I don’t want to upset anyones religious beliefs but this thing bugs me a lot. Anyway for the record…i’m not christian.
In christianity there is the concept of original sin of man. I think this is pretty illogical 'cos
1)Why would God damn the whole of mankind over some stupid apple. If he did then he’s not as perfect as we think he is and it would make him arrogant and egotistical etc.
2)Why would he send Jesus to pay for everyones sins. I mean if he’s forgiving them himself then why doesn’t he just forgive man instead of staging a drama. Apart from that why send your own son…or a part of yourself or whoever people think Jesus was.
4)How can Jesus be God’s son…i mean does God have sex? if not then we are all his sons aren’t we since he made us.
5)Isn’t trinity a stupid concept in itself.
6)If sin is hereditary, will i go to hell for my fathers sins? If no then how come original sin is hereditary, and i will burn in hell just 'cause i don’t declare JC as my saviour.
BTW please try to be open minded and please excuse my ignorance on a lot of issues.
Prof Dumbledore opined:
I’ve seen you post elsewhere, so I’m assuming you’re not trolling, but instead offended by some Sunday School-level garbage about traditional Christianity and looking for intelligent answers about it. So here’s my take, as a thinking Christian…
(You didn’t number the “original sin” item, but it leads off your list.) Many Christians don’t subscribe to “original sin” at all; others see it as representing the “natural” human tendency to put oneself and not God at the center of one’s personal universe. Others, of course, buy the idea that God created man sinless but with the potential to sin, and that he turned from Him. It is, I agree, a dorky idea when taken at face value, but it has some reality behind it. “Man’s inhumanity to man” has some explanation, whether you find it in the natural world or in metaphysics.
The “fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (that “it was an apple” is your basic supplying of extraneous detail) is symbolic. Most Christians, even the more conservative, do not see the actual eating of a fruit against God’s command – with interesting results in A&E’s perception of themselves immediately resulting – but in the loss of innocence. Just as any 17-year-old is not going to accept the Greek myth of Paris but can identify with it. (To refresh your memory, Paris was selected by three goddesses to choose one of them to receive a golden apple (!) over which they’re having a dispute. Hera promises him a massive kingdom, Athena wisdom, and Aphrodite the most beautiful woman in the world for his lover. Guess which he picks?) Hey, those apples will get you in hot water every time!
I despise the substitutionary atonement theory, because it makes God out to be a sadistic bastard. However, to give it its due, the entire idea was that man owed the debt due for sin (death) but only God could pay it, so Jesus was born as both man and god in order to pay the debt. Through his death we are taken into God’s grace and find forgiveness of our sins. Again, it’s a pretty simplistic doctrine. But stop and think for a moment: the deciding moment in the civil rights movement came when Martin Luther King was shot – the average American who was not particularly bigoted towards blacks but not particularly interested in helping them either suddenly woke up and saw that evil and hatred had to be stopped. More recently, Matthew Shepherd’s death had the same result: the latest instance of gay-bashing is no longer a paragraph on page 14, but something that most right-thinking Americans find repulsive, regardless of where they stand on gay rights generally. Try looking at Jesus’s death from that perspective.
You skipped a point 3. So I will too.
Draw a deep breath. Supposedly, Mary conceived by the action of the Holy Spirit, alone, without having intercourse. In the Christian perspective, it’s a three-part operation, anyway: as mother’s ovum and father’s sperm join to create a new life, under God’s guiding hand, He bestows a new soul on the just-conceived infant. In this one case, He skipped the begetting part of the operation, so that Jesus could be, uniquely, the Son of the Father. However, as Paul points out in his letters, Jesus was the only-begotten Son, but all who turn to Him are God’s sons and daughters by adoption, being included in the mystical body of Christ, i.e., the church. Needless to say, this particular doctrine, while important in its theological symbolism, is not essential to seeing Jesus in his particular role. And yes, we are indeed all His sons (and daughters), and He loves us as a caring father should.
It’s a odd doctrine, I’ll grant you that. But just as you can be different things to different people, even at the same time, consider the possibility that an omnipotent God can be three different people simultaneously and always.
Finally, the whole idea of three hypostases in one ousia – poorly translated as “three persons in one substance” – is a theologian’s explanation of the metaphysical nature of God. All we’re expected to buy into is that there is one God, who manifests Himself in these three different ways. If you can swallow the 14th chapter of John without choking, and that’s not too difficult, then you know what Jesus thought necessary to say about the Trinity. And given the choice between Jesus and Thomas Aquinas or Athanasius on what’s important to know, I know which one I’m gonna pick.
