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Matthew and Mark and Luke speak of Mary the mother of James and Joseph and some take this to refer to Jesus' mother. If they are right, then is are the gospels wilfully refusing to call her the mother of Jesus because the same gospels speak of Jesus saying that his real mother is not his birth mother but whoever heeds his word. It would mean Matthew 28:1 hates to mention her and just calls her the other Mary. The only objection to all that is that Acts 1:14 calls her the Mother of Jesus. But that proves nothing. That you cannot bear calling her Jesus' mother does not mean you will never call her that. It is thought that since Luke speaks well of Mary that he could not have thought she was dirt. But what if she went astray? The angel called her full of grace but do not forget that grace is seen as a miraculous power that restrains evil. Paul said that grace abounds for sinners. Calling her full of grace is not necessarily a compliment.

I don’t agree with everything in this article but I hope you will find it useful. It proves that the Bible affirms that Jesus had no brothers or sisters.

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary is the Mother of God because she is the Mother of Jesus Christ who was God. In addition it teaches that she never had other children and that Jesus was conceived without sex meaning that she was a life-long virgin and still is of course.

Geoffrey Ashe says that there was no trace of the notion that Mary had no other children till Helvidius voiced the view that she had in 383 CE (The Virgin, page 64).  And she had a very small profile in the early Church and its tradition. In those days, it was about scripture, the apostles and Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is not surprising then that nobody cared if Jesus really had brothers or not. But Helvidius being the first only means he is the first we know of. There could have been a large segment of the Church that had the same view as he had and held it from the very beginning of the Church.

Christianity was a prudish religion and would have been too disgusted to even want to remember that Mary had been a normal mother. Tradition unanimously says that even sex in marriage is sinful and says it is only not a sin when nature forces it to happen. And since Jesus never existed the tradition of the virgin birth would have started easily enough. If he had existed he would have had a normal birth and it might have got in the way of progress towards invention of the Virgin Conception.

Christians believe Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, called James the brother of Christ and yet they say Jesus’ mother only had Jesus. They also believe Paul called James the brother of the Lord and ignore the fact that he would have meant brother because he was writing to people to whom brother meant blood brother. That is what they would have taken him to mean then. Brother here means brother not relation!
Matthew says that Joseph did not know Mary sexually until after she had had her son. This seems to hint that he had sex with her after the birth. Catholics bellowe, “But until in the Bible does not mean what it usually means at times.” True. But you can tell by the context. But there is the strong possibility that until means until here. When it could mean the literal until that is what it should be taken to mean. Matthew was writing a gospel not a puzzle.

In Genesis 8:7 after the flood the raven flies until the earth was dried up but that does not mean that it settled when dry ground appeared again. Until seems to mean something like when rather than until here. This was written in a time long before Matthew so why assume Matthew would have written like that as well? Why assume he would have meant until the way Genesis means it? Matthew was writing in Greek not in Hebrew so the Christian habit of sneaking Genesis into the equation isn’t on.

James D Tabor observes in The Jesus Dynasty page 297 that the natural reading of Matthew is that Joseph and Mary had sex after Jesus was born. He says the Catholic argument that until does not mean Mary's virginity was taken away by Joseph after Jesus was born is strained. He is right. Catholics say the until has the same sense as, "Stay sober until I come." This does not mean to suggest that one may get drunk after. But Joseph did not know Mary sexually until after she had her son is not like that. The until has to be literal here.

In Psalm 110:1 God says to the Messiah that he wants him to sit at his right hand (rule as next in power) until he makes his enemies his footstool. The Church argues that until here does not mean that Jesus could be demoted from God’s right hand so until in Matthew does not mean Mary was only a virgin until she had her baby. But there is no evidence that the Psalm is speaking of Jesus at all. Also the enemies could be made footstools forever so the until would not mean that there is a time limit on the messiah ruling beside God.

