Friday, 6 April 2012

How? A Simple Easter Question For True Christians.

Christian god being sacrificed to itself
As Christians in the West celebrate the execution of an incarnation of their god in a strange fusion of the Jewish Passover and various Middle Eastern and European pagan spring/fertility festivals which they call Easter, something which is celebrated on a different date in the Eastern version of the Christian superstitious cult, it's maybe worth asking them once again a simple question to which they never seem to be able to give an answer.

The sacrifice of this legendary incarnation of their god was supposedly an act of atonement for something some legendary remote ancestors supposedly did, and for which their god had arbitrarily and apparently capriciously, and against any notion of natural justice, decreed us all to be responsible.

The legend goes that, although believed to be omnipotent, the Christian god lacked the power to remove this designation of guilt until it was empowered to so do by a blood sacrifice of an innocent human being. The problem was, having decreed us all to be guilty, the only way this god could think of to get an innocent human being to sacrifice to itself was to pretend to be one and have itself symbolically sacrificed because none of the humans measured up, by definition.

So the Christian festival of Easter is the celebration of this god having itself, as a simulacrum of a human being, sacrificed to itself, so it could acquire the power to remove this assigned guilt from us. Since this is perhaps the central tenet of the Christian superstition, I can't see this being a question any true Christian will have any problem answering.

The question is: how? How did this blood sacrifice empower an already all-powerful god and why was it unable to remove the arbitrary designation of guilt which it had itself imposed, without one.

(Note. An assertion that it did does not explain how it did it.)

14 comments :

  1. It's good that you refer to the idea of the Christian God lacking the power "to remove this designation of guilt until it was empowered to so do by a blood sacrifice" as legend.

    Jesus' sacrifice is never portrayed as adding to God's power, or - as you put it - (further) empowering an all-powerful God. So to ask the question "how?" as you have asked it is rather like asking how the moon is made of cheese.

    If you want me to answer the question "how does Jesus' sacrifice atone for us* and restore our relationship with God?" then my first answer would be an honest "I don't know." Of course, there is a lot of interesting theological discussion to be had here, but at the end of the day I am not God and I do not think like God. Why God decreed that this would be the way things are is not something I know the answer to.

    I should point out, however, that to say that God chose this way of atoning for us does not imply that God is not omnipotent. If I have the money to buy a car, and I spend it on a blue car, it does not follow that I lacked the ability to buy a red car.


    *note that I talk about "atoning for us" and not "atoning for some legendary remote ancestors" (though of course I believe that Jesus died for our remote ancestors as much as he did for us).

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  2. >an honest "I don't know."

    Thank you for being honest.

    So it would also be honest to admit you don't know why you believe what you believe, you've just accepted it as a fact because someone told you it was true. Do you think they knew how a blood sacrifice empowered an all-powerful god? Or do you think all believers in this legend just accept it as true because they been told it is, without knowing why they believe it?

    Do you think this also applies to other aspects of your religion?

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    1. To say that I don't know why I believe what I believe would be a lie. So no, I'm not going to "admit" to that.

      No, I don't think that all believers in this so-called "legend" accept it as true because they have been they have been told that it is, without knowing why they believe it. Do you think that?

      Why are you persisting with the idea that Jesus' death somehow adds to God's power? As I said, I'm glad that you referred to that idea as 'legend' because that's all it is.

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    2. >To say that I don't know why I believe what I believe would be a lie

      No doubt them you'll be retracting your statement that 'my first answer would be an honest "I don't know."' and will be telling me exactly how a blood sacrifice can empower an all-powerful god. Will this be soon?

      After all, that is your belief isn't it? So, presumably, you must know why you believe it.

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    3. I could be wrong, but I believe the reason why Rosa talks about people not knowing why they believe is because we, as atheists, deal with this a lot. When we ask people about the origins of their beliefs they generally get tracked back and back and back to... nothing. Generally it comes back to early childhood teachings from parents which were accepted without critical thought because that's what you do as a child. But even if not they always get reduced down to "you just need faith" but I've never encountered someone who could explain why they "just have faith" in Christianity as opposed to any other religion. Many often claim they have a reason but when questioned on the details it again boils down to ... nothing. That inability to actually identify the source of their beliefs is what leads some of us to describe folks as not knowing why they believe. Add to that an explicit statement that you don't understand how the single most important event in story of christianity its supposed to actually do what it is claimed to do..and you can pardon us if it sounds like you don't understand why you believe what you believe.

      I don't know if this is really what Rosa thinks, but this is my interpretation based on similar interactions I've had with countless Christians.

