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Question About Jesus Dying For Our Sins


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Guapo,

 

It seems obvious to me from your posts here that you are not in agreement with the 8 points of Progressive Christianity or progressive in your views. Read our guidelines here under this forum. You are most welcome to respond and debate in the Debate and Dialog forum but not post in this thread or threads under the Progressive Christianity forum which is reserved for those who do. One of our moderators has asked you to please introduce yourself in the introduction area so we can better get to know you and where you are coming from and are looking for from this community. It is customary for a guest member here to do so. Please comply and then start a thread in the Debate area on any subject you would like to discuss, ( This area is not for debate between those who identify with PC's and those who do not)

 

Thanks for your cooperation.

JosephM (as Admin)

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Jenell's right; that the need for substitutionary sacrifice is founded on original sin. If we tell the Garden of Eden story as a step up into maturity, of taking responsibility then it makes sense to

This is a question that has been on my mind for a long time, but I never felt comfortable asking anyone about it. It seems like such an obvious thing, so obvious that I am perplexed as to why I don't

It doesn't make sense to me either. never did. Or even the 'explanations' I remember hearing, they didn't make sense either, I could never figure how they made sense to anybody, even those I've heard

I'm sorry JosephM, I'm new here xD

Everyone, I am responding to PaulS but in a private message.

 

If you have any questions feel free to message me:)

Or start a topic in the appropriate forum.

 

Thank you for telling me!

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Back to topic..

 

The idea of blood sacrifice of not only animals, but humans, as well, to somehow appease or please the gods was certainly not unique or orginal in the ancient world. There is historical and archaological evidence of it in many cultures around the world.

It seems to me at the crux of it, whether as it appeared in the Judeo/Christian traditions or anywhere, any time else, is something in killing, and usually specifically by bleeding, being somehow 'signficant' in the scheme of things, 'cosmic order' or whatever it would be called.

It seems also not unusual for the sacrifirce victim to be of special 'value' to the one making the sacrifice, particularly as in those mentions of human sacrifice in the O.T. One was the man's own virgin daughter, in return for God granting him a requested favor, the other, of having to decide if one's firstborn son was worth sacrificing a colt instead.

 

And that is what I can't, but am curious to, understand. What in human thought is going on in that?

 

Jenell

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And that is what I can't, but am curious to, understand. What in human thought is going on in that?

 

Scott Atran ("In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion") says, "Religious sacrifices are not only designed to materially costly, they also aim to be emotionally arousing. Blood, especially human blood, is optimal for sacrifice on both accounts."

 

George

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Sounds a lot like the "trying to bargain with God" stage people sometimes go through in facing something difficult,...such as, "God, if you will just (let my sick baby live or let me get that promotion or whatever) I'll (go to church and tithe every Sunday or cut off my left pinky or whatever) "

 

 

 

Still not getting how one's death, a killing, satisfies another's debt or responsiblity or punishment, though.

 

Jenell

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If you wanted to feel loved beyond all understanding the story of divine condescension in the crucifixion is a story that might elicit that. If you wanted a hero/ine who saved a village with her death then the crucifixion is a story that portrays that. Story is powerful. Literalism, the West's inclination to write creeds and the use of institutional power turn something live into something dead.

 

Sometimes we need to dig deeper into the story, sometimes we need to cast stories aside because they have lost their meaning

 

Dutch

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Another perspective. We have a God who so wants to be apart of our lives that God became a human and lived breathed and died in a very public way for us to see. God's deepest desire is to be reconciled to us. Becoming human is key to that plan. The cross was a very powerful event that still speaks to us 2000 years later. This man who is an incarnation of our God was willing to be the true lamb of passover so that our sacrifices for atonement would no long be necessary. If you need grace and reconciliation, you know longer need to make a trade or sacrifice of some sort. All you have to do is call on the name of Jesus and be made whole again.

 

Eyes on the prize folks. Forget all the mumbo jumbo on this matter. The meaning of the whole thing is that God wants to be reconciled to us in love. If you find power in the blood...great. If the whole idea of substitution seems absurd to you, just hold to love and grace.

 

As far as sin goes. Perhaps you don't feel sinful and therefore find grace to be irrelevant. But I promise you, when you've truly sinned in a big way, like I have, grace is everything.

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Fatherman,

 

Good to hear from you again. missed your perspectives.

 

I think that God becomes human (so to speak) in each of us and not just Jesus. I also think we have always been reconciled with God but weren't aware of it so we invented blood sacrifices to do so, and when they became no longer a sufficient answer, we made up the cross story which is one way to attempt to permanently once and for all purge our conscience of the guilt that separated us in mind. And it does work to those who believe. However, it is my view that we were never in reality really separated. In my view, it is not possible. I believe there have been those who well before Jesus figured that out and were reconciled without any blood or human sacrifice or religion.

 

Just my thoughts for consideration on the matter,

Joseph

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I agree with you that we've always had the power within ourselves to be one with God, but think about the climate in which Jesus lived. The possibility of a personal relationship with God was remote. It was all about following rules. I really think Jesus wanted to make a powerful impression on us about who God is and that he wants us to have a personal relationship with him no matter how good we are at following the rules. This is were Christianity truly shines as a religion. A God who is willing to be made vulnerable so that we can know him better, and that no matter what we do, we can still be loved by him. This has made all the difference in the world in my life.

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There is another aspect of Jesus' sacrifice which, to me, makes better sense than substitutionary atonement or than the idea of Jesus' death as an offering to appease the wrath of God. I recall the Sadducees saying, about Jesus, "It is better that one man die than that the Romans come and take away our place." Sorry, I can't remember the reference. But, in this context, Jesus was gaining quite a following and the Sadducees would have been nervous about any "messiah" that the Romans might interpret as a threat to their dominion over Palestine. Jesus' popularity, coupled with his condemnation of the Temple as corrupt, probably led to his death as being evitable. In this way, his death is a sacrifice because he choose to die rather than lead an armed, violent rebellion against Rome, which surely would have resulted in at least his closest followers being executed.

 

So I see his sacrifice more as choosing to stand for what he believed in, much like Dr. Martin Luther King or like Archbishop Oscar Romero. Seen in this way, Jesus' death is a sacrifice (making sacred) of his life, not to change God's mind about us, but to change our minds about God. And I suspect that his teaching that we should all take up our own cross and follow him leads to self-sacrificing ways in our lives also.

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Nice to hear from you again Wayseeker! And you took my words "right out of my mouth" so to speak. :)

I just finished reading "The Last Week" by Crossan and Borg, and they, too, mention sacrifice as choosing to stand for something they believe in. Was Jesus' death foreseen as in "God ordained", or inevitable given his message and the political environment at the time? But that is for another thread.

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Fatherman wrote: was willing to be the true lamb of passover so that our sacrifices for atonement would no long be necessary.

 

1. but why/how was it (sacrifice) neccessary for "atonement" to begin with? God is the one that set this whole scheme up, why would He set it up that way, and since He's all powerful, why would He have to demand anything?

 

2. ...so that our sacrifices for atonement would no longer be neccesary....so Jesus, a man, dying, was just about saving a lot of sheep and goats and cattle from being sacrificed? We still kill and eat them anyway, so what was saved?

 

3. the lamb of passover wasn't a sacrifice for atonement, it was the declaration of being one Hebrew people differentiated from the non-Hebrews in egypt, so as to be spared the angel of death when the first-born of Egypt were killed. The practice of sacrifice of atonement wasn't dictated to the Israelites until after leaving Egypt, and was a once yearly sacrifice made by the high priest in the temple, had nothing to do with the passover lamb. (passover...the angel of death passed over those whose door posts in egypt were marked with its blood).

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a question that has been on my mind for a long time, but I never felt comfortable asking anyone about it. It seems like such an obvious thing, so obvious that I am perplexed as to why I don't understand it.

