Bloody Human Sacrifice Atonement Mythology
One of the central foundations upon which most Christian religions are centered is the doctrine that Jesus died on the Cross in an atoning sacrifice that “paid the price for” our sins which then allows us to be eligible for Eternal Salvation.
The specific details of how this works vary from Catholics to evangelical Christians to Mormons and to other sects of Christianity, but for the most part, other than the most liberal of denominations which take a less doctrinaire view of the subject, most Christians teach this belief at their core.
An important question at the core of this belief in an atoning sacrifice would be: what is required for mortal humans to enter “heaven” or “paradise” in whatever life exists after death. Central to that is the role of Jesus in that “salvation”: does he offer us the path to Salvation because he taught us the path we should follow, or because he died for our sins in an Atonement?
Whether or not there is any life after this one, it could be clearly argued that the moral teachings of Jesus, centered on universal compassion expressed in behavioral action, at least make the world a better place in this life. If there is life after this one and his teachings continue to better our existence after death, so much the better. There is much to be said for what Jesus reportedly taught his followers and, through the record that has been handed down, to us.
Yet there are many who would undermine this legacy, and weaken it with a bloody mythology of human sacrifice. They would simplistically dismiss Jesus’ teachings about the need for behavioral action, and preach that salvation exists because Jesus died on a cross as payment for our sins. Such a belief shows a total disregard for human accountability in achieving salvation, and allows someone like Beverly Russell [stepfather to Susan Smith (who drowned her two innocent boys)], to molest his daughter over a period of years — as a teenager and even continuing as a young married mother — and, by becoming a “born-again believer” receive complete forgiveness, without any other real change of character or behavior. No wonder he joined the Christian Coalition! Is this a great religion, or what!?
Focus On Greed
The emphasis of the belief in bloody human sacrifice mythology is one of greed: getting a “free gift” for doing nothing in exchange. This, of course, contrasts directly with the teaching of Jesus to love others and give unselfishly, as Jesus is quoted in Acts 20:35 as having said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” How different from the focus on getting a free gift, which is the emphasis of atonement mentality.
Sinners in the Presence of God
First of all, the need for an Atonement seems to hinge on the concept that our “sins” must somehow be “washed away,” owing to a concept that no “unclean” thing (or person) can tolerate the presence of a perfect god, and thus there is the need for a mediator to cleanse such “unclean” mortal sinners.
Yet, while the worshippers of bloody human sacrifice mythology would have us believe that it is predicated on the fact that god cannot have imperfect sinners in his presence, these same people believe that this same god (incarnate as Jesus) embraced the lowliest and most sinful and sought them in his presence! One cannot logically believe that Jesus was God, that God cannot abide the presence of sinners, and that Jesus embraced, touched and love sinners in his presence.
The scenario goes something like this: “I need to be pure or of perfect goodness in order to enter the kingdom of god. But I am blemished with sin, a stain that I am incapable of washing out myself. My lack of goodness constitutes a debt, but lacking the requisite goodness, I am not able to pay this debt myself.” Therefore, I need someone perfect (of enough pure goodness) who has the capacity, or richness, or affordability to pay the debt on my behalf.” Thus, the need of a savior or mediator.
Need for a Mediator?
It seems to me that this presents a very wimpy view of what is supposed to be an omnipotent, all-powerful deity. Either he/she is incapable of withstanding the presence of one “tainted” with “sin” (is this weak or what?), or is incapable on creating the right times and situations where one so tainted might be able to approach his/her divine presence. Both are limitations on the “power” of the “all”-mighty. [Compare Romans 8:38-39: Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Jesus Christ our Lord.]
If god is our spiritual father, then shouldn’t he at least measure up to the standards of imperfect, puny mortal fathers? (See Matt 7:11). I am a “Daddy” as well as a “Grandpa.” If my daughter or granddaughter did something wrong, or got “dirty,” I would still have the ability (as weak and imperfect as I am compared to a god) to stoop to her level, hold her close to me and try to help her through the problem. Her imperfection, even if it required some form of punishment or discipline, would not prevent me from being able to remain close to her, if I really loved her. It might require some form of remedial attention, but that would not necessarily mean separation. So how can some people claim that a god described as being all powerful can’t even remain close to his spiritual children if that’s what he wants? Why are they imposing limits on what god can or can’t do? Is he all powerful or isn’t he? Why does he need a mediator? And if Jesus is really god, and they are one and the same, then he isn’t really an intercessor or mediator at all — he would be interceding to or mediating with himself!
And even if the whole ludicrous concept made any sense at all, we still wouldn’t need a Messiah. If a perfect being needed to “take upon himself” the sins of others, why couldn’t god just do it himself? If Jesus, assuming the debt, has the right to forgive it, why doesn’t the original debtholder? Why not just be efficient and cut out the middleman (which is, literally, what the “mediator” is)? Why can this omnipotent deity forgive after being crucified but not before? How does Jesus’ torture give an omnipotent God more power to forgive than he already had? And, if one holds a concept of trinity, which says that Jesus IS god, then, in fact, there IS no mediator or middleman anyway, god is just punishing himself, so what exactly is the point? What is accomplished?
Suffering for all the sins of humankind
The concept of atonement often includes the belief that Jesus also took upon himself the suffering for all the sins of all persons who have ever lived, now live or will ever live.
Even if you believe that Jesus somehow took upon himself that suffering, as well as the suffering of every other sin against every other human who ever lived or will live, I have never even heard anyone even suggest that Jesus’ “taking upon him the suffering for those sins” in any way also took away the suffering of those victims. At the very best, if you can even believe that he did that, all you have is a single instance in which you simply double the amount of suffering in the universe (once by the victim and again by Jesus when he re-experiences all this suffering). You have not taken away the victimhood of the original victim. If Jesus could take away the pain and suffering of those victims, and transfer the entire victimhood away from them and solely to himself, this concept might hold a little more merit. But we all know that didn’t happen. No one has ever even claimed that all the victims were relieved of their suffering, since everyone of us has endured some level of suffering for others’ sins against us so we all know that it didn’t happen. If Jesus just added another instance of that suffering to himself, then all you have is an increase of suffering, and for what? Sorry, but I just can’t see an all-knowing, all-wise deity working that way. Let’s imagine the worst possible crime: an evil, malicious man kidnaps, molests, tortures and ultimately murders an innocent young child. The child suffers terribly through every phase of this crime. The fact that Jesus died on the cross or even re-experienced all that suffering does not undo or eliminate the fact of how much this child has suffered. Even a smaller crime, like schoolyard bullying or taunting someone who is “different” — the victim has suffered, and Jesus’ death did nothing to change that.
Paying “The Price”
If Jesus “paid” a “ransom” for our sins, who did he pay it to? Is it to the Devil, who owns our souls because we are imprisoned in sin (Satan has “kidnapped” our souls) — would God pay off a ransom to a criminal? Or does Jesus pay this “ransom” to God — the supreme judge of the eternal court? Does God extort the payment of ransoms like a common kidnapper? If Jesus is God, is he paying the ransom to himself?
Secondly, did he pay the ransom? The Bible says “The wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23 (as part of Paul’s ridiculous atonement theory based on a transferably physical concept of sin that goes way beyond the purely symbolic gestures of animal sacrifices or scapegoats in the Old Testament in Lev 16:9-10)]. The consequence of sin is HELL [Matt 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; Mk 9:43, 47; Rev 20:14-15 and many more]. Did Jesus die? Well, he was killed on the cross. But, in that sense, all humans die — so, if that is what pays the price of sin, we all pay for our sins, so why do we need a surrogate to pay it for us? If something on the order of 36 hours worth of being “dead” (from sunset Friday to sunrise Sunday — notwithstanding that Matt 12:40 and Mark 8:31 prophecy that the “son of man” will stay buried three days and three nights — more contradictions and failed prophecies) pays the price of all sins of all persons who ever lived, now live, or will ever live, then if each person pays their own share, stays dead for a brief time, then why can’t they then live in heaven, having paid their price? Since your belief is that those who don’t accept Jesus WILL pay their own price (to satisfy justice if they reject mercy), then they must be capable of paying it. So let them pay it, come back from their sleep, and let eternal life roll forward!
Did Jesus die in some other sense? Is he dead? No! Christians tell us that he lives! Despite the absurdity of saying that the response to sin should be torture by the “fireboarding” of hell, at least if they said that Jesus paid for our sins by dying from the eyes of god and spending an eternity in hell for every person’s sins, there would be a modicum of moral consistency. But no, he is not dead, and he is not in hell — he is at the right hand of god! He did not pay the price that we would have had to pay without his supposed sacrifice.
Further, if Jesus actually paid the price, then it is paid. Period. It is either paid or it isn’t. So if I sin and don’t accept Jesus as my savior, but he already paid the price, then why should I have to pay it again? If I reject faith in Jesus so that I have to pay my own price by actually suffering death or the eternal torture of “fireboarding,” but Jesus already paid it, then it has been paid twice.
