Friday, January 1, 2010

NOTE: THIS ENTRY HAS MOVED. The Abridged, Reworded Story of Jesus

I've decided to create a blog specific to talking about atheism since I think any of my rants on that topic would severely detract from the spirit of this blog. This post is now at my blog The Atheist Apologist.

8 comments:

Helmut said...

You raise some interesting points. Here are my thoughts to your first three comments:

1) Even though Jesus was still God, he was also human when he was on Earth. So in that way he could certainly die. And I don't think dying could be considered as an inconvenience if we don't know what dying is like. I guess it's also about the whole lead-up to the crucifixion. Since he was also human, he had very human feelings and suffered like we would. He was tortured for days before his death, in some of the most painful ways imaginable. It's no wonder, that, before he was captured, Jesus asked God, if at all possible, to spare him from this ordeal that stood before him. And besides, if you were told you needed to be killed in this way, but that you would be alive again after a few days, would you gladly accept?

2) I wouldn't consider Judas a hero because he wasn't necessary for Jesus to die. The romans and pharisees were so against Jesus that I'm sure they would have found another way to get to him. If Judas hadn't betrayed Jesus, the romans wouldn't just have given up, surely?

3) The bible does explain this indeed. When sin entered the world (via Adam & Eve), God had to bring death into the equation. Without death, humans would live eternally as sinners. And since God is without sin, humans couldn't live with him eternally as Sinners. Just like light and darkness cannot coexist. So that's why death is necessary. God then sent Jesus to die in our place, so that we only have to die a bodily death, and be reunited with him in eternity. But you ask why this was necessary. It was necessary since God first put in place the necessity of death. And since the bible says that God never changes, it makes sense that he wouldn't just suddenly say, "I'm changing the game. From now on, death/sacrifice is not necessary anymore". His initial introduction of death still holds today, and does make sense to me. Punishment is the logical conclusion to a wrong-doing. And Jesus took over our punishment so that we wouldn't have to face eternal death.

I have some thoughts to your Jesus-story as well, but most of those are contained above. :)

Helmut said...

One more thing regarding your Jesus story. You say that God sends us to live in eternal torment. But God created us with our own will. He let's us decide what we do with our life. Of course there are consequences to our choices. But he still lets us decide. And if we choose to live apart from God, he respects our decision. He's certainly not happy about it, but he doesn't force us to do anything else. So if we make choices that have eternal torment as a consequence, it's not God's fault.

But he does offer a way out. A way for us to make a u-turn. And that's where Jesus comes in.

SPG said...

A lot of really great points, Helmut, and they definitely deserve some well-thought-out concessions or refutations -- which I can't do at work ;) Will get back to you.

SPG said...

OK, sorry it took so long to respond. I've had a busy week. Here are my thoughts:

1) "If you were told you needed to be killed in this way, but that you would be alive again after a few days, would you gladly accept?" I can honestly say that I would. Who cares what happens to you over the course of a day or two if you have absolute knowledge that it will be entirely inconsequential and have no lasting effects a few days later? That knowledge alone would be enough to easily get through the pain. Combine that with the knowledge that what you're doing will benefit billions of people for all eternity, and in my opinion there is no longer any sacrifice. You have no risk but receive infinite reward. That's not a sacrifice.

2) My point about Judas was more to get people to think about it from a different angle. Jesus' capture certainly could have happened a bunch of different ways, but it didn't, it happened because of Judas, who was integral to the story. Put another way, God could have absolved us of our sins many different ways, but he didn't, he used Jesus. Does it take anything from Jesus' perceived heroism that God could have done things differently if he'd wanted? Just like Jesus, Judas was part of God's plan to redeem the human race. He was simply unwittingly following God's plan (and yes, it *was* God's plan, because everything is God's plan, since he is omniscient and omnipotent).

And that parenthetical actually has to do with your second comment (I'll address your No. 3 after this). You say, "God created us with our own will. He let's us decide what we do with our life. Of course there are consequences to our choices. But he still lets us decide. ... So if we make choices that have eternal torment as a consequence, it's not God's fault."

Well, herein lies a paradox:

1) There exists a loving, omnipotent, omniscient being who knows all, including what the future holds, and has infinite power to change it.

2) This being gives its creation free will, which includes the ability to do things that it disapproves of.

3) If the being’s creation does that which the being disapproves, the being will send its creation to live in eternal torment.

4) Sending its creation to live in eternal torment is not an act a loving being would commit.

5) This being knows the future, so correspondingly knows whether any of its creation will do things the being disapproves of.

6) Thus, the all-loving being knows and has the power to prevent its creation from committing acts that would it to send them to live in eternal torment.

7) Given all of that, if such a being exists, free will cannot.

Absolutely no one who truly believed they’d live in eternal torment would commit an act that would require them to do so. Obviously nothing is worth that. God knows that no sane person who truly understood that would ever do something He disapproved of. So, when people do those things, it is absolutely God’s fault, because he’s imposing the ultimate punishment upon people whom He obviously did not convince of the enormity of their acts. And what’s more, because he’s omniscient, he knew this would be the case before it happened -- so he was dooming them from the start.

If you contest that he wants us to make our own mistakes, then you’re transforming an all-powerful God into a being powerless to prevent his own creation from eternal torment. If you say that he’s loving because he give us free will and the ability to decide to live in eternal torment … wouldn’t it be more loving to give us the illusion of free will and yet never send us to hell? That way we’d be happy and he wouldn’t have to punish us, which he doesn’t want to do because he’s all-loving. Everyone wins.

SPG said...

OK, now back to the No. 3 point you addressed: You say, “When sin entered the world (via Adam & Eve), God had to bring death into the equation. Without death, humans would live eternally as sinners. And since God is without sin, humans couldn't live with him eternally as Sinners. Just like light and darkness cannot coexist. So that's why death is necessary.” That actually doesn’t explain why death is necessary. God is omnipotent, so He could simply wave a hand and absolve us of our sins if he wanted. Anything more complex than that is useless pageantry. If God wants us to be without sin, he can make us be without sin. And you say, “since the bible says that God never changes, it makes sense that he wouldn't just suddenly say, “I'm changing the game…’” But he did that exactly with Jesus. He changed the game so that instead of us having to live with our sins, Jesus died for them. That’s changing the game, so why not change it more sensibly? Instead of wasting 30-some-odd years with Jesus’ simply to kill him off for our sins, why not just start out saying, “OK, when I count to three … you guys are without sin again”? It amounts to the same thing. And punishment is not necessarily the logical conclusion of wrong-doing. From what I’ve read, recuperation is more effective than punishment. And wouldn’t helping his creation recuperate be a better act for a loving god than punishing his creation for eternity with no parole?

Helmut said...

Thanks for your reply. I've got a busy week too this week, but I'll try to find some time to reply.

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