 

It is said that Jesus died for our sins. That God sacrificed his only son for us, that he paid the ultimate price. The thing I don't get is....how does this work? How does the death of one release us from sin? The sins still happened. The consequences still resound. How does the son of God dying "pay" for this? What is "payment" in this context? Is it like an exchange? A barter? If it is, why would the death of God's son (which one could argue is not a good thing) pay for sins (again, not a good thing). It's like saying that crashing my new car will release me from mortgage payment on my house. I guess what's missing for me is the relationship, the thread, connecting Jesus' death with my sins.

 

I am probably making no sense. If so, then forgive me. If you have any clue as to what I'm trying to get out here, perhaps you have insight.

 

 

It is a moral injustice to punish someone other than the person/s who committed the crime, but it is believed that God does just that. There is something fundamentally wrong with this mindset. Why would a just God punish an innocent man instead of the those who are guilty? I simply don't understand how a just God could punish an innocent man for "our" transgressions. Where is the justice in that?

 

 

I know God loves us, but if God is truly just, then wouldn't he make us take responsibility for our own actions? Did Jesus truly give his life for us, or could it be that he simply showed us the way of life? He certainly showed us how to realize God's grace. He showed us how to love, and what it meant to love.

 

 

Justice is not served by allowing the guilty to go without consequence. Nor is justice served by allowing another to pay for one's transgressions. There comes a point in life that we need to man up and take responsibility for ourselves. Many seem to disagree. I don't feel it right to pawn my sins on someone else. I feel it is wrong, and that it shows a lack of moral fiber, a lack of integrity, not to mention an utter disregard for accountability.

 

 

True grace stems from yielding to God as love, and the mercy comes by way of the transformation that takes place as a result. We live a more abundant life, we sin less which produces far less negative consequences for our actions. Live a righteous life under God's guidance, and you will know life more fully.

 

 

Jesus certainly gave his life for his friends. He called his disciples friends, so it was them who Jesus gave his life for, not us. You know when Peter cut off the guys ear? Had Jesus not rebuked Peter, what do you think would have happened? The rest would have fought to the death to save their master. They had two swords between them, and it would have been certain death had they continued to resist. Jesus knew this, just as he knew this day would come. No greater love! Jesus gave himself up in order to save the lives of his disciples. What did he do for the rest of us? He showed us the way of life. He showed us how to tap into God's grace. He showed us how to love, and what it means to love.

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Jenell, could I offer a couple more random thoughts on this?

 

Disclaimer: What I am about to say represents only *my* view and understanding, I impose it on no one else, and it is just my attempt to honor what the scriptures say while, at the same time, being true to my experience of God and what I believe about Jesus.

 

When I was in Bible College, a young lady approached me one day when I was practicing piano and, after greeting me, she blurted out, “Bill, I’ve prayed about this a lot and God told me that you are His will for my life.” Hmm. Well, this young woman was not unattractive, but I had had no particular attraction to her, and, to the best of my knowledge, God had said nothing to me about her. But who was I to go against the will of God? :)

 

Even today, turn on almost any Christian television or radio program and some “man of God” or “woman of God” will tell you that it is God’s will that you send your money to their particular ministry.

 

People just love to speak for God, don’t they? Especially religious people. How are we to know what God is really like or what His will really is? Can we?

 

I think we need to be very humble about this predilection we have to speak for God. To me, there is the reality of God…and then there are our very human ideas, conceptions, and perceptions of God which, again imo, always fall short of the fullness of the reality.

 

Based on my studies, I don’t think the Jewish religion dropped from heaven with all of its laws, rites, and liturgies intact and God-sanctioned. Imo, it grew out of other pagan religions and, therefore, shared in the notion that the gods could be manipulated or appeased through sacrifice, usually of animals or produce, but sometimes of humans. Sacrifice was one way to “share in the life of the god” in order to, ultimately, have that god’s favor in order to ensure the survival of the tribe.

