10 Reasons the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense

Does God exist?  You wouldn't think so given the bizarre crucifixion story.It’s Good Friday, and I’d like to rerun one of my most popular posts, about the crucifixion.

I’m afraid that the crucifixion story doesn’t strike me as that big a deal.

The Christian will say that death by crucifixion was a horrible, humiliating way to die. That the death of Jesus was a tremendous sacrifice, more noble and selfless than a person sacrificing himself for the benefit of a butterfly. And isn’t it worth praising something that gets us into heaven?

Here are ten reasons why I’m unimpressed.

1. Sure, death sucks, but why single out this one? Lots of people die. In fact, lots died from crucifixion. The death of one man doesn’t make all the others insignificant. Was Jesus not a man but actually a god? If so, that fact has yet to be shown.

It’s not like this death is dramatically worse than death today. Crucifixion may no longer be a worry, but cancer is. Six hours of agony on the cross is pretty bad, but so is six months of agony from cancer.

2. What about that whole hell thing? An eternity of torment for even a single person makes Jesus’s agony insignificant by comparison, and it counts for nothing when you consider the billions that are apparently going to hell.

3. Jesus didn’t even die. The absurdity of the story, of course, is the resurrection. If Jesus died, there’s no miraculous resurrection, and if there’s a resurrection, there’s no sacrifice through death. Miracle or sacrifice—you can’t have it both ways. The gospels don’t say that he died for our sins but that he had a rough couple of days for our sins.

4. Taking on the sin vs. removal of sin aren’t symmetric. We didn’t do anything to get original sin. We just inherited it from Adam. So why do we have to do anything to get the redemption? If God demands a sacrifice, he got it. That’s enough. Why the requirement to believe to access the solution?

5. The reason behind the sacrifice—mankind’s original sin—makes no sense. Why blame Adam for a moral lapse that he couldn’t even understand? Remember that he hadn’t yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so who could blame him when he made a moral mistake?

And how can we inherit original sin from Adam? Why blame us for something we didn’t do? That’s not justice, and the Bible agrees:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

6. Jesus made a sacrifice—big deal. Jesus is perfect, so his doing something noble is like water flowing downhill. It’s unremarkable since he’s only acting out his nature. What else would you expect from a perfect being?

But imagine if I sacrificed myself for someone. In the right circumstance, I’d risk my life for a stranger—or at least I hope I would. That kind of sacrifice is very different. A selfish, imperfect man acting against his nature to make the ultimate unselfish sacrifice is far more remarkable than a perfect being acting according to his nature, and yet people make sacrifices for others all the time. So why single out the actions of Jesus? Aren’t everyday noble actions by ordinary people more remarkable and laudable?

7. What is left for God to forgive? The Jesus story says that we’ve sinned against God (a debt). Let’s look at two resolutions to this debt.

(1) God could forgive the debt of sin. You and I are asked to forgive wrongs done against us, so why can’t God? Some Christians say that to forgive would violate God’s sense of justice, but when one person forgives another’s debt, there’s no violation of justice. For unspecified reasons, God doesn’t like this route.

And that leaves (2) where Jesus pays for our sin. But we need to pick 1 or 2, not both. If Jesus paid the debt, there’s no need for God’s forgiveness. There’s no longer anything for God to forgive, since there’s no outstanding debt.

Here’s an everyday example: when I pay off my mortgage, the bank doesn’t in addition forgive my debt. There’s no longer a debt to forgive! Why imagine that God must forgive us after he’s already gotten his payment?

8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology. Jesus’s sacrifice was small compared to the Greek god Prometheus, who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to humanity. Zeus discovered the crime and punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock so that a vulture could eat his liver. Each night, his liver grew back and the next day the vulture would return, day after agonizing day. The gospel story, where Jesus is crucified once and then pops back into existence several days later, is unimpressive by comparison.

9. The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.” This is the 21st century. Must Iron Age customs persist so that we need a human sacrifice? If God loves us deeply and he wants to forgive us, couldn’t he just … forgive us? That’s how we do it, and that’s the lesson we get from the parable of the Prodigal Son where the father forgives the son even after being wronged by him. If that’s the standard of mercy, why can’t God follow it? Since God is so much greater a being than a human, wouldn’t he be that much more understanding and willing to forgive?

If we were to twist the Prodigal Son parable to match the crucifixion story, the father might demand that the innocent son be flogged to pay for the crime of the prodigal son. Where’s the logic in that?

10. The entire story is incoherent. Let’s try to stumble through the drunken logic behind the Jesus story.

God made mankind imperfect and inherently vulnerable to sin. Living a sinless life is impossible, so hell becomes unavoidable. That is, God creates people knowing for certain that they’re going to deserve eternity in hell when they die. Why create people that he knew would be destined for eternal torment?

But don’t worry—God sacrificed Jesus, one of the persons of God, so mankind could go to heaven instead.

So God sacrificed himself to himself so we could bypass a rule that God made himself and that God deliberately designed us to never be able to meet? I can’t even understand that; I certainly feel no need to praise God for something so nonsensical. It’s like an abused wife thanking her abuser. We can just as logically curse God for consigning us to hell from birth.

Perhaps I can be forgiven for being unimpressed by the crucifixion story.

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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About Bob Seidensticker
  • BenP

    You used the prodigal son as a model for how God should forgive, but the Prodigal Son’s father only forgave after his son came back to him and humbled himself. Therefore that argument is invalid. You said that Jesus’s sacrifice was nothing special, but if a perfect person was beaten, spat on, hurt, and crucified for literally everyone in the world, shouldn’t that be counted as a major sacrifice? If you couldn’t tell, I’m a Christian.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Thoughtful Christians are always welcome here.

      I take it, then, that you’re on board with my other concerns?

      You’re missing the comparison in the Prodigal Son example.. The father in the story didn’t ask for anything special; he just forgave. God, on the other hand, demanded a human sacrifice. Pretty weird.

      How many people in the world had a death equal to or more unpleasant than that of Jesus? Heck, maybe you will die in months of agony from cancer that will be comparable to Jesus’s painful 6 hours.