Part of the problem with the concept of blood atonement, beyond the need for absolutely purity already discussed, is that it does not address the nature of sin — what “sin” is — and thus how to become cleansed from it. “Sin” is not a tangible, physical object, like a ball or a Frisbee, that you can throw or catch or hold onto or give from one person to another. Sin is an intangible function of character, representing the negative aspects of character flaws just as virtue represents the positive aspects of character goodness. While one might use allegoric examples from the physical world to illustrate ideas, the literal belief that you can transfer sin from one person (the sinner) to another (a guiltless substitute) is absurd because it contravenes the very nature of sin. And, in fact, the absurdity of saying that Jesus took upon himself all the suffering for sin is made clear by the fact that, as a consequence of mortals’ sins, the original participants (both perpetrators and victims) did not have their suffering transferred to Jesus. They still suffered fully, so if Jesus also suffered, the only thing that happened was a doubling of the suffering, which hardly seems to be an act of either justice or mercy. Killing Jesus did not undo the original sins he supposedly took upon himself or the suffering that resulted from them.
While the Old Testament clearly has symbolic gestures of sin transference such as animal sacrifices (detailed in the first and third chapters of Leviticus and numerous other references) and the infamous “scapegoat,”* Paul is the one who seems to have adapted this to a literal transference with a human sacrifice. While Jesus does mention ransom for sin and forgiveness for sin (and please note that words such as “ransom” or “sacrifice” do not imply sin transference — those who pay ransoms to kidnappers do not transfer sins, and heroes who give their lives for others do not take upon themselves the sins of those others), Paul is the one who introduces a literal concept of sin transference.
Additionally, Paul is the only one, directly contradicting numerous other New Testament references, who says that this atonement occurs completely apart from the requirement of any behavioral component (works or deeds). Many Bible teachers, including Jesus himself, do emphasize the need for faith — but always in conjunction with the ensuing behavioral action which follows. Paul stands alone in teaching that faith can exist apart from behavioral response or character transformation.
Punished for OTHERS’ sins?
Furthermore, Paul not only teaches a ridiculous concept of sin transference in regard to expunging our own sins, but he goes even further with suggestions in Romans 5:14 and I Cor 15:22 that many have interpreted to mean that we also have to be redeemed from the transgressions (sins) of Adam and Eve! If my father and mother do something wrong, why should I get punished for that — something that happened before I was even born? What do their wrongs have to do with my sins? Talk about unfair! The scenario is ridiculous enough if the atonement supposedly pays a physical price (transferable, with no explanation of how) for my own sins. When Paul suggests that it isn’t even for my sins, but for someone else’s, he has really lost any semblance of justice!
There is no logical connection between killing an innocent man and making the sins of others go away! The only purpose served by this bloodthirsty doctrine of human sacrifice is to propose an easier way, based on affinity or loyalty — us vs. them — instead of actually having to change your flawed character and then live by what you profess. It transforms Christianity from a movement of activists reaching out to those in need, into a movement of subservient followers. The entire doctrine of blood atonement to take away sins is not merely irrational, but a device invented by the renegade “apostle” Paul for bypassing the much higher standard for salvation taught by Jesus himself — that salvation can only occur through universal compassionate love expressed actively in deeds.
Civil or Criminal?
Even the analogy of “paying the debt” is inappropriate. It would be more applicable to a civil debt, whereas the commission of sin is more akin to a criminal violation. While we might appreciate that one person can pay the debt of another, we would not tolerate innocent people being punished for guilty ones. If a convicted serial murder/rapist plead guilty to multiple counts of murder and rape, would we allow his law-abiding gray-haired mother to volunteer to step in and serve his prison time (or be executed) in his stead? Following that “satisfaction of justice,” would we then tolerate allowing the murder/rapist to be turned back onto the streets?
Jesus’ Gift of Salvation
What, then, is the role of Jesus in salvation (either in a life after this one or in making this one a happier and more peaceful existence)?
First of all, Jesus explicitly and emphatically rejects Paul’s teaching, referenced in the preceding paragraphs, of a salvation theology based on atonement through a bloody human sacrifice. The gospel according to Matthew twice, in Matt 9:13 and Matt 12:7, states that Jesus said: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (King James Version). More modern translations, such as the Revised Standard Version and New International Version, update the archaic meaning of the word “will” and translate Jesus’ statements in both verses as: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (emphasis added). This could not be a more explicit rejection of Paul’s later teaching.
A loving but omnipotent god would have the ability to condescend to the level of imperfect sinners and make them feel comfortable in his presence. In our modern world, highly educated medical professional go into emergency rooms to care for those covered with blood and dirt or risk their lives (“greater love hath no man”) in the presence of those with deadly incurable communicable diseases; counselors work with those who are poor, in jail, or abused to help them find a better way; and teachers condescend to the level of those who are uneducated to lead them out of ignorance. 2,000 years ago, Jesus (reputed to be perfect and a representative of the Godhead) made those who were dirty, poor and reviled to feel comfortable in his presence. He touched lepers, forgave sinners, blessed the poor and consorted with (yuck!) tax collectors. As has been previously noted in earlier articles, it was the central message from Jesus: his first teaching, his last teaching and the foundation of his teaching in between.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus taught us to love our enemies. Later, when asked by a lawyer what is the “greatest commandment” in the law, this Jewish rabbi quoted from the Old Testament law to love god [Deut 6:5] and love your neighbor as yourself [Lev 19:18], as reported in Luke 10:25-37 and Matt 22:36-40. Note further, that in the Luke account, this was illustrated by an example, the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was used to define “neighbor” very broadly, to include enemies. The Samaritan (the hated enemy) is the one who exemplifies this broad definition, and who provides the example of one who is saved by their compassionate actions toward their enemy. Yet the Samaritan is not even a believer, not one having “faith” nor one who has accepted Jesus as savior, yet this is who Jesus chooses as the example of one who gains eternal life, which is what the lawyer specifically asked.
In his last general teaching, Jesus said that salvation would be based on our love for god in how we treat those whom he called “the least of these” (Matt 25:31-46). In his own actions, Jesus consistently expressed love and closeness to sinners, lepers, tax collectors and other outcasts, while saving his rare words of harshness and anger for the Pharisees and Sadducees — the pompous, self-righteous administrators of the established religious orthodoxy.
Yet some would assert this ridiculous doctrine that god is incapable of adhering to this doctrine, because either he/she cannot withstand the presence of these least ones, or is incapable of making them feel comfortable in his/her presence. What kind of eternal parent is incapable of embracing his/her weak, imperfect children, even when they are dirty or hurting and need that presence the most?
The Real Process of Removing Stains
But, even if such a scenario were correct — that we must have all “stains” removed before we can be in the presence of god — (only for the sake of argument, since I do not agree, as noted previously), the process of using a “mediator” to eliminate the stain of those sins by “paying off a debt” is terribly simplistic and flawed. It does not address the real nature of sin. It treats good and evil as physical commodities — something tangible, like a baseball or a Frisbee that you can chase and catch, as previously discussed.
Aside from the problem with why we cannot simply cleanse the stain ourselves with a good washing (learning correct principles and values to offset the wrong ones), or go out and productively earn enough “goodness currency” to pay the debt off ourselves, it does not address the nature of sin and of how to overcome it.
Sin is a negative spiritual essence — a flaw of character — not a tangible object. It exists as a negative form of consciousness, of thought, of motive, of spirit — in some way that intangible energy of life force in its negative expression.
It is not an object that can be bought, sold, lent, owed, or the object of indebtedness. If I am burdened by sin, there is no physical action that another person can take to remove it. The only thing another person can do is reach me at the applicable level of consciousness, of thought, of motive, or spirit involved — by condescending to my sinful level, if necessary and teaching me what is right, or developing in me right values, attitudes, feelings and motives that will lead to changed feelings and a new life.
The atonement concept represents the same mentality as the misguided people who seek happiness (which is also not physical in nature) so they try to pursue it directly, by selfish means, as if they could reach out and grab it like chasing a baseball or a butterfly, instead of setting in motion the internal processes which allow happiness to develop naturally. In the same way, overcoming “sin” or evil is an internal transformational process, not something that can be handed off to someone else.
Punishment or payment are not part of the equation, except insofar as they may help in an instructive manner. And especially there is no logical need for punishing an innocent man for the sins of others. What a miscarriage of justice! Even if Jesus’ sacrifice were voluntary, or a noble gesture of love on his part, it would be a manifestation of his goodness; it would do nothing for our salvation. There is simply no logical connection between an innocent man hanging painfully on an old wooden cross, and the eradication of evil thoughts, motives, or behavior from those who can only do so through a change of heart and attitude through the experience of kindness, love and compassionate joy.
The irony is that Jesus, in what he taught throughout his ministry — not in an “atonement,” but in a consistent message of universal compassion actively expressed — provided the means for character reformation and grown that actually can transform the sinner and allow him to overcome sin. By developing feelings of universal compassion and then expressing them in action, or if one does not feel such feelings, do the actions anyway until they become natural to you and you do feel the compassion, character is truly transformed. Those who are hardened become softened and gentle. Character is transformed. Sin is expunged.
