Mary, Did You Consent?

Religious Studies:1-24 (2021)
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Abstract

The Christian and Islamic doctrine of the VIRGIN BIRTH claim God asexually impregnated the Virgin Mary with Jesus, Mary’s impregnation was fully consensual (VIRGIN CONSENT), and God never acts immorally (DIVINE GOODNESS). First, I show that God’s actions and Mary’s background beliefs undermine her consent by virtue of coercive incentives, Mary’s comparative powerlessness, and the generation of moral conflicts. Second, I show that God’s nondisclosure of certain reasonably relevant facts undermines Mary’s informed consent. Third, I show that a recent attempt by Jack Mulder to rescue VIRGIN CONSENT fails. As DIVINE GOODNESS and VIRGIN CONSENT are more central to orthodoxy, Christians and Muslims have powerful reason to reject VIRGIN BIRTH.

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Blake Hereth
University of Pennsylvania

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