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Old 08-02-2010, 03:24 PM   #31
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I still struggle with this. Lately, I've been more interested in the actual time Jesus spent on Earth and how it speaks to my life today. More than anything, I've realized how judgemental and divisive I've been. Heaven sounds nice, but I am alive here and now and I think Jesus sets the best example for a life filled with gentleness, love, and compassion.


and this totally makes sense to me.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:06 PM   #32
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using scripture to "prove" scripture is really circular
All we have are his words. So it is what it is...

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i guess the big thing is not that he volunteered to be crucified but that he didn't ask his dad to shoot electricity down on the Romans so he could escape into the desert.
I don't disagree, but I think it's also significant that he chose to die. The power of the Garden of Gethesemane is that even in Jesus' darkest moment, when He was tempted to walk away, He chose to stay true.

Additionally, the fact that Jesus prayed forgiveness for those crucifying Him is also significant. Love always needs a context -- and love in the face of barbarism may be the noblest of all.

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the importance of the resurrection i get, but the importance of the suffering on the cross? couldn't he have just been hit by a car and still turned into Zombie Jesus?
The whole point of the cross and resurrection is love. In the face of most religions of the time, which painted a picture of angry gods who demanded human sacrifice, Jesus painted a different picture -- of a God who loved us enough to sacrifice Himself rather than us, out of a love that is more powerful than death. It's no small distinction.

Zombie Jesus, by the way, is very funny.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:07 PM   #33
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I've always thought that the point of Jesus dying was that he refused to back down from what he preached and lived, and in the end, he was basically killed for "being nice" to the wrong people and calling out those that weren't. He set an example that by doing the right thing, you can change the world for the better.

Strange thing about the way I look at him, I'm kinda not so impressed by the resurrection and the opening of the kingdom of Heaven and the forgiveness of our sins, or whatever they say happened when he died. That feels like some sort of tacked on extension to his tale. Guess it sold more Bibles, got the story out. It's probably odd that I find all that post-death stuff unimportant...
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:51 PM   #34
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All we have are his words. So it is what it is...



I don't disagree, but I think it's also significant that he chose to die. The power of the Garden of Gethesemane is that even in Jesus' darkest moment, when He was tempted to walk away, He chose to stay true.

Additionally, the fact that Jesus prayed forgiveness for those crucifying Him is also significant. Love always needs a context -- and love in the face of barbarism may be the noblest of all.



The whole point of the cross and resurrection is love. In the face of most religions of the time, which painted a picture of angry gods who demanded human sacrifice, Jesus painted a different picture -- of a God who loved us enough to sacrifice Himself rather than us, out of a love that is more powerful than death. It's no small distinction.

Zombie Jesus, by the way, is very funny.


while all of this makes sense, i don't think it quite answers the question as to why such extreme violence and a blood sacrifice was somehow necessary to the redemption of all mankind. like, before Jesus, everyone was just dead, right?

i don't understand how the process "works," and in the end, this God got himself a human sacrifice, just like all the others.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:07 PM   #35
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Jesus had to die because he was fully human (and fully divine) and humans...die.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:16 PM   #36
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while all of this makes sense, i don't think it quite answers the question as to why such extreme violence and a blood sacrifice was somehow necessary to the redemption of all mankind.
The history of sacred blood covenants -- particularly in Jewish and Middle-Eastern culture -- is long and involved, too long to get into here, and those with a longer grasp of history could probably discuss it better than I. Since the more literal translation of the "Old Testament" and "New Testament" is "Old Covenant" and "New Covenant," however, I don't think it's out of bounds to say that for Christians, Jesus' death signified the end of a covenant relationship with God based on blood, and the establishment of a new covenant relationship based on grace.

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in the end, this God got himself a human sacrifice, just like all the others.
This conclusion depends, I suppose, on where you land in terms of Jesus' divinity.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:18 PM   #37
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while all of this makes sense, i don't think it quite answers the question as to why such extreme violence and a blood sacrifice was somehow necessary to the redemption of all mankind. like, before Jesus, everyone was just dead, right?

i don't understand how the process "works," and in the end, this God got himself a human sacrifice, just like all the others.
Perhaps by suffering God is letting us know what he knows what we feel, he's felt pain just as we have. Sure, others have suffered more brutal deaths, but almost all of us can agree Jesus knew what what it was like to suffer. Also, part of the Mystery of the Cross is that the suffering went beyond the physical pain - far worse was the broken relationship between Christ and God while he "'took on sin."

The other, more salient point (in my opinion), is that Jesus sets things new for everyone, to remind us that God sees all of us his children, not just those that claim a religion in his name. His death marks the end of the broken relationship between man and God - his resurrection was day one of the new relationship - and that we are all called to begin the work that started in Eden - of making this world a beautiful, wonderful place with God right there with us.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:24 PM   #38
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I find myself believing in God (or something) not because of some book or someone preaching down at me from a podium but because I cannot listen to a symphony that Beethoven composed when he was deaf or look at a newborn child and not believe in something greater than myself and my own limited potential.
I will give Christianity this much: Bach's music is the greatest. Nothing created by a secular artist will ever or can ever surpass it.