      • BenP

        However me dying from cancer isn’t sacrifice. I know it’s hard for non-believers to accept it (as evidenced in the article) but we believe that through his death there is a direct way to God instead of sacrificing lambs and going to a priest. God made us sinless but we (Adam and Eve) brought sin into the world. And honestly I can’t give an answer for why God created our world the way he did because I’m not him. What did you meanby saying he went through a rough couple of days? He died. What is your stance on heaven and hell?

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “We believe that through his death there is a direct way to God instead of sacrificing lambs and going to a priest.” So there was no direct way to God before Jesus? And what did Jesus’ death do exactly to remedy that? I guess I should know what “direct way to God” even means first.

          At least Islam cuts out the middle man and says that you pray directly to God and that there is nothing between you and God except your initiative to accept/love/repent to God. No sacrifices necessary.

        • BenP

          It’s the same way now for Christians. We pray straight to God. It’s just that before Christianity with the Jews they had to sacrifice lambs and go to priests. Now because Christ died we have direct access

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Are you sure they had to do that? Or at least, believed they had to do that? Or does God actually demand in the Old Testament that lambs be sacrificed and priests be consulted before he listens to any prayers or saves anyone? If so, then Jesus made a sacrifice so that we wouldn’t have to sacrifice lambs or talk to priests anymore (still seems kind of pointless)? What about the “died for your sins” thing?

          That’s really why I brought up all the people that lived before Jesus.

        • BenP

          Yes God used to require dead animal sacrifices. It’s not that he wouldn’t listen to prayer otherwise. But sins were forgiven through dead animal sacrifices. So Jesus is the new covenant and so now we can directly ask God for forgiveness. So you don’t have to go to a high priest oran altar with a sacrifice each time you ask for forgiveness because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          So in dialogue form:

          Ancient Hebrew: God, please forgive me my sins.
          God: Offer me a dead sheep first.
          Ancient Hebrew: Alright-
          Jesus dies in the background
          God: Actually never mind. I accept your repentance.

          Does that pretty much sum up your belief?

          It seems like a pointless waste of life to demand a blood sacrifice (even if it’s a lamb) every time someone tells a lie or steals something or whatever. You sure it wasn’t just a sneaky way for priests to get a free meal and not an actual divine mandate?

        • BenP

          That’s kind of how it worked. The people killed nd offered a lamb. Then Jesus died and cut out the need for priests and sacrifices. How does Islam work? I’ve never really taken the time to try to understand.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          In Islam it’s simple. Again in dialogue form:

          Muslim: God, please forgive me my sins.
          God: Okay.

          Unless your sin was holding another being on the same level as or higher than God, that’s pretty much how it works. Of course, you’re not supposed to keep sinning but that applies just as much to Christianity and Judaism. Jesus’ death has no relevance to a person’s repentance or salvation because Islam holds that he didn’t even die in the first place. He’s just another messenger in Islam.

          Well, that’s Islam. Whether the Muslims got it right or the Christians got it right (if either) is still up in the air.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Isn’t it weird that God changed the rules? It’s almost like the definition is evolving with time, like people’s ideas about God are simply changing.

        • Pofarmer

          So, the only thing that changed was theology, nothing noticeable on Earth changed. Let’s think about this for a minute. “The Fall”, and original sin are said to account for things like pain during childbirth, disease, birth defects, shortened life spans, parasites, all sorts of things. Wouldn’t you think, if original sin were supposed to cause all these things, that “atonement” for these sins, would have changed some of them? Shouldn’t it be more than. “Now we can pray directly to God.” Isn’t that just a little suspicious?

        • BenP

          Not really. Just because you’re forgiven doesn’t mean that the consequences go away

        • Pofarmer

          “Atonement in Judaism is the process of causing a transgression to be forgiven or pardoned.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_in_Judaism

          So, if the sin was “forgiven” or “pardoned” then why would the “punishment” continue?

        • BenP

          Parents forgive children for their mistakes but they still punish them.

        • Pofarmer

          But, you don’t have infinite punishment for finite actions. At some point, punishment stops. And if they are “forgiven”
          by the parents for whatever acts they commited, wouldn’t that necessarily imply that the punishment would cease?

        • BenP

          No it wouldn’t imply that. Parents can say “I forgive you for lying to me, but you’re still gonna be grounded for a week.” And that won’t stop the child’s urge to lie

        • Pofarmer

          So, then does the punishment, continue on forever? Would you punish your children for someone else lying? Should your children be punished if their Great Grandfather lied?

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          But eternal punishment is pointless as well since you will never be able to apply what you learned from being punished since you’re, you know, being punished forever. There’s no point where God puts you back into the world to test to see if you’ve learned your lesson. And God loves you right?

          There’s apparently no way out of hell once you’re in, and you don’t even have to do much to get in in the first place. So if you were to see the error of your ways and ask God forgiveness (and in the case of Bob, to have proof right there that God exists), God wouldn’t accept it? He’ll just let you wallow in misery forever no matter how earnestly you ask for salvation? Keep in mind that life is nothing compared to eternity.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Parents punish in proportion to the crime. Parents never assign infinite punishment, regardless of what the children do.

          God … not so much. Your parent analogy fails.

        • BenP

          The analogy is fine Pofarmer said punishment should cease if there is forgiveness which is not the with parents. And God’s punishment for sin is only temporary if you accept Christ. Then after death you can be without sin in heaven forever. His punishment is only eternal if you reject Christ.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          But what if you sin in heaven? After all we’re still inherently sinful, right? Assuming we still have free will (which is supposedly important to God) will God kick you out if you sin in heaven?

          I bet you’ll say that we won’t have sinful natures in heaven and thus, won’t sin. To which the next question is invariably “Why didn’t God make us that way in the first place?”

        • BenP

          Yes we won’t have sin nature in heaven because our bodies will be glorified and sanctified. We will be in spirit. And God did make us without sin. That’s the best I can explain it because God is on a much higher level than me.

        • MNb

          If you won’t have sin nature in Heaven, what about free will?

        • Pofarmer

          WHy couldn’t we have just been made without sin in the first place?

        • BenP

          I don’t know. I didn’t create humankind. Pray and ask about it

        • Pofarmer

          How about if I just follow the evidence?