 

Therefore, and going back to my Disclaimer, I don’t think God ever demanded sacrifices, especially of blood and/or humans. Others will probably disagree. Some might say that God “evolved” along with humans and learned that what He really desired was mercy, not sacrifice. Freedom of thought, right? But, for me, I’d rather attribute it to faulty human perceptions of God, just as this young lady had and as televangelists do today.

 

Again in my opinion, though some New Testament scriptures do portray Jesus as a human sacrifice to placate God’s wrath, the bottom line of the NT story is that sacrifices came to an end. The Temple with all of its bloodshed and rites was burned to the ground in 70AD, ending the sacrificial system for the Jews. Some futurists think that it will someday return, but I doubt it. PETA would have conniption fits. :angry:

 

Finally, while not intending to offend my Jewish brothers and sisters, I find the whole notion of the Passover to be nonsensical and immoral. God had to actually see blood on the doorpost in order to know whether or not to kill someone in that house? God punished the innocent children of Egypt for Pharaoh’s stubbornness, especially with the notion that God was somehow responsible for Pharaoh’s hard heart?

 

We humans have all kinds of ideas about God and what God’s will is. To me, I think we see God’s will best reflected in Jesus’ teaching about loving God and loving others. Of course, knowing God’s will and doing God’s will are two different things. But I tend to think that when God’s will is truly done, we see compassion realized, we see the fruit of the Spirit. Unfortunately, not everything found in our scriptures lines up with this understanding of God’s will (such as killing breakers of the Mosaic code or killing one’s enemies, etc.). And this is where, for me, Paul’s advice to “test all things, hold to what is good” is very helpful. We should, I believe, test what we find in the scriptures. And if Jesus was right, if he was indeed good, compare what we find there to how he lived and to what he taught. This won’t solve all of our exegetical problems, but it is, imo, a good start.

 

Thanks for listening (and for the great questions).

 

Regards,

BillMc

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Good thoughts Bill, most of which I'm right with you on.

Not to get searching right now, but I now there is plenty of evidence to be found in both the Old and New Testaments to the effect that God does NOT hold children accountable for the sins of their parents and ancestors, yet that os the very core basis for this idea we are all born into sin and accountability for the sin of Adam and Eve.

 

As for your having that woman come to you with that, lol, oh, yes, how well I know, if my own and expereinces of other women I've known and had around me are any indication, that kind of thing is far more common than most might even imagine! The worst of that, at least for us women, may well be that when a man comes at us with that idea, that God has told him we are "the one" God "wills" them to have, it can very easily and does all too often turn into what would have to be called a 'stalking' experience, usually endinng quite unpleasantly, and my own and experiences of other women I've known, even leading to our having to leave an environment, a church community, even move our residence! The classic sterotype of the 'wrath of a woman scorned' is NOTHING compared to that of a man scorned by a woman he has decided, has told, and told others, is the one "God" wills for him! When he HAS told others in that church community this, imagine his 'embarrassment' and publically wounded pride when obviously he must have somehow misunderstood what God was saying to him! A most common reactionary 'defense' such a man may fall back on is that old 'woman decieved poor man' (yeah, Adam's excuse!) whereby he fabricates some scenario in which the woman intentionally 'misled' him, blinded him with her charms and feigned interest, blah blah blah, even when quite clearly the woman never expressed any indication of interest in or even notice of him... the woman kind find herself in an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable situation when the man HAS already told others about this, not only as an idea, but his claiming to know the woman IS mustually interested, when she doesn't even have a clue!

 

i knew a woman that had a really freaky experience, while attending a small community church, had noticed a man there, a widower, that was a deacon as well as an ordained preacher that occasionally filled in for the full time preacher, seemed to be showing 'interest' she didn't welcome or want to encourage. The way he sometimes looked at her, touched her in seemingly casual ways, and often sought her out once she was seated, to come sit beside her, was really making her uncomfortable, and she had even begun such obvious avoidances as either getting up and moving when he came and sat beside her, or waiting until everyone was already seated and a service or class already begun before coming in slightly late, so as to choose a seat far grom him.