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    4. Thanks. Couldn't have put it better myself. I think that exemplifies the difference between science and faith. With science there is always a reason to 'believe' things, even if that reason subsequently proves to be wrong or, more likely, not exactly right. With faith the only reason is, well... faith, which in reality, is nothing more than "someone told me to believe it" or "I want to believe it".

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    5. I am not sure why you think that to admit to not understanding why God chose a particular way of doing something is synonymous with my not understanding why I believe in that God.

      For example, let us suppose that I have a blue car. You might have good reason to believe that I have a blue car, particularly if you have seen me with a blue car. If I now ask you "why did I buy blue car and not a red car?" and you respond that you don't know, it does not invalidate the fact that you have good reason to think that I have a blue car.

      Whereas I accept that it is not uncommon for people to believe something without knowing why, or to approach their worldview critically, there are Christians for whom this is not the case. For example, my reasons for being a Christian include the following:

      - personal experience
      - the historicity of the Bible
      - the fact that my worldview is coherent with experience and gives a satisfying explanation for why we are here and what (if anything) the purpose of life is.

      I am not naive enough to think that an explanation for something which is satisfying or desirable automatically makes it correct. However, I will add that as I have explored and challenged my own faith and grappled with doubts, my faith is based on a combination of reasons which (so far at least) remain standing.

      It should be acknowledged that there is a difference between "why do you believe something?" and "what is the origin of that belief?" For example "early childhood teachings from parents" is a perfectly valid answer to the second question, if not an intellectually satisfying answer to the first.

      I would also like to add that you are continuing to persist with a false assumption about my belief - namely the idea that Jesus' death further empowered God. I do not think that it did, which is why to ask "how?" or "why?" about that idea is pointless and irrelevant.

      Finally, I note that you - along with other atheists I know - seem to hold to the idea that all faith is unreasonable. This comment is long enough as it is, so I will unpack my thoughts on this another time (possibly on my own blog). Suffice to say, however, I don't think that that's the case.

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  3. I would love to tell you the Gospel, (keep in mind that you asked for it)
    God made Adam and Eve, he made them to have someone to share in the Glory of his name, but (as you have probably heard before) they sinned, which means they put themselves or their own will above God's, and from their, God could have destroyed them, or even could have obliterated sin (because he is God, and does not as you said "lack" power to do anything) however God wanted them to truly worship Him and choose Him and love him, and so he began His glorious plan to renew and redeem us back to himself. So he banished Adam and Eve from the garden because he did not want them to eat of the tree of eternal life because that would mean they'd be stuck in their sinful flesh forever. (for the sake of time I'm going to skip a bit) So a couple thousand years pass and then comes a man Named Abram, God came to Abram and told him to leave his country and his father's house and go to a land that God would show him, and God told him that if he did this He would bring a nation from Abram (the Israelites) and God said that through that nation all the families of the Earth would be blessed. So then Abraham has Isaac, Issac has Jacob, and long story short some things happen to Jacob's family that forces them to settle in Egypt (basically God made them) and that's the end of Genesis.

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    1. In Exodus we see that the nation of Israel has multiplied greatly in Egypt and their numbers are so great that the pharaoh decides to use them as slaves, and kill all of their male babies so that they don't get so strong that they overtake him. Anyways this baby Moses was supposed to die but God saved him through a certain line of events and he ends up being adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter, and raised and educated very well. Well anyways later in his life he see's a slave driver abusing a Israelite and he kills the slave driver, then flees from Egypt and comes to the Midianites where he saves three girls from camel thieves and their father gives one of them to him as his wife and gives him a job as a shepherd, and one day while tending his flock, Moses see's a bush that's on fire, and long story short the bush was God and God told him to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let God's people go, becuase God remembered his covenant that he had with Abraham. So Moses goes, God hardens Pharaoh's heart so that Pharaoh won't let the people go (sounds confusing I know but God had a purpose in it) so then God tells Pharaoh (through Moses) that He made Egypt a great nation so that He could then destroy it for the glory of His name. So anyways these plagues happen Pharaoh finally lets God's people go, and then they escape Egypt (and I'm going to speed through the rest for length's sake) and after they're in the desert God leads them to Mount Sinai and calls Moses to the top of the mountain for 40 days and nights and we don't know all that they talked about but we can be fairly certain that God was telling moses the history of the World. And he gives Moses these Laws (which are found in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers) and in the laws it tells of how no one who has sin in them can enter into the presence of God, and how the Only way our sins are forgiven is by God, and he gives them this law, so they know that if they break this, it's a sin. And I think they learned that it was impossible for them to follow the law, literally impossible, everyone in the Old Testament broke the Law. And to enter into the Holy of Holys (a room covered with a veil that contained the presence of God) they had to be completely cleansed of sin, and how they did that was through the sacrifice a their best spotless lamb (but this was only a example and foreshadowing of what was to come) and only one person a year (the High Priest) was allowed to do this, and they would tie a rope around his waste in case he died they could get his body, and when he went in he would make intercession for all the people and their sin. But God has promised them a savior, a Messiah, who would come, and save them, but the Jews thought that "save them" meant deliver them and defeat all of their worldly enemy's but God's vision was much bigger then that, so anyways all of the Israelites had faith that the messiah was coming!