- First off, I think almost any Christian of whatever stripe is going to say that any judgment you face will be for your own sins, not your father’s or anybody else’s. Second, many of us don’t get into the simplistic “accept Jesus Christ as your savior or go to hell” routine – knowing God as being much more loving and much more willing to work with where you’re at than the typical evangelical preacher is willing to allow.
That any help? I’m more than willing to explore this stuff at greater length if you want.
Paris was an idiot. He should’ve picked the massive kingdom. With a big enough kingdom, he could’ve gotten all the babes he wanted.
As some one who reads your posts with great interest I am somewhat surprised by your attitude towards the concept of substitutionary atonement. As I find it integral to my concept of the reality of the universe (which isn’t written in stone), and not being able to see the sadism in it, and I find so much that I agree with you elsewhere, I would appreciate some clarification. Thanx
Actually tracer, with Wisdom he would have been able to invest securely in the stock market, get money, and buy women, among other things.
Great post, Poly- I could not have said it half as well.
Prof- there are as many branches, flavors & sects of Christianity as there are leaves on a (not-very-large) tree. AFAIK, no two believe exactly alike. Some are so opposite (Southern Baptist & Celtic, for EG) that it is hard to beleive they are actually part of the same religion. So- generalizations about “christianity” are almost bound to be wrong.
Thanx polycarp…that was pretty good but what i still don’t get is if we crucified Jesus…doesn’t it make us more damned. Its pretty stupid that God forgives us by sending out someone to be crucified. No way if JC was crucified its our fault and its much worse than the original sin i.e i’m referring to adam and eve’s fruit heist. I mean be honest…to me it just seems like something someone dreamed up to kinda establish a new theory…probably the church and those sunday preachers i.e Jesus saved us and we were essentially damned but he saved us so lets worship him…hey what the heck he musta been the son of God so he is God.
Except, it isn’t MORE of a sin, because Jesus was sent down to Earth for precisely that reason…to sacrifice himself so that we might be saved. In a way, then, we were following God’s will. Original sin was our direct disobedience to God’s will. So, looking at it this way, which is more the sin, following God’s will and sacrificing his Son, or not following God’s will and eating of the tree of knowledge?
By the by, in many circles, especially Catholic, the eating of the tree of knowledge is not taken as a literal event, but rather, a symbol for humans’ loss of natural innocence and development of the ability to differentiate between right and wrong and to be responsible for one’s actions. At least, that is my impression of what I was taught…I could be very wrong.
Ah, the Divine Weasel and his wrath.
Grienspace, quite simply it amounts to this. God is eternal and omniscient. That means that He sees everything at every time as one eternal Present. He doesn’t foresee that I will post against the substitutionary atonement and you will question it, he sees it. He was well aware that it would happen while he was watching Akhnaton teach one god – from His perspective, they happened simultaneously. And it will still be present knowledge to him, not history, when the last proton decays.
Okay, given that, He knew that sin would come into the world, and that all men were foredoomed to eternal perdition on the theory that He cannot abide sinfulness, and spurns sinners. For Him to judge men for their original and actual sin and condemn them, when they’re born into a sinful world and inheritors of sin, makes Him unjust, and to condemn us to Hell for what we cannot cure makes Him sadistic.
And even though the Son is a part of the Godhead, for Him to become the scapegoat (literally, if you understand the Jewish ritual) for our sins and undergo agonizing death in our place removes none of the sadism and unjustness; it merely suggests that instead of being merely sadistic, God is sadomasochistic.
In place of this, substitute the image Jesus loved to preach, of a loving Father Who welcomes those who humbly turn to Him, and sent Jesus to call men back to Himself instead of pursuing worldly pleasures that ultimately become cloying and addictive, losing their value but keeping their hold on people. Having Him willingly undergo the Passion on the Cross, as history’s ultimate attention getter, and rising again to show that even death has less than His power, becomes a gesture, not of transferred judgment but of love.
Jesus died for me. I have no doubt of that. What I object to is the theory that calls for torment as fitting punishment and says that He replaced us in the role of Chief Victim of the Divine Sadist. That is not the God I know.
More from Julian of Norwich, for dogsbody and you, and incorporating the feminist metaphor about 700 years before it became PC:
hey thats a sound point but hey it kinda disproves a lot of logical reasons why God would make man. I mean Free will is kinda negated from the fact that it was God’s will and anyway its too stupid a plan for someone so wise to make,I mean hey let me forgive them by killing a part of me and making it look like they killed me…or maybe its just too wise for a person as dumb as me to get…(sighs)we’ll never know.