 

She was embarrased to say anything to anyone else there about it, because everyone seemed to really like the guy, and she was herself afraiid she might be over reacting. But then when other members started acting in ways, like smiling and winking with "knowing looks", and whispering to her, she didn't have to keep trying to keep it secret, others already knew she and he had become, the wink-wink, we know about the romance going on, she had to stand up and speak out, hey, like whoa, wait a minute, this thing has gotten out of hand! There's NOTHING going on between us! At which point, his having been 'feeding' others hints and even false stories about her and him having mutual interest resulted in it looking like to them she had been leading him on and was now just callously dumping him! Yep, she had no real choice but to leave that church!

 

He even then told her she was going to hell for having defied the will of God which was to marry him!!!!

 

Jenell

 

Ps, I do want to make clear I do NOT see this kind of thing as having anything really to do with the religion or religious beliefs of anyone per se.....I honestly see it as just a different version of a 'manipulattive tactic' some men (an perhaps women, too) USE toward trying to put a person they 'want' but which they suspect (or know!) would be likely to refuse their "proposal" of engagement/marriage...that of both having people around them "primed" to think such a relationship IS developing, and then "popping the question" in a very public way, often with a lot of elaborate and even expensive trouble taken in 'setting the stage'. like the romantic lighted billboard at the homecoming team game, the airplane flying by with banner....lol....ie. putting her on the spot in the most awkward of ways!

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Yep, God’s will, tricky stuff. While I wouldn’t say that the young lady stalked me, she did “pursue” me for a while until, I suppose, she gave up. I did tell her that I was engaged (which I was at the time), but then, as this Bible College never certified women to be preachers, most were probably there to pursue their “MRS” degree. ;)

 

From a religious perspective, looking back, maybe she was God’s will. After all, the young lady I did marry and I were divorced about 7 years later.

A couple of years after that, I sought counseling to try to deal with some of the baggage left over from the divorce. The pastor I counseled with told me, in no uncertain terms, that I would never, ever be in God’s will again in my life unless I remarried my first wife. That was a rather difficult prospect as she had married 1 month after our divorce was finalized. I was not about to interfere with her new marriage, even if it meant violating “God’s will.”

Thankfully, I found God’s “present will” a couple of years later and our 25th anniversary is coming up.

 

All of this to say that, just as now, I don’t think everything in the Bible is an accurate reflection of God’s will, even when people claim otherwise. Imo, I just don’t think God controls the universe in such a way that everything falls into the dualism of “God’s will” and “not God’s will”. But, yes, I do question things which seem to go against the spirit (and Spirit) of Jesus’ teachings on loving our neighbor which, of course, includes everyone. I don’t doubt that Jesus was faithful to God. But even he challenged the religious notions of his day that the forgiveness of sins could only come through blood or animal sacrifice. For Jesus, all that was necessary was repentance.

 

Regards,

BillMc

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....pursuing her "Mrs." degree.....lol, I noticed a good many years ago how many preachers had met their wives as students at the same Bible colleges, and as you say, of denominations that did not and mostly still do not ordain women.

Nor do I think that even might be coincidental or accidental....also notable is how many of them are themselves daughters of preachers, and how many preacher are themselves sons and grandsons of preachers....kind of a "family business" kind of thing, it seems.

 

Jenell

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I think a really big problem some people have when it comes to this "God's will" thing, using the bible as their 'reference" or "guidance" point, is a common LOOKING FOR validation of something they already want to believe, think something is how it 'should' be, and their own 'feelings' about something, as well as what seems to me quite a silly idea that pretty much God supposedly 'said' to somebody/anybody else in some other situation applies just as well to what God say to, wills for, oneself, in an entirely different situation.

Actually, that played a big part in even whole groups of christians very often over history, such as Europeans coming to and colonizing this country assuming to themselves the role and position, even identity, of the Israelites leaving Egypt to enter the "Promised Land', native inhabitants of the Americas to be viewed as and dealt with in the same manner as those occupying the land of Canaan.