Yet Jesus is remembered and worshipped as a savior for his suffering and death on the cross, and supposed resurrection, which became an “atonement” for sin. In cruel irony, this off-centered emphasis, founded in greedy motives of selfishness, along with a preoccupation on rituals, ceremonies and unrelated lesser teachings, distract most of Jesus’ nominal followers from primary attention on the core of what he actually taught.
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Posted on April 22, 2011, in Theology and tagged Atonement, Christianity, Jesus, Sacrifice. Bookmark the permalink. 102 Comments.
Most Christians have a problem (or it always seems so) with this. Salvation by Grace is all they preach, and if you try to talk to them about the other teachings of Christ (works and repentance) they seem to hemhaw and jump into the verse about “ and they will say lord lord and I will say unto them I do not know you”.
What Christ did is also paired with works (obeying all of His teachings as best you can) with repentance and trying not not sin again.
Joe, we certainly agree that Jesus rejected “salvation by grace” (or faith, or belief) alone, apart from works. Jesus never, anywhere in the New Testament, teaches salvation without deeds or works. Even the famous John 3:16 often cited by evangelicals is actually part of a longer passage (John 3:1-21) in which Jesus ends the passage with an emphasis on action. (Passages are denoted in King James with paragraph ¶ markers and in more modern translations by grouping verses into paragraphs.)
Jesus NEVER taught salvation by sin transference or that he pays for the sins of others by his suffering and/or death. He does refer to himself as a ransom, but in context of his teaching it appears to mean that he knew he was standing up to the established civil government (Roman) and religious orthodoxy (Sanhedrin) who had developed a conveniently cozy relationship that could be exploited to execute (murder) him as a troublemaker because he dared to teach his bold, revolutionary doctrine of salvation by universal kindness, compassion and “agape” love expressed actively in how we live.
It is only the renegade “apostle” Paul who introduces the concept of a human sacrifice through blood atonement, as I detail in my separate article on this site about the extensive litany of direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (and Jesus’ brother, James):
Many of these questions are what I went through 50 years ago. I dropped Christianity completely.
Then I learned a few things that both confirmed my suspicions AND shed new light on the teachings.
Basically Christianity as it exists today is a miserable mess of contradictions and inconsistencies, which is why there has been so much infighting. But the real cause of this is not that it lacks truth but rather that the truth has been distorted over a long time. This is inevitable with any knowledge of God — it becomes misunderstood, and that misunderstanding gets passed on to the next generation which screws it up even more, yet it all gets institutionalized as belief rather than directly experienced.
Some things for you to further your research (don’t leave your questions unresolved):
Paul never knew Jesus, not even a contemporary, he may not even have been alive while Jesus’ time so everything he heard was second hand at best. Paul grew up in what is now Turkey. He was a mercenary supplier for the Roman occupation, a tent maker who would also persecute this new Christian religion on behalf of the Romans. Then he apparently had a big catharsis about all his dirty dealing and joined the Christians instead. But he was late to the table of understanding.
What is relevant to today’s mess of central beliefs in Christianity is that it was most likely Paul who came up with this concept of redemption through sacrifice of Jesus, and the concept that this is because Jesus must BE God. Cultural context is needed.
Turkey, and much of the Mediterranean region had been for 600 years or so the hotbed of many “pagan” sects that had all sorts of beliefs and stories, by then a very well-developed ecosphere of beliefs. Dionysus, Mithras, and various others were all quite different in many ways but also had similarities such as deity resurrection
particularly in the late antiquity period around the time of Paul.
The point being here is that Paul was surrounded by all this, he must have known about the many sects and their basic beliefs. And then he wanted to convert people to Christianity who also were immersed in a culture of these beliefs. What Paul likely realized is that the historical events of Jesus getting crucified fit the redemption story of other religions perfectly, and made it easy to convert others in his region. It was a very convenient and closely fitting story that connected with an actual human that was easy to relate to. So he likely just put 2+2 and voila, we have the redemption story updated to Christianity. Notice that except for some questionable passages of likely other writers than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Gospels there is NO mention about Jesus being God before Paul’s writings.
So that’s one thing. Too many cooks mucked up the stew. It is good to think about whether it is worth the immense trouble to salvage the truths in Christianity or just start all over.
Another thing is the concept of “sin” which is also loaded with preconceived notions. Because religions have been around a very long time, the concept generally has to do with one’s psychological condition. The reality is that sin should just be considered stresses of any kind, including physiological, whether structural or functional or accumulations. Anything that does not make the mind pure and clear has a physiological correlate, and vice versa. The mind/body connection is very strong and thus influences on one affects the other. The “sin” of gluttony is actually the overloading of the digestive system that dulls the mind. Long term gluttony cascades into diseases. Killing is a “sin” because of the detrimental psychological impact it has on the entire nervous system (think PTSD). There are so many ways to “sin” that it is mind-boggling, but not impossible to avoid.
The more fundamental question of why is it really “sin” at all just to be dull or have PTSD or whatever is even more interesting because it dovetails very well with the teachings of Jesus. And when just a small shift in understanding happens, a LOT of the Christian teachings can become clear. The first is that Jesus never meant to say that one has to actually physically die to get to heaven. He actually said, “You must be like little children to enter the kingdom of God.” Further he told everyone, “The kingdom of God is within you.” So if it’s within, what does physical death have to do with it? It obviously means something else. I propose it means getting into another state of consciousness by turning the awareness within.
The world is so outwardly oriented to superficial things: economy, scientific “objectivity,” history, arts, technology, fashion, consumption, etc. etc. The idea of prayer is widely considered mumbling or even shouting words. But if the Kingdom of God is within, and if it can be accessed by “being like little children” (which obviously doesn’t mean being childish but innocently observational without prejudices of any sort) then being “like a child” is an indication of how one can bring the attention within.
Another aspect of this “kingdom of heaven is within you” is that one doesn’t have to go outside to find it, that the easiest place to find it is within. The reason why this is so is a major subject in itself on higher states of consciousness. Indeed, how can anyone truly know reality outside if one doesn’t even have a clue about what the reality is inside where knowledge gets structured in awareness?
Another aspect of getting into this kingdom of heaven within is that if you “seek first the kingdom of God within you” then “all else shall be given unto you.” What this represents is the importance of going within. It triggers the reciprocal functioning of nature. When you get to know “God” then “God” helps you. This is not just some belief, it’s a known phenomenon, and this is why the current interest in all kinds of meditation to gain benefits from it.
The word “meditation” also has all sorts of baggage associated with it, much of it in the west is distorted by the media’s utter shallow interpretation and presentation but people are getting beyond that now, just as many have gotten past the many incongruous aspects of religions, and realizing the deeper truths through meditation.
That should be enough to point out some many new directions of further understanding the current state of religion.
Help the poor? Feed the hungry?
Heal the sick? Welcome the foreigner?
Drive out the money changers?
(Today’s conservative “Christians” ARE the money changers)
The conservative wing of “Christianity” does not follow the teachings of Jesus, they follow the renegade “apostle” Paul, who completely contradicted Jesus on every key point of doctrine, theology, law, morality and ethics.
Every aspect of modern conservative “Christianity” is the polar opposite of what Jesus reportedly taught.
Conservative “Christians” follow Paul.
Liberal Christians try to follow Jesus.
For more on the specific contradictions between Paul and Jesus, I have addressed that in much more depth, with extensive specific examples, including chapter-and-verse references to how Paul contradicts Jesus:
I think it’s pretty clear to most who are not locked into a mindset that can’t brook any contradiction. Jesus was probably an itinerant preacher like many others. He came to Paul’s attention, and then something (an epileptic fit perhaps?) convinced him that he had to push Jesus as a god.
Most, if not all, religions had animal sacrifice as a major component. The Jews worshipped a noncorporeal God, but most pagans had gods made in their own images and were not comfortable with worshipping a god without form. Paul merged the two, stripping out inconvenient Hebrew rules of circumcision, kosher, mikvah and all the rest, replacing with a simple belief system. Much more convenient.
Basically, he made Christianity into his own image, and I have long that that people who call themselves Christians should just be honest and call themselves Paulists.
(By the way, his parents did not name him “Jesus”, but most likely Yeshua or Yehoshua.)
David — you are certainly correct that, not speaking the English language, the actual name in their own language was not our commonly-used English translation (also often translated as “Joshua”), and was likely closer to Yeshua or Yeoshua. As we do not commonly refer to most Biblical names by their original native pronunciations, it is not incorrect to refer to Jesus by the commonly-used English translation unless specifically discussing the linguistic or phonemic aspects of his name.
Interestingly, I have realized for some time now that the doctrinal position that Jesus’ sacrifice was somehow a necessary compensation for human sin was inconsistent with God as the Source of Being (a Tillichean phrase slightly re-phrased). If God cannot simply decide to forgive, if there are constraints on what “must” be done to balance human evil, then God is subjuct to Rules he cannot control. In that case, we should be worshipping the Rules (or their Source), not the god who is subject to them. So I find myself very much appreciating that another thinker has reached a similar conclusion.
