Please explain to me this Christian bumper-sticker

A small picture of jeebus on a cross, and the text:

“If You Can Learn it, Why Did He Die?”

I’m drawing a blank. Thanks!

I think the sticker is trying to say that one cannot be saved merely by knowing Jesus’s teachings and living by them. They are pointing out their view that salvation comes solely through the acknowledgement of his sacrifice and making a personal acceptance of him as one’s personal savior. That’s how I read it, anyways.

To be slightly more theological, I view it as a shot fired in favor of grace being essential to salvation, as opposed to a theology that stresses works more heavily: Humans (the thinking runs) can understand on an intellectual level the entirety of the Bible, including the parables and teachings at the core of the New Testament, but without the grace of God it is impossible for any human to deserve salvation. Take this thinking far enough and you have Calvinism: Only those Select from the beginning of time will be saved, the rest of humanity is damned, and works are meaningless in the face of humanity’s inborn stain.

“Grace alone” is usually spoken of in terms of actions, though, not knowledge. I wonder if this might be a kind of anti-science sentiment.

As Shot Clock says, it’s about salvation through grace rather than acts. It’s the theme of the Chick Tract “Flight 144,” which is the one which most offends me, personally.

For contrast, try one of my favourite poems, Abou Ben Adhem.

Are you sure it didn’t say “If You Can Earn it, Why Did He Die”?

From googling both phrases, I suspect that “earn” is what the sticker actually said.

I have to agree. It must have said “earn”. I wrote the phrase down at the time and my note says “learn”.


To show you the way? <shrug>

chick tracts are ALWAYS good for a laugh. I figure I’ll convert just before I die. That way if there’s nothing but the void, which I suspect, then I haven’t lived my life as a buffoon. OTOH if I’m wrong they still have to take me, it’s in the bible, or admit to being a fraud and charlatan. Either way I win. :smiley:

You’re already in danger of being thought a buffoon if you truly believe what you’ve written here. The phrase, “If you could earn it, why did He die,” was written to help people see that they cannot work their way to heaven. Jesus paid it all. All you have to do is accept it. And you are all wet if you think the Bible says God has to take you if you’ve not accepted His Son as your Savior. You should try reading it through thoroughly, paying attention to what it actually says and for whom and in what despensation it is actually written to. Also, no one knows when they will die. You could go in an instant. Then what? No time to ask for forgiveness for your sins then. You will wind up in a devil’s hell with no escape. Yes, it’s in the Bible too. Don’t take a chance. “If you could earn it, why did He die?”

I don’t understand why Christians are always bemoaning Jesus’s death.
Without it, they wouldn’t exist…

Typical zombie warning…

Got news for you sister, there ain’t no hell. There ain’t no fire, there ain’t no burning pain and eternal suffering or grinding of teeth. Hell is about as real as Mickey Mouse. And, believe it or not, that’s a fairly well accepted Christian belief. Hell is the separation from and the absence of the presence of the Heavenly Father. It’s not a place of punishment.

You’re a Baptist right?

My understanding is that Jesus died because God is a bloodthirsty monster.

I still don’t understand the bumpersticker, even with the word “earn.” What is the antecedent for “it”? This is not a grammatical sentence, is it?

The grammar is correct, but it assumes you will infer the antecedent.

“If you can earn [salvation], then why did He die?”

I’m no theologian, nor a philosopher, but when I hear people talking this aspect of some forms of Christianity that makes it seem the entire religion seem trivial. — So there’s a God, and he has created all these rules about what it means to be good, but in the end, it doesn’t matter what you actually do in life, because all that matters that at some point, you stop committing a thought crime.

It’s not very Christian to not lift a finger to help your neighbor …

My guess is that it’s drawing a difference between knowledge (that which you can learn) and faith (that which you cannot learn). Perhaps the author of that sticker was thinking of John 3:16.

We request that old threads in General Questions only be raised to offer new factual information. Since this was raised mainly to witness, I’m closing it.

Those wishing to discuss the bumper sticker slogan further may open a new thread in Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator