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The following is an interesting discussion taken from the Progressive Christianity Forum on beliefnet on the topic of the belief of the ransom and resurrection of Christ, the Atonement theory and Progressive Christian's views on it. Read this discussion of differeing views and then feel free to ad you own Progressive Christian views on this.:)

 

Messages: 1 - 4 (29 total)

 

jrfoster

1/26/2005 2:48 PM 1 out of 29

 

What is the understanding of 'atonement' in Progressive Christianity? Was it necessary for Christ to die on the cross? Was there a debt that had to be satisfied? In progressive thought, is atonement really necessary?

 

 

The New Age-American Hindu Take:

elroy

1/26/2005 5:14 PM 2 out of 29

 

In progressive thought, is atonement really necessary?

 

Well, I certainly can't speak for all progressives, but IMHO atonement occurs in the heart of a spiritually minded individual - not in the act of 2000 years ago. As outmoded lifestyles (legalism, for example) lose their effectiveness, they must die... to be replaced by something new while incorporating the best of the old. The failure of a lifestyle can be traumatic because it is often deeply ingrained in the individual. The internal defenders of the old way will "attack" the new, creating a time of confusion and weakness... but if the new is worthy, it will prevail. The result can be called by many names: resurrection, redemption, wholeness, at-one-ness, individuation, self-actualization, etc.

 

 

 

 

The Left Liberal Take:

 

Pax_Liberalis

1/26/2005 10:13 PM 3 out of 29

 

Bishop Spong said it best;

 

 

 

This doctrine has serious problems and I believe must be rejected in the New Reformation that is upon us.

 

Let me enumerate those problems quickly:

 

1. What kind of God is it who requires a sacrifice and a blood offering before this God can forgive?

 

2. What kind of God is it who delights in human sacrifice?

 

3. Was there ever a time when human beings were perfect and fell into sin? Since Charles Darwin's understanding of evolution emerged in the 19th century, we have come to see life as having evolved from a single cell to Homo sapiens over a 4 1/2 - 5 billion year time frame. Where is the 'fall' in that process?

 

4. Does human evil arise from a fall that never happened metaphorically? Or is evil a manifestation of the baggage of our evolutionary fight for survival that made human life radically self-centered in the struggle to stay alive?

 

5. Must salvation take the form of a rescue from our sins or can it be portrayed as the empowerment to evolve into a new humanity, that will somehow learn to live for others?

 

I believe we need to start with a new definition of human life and then move on to re-think the person and work of the Christ. Unless that occurs, I do not believe that these traditional but still primitive ideas will be able to sustain the Christian faith in the 21st century.

 

The following in from Beliefnet's Progressive Christianity forum:

 

 

grampawombat

1/27/2005 12:14 AM 4 out of 29

 

"I think atonement as getting right with oneself and with creation is an idea that progressives can relate to. But if the question is specifically related to substitutinary atonement (the spotless lamb, blood sacrifice, and so on), then I don't think you will find to many, if any, progressives who will go for it."

 

 

BeachOfEden: I like this reply:

 

jsucke3

1/27/2005 4:41 AM 5 out of 29

 

"No, I do not think Jesus' death on the cross was necessary as atonement for the inherent evil of humans. It harks back to the idea of sacrificing to a vengeful god to prevent his wrath. It is too linked to blood feuds and primitivism.

 

But that leaves me with the dilemma of what to make of the death on the cross. If it was not necessary, what does that mean?

 

For me, it was a symbol of the ease with which human evil can act in ways that cannot be reversed. Amazingly, God did reverse the crucifixion perhaps to show us all the perversity of the act itself.

 

This means that the cross is not the central figure of Christianity. Instead, it is Jesus' love and forgiveness even while on the cross."

 

 

BeachOfEden: And here is an example of what I was talking about..where far left liberal Christianity reduces everything down to mere psotive symbolic 'myths'...

 

 

elroy

1/27/2005 11:43 AM 6 out of 29

 

"js, But that leaves me with the dilemma of what to make of the death on the cross. If it was not necessary, what does that mean?

 

You are assuming that what the Gospels describe was an historical occurence. But that may not have been the case. A good argument can be made that the birth, teachings, death and resurrection described in our Scriptures are metaphorical expressions for events that must happen in our souls if they are to be effective. See my earlier post. The "teachings of Jesus" were not original nor unique. "Love your neighbor as yourself," for example, is found in Leviticus 19:18."

 

BeachOfEden:

 

This person poises a good question:

 

properly

1/27/2005 7:56 PM 7 out of 29

 

"Lets see now, if Jesus didn't really die on the cross, and we don't need Jesus to atone for us before God, and the Bible is not an accurate document, then in what way is a person who believes this a Christian? This doesn't seem to be a Progressive Christian belief system. It seems to me to be "progressive" without Christ being of any value to the theology at all.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not making a judgment about the belief system at all. I just don't see the point of having "Christian" in the name at all if Christ is not central to the belief."

 

cbussiere

1/27/2005 10:54 PM 8 out of 29

 

 

"The "teachings of Jesus" were not original nor unique. "Love your neighbor as yourself," for example, is found in Leviticus 19:18."

 

"I don't think the originality or lack thereof of Jesus' teaching is relevant one way or the other, in light of the fact that most of the world's religions share several common teachings. The example cited in the excerpt above simply points to the fact that Jesus came from the Jewish tradition. As such, the core of much of Judaism - the two (or three) great commandments of love of God, love of self, and love of neighbor - are of course central to his teaching. That Christianity has come to espouse this core does not, to my mind, devalue or mitigate against the centrality of Jesus and his teaching to Christianity."

 

"I just don't see the point of having "Christian" in the name at all if Christ is not central to the belief."

 

"I don't either. However, I do think that Christ is indeed central to the beliefs of many (most?) folks who would identify themselves as progressive Christians. This centrality may look a little different in terms of emphasis from, say, conservative Christianity or Roman Catholic Christianity. But I think the centrality of Christ remains."

 

"Marcus Borg has a good chapter on this - "Jesus: The Heart of God" - in his book The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith. Borg is, for better or for worse, widely perceived as a spokesperson for, if not a defining theologian of, progressive Christianity. While he does not view Christ's death as an atonement, he nonetheless views and believes Christ to be central to Christianity. He articulates great faith in the cross as, among other things, "a revelation of the 'way' or 'path' of transformation, as the revelation of the depth of God's love for us, and as the proclamation of radical grace."

 

He also views and believes in Jesus as a metaphor of God. In Jesus, Borg believes, Jesus discloses what God is like. Thus, we see God through Jesus. (Dom Crossan seems to say pretty much the same thing, by the way.) For Borg, the death of Jesus - his execution - was because of his passion for God. Because we see Jesus as the revelation of God, we see in his life and death the passion of God."

 

BeachOfEden: I agree with that.

 

"Finally, Borg sees and believes in Jesus as a sacrament in that he sees Jesus as a means through whom the spirit of God becomes present, during both Jesus' historical life as well as his life in the Christian faith. He says, "[t]he living Christ continues to be known in Christian experience as the presence of God."

 

BeachOfEden: In this, I agree with Borg again.

 

"Borg's articulations are by no means conclusive as to the varying beliefs of progressive Christians. But I think his views are representative of both the fact and the manner of the centrality of Jesus for many progressive Christians."

 

BeachOfEden: And this is an interesting point of view...

 

phlox

1/28/2005 6:08 AM 9 out of 29

 

"I agree--the atonement was necessary, but not as blood sacrifice. There was no debt that had to be paid. It wasn't God who had to be appeased, but we humans who needed to be reconciled to God. The prodigal son parable says it all. Jesus drew all of us toward him when he was up on the cross, bringing us together in tenderness. Christ showed us that God is not angry with us, he does not use his power against us but gives us power over him, the power to hurt or destroy him/her. Whatever pain and loss we go through in our lives is a result of the free will humans have, not of God punishing us. Jesus reveals God's heart--that God suffers with us and wants to heal us.

Atonement says in effect, that God became at one with us in suffering and death, so that we could become at one with him/her in resurrection--new life. At least that's how it seems to me."

 

properly

1/28/2005 6:25 AM 10 out of 29

 

"Please. Hanging a man from a cross for no reason can't show anybody anything other than cruelty."

 

BeachOfEden: MAN hung Jesus, NOT God.

 

"He articulates great faith in the cross as, among other things, "a revelation of the 'way' or 'path' of transformation, as the revelation of the depth of God's love for us, and as the proclamation of radical grace."

 

"What? How in the world do you get an articulation of God's love for us by slowly killing a man who was not a deity and was not making any sacrafice for us?"

 

BeachOfEden: This Liberal is stating that Jesus was JUST a good man..in 'his or hers' opinion. If Jesus was JUST a man who died long ago..then for those who embrace such a view of Jesus..then there really would be NO point to his death. For if you believe Jesus was NOT Savior and was NOT raised up..then no ransom, no resurrection, no restoration of all things therefore equals No Hope..and therefore=what's the point?

 

All I have heard is contradiction. "Jesus is not important, but he is still central to the belief."

 

BeachOfEden:

 

WHO said Jesus was "Not" important? The far left? The one who's view on Christ is that is was only a nice guy who died long ago and and that there is no resurrection? If this IS the person saying this..then indeed how, then, can Jesus be there central belief? And if Jesus is still the central belief..then this begs the question...WHY?

 

cbussiere

1/28/2005 10:11 AM 12 out of 29

 

"Please. Hanging a man from a cross for no reason can't show anybody anything other than cruelty."

 

"That may very well be your view, and I'm not contesting it. It's not, though, the view articulated in either Borg's book or the excerpts I mentioned from the book."

 

"All I have heard is contradiction. "Jesus is not important, but he is still central to the belief."

Which is it?"

 

"If that's all you've heard, then I guess you're not listening. I can recommend Borg's book for further reading, if you're interested in a fuller articulation of a perspective that differs from your own. I'm not, of course, advocating that you change your perspective. But your attribution of views to Borg that he neither holds nor expresses in the work cited seems to indicate an unfamiliarity with his perspective."

 

properly

1/28/2005 1:32 PM 13 out of 29

 

"cbussiere, I have not read the book. I can only attribute the plain meaning of the words of the passage you quoted. I am not advocating any particular position on this topic, but I do find the discussion of the Atonement to be quite interesting. Please don’t take any of my comments as an attack, as some have already.The traditional Christian belief is that Christ was a sacrifice for the sins of the world. This is what gives his crucifixion meaning to a Christian. If we assume for the sake of argument that this is not true, then how can his death have any more meaning than the death of any other person? The quotation you used had some very flowery language;"

 

"a revelation of the 'way' or 'path' of transformation, as the revelation of the depth of God's love for us, and as the proclamation of radical grace."

 

BeachOfEden: This is a good point:

 

"If Christ’s death was not necessary, and a person like you or me does not need to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then how can you, or Borg, or anyone else attribute things like the “revelation of the depth of God’s love for us” to what seems to be a pointless death.Again, I am not arguing with you. This is a serious question that to me doesn’t seem to be answered by you reply. Please explain this more fully. I think this point is critical to the significance a person will put on Christ. What do you think?"