“Jesus … made those who were dirty, poor and reviled to feel comfortable in his presence. He touched lepers, forgave sinners, blessed the poor …”. (I just got to this point after my previous comment).
Oh how you do go on about what a great guy Jesus was. I would argue that only if the dirty, poor, reviled, lepers, sinners, poor were Jews did they get any attention.
Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matthew 6:31
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Mark 7:26.
Jesus was always preaching to the Jews, never, so far as I can see did he preach to any group other than the Jews. The last verses in Mark 16 where it appears Jesus preaches universality, most secular scholars agree, were added long after the original Mark made its mark (get it?).
I have a whole page of examples of Jesus lack of love here https://thechurchoftruth.wordpress.com/jesus-does-not-love-you/
Take a look and still argue that Jesus represents universal love etc.
And, while I’m at it, all this credit for healing lepers. Nonsense. Why did Jesus only heal the lepers that came to him personally? Why didn’t he heal all lepers for all time, then and into the future? If I had the power that Jesus is alleged to have had there would be no more lepers, earthquakes, disease, birth defects, etc. Now THAT’s what I call universal love – not this piddly set of puny incidental, anecdotal “miracles” that Jesus allegedly did.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if you had Jesus’ powers?
Supreme — please read the response I posted to your previous comment which I am satisfied addresses your point here.
Again, I am not claiming Jesus to be divine or infallible, and certainly not claiming he was perfect.
And absolutely not going to accept everything (good or bad) as “gospel” truth just because it is written down by someone a couple thousand years ago, written decades after the events it covers.
At the same time, you are cherry-picking a few outlying examples of statements attributed to Jesus that are out of character with the preponderance of the teachings attributed to him and giving them weight far disproportionate to any semblance of the degree to which they represent the bulk of the teachings.
As for what he would do if he had all those magic powers? Sure, he could do a lot more. I don’t accept claims of supernatural special powers so if you wish to pursue that point you should address it to someone who does.
As for the preponderance of the teachings attributed to Jesus being about an over-arching framework of universal compassion (notwkthstanding a few acknowledged inconsistent and aberrational exceptions — hey, no one’s perfect), that is really a jumping off point for this page, which is primarily about the fallacy of the human sacrifice atonement myth.
The examination of the teachings attributed to Jesus are more fully covered in other articles about the ministry of Jesus at:
or how Jesus’ core teachings are contradicted by Paul, which explains why modern conservative “Christians” are so un-christian, because they follow Paul and not the teachings attributed to Jesus, at:
Comments more related to the substance of Jesus’ teachings rather than the human sacrifice mythology would be better directed to one of the above-referenced pages on this site.
“the moral teachings of Jesus, centered on universal compassion expressed in behavioral action”. I have always been puzzled by this idea that Jesus exuded universal compassion. There are so many passages where Jesus is obviously speaking to Jews ONLY.
Other times he advises people to forsake/kill family and follow him. He ignores his mother; fails to even recognize her. He tells slaves to obey their masters, he speaks in parables so people will not understand, lest they be saved; he ignored the woman who pleaded for her daughters life, implied that she was no better than a dog. He cursed those cities that refused to accept his disciples.
I don’t have to cite the passages, you know them. There are many more examples as you well know. How can you/anyone say Jesus was compassionate. Even his beloved beatitudes were just a rehash of earlier codes.
Jesus gets way more credit than he deserves.
I do not claim that Jesus was infallible or a divine being or a god.
I am familiar with some verses calling on people to leave/forsake their families, but I am not familiar with any that ask anyone to kill for him. There are verses that I do find out of character with the over-all theme of his message, which is universal loving compassion, expressed in deeds, for family, neighbor and even enemy (such as, say, where he specifically says to love enemies or cites the hated enemy, the non-believing Samaritan, as the example of what one must do to be saved).
That said, again, I do not find any need to defend the outlier inconsistent comments from someone I do not consider infallible or divine, as recorded in provably inconsistent and often factually-inaccurate writings written decades after the events they described, when memories were not aided by photos, videos, recorders and, for most people, even paper for writing on.
Please Danizer read the entire Bible and understand the plethora of reference to “kinsman Redeemer”, Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, the entire Book & premise of Exodus, type-antitype, etc. and their meanings/foreshadowings. Paul didn’t invent anything here. He did invent a lot of confusion, and should be removed from all his doctrines. We would be well w/o Saul of Tarsus, instrument of the adversary, usurper of earth, accuser of the saints, THE DEVIL! But to just use Paul as the ‘scapegoat’ in this doctrine is missing most the biblical teachings that convey this very concept!
Tim to Paul — where I have referred to scripture, I have cited chapter and verse.
You have not.
(And yes, I have actually read the entire Bible).
If you wish to claim statements in the Bible, then provide the citation(s) you are referring to.
There are references to sacrifice (many heroes sacrifice their lives for others without taking up them their sins) or taking away (redeeming) sins, which can be accomplished by teaching the universal compassionate love (expressed through actions) that conquers sin by reforming character (as noted in the article).
Only Paul, however, teachings a doctrine in which the sins of one person are actually transferred to someone else, whether that be the sins of Adam inherited by his descendants or Jesus taking upon himself the sins of others by way of becoming a human sacrifice.
The extensive range of contradictions between Paul and Jesus (backed up by Jesus’ brother James) are discussed in more specific detail on my page devoted to that subject:
Beyond your scriptural inadequacies, you did not address the further logical failures of the concept that killing an innocent human sacrifice can somehow make other people’s sins magically disappear.
Have you considered writing an article on the absurdity of eternal punishment?
The absurdity of eternal punishment — especially making god into a particularly pathological, sadistic torturer by accusing him/her/it of unending torture by FIREBOARDING — is discussed briefly in this article, but at greater length in my article on how the teachings attributed to Jesus are directly contradicted and opposed by what is written in the epistles (letters) of Paul, which can be found at:
It is included in that subject because the essence of how a person is either “saved” or cast into eternal punishment is a fundamental concept of “Christian” theology and one of the points on which Paul contradicts Jesus most blatantly.
Considering your question, I can see that it might also be appropriate to work more of that discussion of the punishment for “sin” into this discussion of the role of human sacrifice in the context of eternal justice.
I’ll admit I didn’t read the entire article of the link you posted to Paul contradicting Jesus but as soon as I got to the part about where Jesus gives the parable about the good Samaritan and claiming Jesus showed that the Samaritan was the one who would receive saving and eternal life I was drawn out. Where does it say Jesus said the Samaritan would be saved for his act of kindness in the scripture? The question asked to Jesus was “Who is my neighbour”, not “Who will be saved” That is totally misleading.
Fred, you seem to have a habit of jumping in before actually reading. Please, read the entire parable of the Good Samaritan. In the article you read (Paul vs. Jesus), I cited chapter and verse to make it as easy as possible. It is in Luke 10:25-37.
Jesus is, indeed, responding to a question about salvation. Start at verse 25: “A certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
See the question? It is about eternal life. Sorry if I somehow connect that to salvation. Jesus then turns the question to the lawyer in the very next verse, verse 26, a scholar in the law, that being, specifically, the Law of Moses when Jesus asks him: “What is written in the law? how readest thou?”
The lawyer then cites, from the existing Law of Moses, in verse 27, the law to love God first (Deut 6:5) and second to love your neighbor as yourself (from Leviticus 19:18), and Jesus responds in verse 28 by saying, “This do and you shall live.”
Then the lawyer asks (verse 29) “And who is my neighbor?” and then Jesus gives the famous parable. It is, indeed, an example of what is necessary to be saved, using as the example the NON-BELIEVING SAMARITAN.
If someone these days was visited by Jesus would that be ‘evidence’, at least to that individual, which gives credence to ‘resurrection’, or would that just indicate His life after death has gone on for a couple of thousand years, so far?
There are many testimonials of folks who have seen Jesus. I suspect some of them are lies, and many of them are not.
My own experience did occur. The fact that He is alive and knows how/where to find me benefits me greatly, and by His goodness, I have been saved from endless quibbling and uncertainty about whether or how He was resurrected, or not! As far as just ‘what’ He taught, I now refer to a book called ” A Course in Miracles”, widely available, which satisfies me as to its authenticity simply by its authoritative communication of every single priority and issue that Jesus is currently esteemed to have addressed so long ago. His English is excellent, and messages are most clear as one might expect from none other than He himself.
In 1200 hundred pages He manages very well to speak His ‘case’, his ’causes’ … His purpose. (The text of this book was scribed through a willing individual over 30 years ago.) If for any reason someone would like to investigate even the possibility of such an exquisite and utterly rare demonstration of Jesus the Real, Alive and Most Well, I advocate such an inquiry. It is online (for free) and in bookstores.
Just as many reserve the right to contend, for and against, the Bible, or its parts, I as well maintain the prerogative to refer to this book, no less (if not much more), worthy of esteem that such an ancient ‘source’ whose actual merit continues to be endlessly and duly challenged. If someone checks the work out, and finds cause to doubt its authenticity as being words of a fairly current Christ (Jesus), I would be fascinated to read such a challenge. He speaks so very well for Himself!
