think we can say for sure that, in aggregate, she enjoyed it less than me. If anything, I should be commended for my honesty in admitting my enjoyment, rather than guiltily denying it. I should get back double my original virginity.

  111. #111 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    If anything, I should be commended for my honesty in admitting my enjoyment, rather than guiltily denying it.

    You clearly don’t have a proper grasp on the concepts here. I mean, guiltily denying pleasure is a major component of religion. How do you expect to get your virginity back with that kind of attitude?

  112. #112 dacks
    December 11, 2008

    Read somewhere (Karen Armstrong?) that the whole “virgin” thing comes from mistranslation of an early biblical text from Greek. The original word meant “maiden” and probably referred to the idea that Mary was young, not that she hadn’t done it.

  113. #113 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    The original word meant “maiden” and probably referred to the idea that Mary was young, not that she hadn’t done it.

    HARLOT!

  114. #114 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    tsg a écrit:

    How do you expect to get your virginity back with that kind of attitude?

    OK, OK. So, say I become a Catholic for a while, munch a few magic crackers, say a few rosaries, venerate the mummified body-parts of some dead guy, and maybe a moving statue or two, then can I have my virginity back?

  115. #115 TetrahedralPete
    December 11, 2008

    Roger Rabbit upside down…One either sees evidence of God everywhere, or nowhere, IMHO. These guys pick and choose…

  116. #116 oldtree
    December 11, 2008

    True believers know it is Angus, http://getbehindjesus.net/

  117. #117 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    The original word meant “maiden” and probably referred to the idea that Mary was young, not that she hadn’t done it.

    But Catholic doctrine is absolutely clear(§499) on Mary’s vagina being a permanent one-way street. Apparently, its one-time use even made it more of a one-way street than it had previously been, presumably by Jesus erecting further signage on his way out.

  118. #118 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    OK, OK. So, say I become a Catholic for a while, munch a few magic crackers, say a few rosaries, venerate the mummified body-parts of some dead guy, and maybe a moving statue or two, then can I have my virginity back?

    Yes, but only if you send me all your money.

  119. #119 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    But Catholic doctrine is absolutely clear(§499) on Mary’s vagina being a permanent one-way street. Apparently, its one-time use even made it more of a one-way street than it had previously been, presumably by Jesus erecting further signage on his way out.

    Does this make Joseph the most tragic character in the bible?

  120. #120 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Yes, but only if you send me all your money.

    Sure, my pleasure. I have minus ?10,000 or thereabouts. I’ll await your cheque.

  121. #121 windy
    December 11, 2008

    I should get back double my original virginity.

    Still not ambitious enough. Why not have your virginity regenerate every time like Särimner the boar, so that you can sacrifice it again the next night in drunken revels!

  122. #122 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    Shh dacks! You’ll ruin their system of oppressing women, and making people feel guilty about sex. Soon people will think it’s okay to fornicate willy-nilly and enjoy it.

    That the whole “virgin” thing comes from mistranslation of an early biblical text from Greek.

    It’s the difference in translation of the word “ha-almah” – which is young woman – and is used in many contexts in the old testament, other than Isaiah 7:14, to mean young woman, not virgin. The Greek translation of the Hebrew uses the word “parthenos” (virgin) in its place. Parthnogenesis is an asexual form of reproduction found in females where growth and development of embryos or seeds occurs without fertilization by a male. “Virgin birth” occurs in a number of biological species – however, no documented cases of it happening in humans or other mammals. In any case, even were this virgin birth to occur, the child produced would be a female, genetic clone of the mother.

    In closing, dacks, Mary likely totally banged the Holy Spirit. Did not their holy book sayth: “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you…'” Luke 1:35. I mean, at the very least, this Holy Spirit shmoe masturbated on her.

  123. #123 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    Still not ambitious enough. Why not have your virginity regenerate every time like Särimner the boar, so that you can sacrifice it again the next night in drunken revels!

    I once knew a long legged hippie like this….

  124. #124 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    Sure, my pleasure. I have minus ?10,000 or thereabouts. I’ll await your cheque.

    What’s a ?? Is that like Chuckie Cheese money? ‘Cause I have lots of that.

  125. #125 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Does this make Joseph the most tragic character in the bible?

    What did you think he got the strong wrists from? Carpentry?

  126. #126 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    Did not their holy book sayth: “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you…'” Luke 1:35. I mean, at the very least, this Holy Spirit shmoe masturbated on her.

