What would have happened if Jesus hadn't been crucified?

In my Sociology class, we are studying world religions. As a project, we were each assigned a religion to study and learn about. My assignment is the Roman Catholic sect of Christianity.
I am haveing to tell myself over and over that these are all stories like any other mythology, and can be taken as a distorted veiw of the past… but that has little or nothing to do with this topic except insofar as to shine a little light on my perspective of it.
It is established in the Bible that God made man with free will, and that He would let us use it. If Jesus hadn’t wanted to die for his ‘father’, what would have happend to us, the unsaved? Would we live the same lives we do now and be denied entrance into heaven, or would we live in a more-than-it-already-is suffering world? Or is there another reaction? Would God simply have had another son to be martyred? If he refused also?
Please take this as seriously as you can, and don’t do too much Christian bashing, it would defeat the purpose of my question.

(For sources: www.carm.net , and the RC Bible)

We’d all fry in Hell, just like Moses and King David and Elijah and all the other folks who died before Jesus was born.

Are you looking for a historical answer or a theological one?

My guess is that, from a historical perspective, Jesus’ little sect would have simply died out after the Roman destruction of Israel. It was a a pretty obscure and insignificant group while Jesus was alive. Without the crucifixion as a defining event, there would have been no Pauline mission to the gentiles, no Roman conversion, no Christianity.

From a theological standpoint, we simply would have never developed the notion that we HAD to be saved. This is a Christian invention not a Jewish one.

If you are asserting that Christian teaching is that all pre-Jesus souls went to hell, you are mistaken.


Gee, Diogenes , from my understanding of the Hebrew/Jewish faith, they are still waiting for the Messiah, the Savior who will rescue them and bring peace to the chosen people. Perhaps the way Christians see the role of the Messiah differs from the way Jews see it. I would welcome any of our Jewish Dopers to enlighten us on this concept.

By the way, Diogenes , I love reading your posts. :slight_smile:

Ever read/seen The Last Temptation of Christ?

Seriously, though, if Christ hadn’t been crucified, then there probably wouldn’t be a Christianity, for it was his sacrifice which became the central wheel upon which Christianity revolves. Not only because of the themes within Christianity (i.e. by His death we all redeemed), but because it made it more like the other religions which were around at the time. So, assuming that Christianity became a seperate religion and not merely a subsect of Judiasm, it probably wouldn’t have gathered quite the following it has today, and would resemble Judiasm in its size and make up. (i.e. a minority religion made up of mostly tight knit members.) I suspect that Islam would be the currently existing religion to fill the vacuum since many (if not all) Muslims believe that Christ didn’t die on the cross. (Of course, Islam may not have been able to grow without the “help” of Christianity.)

Interesting questions, LuthAeron. If you check your Bible, Jesus didn’t die for his Father… according to the Gospels, he permitted himself to be put to death (1) to fulfill scripture (OT), and (2) for the forgiveness of our sins. The Roman Catholic Church has always taught that the souls of those who died before the death of Jesus were not permitted into heaven, but were not sent to hell, as Tracer stated. My understanding of the death of Christ was not for us to have an easier life here, just a much nicer welcome after we leave here.

And I agree with Diogenes, that Christianity would probably never have taken hold and grown, had Jesus not died. The defining of Christianity, IMHO, lies in not only his death but the spreading of the word about his resurrection. Even with all of this, most Jews were disappointed in Jesus, because he didn’t save them in the way they thought he should have… they appeared to be looking for a Savior from the Romans, and Jesus certainly didn’t put an end to Roman occupation. Instead he got himself crucified. Most saw that as a weakness; those who continued to follow his teachings saw it as the supreme sacrifice. He was also unpopular with many because his ideas were radical for his time, his methods were far from acceptable to Jewish leaders and he preached a new way of handling things. Not a very good way to win friends and influence people in his day (or ours, if you look around). Because of all this, I find it absolutely amazing that Christianity took root in the first place, but I’m glad that it did.

The Jewish Messiah was originally expected to be a new King of Israel who would rescue the Jews from the Romans. Later the expectation was that he would restore Israel, build a third temple, and bring world peace.

Notice that these are all Earthly expectations, not otherworldly ones. Concepts like original sin, hell, and the “salvation” of the individual soul (as opposed to the Jewish people collectively) do not exist in Judaism.

Aw shucks, yer makin’ me blush. :o

Very true and well-taken, Diogenes . And you can blush all you want to.

Well I can tell you what wouldn’t have happened. I would have been spared a few switchins’ cus I got my easter outfit dirty before church.

Paul said that if Christ is not risen, it’s all for nothing. So if he never died, he can’t have risen. So yes, if he hadn’t been crucified, Christianity would not exist. I agree with Diogenes and TheLadyLion.


Salaam u alaikum

Tuckerfan is right, we don’t believe that The Propet Yeshua was killed on the cross. What happened after is a matter for tradition and conjecture, with the tendancy to believe thet he was taken bodily up to Allah to await the Final Days.

So for us, the question is kinda moot:D

I have heard it argued convincingly that Jesus did his very best to get crucified. If you let it be known that you are the son of God, orchestrate a spectacular entrance to Jerusalem having conned someone’s ass off them (literally), walk into the holiest temple on the holiest day of the year and wreck the place, you are seriously risking your neck against Roman “justice”. Those posters comparing Jesus to Che Guevara have something to them IMHO.

If he had somehow miraculously wriggled out of crucifiction, my guess is he would have come back next year and tried again.

Welcome to the boards, martin_ibn_martin
We don’t have a huge number of Muslims here; I hope you enjoy your stay and I’m looking forward to reading your input on a number of topics.

LuthAeron wrote:

There would be no heaven, and God would be dead.

Well, wouldn’t it be fair to assume that Jesus would have died at somepoint of old age? Then the other events could be set in motion…(Not as dramatic, I know, but hey…)

My take on this, in my capacity as an unqualified armchair theologian; if Jesus had not died on the Cross, He would have found some other way to redeem us.

Maybe His fame as a moral teacher might have spread across the world. Maybe He would have travelled to Rome and personally converted the Emperor. Maybe He would have gone on to die in obscurity and old age, but nonentheless, at that moment, have taken all our sins upon Himself and redeemed us. (He was a mortal man, after all, He would have died of something.) We can’t know how things might have turned out, but we can be sure of one thing: He loves us, He came among us to redeem us, and He wasn’t about to go away and leave that job undone.

I think there was a debate a while back about whether or not the Crucifixion, since it led to the redemption of humanity, was an evil act. My take on this is that yes, it was - it was a free-willed act of judicial murder, for which the people responsible should rightly be condemned. (NB - the specific people responsible. Not their relatives, their compatriots, or remote descendents of their relatives and compatriots.) Redemption is necessary; the means by which it is achieved aren’t necessarily important.

So, if Jesus had not been crucified, the history of Christianity, and the world, would be very different - but God is omnipotent, and He would find some way to offer us salvation.

I do not believe that Jesus received a * particularly * harsh sentence given his actions and the level of civilisation at the time. You presumably consider * all * crucifictions committed by the Romans for public-order offences as “judicial murder”? And also executions in Greek, Minoan, Israelites civilisations etc?

Well, my opinion is that since the express purpose of Jesus dying was for our sins, then if He hadn’t done it there would be no opportunity for anyone to be saved ever because we would never be able to be good enough. His death was necessary, so without it there’s no Savior, no Redeemer.

I was wondering, assuming no Christianity, what the state of the world’s religions would be. I, too, thought that maybe Islam would fill the void, but didn’t Islam arise from Christianity? That being the case, if Christianity was not as widespread, surely Mohammad may not have taken the path he did?


Crucifiction! Absolutely inspired Sentient! Brilliant!