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, now cmon, you’re doing the old bait and switch here. Accept Jesus and your sins will be forgiven, except, well, not right now, nothing changes right now, you have to die first, and accept all this without proof. It’s a littls much.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So we now have Jesus, but there’s absolutely no change in the conditions here on earth. In other words, yet again, there’s zero evidence of these remarkable and indeed incredible claims you’re making. Is that right?

        • Rick

          Not so, Bob. Just one of many reputable sources on that topic:

          Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Tell me more. What evidence does Ortberg give to show that this is a world with a Jesus instead of one without?

        • Pofarmer

          For that matter, the premise of Ortbergs book works just as well with a mythical as with a historical Jesus.

        • MNb

          It seems to work with Mohammed as well.

        • Greg G.

          So sacrificing animals got sins forgiven. The ultimate sacrifice was not for humans but for livestock.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you and Jesus could both die painful deaths, but only that of Jesus is a sacrifice? OK, it’s arbitrary then. The magnitude of the sacrifice or the pain during death is irrelevant from the Christian standpoint.

          The rest of your comment is theology. This means nothing to me. I care only about arguments and evidence.

          By “rough couple of days,” I’m minimizing the “sacrifice” of Jesus, which apparently you do, too.

          Heaven and hell? I see no evidence of these.

        • BenP

          I’m just saying that Christ’s death was sacrifice for anyone who will accept him. How is one of us dying sacrifice?

        • wtfwjtd

          How is Jesus dying any more of a sacrifice than any other human being who has died? After all, the gospels tell us that Jesus suffered pain for a few hours, and then went to paradise for it. How is this a sacrifice?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And what I’m saying is that the magnitude of the suffering of Jesus doesn’t matter, according to you.

          I’ll buy that, but many Christians like to wallow in the magnitude of his suffering.

        • BenP

          He did suffer and so do other people. But we focus on the suffering because it was someone we love. However I agree that there are worse ways of death and yes other people suffer.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So, back to the original post, you don’t have much to object to?

        • BenP

          I don’t agree with any of it really but I cannot provide hard evidence because it religion is based on faith. I do respect your intelligence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you disagree just cuz you have to, not because of any actual evidence or argument?

        • 90Lew90

          Steady on. This is the most honest admission of this simple fact that I’ve seen for a long, long time. Fair dues to this guy. But, your bat, your ball!

        • BenP

          I choose to believe because I have faith. Not because I have too. I have faith and with faith you cannot expect hard evidence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Lew’s response is positive, and I tend to go in that direction as well–I’m impressed by your honesty. Many Christians, embarrassed by the implications of faith, try to argue that “faith” for them means belief backed up by sufficient evidence. In other words, faith = trust.

          I see an important difference, and I’m glad you do, too.

        • BenP

          Exactly. If there’s solid evidence it’s not really faith as much as knowledge. Jesus was a man who lived on earth is knowledge. He died and rose is faith. None of us have “hard evidence” to prove the other side wrong. All we can do is make points based off of what we hold to be true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You seem to imagine some sort of symmetry here–you have your beliefs and I have mine, so let’s all get along.

          But, of course, there’s no symmetry. I don’t use faith. I use evidence and reason, which actually has a track record for finding the truth.

        • 90Lew90

          That makes you only slightly less respectable than a 1970s hippy waving flowers and joints around as the cure for all the world’s ills. I say less respectable because joints-and-flowers had never been tried before.

        • wtfwjtd

          “I choose to believe because I have faith. ”

          How do you choose what to believe? Personally, my beliefs are based on evidence and reason. How do you choose what to believe and what not to believe? What criteria do you use?

        • BenP

          Being a Christian is the only instance in which I am led by faith. Everything else is personal judgement I guess

        • wtfwjtd

          Why exempt your Christianity from logical and reasonable inquiry? Is there any valid reason not to examine Christianity’s claims to see if they actually hold up under careful scrutiny?

        • MNb

          Like BobS wrote underneath that’s a remarkable statement; one I fully expect.

        • 90Lew90

          Fair play to you for conceding that your faith is just that: belief without evidence. It might be salutary for you to now consider whether the warm-fuzzies that your faith gives you can justify your upholding the religion by which you interpret them. Because I don’t think I’m alone here in holding that religion itself does harm, and people get warm-fuzzies from any number of religions among many other things including observing nature or creating art, or indeed appreciating art. Some people get warm-fuzzies from learning. You should consider losing the blinkers.

        • BenP

          There can’t be evidence for spiritual matters. That doesn’t make it wrong. I’ll always be a Christian because I have faith. That’s just the way it is.

        • 90Lew90

          I would say belief without evidence is foolish. I would go further and say belief without evidence in something that is harmful to the human good, is immoral. Doubly so since, as you admit, it’s self-serving. That makes it wrong in my book.

        • Greg G.

          Lack of evidence doesn’t mean something is wrong but there are billions of things that can be imagined without evidence that are not true. Evidence tells which ideas are true. An idea that is contrived to be evidence-proof is evidence for a scam and reason enough to reject it.

        • Pofarmer

          To give us what?T

        • BenP

          To give us the opportunity to accept him and believe so you can be in heaven when you die

        • Pofarmer

          So, what evidence would lead me to believe this?

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          So we couldn’t go to heaven without the death of Christ? All the people who lived before him went straight to hell then? If some didn’t (and by didn’t, I mean went to heaven), then it seems as though Christ’s death brought nothing that the people before him didn’t already have, making it as I have said many times, pointless. Or redundant. I see no reason as to why people before Christ was born could go to heaven but we can’t unless we believe in him. I just don’t see the relevance of Christ’s death here.

          I mean, why should I believe what Paul says about being saved rather than Muhammad or Joseph Smith?

        • Pofarmer

          And, once again, we’re going no where.

        • MNb

          Correction: it’s impossible for non-believers like me to accept it, because it doesn’t make sense.
          My stance on Heaven and Hell is they are equally unattractive. If you would be able to convert me, be assured it won’t be to christianity.

        • Pofarmer

          So, what evidence do you have for this sinless world before Adam and Eve? There is no heaven and hell. That’s my stance.