 

Jenell

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I couldn’t agree more, Jenell. I don’t think there is any doubt that many of us, if not most, growing up in Western Judeo-Christian culture, come to the Bible with our own preconceived ideas of what we will find there. And the Bible, being an anthology of different viewpoints rather than a monolithic treatise, is only too happy to oblige us in our endeavors to find justification for our beliefs and actions. I don’t think this can be avoided. This is why I get somewhat perturbed when someone says they have a “biblical” view of marriage or a “biblical” view of salvation. Which particular views in the Bible are they speaking of?

 

But I do think, as you have said, that we should be very careful about applying something found in the Bible that pertained to one group or one person in one culture or time period, and making it a universal truth that, supposedly, applies to all people for all time. Which raises another interesting question: are there eternal, universal truths found there? I think so. As a Christian, I find them mostly in Jesus’ two commands, but as to *how* we do or live out those commands, yes, I think that is culturally determined. As a progressive Christian, I think my beliefs and way of life have to, in some sense and at some level, go back to Jesus (or the best information we have about him), not to Moses, or to Joshua, or to Paul. Of course, I realize that Jesus was also a product of his own religion and culture. But I still see something of what we call eternal and universal truths about God, humanity, and the relationships bound up therein coming through the life and teachings of this Jewish rabbi. Nevertheless, you may well be correct that we find what we are looking for, and, if so, even my own ideas about Jesus are merely the constructs of my own mind. I hope not. I want to know the truth more and more. But I’ve been around enough to know how slippery it is, even within Christianity.

 

Regards,

BillMc

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I think my beliefs and way of life have to, in some sense and at some level, go back to Jesus (or the best information we have about him), not to Moses, or to Joshua, or to Paul. Of course, I realize that Jesus was also a product of his own religion and culture.

 

FWIW, Wright in The Evolution of God attributes the idea of universal love more to Paul than Jesus. He says that Jesus' concept was more limited to Jews where Paul had a broader horizon.

 

George

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I agree there are certain basic, core level universals and constants....that is both why a quite different response to one situation is called for than for another, and why what is called for in one cannot be simply applied to another. The difference of context, what's going on, all involved in a given situation, mean meeting those same basic core elements are going to be met differently in different situations. What is the loving thing or the just thing in one matter can be quite different in another.

 

Placed into social/cultural contexts, how any particular one thing fits in with every other element of that cuture or social environment makes signficiant differences in how those underlying principles are best met.

Consider such a matter as death penalty, for those determined too dangerous to allow to continue to live in the community. The safety and well-being of all others must be protected, out of love for all others. But cultural and developmental differences present different options for accomplishing that...a relatively primitive society lacking really secure reliable facilities for making sure that person is kept secured from the rest of society presents very different realities than such as our modern environment with secure prison facilities. What could, say, Eskimos or Chukchis or Pacific Islanders really do with a dangeorus homicidal person that threatened everyone's safety, but put him to death? That's at the extreme end of example, but thats the idea.

 

Cultures/societies that allowed no acceptable or honorable and safe place within them for women alone with children, and no man responsible for her and them, had to have in place much different cultural and social practices and constraints on behaviors and actions that resulted in many single mothers within that society. While those measures may seem oppressive and 'wrong' to us today, we are not in that realizing what a vast difference there is here and now from then in the realities faced by single women with children. Even those in that plight through no "wrong" or "sin" of their own, were victims of rape, sexual abuse, or abandonment by husbands/fathers, and without family that might take them in, faced options such as slavery, forced prostitution, or living as homeless beggars at the mercy of the cruelty of any that chose to abuse them.

 

In the biblical story of the Israelites and the promised land, the stage had been set earlier in the story by God having promised that land to Abraham and his descendants 'forever', so their entry after the Exodus was, in the bibical story, a "return" to a homeland....something that could not by any stretch of even religious imagination be applicable and compable to European Christians entering foreign lands and committing genocide on the native inhabitants! I could never see how those european christians possilby came up with that idea!