Luke calls Jesus Mary’s firstborn which seems to indicate that he was her first of a number of children. Theologians say firstborn in the Bible is often supposed to mean the most important to be born not the first to be born. But there is no evidence of this usage in the Bible. The Christians imagine there is for Jesus is called God’s firstborn which they do not take literally for they hold that as God Jesus always existed and what always existed never had a birth. But this rests on the unproven assumption that the Bible teaches that Jesus is God.

There are brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the gospels but cousins were called brothers and sisters. In Genesis 14:14 and 1 Chronicles 23:22 we find this usage.
So the Catholics could be right except that the Gospels were written in Greek and there was a word for cousins in Greek. Had the gospels not been saying Jesus had flesh and blood brothers and sisters another word would have been used.

In those times, people had big families. Why does the gospel speak as if Jesus did not have many of those alleged cousins? That is strange. It makes more sense to hold that they were real brothers and sisters.

The Gospel of John says that the disciple Jesus loved and the mother of Jesus were standing by the cross and Jesus said to him, "See that is your mother", and to her, "See that is your son". The Catholic Church says this disciple was the apostle John. In actual fact, there is no reason to think the disciple was John. The gospel says that John is the son of Zebedee (21:2). That doesn't sound like John wrote it for his name and who his father was was not being hidden. The gospel does not claim to be authored by the beloved disciple but to be based on the writings of the beloved disciple (John 21). To suggest that a disciple would write anything and keep calling himself the beloved disciple to hide his identity and to keep Jesus' love for him in people's faces is madness especially if he was really at the cross.

When Jesus on the cross told the beloved disciple who was not a relation to care for Mary it is supposed to imply that she had had no other children. But the gospel simply says that Jesus told the disciple that Mary was his mother and Mary and the disciple was her son. And then the gospel says that the disciple looked after her from that moment and took her to his home. But wait, the disciple becoming Mary’s adopted son does not indicate that he was the only one who could care for her. (There might have been a spiritual affinity between the disciple and Mary which was why she wanted him to look after her and when she would have been 43 then and the disciple a grown man the scandalous implications of their living together would have been obvious.) If it does, it indicates that Jesus had no cousins to look after her as well which dismantles the Roman view that Jesus’ brothers and sisters are just cousins. So if this shows that Jesus was an only child it also shows that the cousins were invented. The amount of speculation in Catholic theology that they call truth is scandalous especially when they read in the gospel of Mark that Jesus’ brothers came with his mother to talk to him so they were very close to her meaning she was probably their literal mother.

Also the disciple might have only taken Mary into his home for a while. The gospel says all who were close to Jesus were frightened for their lives so the disciple might have taken her into hiding for a while. And adoptions can be reversed. Maybe they fell out down the line and so Mary and the disciple ceased to be mother and son. Rome reads far too much into what Jesus said.

It is indeed a serious problem that the gospel says it was the disciple Jesus loved that Jesus gave his mother to. We don't know for sure if this really was John. The gospeller claims to have been this disciple but he never says he was John. But if he was the apostle John then why hide his identity? How could he hide it for if Mary was considered important everybody would have known who he was had he been living with her? The Jewish traditions liked to portray Mary as a whore so they would have been only too happy to hear that she was living with a man. This shows both that the Catholic fantasy that Mary was always honoured in the Church as top saint is rubbish and that the disciple was probably not one of the twelve apostles at all. That means we are not under obligation to believe in his gospel for the twelve apostles were the established dogma makers and prophets of the Church. Also the disciple not being John debunks the legends and visions from Heaven about John and Mary being mother and son and living in Ephesus.

In John chapter 2 we read that Mary and Jesus went to a wedding feast to which they were invited. The wine runs out and Mary asks Jesus to do something about it. At first he refuses. Then he decides to turn water into wine. She speaks to him as if he was related to the groom or bride and had authority over the entertainment. She speaks as if the wine is her concern and his. She even tells the stewards to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. If the account is not a badly concealed story about Jesus' own wedding it is certainly an account about the marriage of Mary's son or daughter. Jesus must have stepped into the void left by the death or departure of the head of the family, Joseph husband of Mary. He then was probably older than the brother or sister that got married. It was most likely to have been a sister that was married for the tradition was that the parents of the bride organised the wedding entertainment.