      • The Man With The Name Too Long

        A glaring question to me is what necessitated a human sacrifice in the first place. Did the trillions (maybe more) of people that lived and died before Jesus all go to hell because they didn’t have the “opportunity” provided by the death of Jesus? People sin now, and people sinned then, so I’m not sure what purpose people think Jesus’ death served.

        If those people could be forgiven for their sins by God through repentance and accepted into heaven before Jesus was born and without a blood sacrifice, then what was the sacrifice that Jesus made? It seems like either all those people couldn’t avoid hell (except by being perfect, which is impossible because of our so-called “sinful” nature and also calling God’s omnibenevolence into question) or Jesus’ sacrifice is pointless.

        • BenP

          Actually Matthew 27:52 talks about how the holy in Christ had their spirits raised up too. Because there’s heaven help and sheol sheol is a kind of holding place for all dead people. And after the white throne judgment then you’ll either go to heaven or go to hell

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          So all the people that died before Jesus (who I assume you are referring to as “Christ” here and not some undefined yet significant entity as I have seen some Christians refer to as Christ) did not go to heaven or hell, but some holding place for the dead? And then Jesus died which gave God the cue to send all the good people (which means all the people who followed the rules laid out in the Old Testament) to heaven and everyone else went to hell?

          I guess my next question would be why God didn’t just forget about blood sacrifices and priests and just accept all the good, repentant people into heaven in the first place. He is omnipotent right? Muslims have no problem believing it despite claiming to believe in the same God you do.

        • BenP

          You know it’s a weird concept, heaven, hell, and the timing. I don’t really understand your second question

    • Pofarmer

      “You said that Jesus’s sacrifice was nothing special, but if a perfect
      person was beaten, spat on, hurt, and crucified for literally everyone
      in the world,”

      How does that work, exactly? What changed? What happened to indicate that original sin(or whatever) had been washed away?

      • BenP

        What happened is that now like I’ve said we have direct access to God. So all we have to do is accept. Christ took on our sin so all we have to do is accept him into our hearts.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This is theology. I don’t have much use for that. Better: arguments and evidence to show that the Christian claims are accurate.

        • Pofarmer

          If “Christ took on our sin.” then why do all the preachers in all the world still go on and on and on about how horrible and sinful we are? Shouldn’t Jesus “taking on our sin” obviate it?

        • BenP

          No. He took on sin and its consequences. Nowhere is it even suggested that we would stop sinning

        • Pofarmer

          But, if he took on all our sins, why would there still be sin and consequences? If he truly atoned for our sins, then why wouldn’t humans then completely lose the urge to sin?

        • BenP

          1. We have sin nature
          2. Sin doesn’t just go away

        • 90Lew90

          Ah, that original sin concept. Possibly the most repugnant Christianity has to offer. So a newborn baby is in need of forgiveness for this sin. What was that you were saying? Earlier: “if a perfect person was beaten, spat on, hurt, and crucified for literally everyone in the world, shouldn’t that be counted as a major sacrifice?” By that standard, every abused baby meets your criteria for Jesus’s oh-so-great sacrifice, but still, if that baby’s parents don’t get him or her baptised, then your god, still in a hissy fit over Adam and Eve’s transgression, sees fit to cast that little creation of his into the fiery pit. This doesn’t ad up.

        • BenP

          Actually babies because they have no knowledge of anything are considered innocent.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Babies aren’t saddled with Original Sin?

        • BenP

          They have original sin but because they are too young to make the choice of accepting Jesus they are pardoned

        • wtfwjtd

          How do you know that they are pardoned? What are they pardoned for–sins they didn’t commit?

        • BenP

          Pardoned From hell

        • wtfwjtd

          I don’t understand your reply. What scriptural reference can you point me to that specifically states that God pardons babies for sin?

        • BenP

          It’s more of a concept

        • 90Lew90

          That’s a load of bullshit. Unbaptised? To hell with you. You might as well accept your own story. And you can’t polish a turd.

        • BenP

          I don’t knowwknow what you’re referring to. Why are you upset?

        • 90Lew90

          Because you’re looking at your own faith through rose-tinted glasses. It is universally accepted in Christianity that baptism is absolution for Original Sin. Now I’ve explained elsewhere to you why I find that notion repugnant in itself. But being unbaptized at death means that Original Sin not only remains with you, but you incur the condemnation for it by your god. That being Hell. I’m sorry to tell you that any tinkering with this picture of things is heresy on your part. You must take the rough with the smooth.

        • BenP

          I don’t know what Christians you talked to but salvation comes from accepting and believing Christ died for your sins. That’s in Romans. Baptism isn’t salvation. That’s not an equivalent.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m saying baptism is absolution of Original Sin. Without being “absolved” of that “sin” that you didn’t commit, you incur the punishment for it: Hell. This rule applies no matter what theological jiggery-pokery you employ in your version of the religion you follow. (Incidentally, how can you know you’re following the right version?) So for a newborn infant, by your standard, I would say baptism is equivalent to salvation.

        • BenP

          No. Because salvation is believing and accepting and because newborns can’t make that decision they are pardoned. They aren’t condemned if they die as a newbornw

        • 90Lew90

          I’m sorry but that’s just a contrivance. The sin of Adam is man’s punishment for the rebellion in Eden. It is also known as ancestral sin. There is no “pardon” unless you receive the sacrament of baptism. According to your version of the faith, this sacrament must be received willingly. According to some others, you have to be doused as soon as possible after you’re out of the womb, the point being that it would be horrible if ickle baybees had to go to hell just because there wasn’t enough time to get some bloke in a dress to pour water on them. There is nothing in the story anywhere about newborns being pardoned — unless you resort to inferring. And this is one point in the Bible where you have least wriggle room to infer anything without streching meaning beyond breaking point. Face it. It’s callous.

        • BenP

          I don’t know why you’re stuck on baptism meaning salvation.

        • wtfwjtd

          Lew isn’t stuck on baptism meaning salvation. Christianity–specifically the Catholic church–is.