    Heh, The Holy Money Shot. “Just not in the face, okay?”

  127. #127 Shiftingname
    December 11, 2008

    All I see is Gilligan (from Gilligan’s Isle)looking over the bough of a boat wearing a black turtleneck with arms agape.

  128. #128 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    What did you think he got the strong wrists from? Carpentry?

    I started typing about 5 different jokes there and decided it would probably be best to not.

  129. #129 ctenotrish
    December 11, 2008

    And underneath the “Mary”, brutally covered by the red circle, is a clear and distinct ventral view of a ray, species unknown. See here (right-most image) for a photo comparison!

    http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/AtlanticStingray/ray01.JPG

    Really, you just have to look a little harder to see something really cool. A ray on the brain. Awesome!

  130. #130 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    More amusing biblical shennanigans –
    Point one – when Jesus was conceived – Mary/Joseph weren’t married.
    Point two – At any rate, no-nookie carpenter wasn’t the daddy.
    Point three – Geneology connecting not-Joseph’s-kid to the line of David – through not-daddy. So Jesus technically can’t be the messiah as per Jeremiah 23:5.
    Point four – Moreover – Jesus, as per their Bible is denied heaven. ” A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. ” (Deuteronomy 23:2) It’s like totally in the Bible. No heaven for Jesus. (Unless God breaks the rules for the son of his baby-mama. Not that he’s really the seed giver, either. That’s that Holy Spirit dude. Which is like him, but not. Or something.)

  131. #131 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    Thus spake tsg:

    What’s a ?? Is that like Chuckie Cheese money? ‘Cause I have lots of that.

    I was going to say $, but then I remembered how little they’re worth.

  132. #132 Holbach
    December 11, 2008

    I wonder if the image was on a cow turd would she try to sell it on eBay?

  133. #133 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    Said Holbach:

    I wonder if the image was on a cow turd would she try to sell it on eBay?

    Of course she would. Don’t you see? That makes it even better. I mean bovines are sacred in other religions – so it’d be a religious two-fer.

  134. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    I wonder if the image was on a cow turd would she try to sell it on eBay?

    Probably.

  135. #135 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    I was going to say $, but then I remembered how little they’re worth.

    You have a point there. If it gets any worse it’s going to be cheaper to wipe your ass with a dollar bill.

  136. #136 WRMartin, I.S.
    December 11, 2008

    Ah ha! But don’t you see there is micro-virginity but no such thing as macro-virginity. They are only other virginal forms and no new virgins have been created. Virginity is only a theory. Virginity violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Why aren’t there any transitional virgin fossils, huh?
    Take that evilutionists.
    </Poe (just in case)>

    [This is hard to do without laughing at yourself – how do they do it?]

  137. #137 Fred J
    December 11, 2008

    I “enlarged” that part of the MRI –
    http://home.comcast.net/~fjgiie/BrainMary.jpg

    Can you see it now?

  138. #138 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    Mary sure has fair skin for being from the middle east.

  139. #139 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    Mary sure has fair skin for being from the middle east.

    It’s not that she has fair skin – it just glistens a milky color because of that whole Holy Spirit coming dealio.

  140. #140 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 11, 2008

    It’s not that she has fair skin – it just glistens a milky color because of that whole Holy Spirit coming dealio.

    Ahhhh that’s that “glow” I hear so much about… magnified.

  141. #141 tsg
    December 11, 2008

    I “enlarged” that part of the MRI –
    http://home.comcast.net/~fjgiie/BrainMary.jpg

    Can you see it now?

    Dude! If you squint just right it totally looks just like a grilled cheese sandwich!

  142. #142 Greg Laden
    December 11, 2008

    OMG that’s totally true! The “Virgin Mary” is actually the primordial vagina! It suddenly makes so much sense!

  143. #143 Lyz Liddell
    December 11, 2008

    That totally made me go dig up my own brain MRI and check it out. Thankfully, no holy symbols (virgin or otherwise!) appear in the slices of my brain.

  144. #144 The Petey
    December 11, 2008

    I can see what they are referring to as the “Virgin Mary” in there.

    Its actually a pretty cool coincidence.
    Sort of like those pictures of trees you see that look like sexually explicit human poses.
    This just isn’t AS cool as the trees.

    And anyone who thinks its a sign from heaven and wants to pay money for it deserves to be bilked…

    There’s a sucker born every minute – PT Barnum

  145. #145 K. Signal Eingang
    December 11, 2008

    Definitely the guy from Assassin’s Creed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin%27s_Creed). Paid product placement gone too far?

  146. #146 Susan
    December 11, 2008

    You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…

    Judy Chicago was way ahead of you.

  147. #147 CJO
    December 11, 2008

    Catholics believe Jesus’s siblings were figurative siblings only, being cousins or whatever in blood. Not that anyone ever talks much about them – neither the Bible nor tradition has much to say concerning them.

    Both the Bible and tradition have a great deal to say, at least about James “the brother of the lord.” The reason it doesn’t come up very much is that it’s all a hopeless muddle. Mark doesn’t mention any brothers by name, but he portrays Jesus’ family as hostile to Jesus, and uses them as a foil for those who follow Jesus. Paul and Acts have James as a leader of the early Jerusalem church, but it’s unclear what “the brother of the lord” means, whether “James the Just” is the same James, or whether it’s James, brother of John (together, the sons of Zebedee). Like I say, hopeless (and indicative ultimately of fictional accounts depending on divergent sources). If you want a headache, check out this review of a book on the subject of James by Robert Eiseman, and get a sense of just how garbled these “traditions” really are.

    the whole “virgin” thing comes from mistranslation of an early biblical text from Greek. The original word meant “maiden” and probably referred to the idea that Mary was young, not that she hadn’t done it.

    Right. The Septuagint has “virgin” in the Greek where the Hebrew of Isaiah is unambiguously “young (or poss. ‘nubile’) woman.” If the author of Isaiah had meant “virgin” he would have used the Hebrew bethula. It’s of more than passing interest. It shows, for one thing, that the author of Matthew was working with the Septuagint, not the Hebrew, with wich he was likely not able to read; odd if, as tradition would have it, the apostle wrote it, since he would have been an Aramaic-speaking Galilean peasant and unlikely to be capable of reading or producing the literate Greek of the Gospel. Furthermore, it’s just another piece of evidence that the Gospels are primarily commentaries on scripture, or, as J.D. Crossan (a believing Catholic btw) would have it, “prophesy historicized,” not works of actual history or biography. When major plot-points are not only lifted directly from scripture, but from a mistranslation of scripture, you’re clearly dealing with fiction of one kind or another.

  148. #148 CJO
    December 11, 2008

    Grr. “Hebrew, which…” not “…with wich…”

    The preview, it does nothing!

  149. #149 c-serpent
    December 11, 2008

    While I admit my sample size is sadly few, I just don’t see the vulva in the brain. The V.M. image jumps right out though. I wonder if it an immaculate infection? OK, I’ll stop there.

  150. #150 Keenacat
    December 11, 2008

    Why would any woman want her virginity back (besides the whole “religious nuts aka family members threatening to kill her”-thing)??
    I remember that losing it was pretty uncomfortable (and sex only got better with some practice). I guess losing your virginity is not that uncomfortable for you guys… But I’m sure that things like enjoying it for more than five minutes also requires practice for most of you. ;)

    The brain MRI is pretty neat, anyway. Maybe I should suggest this as a new game: find as many cool images in this brain as you can. The winner can haz cheeze toast.

  151. #151 Aaron
    December 11, 2008

    This looks like the Grim Reaper to me.

  152. #152 Rowan
    December 11, 2008

    You know, there’s another anatomical region on women that looks like that…

    actually there are statues of women carved by maya hill for windstone editions which evoke that very image. many pagan and xtian stores carry them to represent either the goddess or the ‘virgin’.

    forms of the feminine

  153. #153 MelMel
    December 11, 2008

    *smirk* I see a clitoris. A more beautiful and remarkable entity than tVM any day.

  154. #154 Emmet Caulfield
    December 11, 2008

    I guess losing your virginity is not that uncomfortable for you guys.

    It can be: frenulum tears are pretty common.

  155. #155 fred c dobbs
    December 11, 2008

    anyone who has looked closely at the likenesses of the virgin of guadalupe sold in mexico will notice the same image. a small button (her head) surrounded by folds (headdress and cloak) which resemble the vulva.
    probably a vestige of mother earth worship blended into catholic imagery.

    keep watchin’ the skies…

  156. #156 Nick Gotts
    December 11, 2008

    Of course the virginity of Mary has a very important ideological function in Christianity, particularly Catholicism – that of keeping women down: the pattern of womanhood, whom all pious females are supposed to imitate, is both a virgin and a mother.