We read that Mary had a sister called Mary. Was this a sister-in-law or cousin or other far outish relation? Did Mary’s father divorce her mother and abandon her and Mary and take a new bride who gave birth to another Mary? If Mary’s father had disowned Mary he could have let his wife name the new child Mary. Some would say this is unlikely but stranger things have happened. If the two families were separate then it was possible to have two Marys by the one father for confusion wouldn’t have been an issue. The same names could have been used when there was no chance of a mix-up. It is possible that Mary’s sister had a second name which was Mary and used that instead of her first name. There is no reason to deny that sister means sister here when Mary is said to have a sister Mary. Mary being the sister of Mary doesn’t prove that the non-literal sister use was deployed in the gospels. It doesn’t give the Catholics an excuse for ignoring the references to Jesus’ brothers and sisters.

The view that since Jesus’ father was God then his brothers could not be literal brothers but half-brothers shows that brother could even mean cousin is incorrect. We all refer to half-brothers as brothers but it is too big of a step to say that anybody doing that could mean cousin as well! The gospels never actually say that no male sperm was used in producing Jesus. Luke says Joseph was supposed to be the father of Jesus but perhaps this is just a reflection of the unusual circumstances of the conception meaning nobody was sure how Mary got pregnant. It does not mean Luke didn’t think Jesus was Joseph’s son.  When Luke is read carefully he does not teach a virginal conception.

There is no evidence to support the Roman Catholic habit of saying sisters and brothers don’t mean that when Jesus is being discussed. In fact it is very improbable that the Bible supports the Church.

Now, it cannot be proved from the Bible that Mary never had other children and it cannot be proved that the brothers and sisters are really cousins. Would the gospels really have been likely to call cousins brothers and sisters and risk confusing people especially readers who were of Gentile origin and who meant brother by brother and sister by sister? The law of economy tells us that when brother could mean cousin and it appears in a book that gives no reason to think that it is intended to mean cousin then it probably means brother. So, the Catholic view that Mary was a perpetual virgin is out.

Or were the brothers and sisters the children of Joseph from a previous marriage? But if the Bible says that Joseph was not Jesus’ father this is eliminated as well. We are not told that they were Joseph’s offspring and it seems that we would have been for the apostles were important characters in the Bible story. Joseph was unlikely to have had a previous family because he was a poor man and Mary’s father would not sell her to an older man with no money. Joseph was married only the once and it was to Mary.

When Joseph had to bring his wife to Bethlehem though she was about to give birth it implies that they were alone in the world. Nobody would look after her so he had to drag her along with him. The story still seems dubious for she would have been better off alone at home than travelling in her condition but there is value in its hint that they had nobody. The appearance of the brothers and sisters later implies that these were born after Jesus and to Mary. If they had her relatives or parents these relatives would have seen to her.

In a booklet called Treasures from God’s Storehouse Catholics say,

“James the Less whose mother was near the cross (Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40 and John 19:25) was the Apostle James mentioned in Matthew 10:3. This is the same James who is one of Christ’s “brethren”, but he was a son of Mary and Cleophas (or Alphaeus), and only a relative of Christ’s. This proves the brethren of Matthew 13:55 were not blood brothers.”

The Christian answer to this is,

“The Bible doesn’t say that the James of Mt 10:3, the son of Alphaeus (the Hebrew equivalent of Cleophas), is the same James as is mentioned in Matthew 27, even though Catholic scholars like to call James the son of Alphaeus “James the less”, thus linking him to the James of Mark 15. The only time James is designated as “the less” is in Mark 15, and there is absolutely no textual proof that the Apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, was ever called “the less”. Let us examine the women at the cross. Look at the lists given in the Bible. We know Mary Magdalene is mentioned in all three accounts. We know there were more than three women from Mt 27. Of course Salome might have been the name for either the women mentioned in Matthew or John. Mary, the mother of Jesus is mentioned in John 19. She seems to be missing from Matthew and Mark. But is she? If you want to cross-reference “Mary the mother of James and Joses” in Matthew 27 and Mark 15, just turn to Matthew 13:55. There we are told that James and Joses were the brethren of Christ, the sons of Mary. Were they His brothers? It is very probable, for how can we think that only John would record the presence of Jesus’ mother at the cross? If she is mentioned by Matthew and Mark (and in Luke 24:10), she is the mother of James and Joses who were true half-brothers of Jesus” (page 44).

To simplify this, the apostle James was Jesus’ brother. Catholics engineer and rig it to try and make it look like this James was the Son of Aphaeus. Catholics want to say that the apostle James (listed as an apostle in the gospels) who was Alphaeus’ lad was called a brother but was not really a brother because they had different fathers, Joseph being legally Jesus’ and Alphaeus being James’. They are only guessing and have no evidence for this. It is just an excuse for saying the two Jameses are the one person so that they can deny James was the brother of Jesus.  Matthew 13:55 says that Jesus was the brother of James and Joseph and Simon and Judas so Rome argues that this just means cousin or simply relative. But this is based on a lie, the lie that the two Jameses are the one person.

The Church says that “James who has the mother Mary and the brother Joseph has his mother called Mary the mother of James and Joseph in Mark 15:40. It says that it is obvious from this that this woman is not the mother of Jesus for Mark would have called her the mother of Jesus. So there are two James who had brothers called Joseph. So many names were used over and over again in those days that this was common.”

The reply to this is that Mark thought of Jesus as important but as a man sent by God. He doesn’t assign any unique importance to Jesus. He could have called Jesus’ mother the mother of James and Joseph. Also, since Jesus was hated at the time people might have been calling her that to identify her.

The gospels say that Jesus had at least two sisters. The word sister is used eight times for sisters by blood and seven times for a sister that is related by the blood of Calvary (ibid, page 44). It is never used for cousins which Catholics want these girls to be.  The girls were literal sisters of Jesus Christ.

Radio Replies 3 argues that when Mary got a baby without losing her virginity she was not likely to give it up later, that the so-called brothers of Christ were older than him and so were not her sons, that Mary is never once called the mother of his alleged brothers and that Jude in his epistle of that name calls himself the brother of James but is careful to avoid calling himself the brother of Jesus though he is called a brother in the gospels – supposedly indicating that brother is non-literal (Question 757). God could have wanted a virgin but that does not mean he needed her to remain one forever and how could the Catholic Church know what Mary felt like doing all the time? Also there is no evidence that the brothers were older. And Mary is rarely mentioned in the Bible so its no surprise that she is not called the mother of Jesus’ brothers.  

There is no real evidence behind the modern scholarly opinion that Jude the Apostle did not write the epistle. It is so short that nobody can refute his authorship for sure so we must take the epistle seriously. Jude may have been reluctant to call himself the brother of Jesus for it implied equality with Jesus or a superior apostolic authority that would be offensive to the other apostles but he wants to be seen as a servant of Jesus and a brother of James who was Jesus’ representative or perhaps Jude was saying he was the natural brother of Jesus like James was. James was liked better than Jesus so if Jude had both these men as brothers he was most likely to call himself the brother of the popular one. I think the most likely reason for Jude not calling himself the brother of Jesus was because Jesus never lived in his day. Anyway, whatever reason had for not calling himself the brother of Jesus nothing Jude wrote refutes the literal brother hypothesis.