        • Pofarmer

          Because it’s common Catholic doctrine.B

        • 90Lew90

          I don’t know why you’re stuck on not accepting that sin displeases your god and incurs punishment. Unless you’re sorry you go to Hell. You inherit original sin. You have no choice. So the snake still crawls on its belly and childbirth is painful for women (unless some fallen person thwarts your god’s will and relieves the pain with an epidural). You’re condemned just by being conceived. As you’ve said before, we are sinful by nature. We are fallen and sinful by nature, because of the curse your god put on us in the form of Original Sin. And your god is not averse to slaying infants.

          Where do you get this “pardon” for infancy rubbish from? Suck it up! You seem to be forgetting that you’re arguing from faith here — belief without evidence. I might add that you believe *in spite of* the evidence that what you believe is mere superstition. Arguing from Scripture gets you nowhere. It’s an incoherent, illogical, self-contradictory mass of rich literature (I’ll allow that the KJV is brilliant as literature). It can mean anything to anyone. It’s just that you happen to have picked the one point in it to contest that is universally accepted as uncontestable: You incur your god’s wrath at Adam and Eve via inherited Original Sin. Baptism is absolution of Original Sin.

          Now, I realise this is confusing, but that’s not my fault. If you are baptised at birth, the point is to absolve you of Original Sin as soon as possible because you’re innocent of all else and so deserve to be baptised into the faith in order to maximise your chances. If you’re baptised as an adult, or as a teen, this is still to absolve you of not only Original Sin, but also to affirm that you accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Let’s leave aside that this version of baptism and affirmation leaves the door open to the “saved” person to antinomianism, the fact remains that adult baptism and affirmation only roll two distinct rites into one. Catholics have this covered by the distinct rite of “Confirmation” whereby you reaffirm the vows made over your head on your behalf at baptism. And the “reality” of what is implied is grim. Eternal punishment for being accursed by your god for crimes not committed.

        • BenP

          I’m being serious. Baptism is not necessary for salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 we’re saved by grace through faith. Not by baptism. Anyone who says that is wrong

        • wtfwjtd

          How can babies have faith?

        • BenP

          They can’t which is why I earlier said that if they died a baby they wouldn’t be condemnede

        • wtfwjtd

          But…I’m confused. Above you said that you don’t really know if God pardons babies or not, you just hope that he does. What if he doesn’t? Would that change your feelings towards God if he burns babies in hell for the deeds of other people?

        • wtfwjtd

          So, in other words, Christians don’t know if God really does pardon babies or not, so you just make up something that sounds comforting. How do you know that Christianity itself is not just made up in the same way? And what if God really does burn babies in hell for a deed that someone else committed 6,000 years ago? That sounds immoral to me.

        • BenP

          Well how do you know he does? How do you know that Christianity isn’t made up?

        • wtfwjtd

          I’m simply looking at the evidence. From where I sit, Christianity looks suspiciously like all the other man-made religions in the world…and so by the same criteria I reject them, I also reject Christianity as made-up too.

          How about you? How do you know that Buddhism or Islam or Mormonism are just made up? What led you to the conclusion that Christianity is the real deal, and all these other mutually exclusive religions are false?

        • BenP

          See what we’re doing. back and forth with variations of the same question. Let’s agree to disagree t

        • wtfwjtd

          Give it some serious thought, it’s an important question. I’m not trying to play a “gotcha” game with you, I just want to encourage you to think about this subject on a deeper level. The fact that you are interested in doing so is good–we can definitely agree on that.

        • BenP

          John 16:8-9 says because they do not believe in me. Therefore it implies that if you have the capacity mentally and reject him, you are condemnedi

        • wtfwjtd

          How can we make a rational decision whether to accept or reject the Christian God or not, if we aren’t even sure if he exists? This sounds like putting the cart before the horse to me.

        • hector_jones

          I.e. made up ad hoc.

        • hector_jones

          Pardoned? So at what age is the pardon revoked and they are pronounced guilty? Based on what actions? Is there a hearing?

        • 90Lew90

          What’s Baptism for then?

        • BenP

          Baptism is a profession of faith. When you choose to become a Christian it’s a ceremony to represent your new salvation. And not all Christian denominations baptize infants. Baptists, myself, only baptize people who know why they’re being baptized And understand. Not babies because they don’t understand why it’s happening.

        • 90Lew90

          That does nothing to counter the *fact* (according to your faith) that infants are born with Original Sin. That’s a concept I find repugnant. The whole thing in Christianity about baptising only people who know what they’re doing, or baptism as a profession of faith, is a recent contrivance.

        • BenP

          Why is original sin so “repugnant”

        • 90Lew90

          From my point of view as an atheist? Because it’s a hook by which religion diagnoses a non-existent disease and prescribes itself as the cure. Because as a human being, I am repelled by the notion that newborn babies are “guilty” of anything. If I accept the Bible’s version, just for now, it becomes even more repugnant and objectionable. The idea that every succeeding generation should be punished for the sins of one forebear is revolting and unjust, and then insult is added to injury in that we are invited to believe that this god is infinitely good, and so good that it’s the source of all that is good. So we must grovel. And if we don’t grovel, even because we didn’t know we were supposed to, we’re sent to live in the fiery pit with that god’s would-be nemesis, who is the very epitome of evil. This just does not add up. It is a horror story. It’s not even remotely cuddly. It’s revolting. And the bloodshed it has caused and continues to cause is not ketchup.

        • Pofarmer

          And also because the idea leads us to myriad wrong conclusions. Christopher Hitchens said it well. ” We are evolved primates, not fallen Angels.”

        • Rob Robinson

          You might find it repugnant that children are little sinners, but this is a fact that is indisputable. Jesus died for every person on the planet, previously and extant. Baptism does not save anyone. This is an event that is subsequent to salvation, after a person has believed upon Jesus for their salvation. Therefore, baptizing a child does not save them, for they have no knowledge of their sin, and in most cases, are not able to understand the Gospel. In cases where a person in unable to understand the Gospel, due to a mental incapacity, or immaturity, Jesus sacrifice covers their sin and they are exempt from judgment. Only those who have the ability to understand sin and their need for a Savior, and come to Jesus of their own free will–requesting the forgiveness of their sin and salvation, are imparted these things. Although salvation has been made available to every person, God will not force anyone to be saved. To do so would be tantamount to spiritual rape. God does, however, seek to influence our decision to receive Jesus–all the days of our life.

        • 90Lew90

          “You might find it repugnant that children are little sinners, but this is a fact that is indisputable.”

          No it isn’t. Don’t go confusing dogma with facts. Your entire post is conjecture which we are under no obligation whatsoever to accept it.

          “Spiritual rape.” That’s a new one on me. I’d prefer a quick spiritual raping to eternity in hell, but so far your god’s kept itself to itself.

        • Pofarmer

          that whole last paragraph of Rons was just babble.

        • wtfwjtd

          “In cases where a person in unable to understand the Gospel, due to a mental incapacity, or immaturity, Jesus sacrifice covers their sin and they are exempt from judgment.”

          How do you know this? What is your source for this information?

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          What happened to people before Jesus’ sacrifice? Were they all invariably condemned to hell because a perfect, sinless being wasn’t killed for them and so they had no method of salvation? If they did have a method of salvation, why did it become moot and replaced with “Now you have to acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice/understand the Gospel in order to achieve salvation”? God was the one who gave the conditions for salvation, right? Why did he change his mind?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You really need to make a distinction between “facts” from your dogma and facts that everyone accepts.

          You set up an unnecessary barrier between yourself and the person you’re talking to if you make claims like children being sinners as “indisputable.”

          A similar problem is when you quote the Bible as an authority.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible teaches that lust is the same as adultery and that anger is the same as murder. It follows that the things a child does is as bad as mass murder. This is not hard-wired morality. It is a Bible-based warping of human morality. You don’t need the Bible to teach you morality. You need to put it down and realize it is an immoral teaching.

        • Rob Robinson

          Anyone who has raised a child to adulthood, knows that children are NOT innocent. Perhaps you are speaking of a lack of knowledge of God’s law, which protects them from judgement? This is defined as the “age of accountability.” Where there is no knowledge of the law of God i.e., children, there is no transgression: Romans 4:15.

        • 90Lew90

          “Anyone who has raised a child to adulthood, knows that children are NOT innocent.”

          What are they guilty of?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You’re going to quote the Bible as an authoritative source? At an atheist blog?

        • Greg G.

          There is no mention of knowledge of the law in that verse or the passage. Paul is trying to tell the Romans that there is the Old Testament law and faith in Jesus. If you try to follow the law, you are required to follow it completely but faith is the easy way out.

          Bob is right. Quoting the Bible to an atheist blog carries no weight but misquoting it is even worse.

        • Rob Robinson

          Original sin or present sin, it is all the same to God. If you don’t believe that sin is a reality, what do you call all of the evil that men do on the earth? Doesn’t it strike you odd that we all know that evil exists and that the cause of this evil is the actions of people, yet many deny the premise of sin and our accountability for such actions. Where does the knowledge of right and wrong come from, if not transcendent of ourselves. Even a small child knows how to lie, without ever being taught. Our conscience bears witness that we are hardwired with knowledge of a moral law–within our hearts. Where did this knowledge come from?

        • 90Lew90

          Not accepting the religious concept of sin has no bearing on an individual’s ability to recognise right and wrong and neither does it have any bearing on accountability. They are completely separable and our moral capacity remains intact without the religious notion of “sin”, particularly since a lot of what is deemed “sin” is daft, harmless stuff.

          Neither is there any reason to believe that our moral capacity indicates a transcendent source. We are evolved, prosocial primates. There is plenty of evidence of a moral sense in the higher apes, our close cousins, which exhibit empathy and altruism readily. Ditto many other species. There is no ultimate “moral law” and our moral sense is not in our hearts but our heads.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          “Daft”? Next you’ll be saying that blasphemy is daft!

        • 90Lew90

          I’m pretty certain I’ve done enough blaspheming since this morning alone to get me roasted forever. Who knows what the Almightily Thin-Skinned One might dredge up from my irreverent past…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Just to add to Lew’s comment: the part about God being offended is where the sin idea goes off the rails. There is insufficient evidence to imagine any god, so worrying about how offended a thin-skinned god is doesn’t take us anywhere good.

          Imagining that we can hurt God is like imagining that we can hurt Superman.

          Knowledge of good vs. bad is no evidence of objective morality; it’s evidence of shared morality. And evolution is where this came from.

        • Greg G.

          Imagining that we can hurt God is like imagining that we can hurt Superman.

          Sin is God’s kryptonite.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Another point: God rejects the idea of original sin: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16).

        • MNb

          “what do you call all of the evil that men do on the earth?”
          Evil.

        • Greg G.

          Our conscience bears witness that we are hardwired with knowledge of a moral law–within our hearts. Where did this knowledge come from?

          Millions of years of evolution as a social species. Even monkeys have a sense of morality and fairness.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Sin doesn’t go away because we have sinful natures. But we don’t choose to have sinful natures. So who should we blame for giving us sinful natures? Presumably the manufacturer?

          If I could choose to not have a sinful nature I’d try it.

    • Rudy R

      What did Jesus sacrifice?

    • 90Lew90

      First, we have no reason to accept that Jesus was perfect, even from the accounts given of him, which have been heavily doctored to make him as perfect as possible. Good people are beaten and spat on and killed and die for causes or individuals all the time. That’s not to say these things aren’t laudable, heroic even, and the suffering tragic, but that in the scheme of things, Jesus was nothing special.

      • Rob Robinson

        It is important that you understand that the sinlessness of Jesus is a foundation of His claim to be the Messiah. If He is not without sin, if He was not born of a virgin, if any claim of sin can be linked to Jesus, He is disqualified from being the Savior of the World. In all of the history of the past 2,000 years, since Jesus death and Resurrection, not one credible and verifiable assertion of sin has been attached to Jesus. I wrote an article on this subject: http://robertcliftonrobinson.com/2014/05/12/if-jesus-was-not-born-of-a-virgin-he-could-not-be-our-savior/

        • 90Lew90

          Given that we can verify next to nothing about the guy, and given as I’ve said that the accounts of him have been heavily doctored, we have no reason to accept that he was “without sin”. And since sin is itself a religious idea, I’m not too bothered whether he was without it or not. Even the contention that he claimed he was the messiah is dodgy.