  157. #157 Kenny
    December 11, 2008

    It also looks like she has big chubby arms together in prayer. If you look at the lower part of the brain you can see her legs. Did the virgin Mary have tree trunk arms and legs like the Incredible Hulk?

    BTW, to all: Please vote yes on this poll for the agnostic liberal, science-friendly candidate. Pretty please?

    Scroll down to about the middle of the page on the left
    http://www.thestar.com/default#

  158. #158 Andreas Johansson
    December 11, 2008

    Both the Bible and tradition have a great deal to say, at least about James “the brother of the lord.” The reason it doesn’t come up very much is that it’s all a hopeless muddle. Mark doesn’t mention any brothers by name, but he portrays Jesus’ family as hostile to Jesus, and uses them as a foil for those who follow Jesus. Paul and Acts have James as a leader of the early Jerusalem church, but it’s unclear what “the brother of the lord” means, whether “James the Just” is the same James, or whether it’s James, brother of John (together, the sons of Zebedee).

    I don’t want to start a discussion of semantics, but this is not “much” in my eyes.

    Like I say, hopeless (and indicative ultimately of fictional accounts depending on divergent sources). If you want a headache, check out this review of a book on the subject of James by Robert Eiseman, and get a sense of just how garbled these “traditions” really are.

    Near as I can tell from that review, Eiseman argues the opposite – that enough factual material has survived that we can reconstruct what really happened. I take a rather more pessimistic view.

  159. #159 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 11, 2008

    Lenin, maybe. Who is this Virgin Mary of whom you speak?

    Naaah. Lenin only appears on shower curtains. I’m sure someone will remember where on Flickr the photo is.

    And underneath the “Mary”, brutally covered by the red circle, is a clear and distinct ventral view of a ray

    True.

    Point four – Moreover – Jesus, as per their Bible is denied heaven. ” A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. ” (Deuteronomy 23:2)

    That’s not heaven, that’s the Temple.

    (Tenth generation?!? Wow.)

  160. #160 CJO
    December 11, 2008

    I don’t want to start a discussion of semantics, but this is not “much” in my eyes.

    I was really trying to get at the idea that the extent of the references (whatever it is) isn’t much talked about in apologetics circles, because it’s confusing as hell. And I didn’t even get into the “tradition” part of it –there’s Josephus and the church fathers to talk about too. Suffice it to say that a great many people in the 2nd and 3rd centuries were adamant that a person known as James, the brother of Jesus, was instrumental in the establishment of Christianity, as are many Protestants today.

    Eiseman argues the opposite

    I suppose he does, but the headache inducing garble I’m talking about is no less real. I was thinking of passages in the review like

    How can Mary have had a sister named Mary? Is there a difference between Joseph Barsabbas Justus, Judas Barsabbas Justus, Jesus Justus, Titius Justus, and James the Just? Whence all the Jameses and Judases? Who are Simon the Zealot and Judas the Zealot (who appears in some NT manuscripts and other early Christian documents)? Is Clopas the same as Cleophas? What’s going on with Jesus ben-Ananias, Jesus Barabbas, Elymas bar-Jesus, and Jesus Justus? What does Boanerges really mean? Is Nathaniel a nickname for someone else we know of? And so on, and so on.

    and

    The Gospels give prominence to an inner circle of three: Peter, John son of Zebedee and John’s brother James. And Galatians has the Three Pillars in Jerusalem: Peter, John son of Zebedee, and Jesus’ brother James. What happened here? Surely the gospels’ inner group of three is intended as preparatory for the Pillars, to provide a life-of-Jesus pedigree for the Pillars. But then why are there two different Jameses? Mustn’t they originally have been the same? Eisenman says they were, but certain factions wanted to play up the authority of the shadowy college of the Twelve against the earlier authority of the Heirs and found it politic to drive a wedge between James the brother of Jesus and the Twelve, so James becomes James the Just on the one hand and James the brother of John on the other.

    I share your pessimistic view, to the extent that it’s highly unlikely any of it “really happened,” so quests like Eiseman’s are doomed by their presuppositions.

  161. #161 CJO
    December 11, 2008

    (Tenth generation?!? Wow.)

    Jeremiah was a hardass.

  162. #162 Holydust
    December 11, 2008

    IT’S A RINGWRAITH! X3!!!