 

Jenell

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  • 4 months later...

What a great discussion. I started one similar but thankfully Dutch pointed me to this one. (I will search better next time :) )

 

It is so nice to hear atonement doesn't make sense to others for the exact same reasons I have had problems with it. I have heard that "Jesus died for our sins" so many times and the people in my wife's church have have tried to explain it to me but all I can ever say in response is, "That doesn't make a bit of sense." I just can understand why it makes so much sense to them.

 

As I see it, Jesus dying on the cross did two different things:

  1. It ended the sacrificial system. I believe God never required sacrifice, but to primitive humans it made sense. Almost all primitive cultures brought sacrifice to religion so it is something inherently human. Jesus dying on the cross ended that system and opened the door to a more mature religion. Granted, that hasn't happened yet, but there is still hope. I don't think I have to support myself Biblically, but when I read Hebrews 10:5
    Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
    I thought it was interesting. That is repeated in Psalms 53:16 and in some other places.

  2. The other thing it did was make big news. If Jesus would have died an old man he might have been a footnote in history but would not have sparked a new transforming religion. Jesus' message was transformative and him dying a gruesome death gave his message a life of its own.

Again, what a great discussion and a great board. I am very excited to hear the thoughts of like minds and at a high, well informed level. The internet is so filled with drivel it is wonderful to find a place that uses it to expand understanding.

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I've always been horribly offended by the idea of the Fall.

 

Like somehow we're just naturally sinful, like human beings are all naturally depraved monsters. It's depressing, and it's easy to see why societies based on that principle (like Puritan New England, for example) had so many people with ridiculous psychological trauma.

 

First of all, I don't see the fall as a literal story, and I don't believe in original sin. Humans can choose, and sometimes they choose wrong, it's simple as that. I'm not sure why there's such an inferiority complex among the Christian faith though... does anyone know the exact origin of this idea? AS for Jesus' actual death...

[Jesus' death was] big news. If Jesus would have died an old man he might have been a footnote in history but would not have sparked a new transforming religion. Jesus' message was transformative and him dying a gruesome death gave his message a life of its own.
I think this is a great point, and one I hadn't previously given much thought to.

 

I certainly don't believe he "died for our sins". I think Jesus died because he was willing to make a stand against the Romans and the corrupt Jewish authorities. It can be considered an honorable act, but I certainly don't think he went up there with the idea of absolving original sin, even if he did believe in it, as he may very well have (I'm unclear about first century Jewish beliefs on the subject).

I don't think he went up there to establish a religion either. Three out of four Gospels agree that Jesus was a pretty humble guy, not given to demagoguery. If he did let the Romans capture him (and there is apparently evidence to suggest he could have gotten away from them in Gethsemane but deliberately did not) it may have been because of something like this: Jesus is a well known figure and his followers are well known across the region. The corrupt Jewish elite are going to crucify him, but then people will remember his boundary breaking ways and anti-establishment principles in a way they might not otherwise.

 

Jesus was going to be pursued if he ran. He would probably be forced to go into hiding and stop doing his thing if he wanted to survive, like Batman at the end of The Dark Knight. Jesus running away would not advance the greater good. Instead, he picked a very dramatic and painful death for himself, because he did not fear death, at least not as much as he may have feared that his ideas would be forgotten.

 

After all, what has he to lose from death?

Edited by Adekis
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I certainly don't think he went up there with the idea of absolving original sin, even if he did believe in it, as he may very well have (I'm unclear about first century Jewish beliefs on the subject).

 

 

Adekis,

 

I think St. Augustine is generally credited with this concept. However, It is mentioned at 2 Esdras 3:21 in the Apocrypha. This is a Jewish writing from the 1st century. The idea may go back even earlier. So, since it is attested in the first century, I think it would be reasonable to think that Jesus knew about this concept.

 

George

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