Next Radio Replies says that when the Jews were shocked by Jesus’ impressive ways they exclaimed, “Is this the carpenter’s son and the son of Mary, brother to James and Joseph and Jude and Simon?” (Mark 6:3). Obviously they meant the son stuff literally so they must have meant the brother stuff literally too. And not only that, it is remarkable if one person is charismatic and exciting and innovative when that person has brothers and sisters who are not so if the brothers had been cousins there would be no need for finding this remarkable for they are further out relations. Radio Replies even goes as far as to make the patently absurd statement that since the Jews said the sisters of Jesus were all with them according to Matthew (13:55, 56) that the all implies a huge pile of sisters so they could not have been literal sisters (Vol 3, Question 761).

The view of many Catholics that the issue of whether or not Christ had brothers and sisters cannot be settled from the Bible and therefore that it is wisest to believe he didn’t and Mary was always a virgin just because the Roman Catholic Church tradition says so is unreasonable. It would be kinder to let people make up their own minds. The Church makes a song and dance over such trivial things – its helping people it should care about and yet it bars good people from membership for doubting the perpetual virginity of Mary. That’s cultish!

When Jesus was told that his mother and his brothers were looking for him he pointed to the crowd around him and said that the crowd was his mother and brothers for anybody who does the will of God is that (Mark 3:31-35). What he meant was that if you did God’s will you were so close to Jesus that you were virtually his brother and mother. That would make no sense if the brothers were cousins for he is using the closest blood ties to illustrate what he means. His assertion would be silly if he meant that if you were extremely close to him you would be his cousin and his mother for cousin is not emotionally or bloodily close enough to be compared to mother.

It is said that Jesus seems to be rejecting his natural family. Others say he is not but merely saying that they and whoever else obeys the will of God is his true family. But somebody shouted that those who were related to him were blessed and he responded that it is those who obey the will of God that are blessed. This can imply rejection. Indeed it does for Mark never suggests that this family were holy and supportive of Jesus. Jesus did reject natural family ties in favour of spiritual. The Roman Catholic reasoning, "Mary was holy for she was Jesus' natural mother", is clearly rejected. She was nothing special and so we should not be obsessed with making her a wonderful sacrificing lifelong virgin.

The silly propagandist booklet, Why Be a Catholic? tells us, “Given that the relations of Jesus and indeed Jesus himself would have spoken Aramaic and the Greek of the gospels has an Aramaic background we should never assume that “brother” can only have its narrower Greek meaning” (page 17). So it is admitted here that the gospels use the narrow meaning for they are in Greek but the Aramaic is used an excuse for getting around this! It doesn’t work for even if the Aramaic was looser the author of Matthew took it to mean real brother. That was how he translated it and that is what he was saying it was. It is what the gospel says that has authority not some assumption about what the Aramaic might have meant. So the Catholics are willing to accuse God of mistranslating when he wrote the gospel through Matthew before they would admit their doctrine about Mary is wrong!

Mary did have other children. This tells us what to make of apparitions like Garabandal and Medjugorje where the Madonna appears with a flat chest and calls herself a virgin.

Our conclusion is that Jesus was, according to the gospels, the oldest of Mary’s children. After she had him she had at least two girls and she was the mother of James and a few other boys.

Mary was not a Virgin all her life. This has been proven over and over again and the deceitful Roman Catholic Church plods on regardless and just curses those who tell the truth. It bullies them and says they are blasphemers.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME, Michael de Semlyen, Dorchester House Publications, Bucks, 1993
BORN FUNDAMENTALIST, BORN-AGAIN CATHOLIC, David B Currie, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996
MAKING SAINTS, Kenneth K Woodward, Chatto & Windus, London, 1991
OBJECTIONS TO ROMAN CATHOLICISM, Ed by Michael de la Bedoyere, Constable, London, 1964
POPE FICTION, Patrick Madrid, Basilica Press, San Diego, California, 1999
REASON AND BELIEF, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
THE MARIAN CONSPIRACY, Graham Phillips, Pan Books, London, 2001
THE VIRGIN, Geoffrey Ashe, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. London, 1976
WHY BE A CATHOLIC? Fr David Jones OP, Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, London, 1996