 

elroy

1/28/2005 2:12 PM 14 out of 29

 

"properly, Lets see now, if Jesus didn't really die on the cross, and we don't need Jesus to atone for us before God, and the Bible is not an accurate document, then in what way is a person who believes this a Christian? I think we need to distinguish between Jesus and "the Christ." The name Jesus is tied to the Jewish concept of YHWH (Jehovah to us) as the one true God. The name literally means "Jehovah is Salvation." To call him "the Christ" is to say that he is "annointed" or that his time has come. Therefore we might interpret the phrase "Jesus the Christ" as "the savior whose time has come." But we meet many "saviors" in our lifetime, each annointed in its time. In fact, the Matthew account of the birth and early childhood of Jesus strongly resembles Moses - emerging out of Egypt after escaping the wrath of Herod (Pharaoah). Like the OT Moses, who gives way to Joshua (also "Jehovah is Savior"), the early Matthew image of Moses gives way to the one we call Jesus... after a long and inexplicable gap in the chronology. What I am trying to say is that each of us is capable of giving birth to these "annointed saviors" as their time comes in our own spiritual journeys. I'd say that makes us Christians in the best sense of the word, regardless of what did or did not happen 2000 years ago."

 

elroy

1/28/2005 2:41 PM 15 out of 29

 

"cbus, I don't think the originality or lack thereof of Jesus' teaching is relevant one way or the other, in light of the fact that most of the world's religions share several common teachings. So, why is his life and teachings considered by many Christians to be more valuable than say, Buddha or Lao Tze? He also views and believes in Jesus as a metaphor of God. In Jesus, Borg believes, God discloses what God is like. Thus, we see God through Jesus... Because we see Jesus as the revelation of God, we see in his life and death the passion of God. We know so little about the historical Jesus that to say "he discloses what God is like" sounds ludicrous. Although he may have demonstrated some God-like qualities, God is surely much more than the life - and death - of any one person can show us. "

 

"He articulates great faith in the cross as, among other things, "a revelation of the 'way' or 'path' of transformation...-"

 

"Could you explain this a bit more? How is a crucifixion "a revelation of the way or path of transformation?" Now if he means that this is a metaphor for our own personal experiences of spiritual suffering that can bring transformation, I can relate to that."

 

jsucke3

1/29/2005 1:23 AM 16 out of 29

 

"If Christ’s death was not necessary, and a person like you or me does not need to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then how can you, or Borg, or anyone else attribute things like the “revelation of the depth of God’s love for us” to what seems to be a pointless death."

 

"For me, Jesus' life and death combined the basic message of God Is Love with a willingness to suffer, even to suffer death, for that meassage. Others shrank from standing be the message until he died for it. Then, with whatever the resurrection was, they realized how important and transformative the message was and began to spread the Good/God News. The mores of Jesus' time could not countenance a belief that God was love. He was killed for preaching what was becoming a very attractive idea. The status quo was being jeopardized. The government officials and religious officials conspired together to end the message. In doing so, they actually brought home its importance to the disciples. Another of the many ironies of this story."

 

cbussiere

1/29/2005 2:00 AM 17 out of 29

 

"So, why is his life and teachings considered by many Christians to be more valuable than say, Buddha or Lao Tze?" By "more valuable," do you mean "superior to all other faith and wisdom traditions" or do you mean "more enlightening for the individual believer"? I don't know the answer in either case, because I think the answers are fairly unique to each individual, even though many folks may express the same answer. If you mean the first, then my observation is that some Christians who hold to this view seem to rely heavily on passages in Christian scripture that essentially say things like, "I am [i.e., Jesus is] the way, the truth, etc." or "No one comes to the Father except through me [i.e, Jesus]," and similar passages. These folks seem to me to be very taken with the idea of the exclusivity of Jesus' teaching. Additionally, Jesus does come across as a "my way or the highway" kind of guy in the canonical gospels, at least in my observation. I think folks pick up on that in a way that encourages or confirms their exclusivity/superiority view".