Dave, there are many such reports of divine visitations, but the evidence to support them is sorely lacking and often easily proven to be fraudulent. Other instances might not be intentionally FIBricated, but rather imagined or confusing dreams with reality. Or, if they actually occurred but cannot be credibly verified, perhaps they are meant to remain the personal experiences of individuals. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
That said, if it could happen that Jesus did appear to someone (and it would certainly be evidential to that person if it really happened but would require verifiable evidence to be accepted by others), whether it portends a resurrection or simply life continuing in a different form after death would depend on how Jesus presented it and what he said about it.
But again, that is getting ahead of the game. First we would have to establish the fact of it having occurred at all and, in any case, questions about resurrection or life after death are quite different from questions about killing innocent human sacrifices to make other people’s sins magically disappear.
Hi Davis. Do appreciate your response. Yes, I have concluded, despite the inescapable certainty of the reality of my brief and wonderful experience, that I can provide no evidence to others…..
Dave — I have edited out most of your comment. Extensive details about a personal experience that cannot be independently evaluated by anyone else is really off the topic of this thread.
If you wish to pursue the subject of the existence of god, I suggest you do so in the discussion for my article at:
But even there, extensive tangents of a one-sided, individually personal nature are not likely to be considered relevant.
“And even if the whole ludicrous concept made any sense at all, we still wouldn’t need a Messiah. If a perfect being needed to “take upon himself” the sins of others, why couldn’t god just do it himself? If Jesus, assuming the debt, has the right to forgive it, why doesn’t the original debtholder? Why not just be efficient and cut out the middleman (which is, literally,
what the “mediator” is)? Why can this omnipotent deity forgive after being crucified but not before? How does Jesus’ torture give an omnipotent God more power to forgive than he already had? And, if one holds a concept of trinity, which says that Jesus IS god, then, in fact, there IS no mediator or middleman anyway, god is just punishing himself, so what exactly is the point? What is accomplished?”
I am grateful indeed to see your words and thoughts, above. How on earth can it be such a rare line of thought to affirm these things? Have people no brains? I can’t say that I have ever heard or read anyone saying these things. Perhaps people can’t get past the supposed essentiality of Jesus stuff, and appreciate that God is well and Holy with, as without, His divine Jesus. I am, then, another such as yourself, who cannot overlook God’s capacity to ‘do whatsoever He/She will’… That God is fully able to forgive, liberate, heal etc. ‘all by Himself’. In His freedom and omnipotence, He evidently supplemented our humanity with Christ’s birth, life, teachings and resurrection. Thanks for that! But to utterly discredit one’s own love for God, one need only say that without Jesus’ “sacrifice” on the cros, God was either unwilling or unable to forgive sins. It is insulting to God and it is insulting to humanity, suggesting that we, even we, are dumb enough to buy into such a preposterous “plan of salvation”. Is it not another version of voodoo, putting ‘pins’ into the body of Jesus instead of into our own flesh, to ameliorate the effects of our sinfulness? Is pain and punishment really how God gets things done? Please? If that were true, bumper stickers might just as well say, ” Have you beaten your kid today?”
So very many human beings have jumped onto the bandwagon of this voodoo-like Christianity! Millions! I am sure the Truth will set me free, but that is not the Truth!
Love to you, Davis, for your ‘simple’ and honest and sane contribution to this big theme of Jesus and God and Life Itself! I am sorry it is so rare! and truly glad that it Is!
Your statement..”there IS no mediator or middleman anyway, god is just punishing himself, so what exactly is the point? What is accomplished?”” If you get a court fine and can’t pay it and I take it upon myself to pay it for you does that mean I am punishing myself or does it show that I care about you?
Fred — you’re missing several key points here that were addressed at greater length in the commentary.
First, to your specific question, yes, if the court orders you to pay a fine and then pays it for you, yes, what is the point in issuing the fine in the first place?
Second, if god orders the fine, why does he have to have his son, who is really himself, pay it instead of just handling it himself? Why all this convoluted complication? It is utterly nonsensical.
Third, the difference between paying a small fine for a minor traffic infraction and the grisly torture and death of a human sacrifice (of himself to himself) is so vast as to make your attempt to compare them absurd. Why all the blood and torture? Why the need for a human sacrifice?
Further, the dogma in many denominations (not all; if it does not apply to yours then disregard it) is that any sin whatsoever, even the tiniest infraction, is enough to keep you out of heaven forever without the offering of that human sacrifice. As addressed at length in the article, this makes no sense — the cosmic death penalty for the cosmic equivalent of jaywalking. So not only is your example comparing paying a traffic fine to torturous human sacrifice absurd, but the real example would be that Jesus supposedly pays the cosmic death penalty (plus bloody torture) even if your only offense is the jaywalking.
Thank you for your reply Danizier. I am not trying to compare a jay walking ticket to sins against God but meant it on a more broad analogetic level. The thing to remember is that he is only paying the penalty for those who ask for it. Sort of like someone standing outside a court and offering to pay fines for anyone who want it. If some people don’t take the offer which would seem crazy but maybe due to being suspicious of anyone that would pay a fine for a total stranger, that is up to them. God wants us to have fellowship with him and to just wipe away offences doesn’t seem to like justice. He said he can’t forgive sins based on our own merits. Even Hitler probably did a few kind works in his life so should he get credit for that? Why God demands only blood for payment from his Son/himself etc is a mystery that I don’t think anyone can answer completely and I will not be so presumptuous as to try and give you a sure thing answer. This all comes down to us trying to completely understand the mind of God which is impossible due to our level of knowledge compared to him. This is a spiritual knowledge for us that believe that cannot be reproduced in a laboratory or written down on paper for something that is so profound.
Here is what you said, Fred: “God wants us to have fellowship with him and to just wipe away offences doesn’t seem to like justice. He said he can’t forgive sins based on our own merits.” You are saying god CAN’T do something. Aside from the fact that you don’t cite chapter and verse for what you are attributing to god, you are claiming limitations on what the omnipotent, “all-powerful” deity can do. I guess “all powerful” doesn’t really mean “all” to you.
So your view (unsupported, and contradictory to what Jesus said — see my article on the contradictions between Jesus and the renegade “apostle” Paul (https://danizier.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/paul-vs-jesus-and-james/) for extensive specific examples, all referenced — is that god can’t — GOD CAN’T — forgive sins based on our own merits. So instead of being based on merit, it is based on just asking for it? Huh?
And Fred, it is more than just “asking for” forgiveness. You are glossing over the part about the torture and human sacrifice. Again, why all the blood and gore? Why the need for a human sacrifice? How does killing an innocent human sacrifice make other people’s “sins” magically disappear (if they ask for it)? And how does that “pay the price” for someone else? And, as noted in the article, if “the wages of sin is death” according to Paul (Romans 6:23) but JESUS LIVES, then he didn’t pay the price! (And if staying dead for barely 36 hours as described in all four gospel accounts “pays the price,” then all of us can easily afford to pay our own small share of it.)
And your example of Hitler actually proves the opposite of what you think it does. According to you (following Paul in opposing Jesus), Hitler could murder millions of innocent victims and just ask for forgiveness and get it? You ridicule the idea of merit with an absurd example (that no one claimed) that a person who murders millions of people but was kind to his dog and perhaps occasionally did a few other beneficent acts would have those few good deeds outweigh the extensive horrific acts of pathological viciousness, rather than the opposite, that someone who was mostly a kind, loving, generous person always ready to help the poor, the needy those in hospitals or prisons, etc., but occasionally committed a few, rare minor offenses, but selflessly never thought to ask for anything for himself/herself, including forgiveness, would be consigned to eternal damnation because you don’t allow the massive goodness to outweigh the tiny, minor offenses.
In fact, as noted with documentation and references in my article on how modern Christianity deals with contemporary issues (https://danizier.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/christianity-and-culture/) Hitler was a self-proclaimed Christian, did profess acceptance of Jesus as his savior and did proclaim that Germany should be a Christian nation. So according to you, Hitler is in jail, and all his JEWISH Holocaust victims who never did accept Jesus as their savior are going from the hell of Hitler’s ovens to the eternal torture of “fireboarding” in the ovens of the hereafter.
And again, you make a big deal about having to have “sins” forgiven. Why? Again, your view is that even the tiniest moral infraction outweighs all the good an otherwise compassionate and beneficent person might perform. The moral jaywalker must be given the cosmic death penalty. Please understand why I am not able to believe in such a vicious, mean-spirited, petty deity as what you present.
Hi Danzier you are right I should have worded it as won’t instead of can’t for an omniscient God. The Hitler discussion is an old one and if people want to believe that he tried to conquer Europe to spread Catholicism that’s up to them. I’ve read most of your posts and you have the stance of thinking either the Christian God doesn’t exist and even if he does then he is a mean SOB. You have made up your mind and I’ve made up mine and I respect you for having a difficult time in understanding what God is all about. Take care and keep searching for the Truth.