Also, I quite like this:

YouTube - Jerusalem
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:26 PM   #39
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I am starting to believe that the Second Coming is more of a process than an single point in time - that each of has some small but essential task to carry out to make earth more like heaven.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:18 PM   #40
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the importance of the resurrection i get, but the importance of the suffering on the cross? couldn't he have just been hit by a car and still turned into Zombie Jesus?
I think a hit and run would have also been sufficient, though that eliminates the issue of Jesus choosing to die. Electric chair, lethal injection, firing squad, what have you. . .all would be fine. I don't think the crucial issue is HOW Jesus died, but that he did. Granted, many Christians have made a big issue out of the the nature of his death--we sing songs about it etc, but I really don't see any evidence that the specific nature of his death was necessary for salvation.

As for the necessity of a "blood sacrifice" at least within my own denomination there is definitely disagreement as to how necessary that was. There are some that feel that the "good cop/bad cop" picture of God and Jesus is deeply problematic. God, of the white beard and lightning bolts is all pissed off and ready to zap humanity and nice Jesus leaps in front of him and takes the heat instead, pleading "my blood, my blood" and God is appeased. Not that most would describe it that way, but it is what is implied and it's not a pretty picture. Not one I subscribe to certainly.

So one might wonder--how is anyone supposed to take Christianity seriously when even the adherents can agree on how it all works. For me, the answer is to stick to first principles: "God loves us no matter what", "We all need help--none of us is perfect", "God has provided help for us", "God invites us to know Him, and knowing Him makes us more like Him--people who love others as He does" and "We have the hope of eternal life someday." That pretty much sums up what I believe--the rest is just gravy.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:32 PM   #41
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So one might wonder--how is anyone supposed to take Christianity seriously when even the adherents can agree on how it all works.
For me, that isn't why I'm not a Christian. The fact that there are theological disagreements between various sections of Christianity wouldn't cause me to take Christianity either more or less seriously. I don't have a lower or higher opinion of Christianity because of the disagreements. There are disgreements amongst scientists but that doesn't cause me to dismiss science.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:43 PM   #42
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For me, that isn't why I'm not a Christian. The fact that there are theological disagreements between various sections of Christianity wouldn't cause me to take Christianity either more or less seriously. I don't have a lower or higher opinion of Christianity because of the disagreements. There are disgreements amongst scientists but that doesn't cause me to dismiss science.
Very astute observation.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:57 PM   #43
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I don't think the crucial issue is HOW Jesus died, but that he did. Granted, many Christians have made a big issue out of the the nature of his death--we sing songs about it etc, but I really don't see any evidence that the specific nature of his death was necessary for salvation.
I think it's probably both/and. We can't necessarily discount the method of death that was brought on Jesus -- one of brutality and shame, and the result of human hands. For me, the reality that we crucify our prophets makes me culpable in his death. As a result, I am in need of a savior too -- because I know the darkness I'm capable of. The cross then is not just a symbol of God's love, but also of my own darkness and brokenness.

At the same time, while the cross is important, it's insufficient without the resurrection, and I think Christians have looked more to the cross than the resurrection. For me, as mind-boggling as it is that someone would willingly die for me that way, the empty tomb is far more compelling.

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God, of the white beard and lightning bolts is all pissed off and ready to zap humanity and nice Jesus leaps in front of him and takes the heat instead, pleading "my blood, my blood" and God is appeased.
Again, blood covenants and human/animal sacrifices had been a defining element of cultures over the centuries. One could say then that humanity had drawn God into this kind of economy, and the only way for God to draw them out was to spill blood -- so the blood He chose to spill was His own.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:10 PM   #44
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I think it's probably both/and. We can't necessarily discount the method of death that was brought on Jesus -- one of brutality and shame, and the result of human hands. For me, the reality that we crucify our prophets makes me culpable in his death. As a result, I am in need of a savior too -- because I know the darkness I'm capable of. The cross then is not just a symbol of God's love, but also of my own darkness and brokenness.

At the same time, while the cross is important, it's insufficient without the resurrection, and I think Christians have looked more to the cross than the resurrection. For me, as mind-boggling as it is that someone would willingly die for me that way, the empty tomb is far more compelling.



Again, blood covenants and human/animal sacrifices had been a defining element of cultures over the centuries. One could say then that humanity had drawn God into this kind of economy, and the only way for God to draw them out was to spill blood -- so the blood He chose to spill was His own.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that God wasn't intentional in choosing the nature of His death, but I think it was chosen more for it's usefulness from an illustrative standpoint as you've described than because of some sort of cosmic necessity that it must be so. The only theological "requirement",if you will is simply that God chose it.

I think the blood covenant/sacrifice analogy made a lot more sense, carried more resonance, and was much less repugnant to the people of Christ's time than it is to us today. I'm not sure that our insistence on harping on the blood today isn't doing more harm than good. People no longer relate to these descriptives the way they would have in first century Palestine. It just sounds macabre. The idea that God loved us a enough to give His life for us. . .that idea, I think, has timeless currency.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:43 PM   #45
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There are some that feel that the "good cop/bad cop" picture of God and Jesus is deeply problematic. God, of the white beard and lightning bolts is all pissed off and ready to zap humanity and nice Jesus leaps in front of him and takes the heat instead, pleading "my blood, my blood" and God is appeased.
lol
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