    ….no wait, looking at the whole thing, I agree with one of the above posters. it’s definitely a Metroid. >.>

  163. #163 Bob Carroll
    December 11, 2008

    Jeremiah was a hardass? I thought he was a bullfrog. Or, maybe it’s his bullfrog proteins that Duane Gish was lying about all those years.

    Changing the topic: the pareidolia poll is now down to 11% deluded.

    Bob

  164. #164 l amacher
    December 11, 2008

    The remarkable thing about that MRI is that the unfortunate woman lacks a corpus callosum, the connecting bridge between the two cerebral hemispheres. That says a lot – although it is reported that a general in the Army, some years ago, was found to be missing his, too!

  165. #165 ralph137
    December 11, 2008

    With the ordination and the red circle, I do see a human shape.
    Some sort of white hat.
    Dark hair.
    A bit of information to suggest a face.
    Out stretched arms in a downward direction.
    A sort of white dress with the suggestion of breasts.
    Alice comes to mind but she is not a virgin.
    However, I will support universal health care.

  166. #166 Monado in Toronto
    December 11, 2008

    Isn’t it about time for another Tangled Bank? I have a picture of some trees wrapped up for winter. Miraculously, they look like a couple of gnomes, thus proving that God is a Gnome or there is a Gnome God or there’s no place like Gnome.

  167. #167 John C. Randolph
    December 11, 2008

    Lenin only appears on shower curtains.

    …and with Stalin in the nightmares of Ukrainians.

    -jcr

  168. #168 Monado in Toronto
    December 11, 2008

    If you squint a little it looks like a front view of a crouching vulture.

    I knew that Mary was derived from the Goddess, but I hadn’t heard that there was a common representation.

  169. #169 John C. Randolph
    December 11, 2008

    #156 Nick:

    They really built quite an edifice on a mistranslation, didn’t they?

    I’ve read somewhere that the myth of a virgin birth was something that several pagan cults had around Jesus’ time, which Jews had completely rejected. Perhaps the “Holy Virgin” thing was also meant to co-opt some existing cults into Christianity.

    -jcr

  170. #170 John C. Randolph
    December 11, 2008

    But Catholic doctrine is absolutely clear(§499) on Mary’s vagina being a permanent one-way street

    Man, Joseph must have been a saint to put up with that.

    -jcr

  171. #171 DrBadger
    December 11, 2008

    Wow, $610 already… looks like I’ll be looking through the hundreds of MRIs that I have on my harddrive. If I can find a cerebellum that looks like FSM, I’m sure I’ll get at least that much for it!

  172. #172 Diagoras
    December 11, 2008

    @ #159, David Marjanovi?, OM

    Boo. (And possibly some small amount of pouting.) How come only the Christian sorts get to say what a Biblical verse means? It’s not even much of a stretch to imagine that if bastards were booted out of the congregation of imaginary-friendom down here, east of Eden – that they’d be equally kept out of the club by the bouncers up in the clouds. I mean – misquoting scripture is most of the fun of reading it, right? Young women = virgin. Mamser = bastard. Curse of Ham = slavery is legit with sky-daddy. (If we thought 10 generations was hardcore, Drunken-Noah was a right curse-slinging cock-weasel. “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” And Canaan didn’t even look at his grandad’s wang and laugh. It was his dad, Ham. No generational limit, there.)

    (Congregation of God, if we’re going to be all technical and literal and not interpretative – would not boot said kidlet out of the temple entirely. Just the holiest of holy holes. Where the priest get to hang.) I concede your point though – it’s a stretch to say God, by the words of the Old Testament (or new, for that matter), boots bastards out of heaven. But then again, getting heavenly entrance perks wasn’t part of the Old Testament afterlife package. You got Sheol, or Sheol. So – I put forward that it’s less of a linguistic stretch than assuming god’s-kinda-kid has a virgin birth, from a woman who stayed virginal. Forever.

    I guess my point (or rambling lack thereof) is that the land of Biblical myth is a silly place, like Camelot, which I’m told, was only a model.

  173. #173 donna
    December 12, 2008

    Every time I see the Virgin of Guadalupe that’s exactly what I think of.

    Makes me giggle.

  174. #174 puppy
    December 12, 2008

    Every time I try to look at this picture I am grossed out by the horrifying bulging eyeballs. Human nervous systems are icky.