 

"I don't hold to the exclusivity or superiority belief about Christianity, so I can't speak from personal experience. If you mean the second, my observation is that this meaning takes us into the realm of individuality and personal spirituality. Christianity may be a "more valuable" - i.e., more enlightening - path for someone for reasons of culture, geography, upbringing, personality, and/or a host of other reasons that may not necessarily have a lot to do with the teachings of Christianity relative to Buddhism or the way of Lao Tze. Of course, Christianity may also be a more enlightening path for someone based on doctrine and dogma. My sense is that folks come to whatever faiths and beliefs they come to for reasons and in ways that are specific to them. That's the great mystery of faith: How do people get it? Why do they have it? I don't know if you've asked your question on other BNet boards. If you've asked it on, say, Catholicism Debate or one of the conservative Christianity boards or dialogue groups, then you know the kind of answers you've gotten. My guess is that these answers are firmly in the exclusivity/superiority camp."

 

cbussiere

1/29/2005 2:32 AM 18 out of 29

 

"properly, Borg's view about the death of Jesus, as articulated in the book, is that Jesus died as a result or consequence of the way he lived. Borg doesn't believe Jesus "came to earth" or was "sent" by God to die an excruciating death on a cross. Borg sees Jesus as a "social prophet" and "movement initiator" (his words) much as Martin Luther King and Gandhi, to name two examples, were social prophets and movement initiators who were assassinated because of their political and social views and acts. Thus, Borg sees Jesus' death as a political result of Jesus' life. From there, he basically tries to make sense - for himself and for his readers - of what that death could mean for him and other Christians. (This book is very much a personal statement of Borg's beliefs. In this respect, I gather it's rather less scholarly and detached than much of his other writing.) Hence his view of Jesus as metaphor and sacrament.

 

He would agree with you that hanging a guy on a cross for no reason is nothing less than cruelty and mindless sadism. (This is part of why, for example, he rejects atonement theory out of hand.) He would differ with you in that, while he sees Jesus' death as cruel, he also sees it in political terms as an execution - 1st century Roman capital punishment, if you will. In this connection, he makes the point that Christianity is the only major world religion whose founder was executed by the reigning political and governmental authority. From there, as I said, he attempts to make sense of this event. In this respect, he's not looking at Jesus' death as something to glorify because he doesn't see Jesus' death as the purpose of Jesus' life. He's looking at Jesus' death as a historical fact that may or may not have meaning for him in a context of faith and religion. In essence, he asks, "What, if anything, do I make of this horrific death?" In so doing, he's not only trying to make sense for himself. He's also trying to make sense of the meaning of Christ's death within the Christian tradition, in light of the fact that the predominant meaning throughout much of the history of Christianity - as you and elroy note - has come to be some species of atonement. But Borg rejects atonement theory and theology, and finds meaning elsewhere. His conclusions are in his book, and I've briefly tried to state them in my prior post (without ending up in jail on a copyright rap :)."

 

phlox

1/29/2005 8:18 AM 19 out of 29

 

"Borg says more on resurrection in The Meaning of Jesus. He sees it as a psychological reality but not a physical event." "The only adequate explanation for the rise of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus. Easter means that Jesus was experienced after his death and that he is both Lord and Christ." "My position is that experiences of the risen Christ as a continuing presence generated the claim that Jesus lives and is Lord." This book came out in 1999. My guess is that events since then have dimmed the affirmative tone in his more recent work.

 

cbussiere

1/29/2005 10:57 AM 20 out of 29

 

"Hi, phlox -I'm not a big fan of atonement theology, as I've said. But I think the death of Jesus is something that Christians need to come to terms with individually and/or collectively. There are many ways to do this, and an atonement theory is one but IMO not the only way. So, in this sense, I agree with properly - if a guy hanging on a cross undergoing death by torture for no reason is all there is, then there isn't much there."

 

elroy

1/29/2005 4:35 PM 21 out of 29

 

cbus, "I don't hold to the exclusivity or superiority belief about Christianity..." "Nor do I. I was just responding to your comment about the relative unimportance of the lack of originality or uniquesness in Jesus' teachings that I had mentioned earlier. I agree with most of what you say. As a Christian who cannot accept some of the outrageous claims that I was taught in Sunday school, I have had to find other ways to understand the Gospels... much like Borg and Spong."