Well as I understand it the wages of sin is death not everlasting torment and the substitution of Jesus the perfect one ransoms all of us from death. Just what do you mean that Jesus died for you?
By the by, in many circles, especially Catholic, the eating of the tree of knowledge is not taken as a literal event, but rather, a symbol for humans’ loss of natural innocence and development of the ability to differentiate between right and wrong and to be responsible for one’s actions.
Aha! So the story of Adam and Eve contains evidence for evolution! This “loss of natural innocence” was our ancestors evolving away from a state where our actions were controlled purely by instinct and deveolping an intellect capable of making choices. After all, what sense does it make to talk of mankind existing in one state and then having a “fall” to another when “mankind” consisted of exactly two people only a week after the entire world was created.
I’ve seen the debates on Hell as eternal torment vs. annihilation, and to my mind the distinction is minimal. But you are, of course, correct.
As for “for me” it was merely personalizing “for you, for me, for each of us” – not claiming some weird sort of exclusivism!
Sorry, you may have misunderstood the intent of my question.Why did Jesus die for you,me,everyone? Did his death have a prearranged purpose? I am trying to ascertain if we are somewhat on the same wavelength here.
Polycarp, after you’ve finished straightening out Grienspace, could you go back and try to knock some sense into jmullaney? He was over on the mormon thread, claiming that mormonism was against Jesus’s teachings because they didn’t give alms in secret…the church accountant who added up the checks could tell who tithed and who didn’t.
Look, the meaning of that little parable about giving alms in secret makes perfect sense to me, and I’m a dyed in the wool atheist. Your alms aren’t negated if someone else finds out about them! But if you give to get praise from men, that is what you will get. If you give to relieve suffering, that is what you will get. Seems pretty simple…
My conclusion after all this…Jesus was NOT the son of God or God or anything like that. He was probably someone like moses but died in the end and his followers along with many other numerous changes in christianity introduced the concept of him being a God.Its so damn common…e.g in Buddhism etc. Its easy for us to elevate people we worship to Godly status.
I don’t mean to stir this up, but I hope you didn’t conclude that just by what you have read here. While there are some very good opinions and very intelligent people here, you really should go a little more in depth before you make a judgment. Maybe go to a church and ask for a bible study.
That’s it. If the good Prof. is trying to get religion off the SDMB, he’s come to the wrong place. I’m gonna have to agree with posatyvo, find a Christian church that knows and teaches the Bible, if you REALLY want to know. Alot of people make alot of assumptions and alot of statements about God and Jesus and what the Bible says, without ever really having studied it.
Ok lets look at it from another angle. The muslims believe that jesus was NOT the son of God but they do follow Jesus. They say that he was one of 124000 (phew) prophets sent down on earth and that only 331 of them brought with them God’s commandments and he was one of them. He was one of the main prophets and preceeded Mohammad, but they were both only men. The Muslim belief is that the only real fault in christianity is that jesus was elevated to the status of a God thereby corrupting the religion. I don’t know but it seems easier to believe. They say that he is not the son of God,or a part of God. In the case of the holy spirit. It was an angel sent by God that impregnated mary.
God creates the heavens, there is a precosmic fall, the angels fall, perhaps 1/3 of the angels fall to the demonic kingdom, or perhaps thats figurative. God creates world, and then man, man falls. Free will, is sort of an impossiblity, if God is to be said of having any sort of will at all. God creates man, God allows man to fall, just like God allows the Angelic courts to experience fall… Man sin’s death enters into the world. God promises to the first couple in humanity gen 3 that there would be a seed of the woman who would strike the serpents head, and he the ankle of the man. The first prophecy of a redemmer, in a long, long history of one special family, who is promised to bring about the blessing to the whole world, and the savior, who would bring blessing as far as the curse is found… (the curse of death after the fall)
Why? Rom. 5 the preemience of God, the preemience of Christ. Christ is savior of the world, and the judge, he saves for himself all who believe, the elect of God… God is the author of history, and time is rolling into the lap of God.
if we critizes the moral soundess of God not making us for perfection in the first place, and keeping us in perfection at least, His word says, who are you mortal? God uses some clay for noble purposes, and others for more common… By what standered do we use to judge this? Where is the moral capital that we are using in our sense of God being not the way we think he should be.
yes, it would be a good idea, to do a lot more then just read some forum, but, the claims of bible, are so far reaching, you need to either, try to ignore them completely as silliness, or pay considerable attention to it, to find out if its true.
for Jesus said, whoever believes in me and is baptised, he will be saved, but whoever does not believed, will be damned.
Its late, forgive my longwindedness, i’ll get to your actual points, about the trinity and so on later…