Joseph, foster-father of Jesus, stopped by TACP’s Manhattan offices this morning after picking up some bagels and lox from his favorite deli just up the street. He’s in our fantasy football pool and I’ve been after him for an interview for weeks. Today, he finally agreed.
ACP: Merry Christmas, Joseph. How’s it hanging?
Joseph: Well, first off, I’m Jewish, so my holiday at this time of year is Hanukkah. It kind of ticks me off that Christians just assume I’m Christian too. It really doesn’t take much brain power to figure out I’m not. Other than that, I’m fine. Here, have a bagel.
ACP: Thanks. It does make sense that you’d be Jewish, but you know what they say, when in Rome….. Man! This is one great bagel! Thanks. But, hey, I gotta ask this cause a lot of people think about it this time of year, how did you handle the whole, “I’m pregnant by The Holy Ghost” story when you first heard it? What were your first thoughts?
Joseph: Well, at first, I thought my wife had too much wine with dinner and was making a crude attempt at a joke. Whatever else you could say Mary was, funny was not one of them. But when she insisted, I started to think she was losing her mind. Because I’ll tell you, 2000 years ago, for a married Jewish woman to be confessing to her husband that she’d even LOOKED at another man sexually, was almost akin to suicide.
ACP: I can imagine. The Old Testament doesn’t paint a very positive picture of women. So what happened then? Did you just ignore it, thinking she’d forget about it eventually?
Joseph: Well, yes. That’s exactly what I did. I told her to shut up about it and go to sleep and NEVER mention it again. Well, that worked for about….4 months. Then the questions started from friends, “My, Mary has really let herself go, Joseph. Can’t you get her a Health Club Membership or something?” And, of course, the fat jokes, “Know why I couldn’t see your house when we pulled up, Joseph? Mary was standing in front of it!” Everyone thought Mary was just suffering from an excess of carbohydrates, but I knew better. She had a bun cooking in her oven, and I wasn’t the cook who put it there.
ACP: Shit, dude. That had to blow.
Joseph: Could you please not be so crude and sophomoric? It’s rude. One of these days you’re going to tick off a creationist or an insane a-theist guru, and you won’t think you’re so cute then, will you?
ACP: I sure wouldn’t want that. But back to you. WHAT did you do when you knew she was pregnant, but not by you?
Joseph: I broke tables, chairs, glasses, cups, and even the Hanukkah Menorah my mother gave us for our wedding. I was not happy. She insisted, however, that the baby was put there by the Holy Ghost and she hadn’t slept with another man.
ACP: Did she convince you at some point she was telling the truth? Because I’m sure, if you wanted to, you could have made life VERY miserable for her back then.
Joseph: Did I think God sent a ghost to impregnate my wife? Would you believe something like that? Hell no I didn’t believe her! I’m a nice guy and all, and I was WAY ahead of my time on being such for the day, but I’m not an idiot. I could have done horrible things to her and no one would have thought anything of it. As a matter of fact, if people knew back then what she was telling me, they’d have stoned ME to death for not doing the same to her the MINUTE she mentioned this.
ACP: So you did nothing? You just acted like the baby was yours and lived as if everything was normal?
Joseph: Did I not just say I wasn’t an idiot? I also am not a cruel man, and Mary was 14 when we wed. She was not a pillar of great emotional stability, and she was very fragile. I stayed with her until she gave birth, then I brought her to her sister’s home in Jerusalem and went on my way. I’m a nice guy, but not SO nice as to stay with an emotional unstable woman who thought a holy ghost had impregnated her. What would be next? The Devil told her to whack off my head with an ax while I slept? Not worth the risk, man.
ACP: Dude! You’re blowing my silly ass mind! The Bible doesn’t say anything about any of this.
Joseph: It also says Jesus was crucified and returned from the dead and the Earth is only 6000 years old. You truly can not believe everything you read or simply just take things on “faith,” especially things like this, which is simply outrageously unbelievable. Trust in Faith alone is what gets buildings knocked down by planes and people killed in wars of conflicting dogmas. Think. Don’t confuse my being a decent human being with evidence for a ghost impregnating Mary. If such things aren’t happening now, they weren’t happening then. As Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to be believed.
ACP: You sound like an a-theist. I’d never have thought this of you.
Joseph: An a-theist? I’m over 2000 years old and look 45. How many a-theists can say that and mean it? And don’t ask, cause I’m not telling you my secret.
ACP: Damn. Well, thanks, man. This was nice of you. I’d invite you for dinner, but something tells me you’d be offended by what’s on the menu. Thanks again.