 

phlox

1/30/2005 11:03 AM 22 out of 29

 

BeachOfEden: This, I believe an excellent point:

 

"Not only is Jesus central to Christianity, but belief in resurrection (however we understand that) is central as well. Jesus wasn't killed for no reason, he was accused of blasphemy, for saying "I am" when asked if was the son of God, the messiah (at least in one gospel). He was executed by envious and fearful priests and elders who saw him as a threat to the status quo. As jsucke3 (why the name?!) said, he showed his willingness to suffer a cruel death for the sake of his message of love. That message was verified by God raising him from the dead. As Borg says, it was God saying Yes to Jesus and No to the domination systems of the world. Personally I do believe Jesus rose from the dead...not from going to church, but from years of studying. I don't see any other way that Christianity could have taken hold and spread as it did. I don't see any other way to account for 11 of the 12 disciples dying for that belief."

 

"Christianity is not exclusive, not superior, but it is the only faith whose founder was resurrected."

 

bob_bennett

2/17/2005 6:55 PM 27 out of 29

 

Dear phlox - # 19,

 

>>" Borg says more on resurrection in The Meaning of Jesus. He sees it as a psychological reality but not a physical event."

 

Borg is an academic as well as a member of the Jesus Seminar. Neither group accepts miracles, perhaps because no one in our time has any experience of them. Accepting faith based ideas such as miracles is not good for maintaining one's faculty position in most universities.

 

phlox

2/20/2005 12:39 PM 28 out of 29

 

Bobbennett, I hear what you're saying. Yet, in all Borg's books, though he denies the resurrection as a physical event, he does affirm the healing stories, using the word "marvels" rather than miracles:

 

"I very deliberately refer to Jesus' healings as paranormal, beyond the ordinary...and I reject a common modern explanation of Jesus' healings as psychosomatic. Inexplicable and remarkable things do happen, involving processes that we do not understand.

 

I see the claim that Jesus performed paranormal healings and exorcisms as history remembered. He must have been a remarkable healer."

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Good stuff! Thanks for posting this.

 

I agree with Borg, Spong, et al that the atonement, understood as blood appeasement to God for sins, is a primitive, savage understanding of God. Way back in my defunct thread on fundamental theology and good and evil, I suggested an understanding of the atonement whereby good, as positive being, sacrifices itself to restore the balance wrecked by negative being. In this way, the Cross remains at the center of Christian belief and symbolism as an illustration, and enactment, of this metaphysical truth.

Edited by FredP
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Wow! What a voluminous post! Perhaps a link or summary would suffice in the future...

 

great questions though...

 

Dispelling the so-called atonement or ransom theories was a major point on the agenda of the authors and contributors of the Living the Questions, Borg, Crossan and Spong being among the primary progressive Christian scholars who held the view that Jesus' death was not a sort of atonement.

 

Crossan articulated, the way I heard and read it, that Jesus submitted himself to execution on the cross not as a sort of ransom or atonement, but to abolish once and for all blood sacrifice as an atonement, and also to take a powerful stance against the domination systems of the world. By doing this, Crossan would argue that he aligned himself with the plight of the peasants, among other things.

 

Again, for Borg it all seems to come back to metaphor (i.e. it is not really important if anything salvific was accomplished at the cross, or even if Jesus actually rose from the dead for that matter- neither of which Borg believes incidentally)... Rather the cross was a powerful statement made by a wise Jewish peasant-mystic against the domination and blood sacrifice systems of ancient Palestine and the Temple cult.

 

Interesting discussion...

 

Peace,

 

John

Edited by peacemover
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Crossan articulated, the way I heard and read it, that Jesus submitted himself to execution on the cross not as a sort of ransom or atonement, but to abolish once and for all blood sacrifice as an atonement, and also to take a powerful stance against the domination systems of the world.