  175. #175 Piltdown Man
    December 12, 2008

    Nick Gotts @156:

    Of course the virginity of Mary has a very important ideological function in Christianity, particularly Catholicism – that of keeping women down: the pattern of womanhood, whom all pious females are supposed to imitate, is both a virgin and a mother.

    How does either a state or virginity or a state of motherhood “keep women down”?

  176. #176 John Morales
    December 12, 2008

    Piltdown Man,

    How does either a state or virginity or a state of motherhood “keep women down”?

    You of all people should understand the Abrahamic tradition: a woman is only worthy if she’s virginal and unmarried (owned by her father to be given away), or if she’s married (owned by her husband to provide heirs) and not barren. Mary is special: a virgin and not barren.

    1 Corinthians 7.

  177. #177 Wowbagger
    December 12, 2008

    How does either a state of virginity or a state of motherhood “keep women down”?

    Virginity? Feel free to dwell on exactly how the bible describes the traditional fate of women who are found not to be virgins before they’re married.

    Motherhood? While I’m not much of a biblical scholar I do have a vague recollection that the Israelites (as described) weren’t too compassionate towards woman found to be barren – correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Moses set his wife aside because she couldn’t bear him children?

    Short answer is that it places far more value on what’s between a woman’s legs than it does on what’s between her ears – and judges her harshly if those standards are not met.

  178. #178 rumleech
    December 12, 2008

    Can’t see anybody in the picture, as for you suggestion for other possible sources of inspiration, I’ll start research straight away.

  179. #179 Diagoras
    December 12, 2008

    Piltdown Man wrote:

    How does either a state or virginity or a state of motherhood “keep women down”?

    http://tinyurl.com/5bartt This is an article on a French annulment that was overturned in a higher court. It is likely that the case will once again be appealed. The case is about the claimed virginity of a girl, which the husband found was not the case. The court was deciding whether a unilateral mistake of fact regarding the virginity of a partner met the nebulous standard of “an error about the person or the essential qualities of the person.”

    France is arguably a rather secular country with regard to the application of its laws. If a lower court in France can decide that prior sexual experience was grounds for annulment – treating marriage like a commercial transaction “in which the buyer had discovered a hidden flaw in his purchase” – that says much about the power of an untouched crotch and the precarious state of women’s rights even in a rather secular country.

  180. #180 Neece
    December 12, 2008

    Wow, it’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! Actually anyone in their right mind can see it’s the album cover of Seal, upside down of course, but that’s to be expected when it comes to christmas miracles. :P

  181. #181 onawish
    December 12, 2008

    Goggle finn film entertainment,go to myspace page.Look where he writes about Pamela in first Blog.Click on read.Then go to link he sends you to.VERY SAD,very alarming.I can see why she’s so mad.I’d read that before any more stupid comments are left.

  182. #182 Paul Murray
    December 12, 2008

    Dammit, everyone in the entire world beat me to it: that so looks like a clit. And it’s not a coincidence – a lot of the images in christianity are actually borrowed from the veneration of sex and it’s organs.

    The christian fish? Any time you see a pointed oval, it’s the “Gate of Life”, guaranteed. I heard a rumor that originaly, part of being “born again” was stepping though or being passed though a pointed oval – although standing vertically like it’s supposed to be.

    The christian cross? An inverted phallus. The upright phallus symbolises life-giving power, and more generally the establishment of civilisation against the wilderness (they marked field boundaries with it). The inverted phallus symbolises death, and renunciation of life and turning away from involvement in wordly affairs.

    So yeah, the hooded head is totally a clitoris. Someone go tell a nun.

    Then lick her face.

  183. #183 Paul Murray
    December 12, 2008

    @dacks

    Read somewhere (Karen Armstrong?) that the whole “virgin” thing comes from mistranslation of an early biblical text from Greek.

    Well, if you want to go back to the original text, that particular passage – Isa 7:14 (oooh! Spooky! it has sevens!) – has nothing whatever to do with a prophesied messiah. Have a read:

    14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin[f] will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel. 15 By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt[g] and honey. 16 For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.
    17 “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!”

    A straight-up prophecy: a child will be born, and before the child is … whatever old, Assyria will invade. Nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever.

    The best thing I ever read on this was http://www.users.bigpond.com/pmurray/exchristian/Stories/0156.html . Pretty much not a single OT quote in Matthew is legit.

    But dacks, why are you reading the bible for yourself? We all know that the job of interpreting the sacred texts is best left to the mother church! People that read it for themselves invariably get it wrong and slip into various heresies.