        • Pofarmer

          it seems that the perfection of the story is as likely to make him a myth as anything.

        • 90Lew90

          I just read the article he links to. Well, I had a stab at it but got bored. It’s pure flight of fancy. Apparently he’s a “Bible teacher”. Seems all the qualification you need to do that job is to have a bit of imagination so you can try to fit square pegs into round holes. Speaking of which, he’s talking about the immaculate conception, and how Jesus couldn’t be the saviour of the world if the conception wasn’t “immaculate”. Meaning no-sexo. Whatever we may think about the implication that sex is dirty, an implication which has caused untold misery in itself, what’s never raised in this respect is that even if his god did manage to get some ghost jizz into Mary, his birth would have broken her hymen. He’d have done that with his head on his way out. Technically, before his actual “birth”. As far as I’m aware, although it’s not something I spend much time thinking about, the criterion for virginity is an intact hymen. Ergo, Mary wasn’t a virgin when she had Jesus. Jesus himself could be said to have taken her virginity. Quick starter, eh! Unless of course he was magicked out of her. But now we’re into more flights of fancy. I suppose this stuff brings it out…

        • wtfwjtd

          So, God raping Mary is somehow supposed to give the whole story more coherency and credibility? Man, these crazy theist assertions really leave me scratching my head …

        • 90Lew90

          A nice précis of the Bible-believing Christian’s story:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISy0Hl0SBfg

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          “There’s nothin’ crazy ’bout me!”

          Just say that enough times and you’ll believe it.

        • 90Lew90

          The whole song’s not that wide of the mark but I wouldn’t ask you to subject yourself to its terribleness repeatedly… I’m sure the average Christian would be horrified to think how accurately it seems to catch their worldview.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m sure that you know about the Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. One of the apocrypha even has a scene where a midwife checks her hymen after the birth and has it in tact. Which kind of begs the question, if God could poof fetus Jesus into Mary, and then poof him out of Mary keeping her a Virgin, why not just poof him into existance in the first place?

        • 90Lew90

          I suppose then hundreds of generations of catholics would have been deprived of their dogdy fetishisation of virginity…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          And then you have the problem of how perfect Jesus can come from an imperfect mortal vessel. Solution: the Immaculate Conception between Mary’s parents. Why this doesn’t become an infinite regress isn’t addressed.

        • Greg G.

          Well, not infinite regress. It leads back to the question of “why God didn’t make Adam and Eve as perfect as he made Jesus?”

  • Rob Robinson

    Thanks for the article Bob. Although I disagree with you, I certainly appreciate your honest questions regarding the Christian Gospel. I have written an extensive ANSWER to your 10 points and posted it on my web site: http://wp.me/p4CfV0-Ei

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      That’s quite a long answer. Do you have a Reader’s Digest version? Or perhaps just the 1 or 2 points that are most important?

      • Rob Robinson

        Thanks Bob. Unfortunately, the important subjects you brought up in your article require a scholarly response. I do apologize for its length. I hope that the content will be helpful to those who are sincerely interested….

    • MNb

      “Today, the world’s leading scholars agree that the crucifixion of Jesus is a fact of history that is certain and indisputable.”
      That’s correct. But it doesn’t follow that he rose from the dead, as the next quote implies:

      “the very basis for a foundation that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose from the dead, as the New Testament records”
      No, it’s not the basis for a foundation that JoN rose from the dead. It’s totally possible that Jesus was crucified, died and remained dead. The fact that you ignore that option proves your intellectual dishonesty.

      “These facts are certain by the corroboration of the Bible, as well as secular history.”
      No, the resurrection is not a certain fact established by secular history. More intellectual dishonesty.

      “The orders of Pontius Pilate to have Jesus scourged and crucified are documented by one of the greatest Roman historians ever to write on this period, Tacitus.”
      And this is simply not true.

      http://www.livius.org/source-content/tacitus-on-the-christians/

      After this howler of yours I didn’t care to read on. You are guilty of exactly what you accuse BobS of, so I can’t take you seriously.

      Concerning the greatness of Tacitus:

      http://www.livius.org/person/tacitus/
      http://www.livius.org/source-content/tacitus-on-the-jews/

      “he was not a real historian, but a moralist”
      “It is a curious mix of fact, fiction, and slander”
      Be careful picking the heroes of christianity. They might turn against it.

      • Rob Robinson

        Thanks for the questions regarding the Resurrection of Jesus. I understand your trepidation in this issue, particularly if all that you have read so far is in opposition to the Resurrection. You should understand that there are many hundreds of scholars who have spent their lives gaining the proper credentials and doing the necessary research, who have written extensively that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a certainty of history. I have written on this subject, if you would be interested in reading credible evidence that is more than sufficient to give you confidence in this important event. The article is called” The Certainty of the Resurrection.” Here at this link: http://wp.me/p4CfV0-ED

        • 90Lew90

          You call that scholarly?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Discovering a well-written article (not a tome, like yours) that tells me where I’m wrong is like a Christmas present. I, for one, am eager to read all sides of any topic regarding the accuracy of the Christian claims. Many of the commenters here are more knowledgeable about these topics than I am, and they may feel the same way. Few of us feel trepidation about reading challenging arguments simply because we’ve been through so much bluster and found so little of substance.

          I took a look at your article. First sentence:

          We should remember that the statements of those who witnessed the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are recorded posthumously for us in the historical record.

          And we’re off to a bad start. You just assume there were eyewitnesses? You just assume that the gospels are part of the “historical record”? Fail.

          But maybe it gets better. Sentence #2:

          There is absolutely no reason for any person to doubt the authenticity of the testimony which has been given to us concerning the events that are narrated in the text of the New Testament.

          So we know that the arguments against your position are wrong just because? The opposition has absolutely nothing to give the Christian pause? Fail. And I have no interest in continuing through the remaining 14,000 words.

          As MNb experienced with your previous article, you can see why a skeptic will have a hard time wading through the dross to find the few provocative ideas.