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    2. So then enter's Jesus, and even his birth was fulfillment of prophesy, and when he was 30 he began a ministry, and began healing the sick, and preaching the Gospel, even forgiving sins (how can he do this since he hasn't died yet? Because those he forgave had faith in the Messiah, and faith that he was the Messiah, so when he did die, he even vindicated them) So anyways Jesus came and was the Messiah, but not the Messiah the Jews were expecting, but none the less he was the Messiah promised, So Jesus was Crucified for claiming to be the Messiah, and in Leviticus it says "cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" and the jews would only hang people on tree's in the worst case offenses (this takes a long explanation and if you would like to hear it just let me know) anyways Jesus was cursed, but he was spotless, he did the thing that no man could ever do, he never sinned against God (now this is still unfair because he was God) so when they crucified him God's promise to Abraham "that through him all the families of the earth shall be blessed" was fulfilled, and the curtain that hung separating the holy of holys in the temple of Jerusalem was torn in two from top to bottom, because Christ took the penalty for all our sins, even though he was spotless he took our punishment, and was killed (now hear this) FOR THE GLORY OF GOD, so now through him, our sins are forgiven through faith in Him, but that's not the good news of the Gospel, the Good news is that because of our sins being paid for we now all Get GOD! that his spirit can abide in man, and when Christ comes back he is going to return things to their perfect state in Genesis Chapter one and we will all Worship Him! Now I'm going to tell you something about God that you might not have heard before because it's not a popular truth to share with atheists... God is for God, everything he does is for His Glory, he does nothing for man's Glory, but he does do things for our joy, he is ferociously for our joy, but is also ferociously for His Glory, and it's in no way bad for him to be for Himself, because think about it. Let me put it in your terms, if there was a God, why would that God be about giving man all glory, and doing everything for him, and basically existing for his happiness and glory... That wouldn't make any sense and unfortunately a lot of 'christians' think that way and are following a false God. God is for God, so why did Christ have to die? For the Glory of God, why were all of the Apostles killed, save John... For the Glory of God, why does man exist? Why does creation exist? For the Glory of God. Why does God allow us to choose him? For the Glory of God. Thank you for asking.

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    3. Thank you for your long-winded reply. One wonders why God bothered to write the Bible when it needs to be so creatively re-written because of it's apparent failure to communicate effectively in the first place.

      Was it intended to be a heap of verbiage in which you hid your failure to address the question - How did this blood sacrifice empower an already all-powerful god and why was it unable to remove the arbitrary designation of guilt which it had itself imposed, without one?

      If so it failed.

      Would you care to address that question, or are you still unable to?

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    4. Incidentally, using this blog as merely somewhere to take a dump and type out your sermons is disrespectful to people who wish to read considered answers to these blogs and the issues they raise.

      Even religious people are expected to be considerate to others here and are not exempted from the normal rules of civilised behaviour.

      Please try to resist the temptation to abuse your right to post here.

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    5. Okay... Well I did answer your question? And it's funny that you are acting like a child... I think I struck a nerve because maybe you're one of those atheists who think they know Christianity better than all Christians... You asked the question.. I answered. Don't ask the question next time. And the answer is, Jesus had to die because God wanted his people to choose Him, he didn't just want to make us follow Him. Therefore when Christ died it offered an atonement for the sin of man against God, and allowed His spirit to abide in man. Why did Christ have to die? Because this is how God choose to redeem His people, and how He willed it to be. I'm sorry for the long post I was simply giving you the full story so that you could not say that I don't know what I believe.

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    6. >And it's funny that you are acting like a child... I think I struck a nerve <

      Clearly, your capacity for self-delusion is boundless. But I hope you derived a crumb of comfort from typing that out.

      Did seeing the words written down make it seem more real?

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