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fbraakman

Jesus Did Not Die For Our Sins

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I am new to this forum, so forgive me if this topic has been covered already. I watched Dr. Spong's video on this topic, and I think I agree with his conclusion that we were never born into sin, and therefore we do not need a saviour. I am also presently reading his book "Re-claiming the Bible for a Non-religious World".

 

Are all references to Jesus "dying for our sins", to be taken as for instance:

 

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

 

and in Galatians:

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

 

and in I Cor 15:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

 

These were all written by Paul, decades before the synoptic gospels, from which many of the orthodox Christian doctrines have been developed. Was Paul incorrect in his interpretation of the "scriptures"? Did he write his epistles in the same way that the 4 gospels were written- not to be taken literally?

 

Thank you

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I think Paul was writing scriptures - since he was the first to write - not interpreting some other texts. Not all early followers of Jesus would have agreed with Paul's conclusion about how Jesus "saves" us. Some thought he was a great moral teacher and we should follow his teachings. That is the way to save our lives and the world. Later I think it was Thomas Aquinas that Jesus saves us by eliciting compassion at the sight of his suffering.

 

And in a process thought cartoon God and Jesus are saying "Damn, no one is listening! What's plan B?"

 

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

 

I am not sure how any of this could be taken literally. God is creating a good world. Why is it evil? Who has the power to thwart God's intent? Did God make an evil world? Only an arrogant human would think he had the power to upset God's good world.

 

I think the most powerful motivations for Paul's writing was to keep HIS flock together, encourage believers and assure them that, as terrible as things were, good would win in the end. If you can't be fighting the battle outside then fight the battle within. If things are so terrible God must be punishing us for something we did. Search your souls for the evil you know you must have committed!

 

This is the same mindset of many of the Hebrews in captivity. And it is one of the central concerns in the Bible: why do bad things happen to good people? But the answer is s__t happens for no reason not because I am so bad that someone has to die to fix it.

 

Dutch

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I agree with Dutch, and further to his points I would add that we should consider what was 'not' said in relation to Jesus dying for our sins.

 

For example, why die for humankind's sins only 2014 (or so) years ago? Why not back in Noah's day or Moses's etc? If as Paul suggests, God loves man so much, why didn't he send a saviour earlier?

 

To me it is clear that Paul is not writing about fulfilled prophecy, but interpreting what Jesus' life and death means to Paul. I can respect Paul's opinion, but I don't have to accept it as gospel.

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Some would define sin as lack of love so with that in mind, I interpret those Bible passages as being saved from the perspective of duality to the perspective of unity.

 

In a single vision we see the face of Christ and understand that He looks at everyone as one in unity and love. This becomes our sacred truth and when we connect to the energy of Christ we become interconnected also with all the energy of existence. Through his consciousness our veil of darkness is elevated so there is no space between our neighbors. We just have to be still and listen without thought or disapproval of our disruptions because there is nothing that can harm us in the sacred place of our soul. We believe we are separate so heaven is presented as separate, but in the quiet of our soul we experience the unity with everything and that is heaven, so heaven is not separate. To be still we learn to forgive our past regressions that are just lessons about the lack of love that some may refer to as sin in ourselves as we learn to see everything in the light of Christ with no differences or lack of love. The joy to be together opens the gates of heaven within ourselves so we are now open to help others. With Christ’s vision from the perspective of spirit we see only joy, and everyone is sinless reborn in a new consciousness of light where everyone is united in Spirit. The sinless quality we see in others is the vision that shines the light and opens the gates to a heavenly existence. There are no sinners or Christians in heaven or the rapture of God’s pure consciousness which is composed of people with many different beliefs and non-beliefs. One love embracing all establishes happiness and the rebirth of Christ in consciousness. No one can dim the light of Christmas for Christ is born with joy as He observes us with unity in love. We take joy is this perspective and what we see through His eyes in the state of pure consciousness because it does not demand sacrifice, but a celebration of the perception that we are deprived of nothing or no-thing as our communication with our soul is restored. The Soul never loses this communion with God because it is not guilty or fears anything, it is only the mind that feels these things and needs atonement (at-one-ment), and we do this by placing our mind in the soul or service of our spirit. Thinking we are a soul with a body and mind establishes the appropriate function of the mind, and improves its effectiveness. I use to think I was a mind with a soul, but now I realize I am a soul with a mind.

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No, Jesus did not die for our sins. To appease an angry god with blood sacrifice is very primitive.

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Some early Christians did not believe that a blood sacrifice was the way Jesus says. Certainly that imagery is intentionally or thoughtlessly in our hymns and liturgy and language, creating an inertia that continues a creed long after congregations have moved on.

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The problem with metaphors, their interpretation is in the eye of the beholder. We may try and get the original author's intent, but who is to say that is the most accurate interpretation?

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If you are an "originalist" as so many of our Supreme Court justices are then an accurate interpretation is essential I guess and learning as much as we can about the author, context, and audience is important but that only informs our reading of a text, it does not nail it down

 

Irenaeus (Bishop early 2nd century – c. AD 202), was also alarmed at the many different ways the common people were interpreting Biblical texts. He decreed that only clergy could determine the meaning of the texts. Obviously he lost control of the meaning of the stories in our Bibles.
A story that can only be read one way is a weak story not worth reading more than once but the strength of a good story is that it can be read in a variety of ways. Read in community this story can give a group a sense of identity and a reason to gather again and again.
My daughter's involvement with a quarterly reenactment of the Rocky Horror picture show, Comic Con, Star Trek fan clubs, and reading Scripture in worship are all evidence of this power of story.
Dutch

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I really love this statement by our moderator:

 

The Soul never loses this communion with God because it is not guilty or fears anything, it is only the mind that feels these things and needs atonement (at-one-ment), and we do this by placing our mind in the soul or service of our spirit. Thinking we are a soul with a body and mind establishes the appropriate function of the mind, and improves its effectiveness. I use to think I was a mind with a soul, but now I realize I am a soul with a mind.