          As I offered before, if you want to pick out the few ideas that actually show some understanding of the skeptic’s position, I would like to read that. Correct my position, if you can.

        • MNb

          The scholar I linked to above is not in opposition to the Resurrection; his position is that science can’t say anything about it. I disagree, but accept that historical research can’t say anything about it. So the sentence “I understand your trepidation” is another example of your dishonesty. And I tend not to read articles written by dishonest people, unless they are unintentionally funny.
          I refer to BobS’ comment underneath. If you have credible evidence you can present it here. Unless shown otherwise I assume you haven’t, which seems also BobS’ conclusion.

  • Rick D.

    Time and space had a beginning. If you site Brane theory, you are only pushing the problem back one step.
    The expansion of the universe is accelerating.
    Dark energy??? (another paradox).

    As the sphere of knowledge increases so too does the border to the
    unknown, (variation of a quote from Einstein).

    If science is to have any chance of grasping the nature of reality, it must
    first solve the question of how the universe wound itself up through random
    processes.

    Why does infinity pop out of the equations used to describe the singularity of a black hole?
    What about the singularity of the big bang?
    We do not understand time.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      And do you demand an explanation for God? Why do you worry about science and infinite regression but not God?

      Thank you for the list of science puzzles. I already knew that many questions remain to be answered and scientists are still busy working on them. Is there a point to this? Are you saying, “Science has questions; therefore, God?”

      • Rick D.

        This is my point.
        You do not have a defensible position.

        Example:
        Predestination vs free will, which one is correct?
        If you are inside of the time domain free will appear to be correct but if you are outside of time everything has been determined.

        You are standing in the wrong place arguing about something you can never prove, but you pretend to know.

        This is not a matter of having reasoned it out.
        You have NOT looked at the matter from every possible angle.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t care, either.

  • kb

    To fulfill the prophecy of his life , skeptical thoughts like yours are good ,
    please strip away all supernatural aspects of the Jesus story and pay
    attention to the message he delivered about how folks should behave to
    each other .Would not the world be a better place if everyone followed his
    teachings ? The mystical aspects of his ministry were his credentials , he
    did not like to do the “miracles” , he came as a teacher . The manner of his
    death was fully predicted hundreds of years in advance as yet another proof of who sent him .

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I don’t find the teachings of Jesus to be all that special, relevant, or even unique.

      No, there is no prophecy of his death in the Old Testament. I’ve responded to the vague claims made about Daniel, Ps. 22, and Is. 53 (search for those posts if you’d like more).

    • MNb

      “pay attention to the message he delivered about how folks should behave to each other.”
      Done so. I’m not impressed.

      “Would not the world be a better place if everyone followed his teachings?”
      No.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2013/05/fisking-the-sermon-on-the-mount/
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2011/09/the-evils-of-the-sermon-on-the-mount-part-1/

      Granted, given its time and place Jesus was quite a progressive guy, but I simply don’t think it a good idea to stick with someone who lived 2000 years ago. For one thing I think higher of Franciscus of Assisi.

  • Jonathan
    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Thanks. I’ll take a look.

      • MNb

        Have fun tracking down all the logical fallacies. For instance his answer to #7 looked pretty good – until I reread the point you actually made …..

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Jonathan: Thanks for the response. Most of these are off the topic. Here’s a brief response.

      how could that undermine the truth claim?

      1. Not the point. I’m dismissing those people who say the agony was that big a deal.

      his suffering was infinite

      2. Whatever. You can say whatever you want, but I need the evidence.

      does not mean the sacrifice was not paid

      3. I never said otherwise. I’m demanding that you pick: sacrifice or miracle. You can’t have both.

      Because Adam is representative of man, his downfall is passed down to us who come after him

      4. “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin” (Deut. 24:16).

      5. Don’t blame Adam for a moral lapse when he had no moral knowledge.

      it is amazing that Jesus can be so perfect that he can heal the sick and sacrifice himself for people who deserve death

      6. No–not amazing. Like I said in the original post, Jesus doing something noble is like water flowing downhill.

      As for “people who deserve death,” whatever happened to the religion of peace and love? This “I’m worthy of nothing but death!” nonsense says that your creator is a nasty piece of work for creating things that are worthless scum.

      she will forgive her child for this misdeed

      7. And God won’t, so this is a poor analogy. Your religion says that when I show up for Judgement, the fact that God made me imperfect won’t compensate for my sins. Nope–I go to hell.

      God has to fix it through his son’s sacrifice on the cross

      And how is this a parallel with anything that we understand here on earth. No, it’s not like the mother whose child broke the vase. For the mother, fixing the vase is a burden. For a God who can do anything, it’s not.

      Jesus was a real person

      8. Yet again, not the issue. The miracles have little evidence. I’m not talking about Jesus within history.

      asking for forgiveness

      9. Uh, yeah. I always find that asking for forgiveness is the tough part. Not.

      Can you seriously imagine that this is the point of the Prodigal Son story? If you get hung up on the asking part, well, best of luck with that. The rest of us are having a tougher time with being the wronged party and forgiving. That is the point of the story.

      God is certainly willing to forgive

      Nope. Gotta have that human sacrifice to make the magic work.

      ignores the doctrine of free will

      10. Huh? God is no champion of free will. When the murderer imposes on the free will of the victim, Batman is there to help. Not so God.

      God does not condemn the unbeliever to hell; the unbeliever chooses to put himself there

      Well, at least we agree that the whole hell concept is crazy on the face of it and you need to find some sort of loophole to make it OK for God.

      I find it amazing that God can’t do anything without his apologists coming behind to clean up after him. Not support for slavery (Lev. 25:44-46) and genocide in the OT. Not creating hell in the New Testament. God is like a pampered heir and Daddy’s minions come after him, cleaning up the hotel rooms he trashes.

      Here’s an idea: let’s let the Bible speak for itself and answer for itself. I prefer to treat the Bible with the respect of assuming that its claims and demands can stand up to scrutiny. You apparently don’t have the stomach for facing them squarely.

      What’s the catch? All you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ and trust him with your life

      That’s the catch. I can’t just believe, just like you can’t just believe in leprechauns. It’s like heaven is “whites only” and I’m black.


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