Fred — you have misstated (hopefully a misunderstanding rather than a deliberate misrepresentation) my views about Hitler as a self-professed “Christian.” While he repeatedly made it clear that he rejected the Jeffersonian ideal of a “wall of separation between church and state” and clearly intended for his German Reich to be a “Christian nation,” I do not assert, and did not say, that it was the raison d’être for his tyranny. Like so many other religious tyrants, his purpose was power and his use of religion was one tool for manipulation and control of those he found sufficiently gullible to sucker for his myths, legends and superstitions. Religion is, and always has been, a tool for manipulating the masses, whether it be a witch doctor in a native village or the wealthiest pontiffs garbed in the finest vestments.
As for your perception of how I have characterized your Christian deity, please remember that I came from Christian origins and was one a true believer and worshipper of your invisible sky god. The descriptions I have provided of his meanness and cruelty, including the torture and human sacrifice of his own son (who is really himself), are all from the descriptions and accounts in your own “Holy Book” of myths and legends, and are heavily referenced with chapter and verse citations. If you wish to question my characterizations, please cite the specific instance you are referring to.
Thanks Danzier. I was not going to reply anymore as I understand you have made up your mind that my God, if he exists is a devil. I am not sure why you have this blog. The discussions about blood sacrifice will go on forever and if you can convince Christians that their beliefs are wrong, then I still don’t get what is accomplished. Aside from a few nuts, Christians don’t hurt anyone that I know of. If it is to stop Christians from protesting abortion or gay marriage then I can understand your agenda. I am just curious why you go through all this trouble. If someone reads your blog and agrees with you and denounces Jesus what exactly is accomplished? That they die without being delusional? I don’t get it.
Well, Fred, your comment is a bit off the topic of this page (possibly more appropriate to the bio page under the “About” button, in which I discuss my motivations at some length, though I otherwise prefer to focus on substantive content rather than personal matters), but I’ll briefly humor you.
I agree that, other than extremist “Christians” who are anything but Christ-like in their violence, hatred and denigration of the least among us who Jesus extolled, moderate and especially liberal Christians are pretty harmless (other than perhaps acting as unfortunate enablers for the more radical). I wish them well. I do not try to preach to them or change them in any way. I do not troll Christian sites. I do not go looking for Christians or try to dissuade them from their benign superstitions.
I did not go to you. You came to me.
The fact is that, as I describe in my bio on the “About” page for this site, I grew up as a politically and religiously conservative devout, true-believing Bible literalist. But as I examined texts I considered holy, inerrant and infallible, I began to find internal contradictions and factual errors. I began to find ways in which some parts of the Bible contradicted others in very substantial ways. I especially discovered, as I came to believe in and accept Jesus’ teachings of salvation by universal compassionate love expressed actively in our deeds, with no other qualification, how that contracted in the “salvation by faith through grace” doctrine invented by the renegade apostle Paul, a persecutor of Jesus’ earliest followers who held the coats of those who stoned the martyr Stephen (Acts 7:58; 22:20), which is discussed in much more extensive detail on my web page at https://danizier.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/paul-vs-jesus-and-james/. The absurdity of salvation by torture-driven human sacrifice was also an early factor.
I made notes for my own use and reference and, as I traumatically wrestled with increasing doubts about the superstitions I had grown up with, I finally came to the point where I had to face up to the reality that my faith in unsupported myths and legends was wholly unfounded. And here is the thing: I had my notes. I had written up points in my responses to those troubled by the difficult and traumatic choice I made to change the course of my life. And, many years later, I came to realize that I am not the only one. There are many others who have read their books of sacred myth and legend and have sensed that something just isn]t right. In many cases, they just can’t quite put their finger on it. But they know something is wrong. If they go looking for me, as you apparently did, I am here and can be found. If they are satisfied with where they are and do not seek me out, I do not chase them down.
If others find my material and find it valuable and share it, so be it. Direct your questions to them.
I have shared my story and what I have found with those who seek it and no one else.
If you found it, it is because you wanted to.
Hi Danzier. I guess it is one of those half empty/half full things. You look at the crucifiction of Christ as barbaric and sickening and full of hate. I see it as the most beautiful act of love that anyone could ever do. That is why this is not a discussion of history or philosophy. It is a discussion of the heart. I don’t think you would even disagree that there was someone named Jesus that existed and obviously have a profound effect on the people around him. Whether he walked on water or did the other miracles is up for debate. He obviously did something special or people would not be talking about him today. I think you have to accept that you think Jesus story is BS, but leave those that believe in him as the Saviour of the world like me alone. That’s all I’m asking of you is that you let people believe in a Saviour and let them be. It will make no difference to the world if you convince people that Jesus is BS. We all die in the end my friend then who will take us from there. Excuse my language but…God bless.
Fred — as to the existence of a person named Jesus, as I noted in the introductory article to this series, there is not one single bit of contemporaneous, objective evidentiary documentation for the existence of a person named Jesus produced during his lifetime, which is what we would expect for a poor construction laborer in the rural poverty of Galilee. That said, I am a big believer in the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” theory and, somewhere between the harsh rigidity of the strict Law of Moses and the harsh rigidity of the Pauline repudiation of Jesus’s teachings (while pretending to support him), something happened. Something big. A doctrine of salvation through universal compassionate love, expressed actively through deeds, with no other qualification, in specific passages that I cite with documentation in my article on that subject, at:
There arose a body of teachings unlike what was there before or what came after.
Someone or something revolutionary came along.
Whoever or whatever it was, it got attributed to a character named Jesus. The most obvious explanation for that is that such a person did exist, even if, like St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor and a patron saint of children, another character celebrated during this season of December holidays, much myth, legend and embellished exaggeration got built up around him.
Whether or not it was a specific person named Jesus, something or someone came along. So I suspect there was such a person but, if not, then whoever or whatever produced this brief but revolutionary teaching of salvation by compassionate love expressed in deeds I refer to as Jesus.
Fred- I have a big place in my life for Jesus, and I have observed that Davis Danzier leaves room for the possibility of God in much of his writings.
In a recent writing you clearly express that you don’t comprehend why Davis would even bother with his work and contributions here since you feel he has nothing at stake.(!?) But have you considered that, if indeed the ” the truth shall set you free” ( something that sounds most likely to me- and perhaps even to Davis?) then Davis’s work is justified over and over again. Any and every misrepresentation of truth, at ideologic or historic or at any level gives opportunity for people to be mislead. Christianity as it is currently and most widely expressed in North America today, from my perspective, affords millions a hiding place ‘away’ from Truth.
Truth is not a small thing found in a few hundred pages of literature. Truth is Reality beyond the machinations of human thought and is Holy enough to those who behold it as it IS. While Jesus has been indispensable in my life, I do not agree with any who insist that He, or His, is the only way. ( I know the Bible says otherwise.)
I agree with a lot of Mr. Danzier’s thinking and perspectives and do not find him to be at all ‘anti-truth’ or anti-God. Don’t trouble to pity Davis’s ongoing work here- it is highly intelliigent, patient and honorable, and I dare say that Truth is a large part of his objective. Best to you, Fred. Oh, and ” beware the chief priests and scribes…”
I’ve just discovered your website, and I really like what you have to say- very thought-provoking stuff! I have one question (and maybe I just haven’t found where you address it): what do you do with John 3:16?
I ask as a liberal Christian in recovery from spiritual abuse at the hands of fundamentalists, and as someone who’s always had problems with the idea of “you must accept Jesus as your savior or you will be tortured forever in hell.” I basically agree with your idea that doing good is what justifies us before God, and therefore that salvation (for lack of a better term) is open to people of other faiths, and even to atheists.
I’m just curious as to how you answer people who point to John 3:16 as a “proof text”- I’d like to have an answer ready the next time some fundamentalist gets in my face, which happens more often that I’d like (street preachers, etc.)
Linnea — the treatise on faith attributed to Jesus in John 3:16 is specifically discussed in the article, which notes that one must read 3:16 in context, which means going on to the verses immediately following which are a part of the same paragraph division. From the main article: “Even in John 3, the discourse to Nicodemus on salvation as a gift of grace, Jesus includes specific behavioral requirements (John 3:19-21). In any case, while some writings (other than Paul) may occasionally discuss faith as a separate topic (as with honesty, courage, etc.), no one (except Paul) ever states that salvation can occur with any of these virtues apart from works/deeds actions.”
At worst, since Jesus explicitly states elsewhere, on multiple occasions as cited in the article, that if you ACT compassionately “you will be saved,” interpreting John 3:16 (without the immediately following verses) would be to assert that Jesus was contradicting himself.
Thank you, that makes sense.
Hi Linnea, I hope you don’t mind me cutting in. I am a Christian and you mentioned about in the bible says Jesus said Believe in me or you will burn in hell forever. The bible doesn’t say that and it is used by atheists all the time. Jesus did not minze word and he said that those that don’t believe or follow him will be cast aside. That does mean eliminated, burnt up, and disposed of. Still not a nice thought. But people that tell you that we will be burning in hell forever are lying. We all seem to know that the earth is not an accident. So is there a God or Creator? If so then who is it? Jesus made things very easy and said all you have to do i know that he is God and paid for everything you and me did wrong. As much as I admire Danzier and his intelligence, he turns this into a very complicated thing. It isn’t. Take care and if you want to talk more let me know. I am not a bible thumping loon by the way. lol. Well maybe I am. haha
Fred, I agree that many Christians believe things that have no Biblical basis. I also agree that not all Christian denominations accept the cosmic threat of eternal torture via “fireboarding” of hell flames literally. But please, you cannot be serious if you think the references to hell fire, unquenchable fire, and many other references to punishment by unending fire are not replete throughout the New Testament. Please, if you have a digital version of the Bible, or at least access to an online version, it should not take you more than a few seconds to find scores of such references.
