I have not found any reference to one New Testament peculiarly. Christian doctrine says that Jesus was sacrificed for our sins so we can go to heaven. This is really the meat and potatoes of the religious belief. As a former Jesus freak and avid student of the bible I certainly understand the concept. So Jesus died and we are all saved "by his blood". For some reason it just didn't take....

  I really don't understand why it apparently didn't work. According to the Pauline doctrine which makes up almost all of the new testament we must "Believe" to be saved. Christians will tell you that by Jesus's blood we are save by his death. Within a few moments we are told we must "Believe" or have "faith". Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

 If the criterion is "belief" why all the drama? What use was God killing himself and coming back? I do understand the whole Jesus had to pay the price for our sins thing (not that that was necessary as God could have simply forgiven us).  But no one seems to notice that the whole sacrifice thing was completely ineffective or there would not be NEW requirements for us to be saved. If the actual requirement of salvation is belief than the whole passion story is unnecessary.

 So is it just me or is this just such a dogmatic core Christian belief that it is completely overlooked by Christians? 

My guess is that we are dealing with two types of doctrines mixed together. That of the pre-pauline Jesus traditions of a rabbi preparing his followers for a physical establishment of heaven on earth in Jerusalem by a physically present God. The second being, a post Pauline understanding of a spiritual only Jesus and a celestial heaven without physical deities.
So what is the story here?

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I imagine a focus group formed by Paul to discover the story that terrifies the most people, and brings in followers from all walks of life, Jew, Gentile, free, and slave. They would have tried one story, then another, and another, until they found the right combination of elements that brought people to revival tents, and once inside the tent, they told stories that made listeners too terrified to not follow the story that gives them salvation. 

Tell a healthy person that he or she has a disease, prescribe a remedy for the illness, and gather small groups of people who tell and retell the story of the disease, adding elements to make the story relevant to their times. 

I think you are very correct. Each author did as you have described. (I really feel like Bart Ermans parrot here). Now that we have many opinions from many authors we can simply cherry pick the "gospel" to be anything we want. Want to be a victim, it's there. Want to be a authoritarian, it there. Want to be sexiest, it there. Like woman's lib, it there. Anything you wish to believe is really and truly in the bible. That's what makes it such an amazing book! I personally like the zombie scene at Jesus's death, I mean of course zombies are real, it's in the bible.

There would have to be at least two types of mixed doctrine here. Keep in mind that only today there is a book called a bible. In Paul's times there was tradition and a few writings, -nothing official yet. Modern believers think that Paul carried on just as the resurrected Jesus told him to but sensible people know that they never met. Everything was not smooth as Paul changed known doctrines.

It was written that the dead did not know anything, and that certain ones died and "slept with their fathers." Along comes Paul and has mystical experiences and is taught celestial things but he could not tell if he was in or out of his body. From the days that he first said such things it started to catch on. You do not die. You are instantly changed in state of being but you are not dead. Coming back from death had a new meaning because there is no death. It is still believed today because everyone fears death.

Imagine what this would mean to rulers who needed soldiers for their armies. Imagine men who would willingly fight and die. Christianity was a growing religion and if you could get armies of believers to fight for you it was a great advantage. Patriotic America is doing this same thing even today.

Fear of death has its benefits when you are going to live forever.

John 3:16 – For god so loved the world, etc, etc. –  is supposed to be the "evidence" for this whole business, but the problem is that it may be the only such statement.  None of the synoptic gospels make such a statement (that I am aware of), but then the overall inconsistency of the reportage of those four records is so phenomenally bad that they deserve no consideration at all.

I believe the dogmatic core of Christian belief IS completely overlooked by Christians, maybe because they dare not think about it too deeply.  They will emphasize the pain, agony, oh, the horror, to be crucified, just for YOU!  But for Jesus and Jesus alone it was temporary.  He's (allegedly) alive, so where's the sacrifice?  And Christians will overlook the fact that Romans would crucify people left and right it's not like it was some holy and exquisite punishment reserved just for the Son of God so he could one-up everyone who merely suffered through, say, starvation or beheading or disease. 

 There was no sacrifice. He came back as a bigger better being, God. I wrote about this around Easter. It just amazes me that Christians gloss over their own doctrine. I wanted to be the best Christian I could be so I had to "know it all". I didn't want to be an Atheist or could have imagined I ever would be. Maybe a better moniker for me would be reluctant atheist. I was in fact compelled by that facts not to believe, thus Compelledunbeliever. I did not choose to be an atheist at all I was compelled to make a reasoned assessment of the facts. This is why I am now an atheist activist. So if there is in fact a god it is his fault for "creating" me this way. I do not however believe that it is possible that there is a god.

Good description that sounds similar to my journey.  I guess the more you know about Christianity the more likely you are to ditch...probably most seminary graduates are skeptics and closet atheists.

"probably most seminary graduates are skeptics and closet atheists" or con artists.

I really wanted to go to seminary, but "God" never let me know which was the "right" one. I couldn't just go to the wrong one because I thought it was good. In fact I'm still waiting for a "Devine" answer....I might be better off waiting for the discovery of what was going on before the beginning of our universe.....

I like the title, atheist activist! That fits for me too. 

I'm not an atheist activist because it's cool or fun, but dammit my son was sent sent to the principles office for stating his unbelief. That was the line for me. Do your Christian crap,  just don't discriminate against anyone for not buying into it. Truly I did not even choose to be an atheist in the first place, so don't hate me for actually looking for "the truth".   Forgive this rant.

Afterthought...This may have been the best statement I have ever written.

Of course there was no sacrifice.  "Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins."  That's all it was, all it EVER was ... because in the final analysis, god has NO IDEA what a sacrifice is!  He/she/it can't abide LOSS, and so it doesn't.  That's one more way the Christian god has no idea about who his creation is.

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