Many skeptics point to the virgin birth of Jesus as an example of a Christian belief that is implausible and absurd.
Vince Vitale, a tutor at Oxford, has a response to this. One day it struck him that most atheists already do believe in a virgin birth:
● The atheist Princeton professor Peter Singer, in a debate with a Christian, was challenged to answer the question “Why are we here?” He responded:
We can assume that somehow in the primeval soup we got collections of molecules that became self-replicating; and I don’t think we need any miraculous or mysterious [explanation].
But molecules emerging out of some ancient ocean with ability to reproduce themselves—that leaves lots of room for mystery. In fact, that scenario sounds quite similar to a virgin birth.
● Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking attempted to propose an atheistic explanation for the universe:
[T]he universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.
But “nothing” normally does not bring something into being. This is far outside the realm of the ordinary. Is it a less miraculous birth than the Christmas story?
The fact is that we live in a miraculous world. Believers and skeptics alike are aware of this. It is therefore, as Vitale points out, not a matter of whether we believe in a virgin birth, but which virgin birth we choose to accept!
We can believe in the birth of an atheistic universe that is indifferent to us—a universe where “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, … nothing but blind pitiless indifference” (Richard Dawkins). Or we can believe in the virgin birth of a God who loves us so deeply that he “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Emmanuel, God with us.