I just did and found a list so extensive I could not begin to copy and paste each reference.
I suppose this is just another example of Christians who read their Bibles selectively, cherry-picking the parts they like, and completely oblivious to what is in the rest of it.
As bizarre as you may think this story is it gets even more bizarre. Apparently while Jesus was on the cross he was bleeding, and his blood fell through a hole in the ground formed by an earthquake. It happened to land on the ark of the covenant which was conveniently sitting in a cave below. 2000 years later humble “archaeologist” Ron Wyatt discovers the ark and sends a blood sample to the lab, which confirms that it is Jesus’s blood. Granted not all Christians believe this story (AIG, for instance, wants nothing to do with Wyatt) but it just goes to show you the weird thing Christians believe.
Well, Jeffrey, that is definitely weird, and certainly not all Christians believe that kind of stuff — in fact, most do not. It has nothing to do with the Bible account and has no Biblical basis.
That said, the standard evangelical interpretation of the Bible version is weird enough: God makes a man from dust and a woman from his rib, and then a talking snake in a magic garden convinces them to eat a forbidden fruit, which makes god very, very angry, so he curses all humans with “sin” and the eternal torture of fireboarding — because he “loves” us but, like the typical abuser, demands that we must love him back or he’ll torture us.
But they can overcome this “sin,” not by ever doing anything good, but by accepting a human sacrifice, in which god sacrifices his own son, who is really himself, to himself to convince himself not to burn his children eternally in his torture ovens.
I have to ask, which such high regard to superior intellectual ness, inform us then, oh understanding one….HOW did we come to be?!? If the Bible is fake, or a fraud, WHAT Exactly through your unwavering eyes of hateful spewage brought forth life? Our solar system? Our Universe? Where did Mathematics ‘magically’ appear? Where did Laws create themselves from nothingness into a something? Our existance? Our brains? Our ability to heal? Our ability to reproduce? You haven’t proven a SINGLE contradiction of the bible, but I’d like to analyze YOUR ‘magical happenstances’ of how we exist!! Salivation is seething….palms are rubbing faster and faster…give us a ‘taste’, oh spewaged one….GO
TW — your inquiry is riddled with errors.
This comment section is not a free-for-all discussion board, It is a discussion of comments relevant to the topic of each page, and I will carefully limit the extent to which I allow comments to deviate from the topic of each page.
Comments about Bible contradictions should be directed to my page on this site dedicated to that subject:
That said, you further err in stating that, on that appropriate page, I have not proved a single contradiction. Actually, in the appropriate article, I have cited numerous examples, each with chapter and verse reference, where the Bible says one thing in one place and something inconsistent and, yes, contradictory in a different place. I also provide a link to another page on which I have compiled hundreds more, each with chapter and verse reference. I have also cited examples of factual errors, atrocities supposedly commanded by a loving god “because he loves us,” and many other failings of the Bible if considered to be literally factual. It is no more so than any other ancient compilation of myths, legends and superstitions. If you wish to respond to those points, please direct your conversation to the comments section of the page relevant to that topic.
As to your question of how we (or the universe) came to be out of nothing, you again err in claiming that I assert knowledge of those answers. I do not. No one does, including you and all your prophets, popes or Imams. You have answers, yes, but they are based on ancient myths, legends and superstitions, not fact. There is no more reason I should believe your mythology than that I should believe the myths and legends of the Muslims, or those of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas or Mayans, whose sky gods were at least not invisible.
Further, I have a different page on this site that specifically addresses the questions you raise, so if you wish to discuss the subject further, you will have to take it to that page. It is at:
Please direct your comments to the appropriate topics of each page.
What you fail to realize is that every question you’ve asked Danizier to answer “where do we come from”, “where did the Universe come from” etc… Can also be turned towards God. Where did God come from? Where did he get the power to create? The only possible answer you can come up with is “well… he’s just GOD! He’s GOD! He’s always existed!” Those answers can also be given as to the existence of the Universe. It’s the UNIVERSE! It’s ALWAYS existed in some form or another! It is humans that demand an absolute beginning and end to things, not the Universe. Also, you seem ti be implying that Danizier claimed he knew the answers to the existence of the Universe and it’s origins… he didn’t.
That’s one thing that has also confused me. If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then why did he place it in the garden in the first place? The claim is that sin did not exist within Adam and Eve to begin with, so why place an element into the garden that would introduce temptation, and hence “sin” into (up until that point) perfect beings? The whole thing doesn’t make any sense… It’s like a parent placing a giant cupcake on the floor next to their small child, telling them “don’t eat this cupcake!”, then leaving the room. Since Adam and Eve had no experience with temptation or the means to avoiding it, how in the world could they have been expected to fight it? Also, if God is omnipotent, why in the world would he allow Satan to come into the garden and tempt his newly created, innocent creations? There are so many logical flaws in the Adam and Eve story it’s ridiculous.
Yep, the quaint myths and legends of ancient, primitive tribal peoples can be entertaining fables or morality tales, but when some people accept them as being literally factual, they hold themselves up to ridicule.
“So many logical flaws”?? NAME THEM 🙂
As states previous, it only take ONE contradiction in the Bible for it to be discounted as another ordinary book.
Your LACK of understanding doesn’t implicate this. But it’s fun to watch, and enjoyable to read your attempts of futility! Thx
TW — knock off the nonsense in suggesting that numerous logical flaws regarding your human sacrifice myth, including contradictions in your “scriptures” on this subject, have not already been provided.
You may want to pretend they are not there, with many specific examples and references, in the main article above as well as this comments section, but that does not make disappear.
If you want to ask questions or respond, either in agreement or disagreement, to any of these specific points, you are welcome to do so in a rational manner.
But just asking for others to “NAME THEM” when many specific examples have already been named is utter nonsense and just makes you look ridiculous, and future comments of this nature will be rejected from public display.
Numerous examples of Bible contradictions — many more than the one that is required to disprove a claim of infallibility — have also already been provided, with a link to hundreds more, in the article on that subject, at:
In any case, while many examples of logical flaws, Bible contradictions and so on, it is not the responsibility of nonbelievers to disprove your claims of magic, miracles and invisible friends in the sky.
If you want to assert your bizarre claims, it is your logical burden of proving why your myths and legends are more believable than those of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Mayans, Incas or other primitive tribal societies. But just remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
TW: I literally just named several in this very comment to which you replied. I’ll list them again, since you must have missed them somehow…
1) If God didn’t want Adam and Even to eat from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, why place it in the garden to begin with?
2) If sin didn’t exist within Adam and Eve already, how could they have been tempted with it?
3) Why would God place an element into the garden that would introduce something he detested so much to his innocent / perfect creation?
4) If God is omnipotent, why would he allow Satan to enter into the garden and corrupt his new creation?
5) If your idea of God is the creator of all things, why did he create sin, evil, pain, suffering, Satan?
There’re five right there. Can you address even one? Please don’t spout about free will either. If God is truly what you claim, (all powerful, all knowing etc etc…) then certainly he could find it within that unending power and knowledge to create a way for man to exist, have free will, and not have an element he can’t tolerate such as sin, introduced into their very being. Can you truly not see that that makes absolutely zero sense?
The fundamental LACK of knowledge you present is priceless. Jesus wasn’t some soldier, or ordinary person, he was the SON of God! Wrap that around this ENTIRE thread…if possible…I’m still amazed how much hate is spewed on a plan set forth ages before even being written!! Documented, prophesied, written about, chronicled, and even WITNESSED!!
TW — I see you’re not even going to try to explain how killing an innocent human sacrifice makes other people’s sins magically disappear.
In its most common form, the “Christian” myth is just one human sacrifice myth told by primitive tribal peoples: an invisible sky god who sacrificed his own son (who is really himself) to himself because some dude who lived in a magic garden 6,000 years ago with a naked woman who was convinced by a talking snake to eat a fruit, which made god very, very angry, so god blamed all the other people (who never went anywhere near the fruit) and cursed them all with an evil spell called “sin” that could only be broken with a bloody human sacrifice!
The entire “Christian” myth is not only irrational and illogical, it defies common sense, that salvation or justification should have some relation to how we conducted our lives.
And P.S.: there is not one single prophesy in the Old Testament or anywhere else that specifically, unambiguously refers to the person or ministry of Jesus as described in the gospels. Not one. And before you respond with nonsense from Isaiah or Micah or the usual tripe, you might want to scroll down through the comments thread on this page or my Bible page, as people who just mindlessly regurgitate the Christmas and Easter readings and don’t notice certain relevant details that rule out being applicable to Jesus keep embarrassing themselves.