 

Thank you for that response. It is beautiful. I honestly believe (I hate that word) that we are and always have been accepted by the father, and have never received condemnation in any form.

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I find it strange hoping for at one ment and then divvying things into bits and pieces like, mind, body, soul and god.

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As a scientist I am sure you take things apart to better understand the whole.

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Valid point Soma .... but not for one moment do I believe these are intrinsically separate.

 

As a scientist I can find myself being mislead that the contents of my solution are intrinsically separate from the beaker. Some times it is a useful approximation sometimes it is a miserable fail.

 

To iterate ... the things I take apart are not intrinsically separate.

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I have to agree with Larry.
I don't understand how killing an innocent human sacrifice makes other people's “sins” magically disappear.

 

The doctrine of blood atonement through human sacrifice does also strike me as being primitive.

 

I do think one could say, and perhaps Paul might have meant this on some level, though I don't get that sense from his writing, that Jesus did teach us how to cleanse the stain of sin (in the form of negative feelings towards others) by replacing it with universal compassionate love expressed actively through deeds, directed towards everyone — friends, enemies, the hated non-believing Samaritans, and “the least of these.”

 

And because he gave us the “free gift” of that teaching, knowing that he risked his life to do so, he did, in fact, give his life to cleanse us from sin, but not in the human sacrifice way.

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If Jesus was not crucified and did not rise from the dead. Would I follow him? If he married a prostitute would I follow him? Yes, these stories might be true and they might not. The apostles followed him without these stories. I feel because he helped them and myself on my spiritual evolution. Doesn't matter about the stories unless one wants to believe in stories.

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In my oppinion. Jesus's sacrifice was in his forgiveness of mankind despite such a terrible death, not the death itself. Showing the way to peace is to forgive not to seek vengeance.

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I have a more simplistic view of sin and original sin.

 

Sin ,to me, is nothing more than mistakes. Mistakes that hurt people, mistakes that hurt us, mistakes that hurt the environment.........

 

Original sin, to me, are the human tendency to do those things. Selfishness, lust, dishonesty, desire to dominate.......

 

Jesus died for our sins the way MLK died for our sins. or because of our sins. Not a blood atonement but rather a willingness to die while standing for what is right.

 

MLK died because my forbearers gave in to human tendences to dominate, he died so I would know a different way , he died so my children might never know. (society is still working on this one)

 

Jesus died because he his forbeares created a society rampent in injustice, he died so people of his era might know a different way, and so generations to come might never make the mistakes of our forbearers.

 

steve

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There's a lot to chew on here, friends. More than I can chew tonight! I will respond simply by saying that there is no way to know the private thoughts and intentions of a martyr. He said a few things to his disciples that indicate that he was holding certain intentions about his impending death. But it becomes a matter of faith whether you believe what was written about him. It defies logic and reason, and those things are important.

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"No, Jesus did not die for our sins. To appease an angry god with blood sacrifice is very primitive"

 

Larry, this part of the story is important in order to convince the Jews to understand what kind of Messiah Jesus was. They knew what a blood sacrifice was theologically. Just as the virgin birth is important to get the Greeks and Romans on board. Whether these stories are factual or not no one can tell. I see the atonement differently than the angry god scenario. I like the story that Jesus is the Emmanuel, God with us. So that means that it is God sacrificing himself, in human form, for our sins.

 

I agree that blood sacrifices are primitive and I think it was part of the point. Jesus is saying "Hey, you don't need to sacrifice a lamb to receive forgiveness from God. In fact, here, I'll go ahead and be the ultimate blood sacrifice and you can drop this nonsense. I'll be the Lamb of God." At least, that's one way of looking at it.

 

The question, however, remains, is there power over sin in Jesus' martyrdom? And the answer may be found in your heart. Do you feel a personal connection with Jesus? Do you feel forgiveness flowing from Jesus' veins? You may not. You may in the future. Or you may not. The story of a god willing to suffer a human death is compelling to me. The atonement is something that you have to live into, otherwise it may be meaningless. Or maybe it happens whether we believe it or not.

 

As far as being primitive. Many things we do are primitive. But we do them to survive.

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As to the question of why Jesus only died for people in the present and future.

 

Hebrews 10:12-14English Standard Version (ESV)

12 But when Christ[a] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

For "all time", I think the intention here is to cover past, present, and future according to Paul. Not sure how that works, but there you go!

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"I am not sure how any of this could be taken literally. God is creating a good world. Why is it evil? Who has the power to thwart God's intent? Did God make an evil world? Only an arrogant human would think he had the power to upset God's good world."

 

Glintofpewter, I think the answer to the Theodicy (which is a huge and endless discussion outside of the scope of this thread), is that there is evil in the world because there is human free will. And there is free will in the world because otherwise Love, Grace, Kindness, Sacrifice, and host of many other good things cannot exist without the freedom to choose otherwise. So God's intent for us is that we choose on the side of good, but he has given us the choice to "thwart God's intent".

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