That too. :)

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Yes, I agree with you guys that there is Progressive way to believe in ransom and resurrection story withOUT making into a morbid, revenge of blood type vision of God thing...BTW, anyone here ever read that book called, "Leaving the Fold"? If so, what was your opinion on the author's explaination on why she rejected the ransom thing as revenful?

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  • 2 weeks later...

"What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

 

This view of "blood atonement" may have worked well for the early Jewish church who continually saw their sins being "washed away" at the Temple by blood sacrifice, but it can be a hurdle to faith for thinking Christians who would never consider demanding blood from their own children in order to "wash their sins away." Mercy and forgiveness do not require blood, they only require a merciful and forgiving heart, which I believe God has always had.

 

What is the worst sin that someone can do to me? It is not to kill or harm me, it is to harm one of my children. In the death of Jesus, we see this scenario played out as the centerpiece of human history. We see humanity at its worst. Men killed Christ out of fear and out of rebellion against His message of love and justice. God didn't demand Jesus' blood, the Jewish elite (the "religious right" of Jesus' day) called for His death. And what did the Father do about the murder of His Son? "Father, forgive them." Were any greater words ever spoken? What did the Father do to the disciples who all deserted and denied His Son? "Father, forgive them." If there was ever an opportunity for God to display His wrath toward humanity, it was when they killed His Son. But God was merciful. He always has been. The blood of Jesus didn't "buy" God's mercy, it didn't "purchase" God's grace. It simply displayed it. The blood of Jesus proved that God's mercy was real, that grace has always been there. Jesus' death proves that God is merciful to all, that God does not return evil for evil, that God, as Jesus taught, loves even His enemies.

 

Some may believe that God needed to kill His Son. Some may believe that only human blood could quench God's thirst. Some may believe that God's holiness and righteousness are in utter opposition to His love and grace. If all of this works for you, then, "Praise God!" (such as He is). But it doesn't work for me. It just doesn't.

 

The orthodox view says that God had to kill Himself (if you believe that Jesus is God) in order for us to get along with Him, in order for Him to feel good about us. Such a notion just doesn't make sense to me. I don't have to kill myself in order to have a good relationship with my children. Neither do I have to kill one of my children in order to have a good relationship with the other. But orthodox Christianity rests upon this kind of thinking. And that is exactly why I am not orthodox. I find the view of "blood atonement" to be nonsensical and cruel.

 

The way I see it is that God is merciful because it is His character to be merciful, not because Jesus paid Him off to be. God is gracious because it is God's character to be gracious, not because Jesus changed God's wrathful mind. God is forgiving because it is His character to be forgiving, not because Jesus' blood permits God to be forgiving. To me, Jesus' death and blood demonstrate what God has always been like so that we will change our attitudes towards God, not in order to change God's attitudes towards us.

 

- wayfaring

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>So like you believe in viewing Jesus as Savior and that you don;t not have to connect the atonement theory to it?

 

Sort of, Beach. I don't see Him as Savior from a literal hell, but as showing us a way of salvation from self-centeredness. I think He saves us TO God, not FROM God.

 

I still find meaning in the blood of Christ as a symbol of the love that He had for His followers to rather die than see Rome stamp them out. But I don't see His blood as having some kind of magic power that somehow appeases God's wrath against sin. God forgives sin because He is a forgiving God. To think that blood is required is, to me, according to the Law, not according to God's grace.

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"I don't see Him as Savior from a literal hell, but as showing us a way of salvation from self-centeredness. I think He saves us TO God, not FROM God.

 

"I don't see His blood as having some kind of magic power that somehow appeases God's wrath against sin. God forgives sin because He is a forgiving God. To think that blood is required is, to me, according to the Law, not according to God's grace. "

 

I agree with you on this 100!:)

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