    As for the no brothers or sisters thing, that’s to do with the marian cults. In answer to the question “how could Jesus have been sinless”, they answer “because Mary herself was sinless – the “Immaculate Conception””, a head-desk-ingly stupid answer. Of course, if Mary had had other kids, it raised all sorts of interestingly issues.

    As we all know, this is totally wrong. Original Sin is transmitted via the semen, the physical expression of the male life-giving power. The female is merely a blank vessel. Thus original sin comes from Adam, not Eve. Jesus was sinless because he got his life directly from God. Mary was only ever a babymaking incubator.

    @Diagoras
    Oh, and Mary did not “bang” the Holy Spirit, Diagoras you heretic! She “banged” God the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the spoof that issued forth from him. It is the Holy Spirit that conveys the masculine life-giving power of God the Father to us. It (or “He”, if you don’t have a neutral pronoun) “proceeds” from both the Father and the Son. So next time you are in a church service and hear people praying that God “anoint” them with his Holy Spirit, think about a massive bukkake session involving God and everyone there.

    Splooge!

  184. #184 Piltdown Man
    December 13, 2008

    John Morales & Wowbagger @ 176/177:

    So what you’re sying is that virginity and motherhood are not problematic at such, but the problem lies in the inordinate emphasis placed on them by the patriarchal Abrahamic tradition.

    So why did this emphasis exist? I don’t claim to be an expert on the social structures of nomadic tribes in the Ancient Near East, but I can well imagine why such a society would naturally want to encourage fertility and discourage promiscuity. The former was important to supply the workforce and fighting force of tomorrow, while the latter was important to ensure family (and hence social) cohesion.

    No doubt Ancient Near Eastern societies could be called “patriarchal”. Authority was typically invested in males. And no doubt women often had a very hard time of it. None of this implies a hatred of women. Consider the fact that we are talking about societies struggling to survive in an extremely harsh environment with none of our modern conveniences. In such a situation survival – individual and social – often depended on the ability to wield brute physical strength, either in person or by command. Typically that meant the physically stronger sex, who could therefore be expected to take the roles of leaders, protectors and providers.

    A desert tribe, desperately struggling to survive while harried on all sides by hostile enemy tribes, had neither the time nor inclination to worry about gender-inclusive language, glass ceilings in the boardroom, lesbian rights and all the other paraphernalia that so preoccupy us today. If they had spent their time and energy worrying about those things they wouldn’t have survived, period.

    Now it’s obviously going to be the case that some strong men in a male-dominant society are going to abuse their natural authority and treat women (and weaker men) cruelly. This is because human beings are, well, human beings and not characters from a Star Trek: Next Generation episode. Hence the need for a regulatory code to control, as far as possible, that savage human nature and maintain social cohesion. This code has to be harsh, even ruthless, in places because social cohesion has to be maintained at all costs. If it is not maintained, no one survives – including the women.

    (One might note in passing that the Old Testament contains plenty of examples of strong, “empowered” women.)

    That’s all very well, you might reply, but that was then and this is now. Why should we be expected to abide by these ancient tribal precepts today? Well we’re not – although Christians believe the Mosaic Law was divinely inspired, nobody denies it contains much that was ephemeral or specific to the circumstances of the time. But equally much is of enduring value and we can learn a great deal from it – not least because there is no guarantee that the leisured existence made posible by industrial civilization will last forever. Were it to collapse under internal or external pressure, you can be sure that traditional social structures would soon reassert themselves with a vengeance.

    … it places far more value on what’s between a woman’s legs than it does on what’s between her ears

    I would suggest the exact opposite is the case. A culture which prizes virginity and motherhood is one which does not place an inordinate emphasis on sexual pleasure, and so empowers women by freeing them from objectification as mere sources of sexual pleasure. The whole edifice of traditional sexual morality can be seen as a wall erected around women, not to imprison them but to protect the weaker sex from the natural predatory instincts of men.

    If a Martian lady were to visit Earth, which culture would she think was the more misogynistic – the one which produced this or one which produced this?

  185. #185 RickrOll
    December 13, 2008

    Piltdown man @184:

    *rubs eyes* I must be hallucinating! There’s no way The former Pilty would have had such a well- thought out response like that. Looks like we have another OM- that is, the Order of the Mary, not the Molly, for outstanding intillect shown in the face of adversity.

    I could comment negitively as well, but i don’t think i want to at the moment.

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