Your entire disposition of the Bible is summed up in “mythical snake, garden, blah blah blah” is precisely the Ignorance of being illogical and irrational. There is a huge difference between being arrested, and wrongfully convicted, and sentenced to crucifixion. It was allowed, and for good reasons. None for which hate could grasp. Cognitive dissonance!! Jesus ROSE from the dead. Eye witnesses can attest. An entire movement exists today because of supernatural events, NONE of which other man made religions have! You and I differ on one key aspect in beliefs: I STATE where I stand! You only spew what you think didn’t happen. Thx
Nope, TW, there are no more eyewitnesses to Jesus arising from the dead than there are for the miracles of the heroes of the legends of the Greeks, Vikings, Mayans or Incas. The gospels were written decades after the alleged events occurred, and not by Jesus’ contemporaries who actually knew him (other than Matthew).
As with the Greeks, Vikings, Mayans and Incas, the Hebrews lived in a time when memories were not aided by cameras, videos, cheap paper and ink, copy machines, and detailed records for anyone but the highest elites. When accounts could not be recorded at the time they occurred, and not a single gospel account was, memories could be warped by forgetfulness, exaggeration, embellishment, the power of suggestion, or simply outright FIBrication, and contained in a record (the Bible) that has been proved, with extensive, detailed, chapter-and-verse documentation, to be riddled with such factual errors, contradictions and other extensive errors.
Extraordinary claims (such as rising from the dead, like human sacrifice myths, something common to many primitive tribal societies) require extraordinary evidence. You have NONE. No evidence whatsoever, and certainly nothing more than any other myths or legends of other primitive people.
Don’t feel bad, though, many of us (including myself) at one time believed just as strongly in those very same myths as we did at age five when we believed in a literal Santa Claus. Don’t worry, if you keep asking questions, maybe you, too, will someday outgrow those childish myths.
I just googled the Book of “Thor”, “Zeus” , I’m rather disappointed. I’m searching for written books comparable to the Bible from Greek mythology…..yeah not much luck. To discount the Gospels as not being accurate accounts, eye WITNESS accounts at that, is beyond silly. It’s illogical. What other “myth” is alive today from thousands of years ago that says the Son of God died for the sins of the world? Where is it? Please produce a shred of something feasible. ANY person, claiming to be the Son of God, is either a liar, crazy, or it’s actually true. Would the apostles go off preaching about this person, and be martyred for a lie? The Gospels bear out the proof! Read between the lines, quit spitting at them with that suckering suck-a-tash attitude!
Thank you, TW, for admitting that you think all legends of all primitive peoples are constructed the same.
No, TW, there is no book of Thor (Viking) or Zeus (Greek).
There are, however, compilations of legends for the Vikings such as Beowulf, Prose Edda, Heimskringla, and Gesta Danorum among others.
And for the Greeks, there are the legends compiled by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Theogony (which details the origins of their gods, including Zeus), and quite a few others.
Instead of trying to Christianize others’ myths, why not try again, and Google some of the names I provided and, if you still can’t find anything, then the problem is yours.
And you have zero evidence that your legends have any more merit than any of these. In fact, since your Bible has been so utterly discredited with its thousands of direct internal contradictions, factual errors and other flaws, and the Hebrews were an impoverished, primitive, conquered tribal society that never achieved greatness but was repeatedly conquered (Babylon, Persia, Rome), your book is a proven failure. In contrast, the Greeks brought forth the beginnings of modern math and science, undermined during the time when Christians ruled Europe (rightfully known now as the “Dark Ages”). The science and math of the Greeks was saved from Christian superstition by, ironically, the Muslims of North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, who preserved it and added to it, developing Algebra, Algorithms, Arabic numerals and the concept of zero as a placeholder.
And the Greek gods and legends? I daresay that, still today, there are far more “Christians” who read their daily horoscope (a remnant of the Greek religion) than read their Bibles every day.
And TW, you discredit any attempt at establishing your own integrity with you nonsensical plagiarism of the statement, originally from C.S. Lewis and later quoted by Josh McDowell’s in his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, without attribution. The silly statement is that anyone claiming to be the son of god would have to be a liar, lunatic or the real thing. By far the most credible explanations are that the person never said any such thing, but those compiling a legend decades after the fact either mis-remembered or simply made something up through exaggeration or embellishment or intentional fraud. Again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You make the claim, you have the burden of proving it with that extraordinary evidence and, so far, you have nothing but continued failed efforts.
At this point, TW, you are wasting my time. In my replies and in my original articles I have provided extensive specifics, documentation and evidence. You have provided NONE. You have provided nothing but name-calling and insults. This is a moderated forum. I have given you plenty of chances to explain your views, but unless you can offer something specific, substantial and evidentiary, I will be reluctant to continue approving your comments.
Eyewitnesses? Great, can I cross-examine them?
Not by reading books they are supposed to have written, but by actually asking questions and receiving answers.
After all, I can claim to have witnessed anything, as long as no one can ask me about it.
Remember, in Hebrew Scriptures, everything had to be verified by at least two witnesses, questioned separately, and the slightest discrepancy voided the case.
Yeah the belief in the bloody atonement of a human sacrifice for salvation never made sense at all.
I remember reading a website that stated that there were 10 reasons Jesus went to the cross but a very strong reason was that his death on the cross was meant to symbolize unconditional love through self sacrifice and self denial.
Ciana — this page addresses the reasons for the “necessity” of the cross that it finds to be irrational, illogical and immoral.
If one would argue that, because Jesus knew that speaking out put his life in jeopardy from the Roman and Hebrew authorities but he felt his message of universal compassionate love was important enough, Jesus sacrificed himself to get his message out in the same way a soldier jumps on a mine to save his buddies or a hero jumps in front of a car to push a child to safety, I would not find that to be irrational or illogical.
But then I have never heard anyone suggest that the heroic soldier or child-pusher takes upon themselves all the sins of the ones they save.
You should do better research. That picture doesn’t show Aztecs sacrificing virgins to ensure a bountiful harvest. It shows people being sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war and the sun, to ensure that that the sun would rise. Most of the people sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli were men and whether they were virgins or not didn’t really seem to matter.
Maris — you seem to have missed the point.
I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on Aztec, Mayan, Incan or other ancient American deities, nor did the graphic specify which ancient religion or which of their deities was being referred to. Virgins and harvests may have been a tad speculative, but since you didn’t cite your basis, I’m not taking your comment too seriously, other than to note that, yes, you seem to have missed the actual point.
The point was about how Christianity as practiced by those who follow a bizarre doctrine of blood atonement through ritual human sacrifice taught by Paul, not Jesus, is no different than other ancient human sacrifice mythologies. Some sacrificed virgins, some sacrificed warriors and others sacrificed vanquished foes, and they did so in hopes of various beneficial outcomes being bestowed by their deities. The point was about how Pauline “Christianity” fits into the pantheon of human sacrifice legends, not to present an accurate description of any one such pagan ritual.
I apologize if this was already addressed, but I too was taught that Jesus’ death was for the remission of sins. It follows with the Jewish tradition of atoning for their sins through the sacrifice of a spotless lamb. John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God, and Isaiah 53 in what I believe to be a prophecy about Jesus talks about Jesus’ suffering and death to be for redemption/atonement. As to why God waited so long to finally have the “human sacrifice” be the end of all sacrifices of lambs, I don’t know. Or why a “human sacrifice” is needed when lambs were perfectly acceptable, I don’t know. But there does seem to be more evidence that Jesus gave himself up for the forgiveness of sins:
During the last supper, Jesus says that the wine is his blood – the new covenant, and the bread is his body – given FOR you (Luke 22:14-20).
While I am now wary of Paul’s words, it would seem if Jesus did not give himself unto death for the atonement of sins, what was the purpose of his death? Obviously all men die, and Jesus was a radical in the eyes of the pharisees, so it does make sense that the Jews would want him dead, but Jesus also says that the scriptures must be fulfilled when he is being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14), which seems to reflect the prophecy of Isaiah in Isaiah 53.
It is not my desire to be confrontational as I find myself being educated by your blogs and look forward to reading your book. I would just appreciate your thoughts on this subject as there is no explanation in your words above.
I understand the symbolism of the sacrificial lamb, though such sacrifices as outlined in the early chapters of Leviticus were for the giving of thanks or the supplication of favor, never for the remission of sins and, in any case, would have been symbolic, not a literal human sacrifice. Atonement is an important part of Hebrew scriptures and tradition, but it is achieved by personal, individual purification and repentance, and has nothing to do with the prescribed forms of animal sacrifice.
Regardless of the how it is justified, the fact remains that it is a bloody human sacrifice myth and that the idea that you can somehow transfer sins to an innocent sacrifice by torturing and killing him reflects not only extreme cruelty of a deity, but has no relation to eliminating or atoning for sin, and makes no sense at all.
As for Isaiah 53, I understand how eager Christians, going back all the way to the writer of the gospel of Matthew, are to try to make this about being a prophecy of Jesus. It actually has nothing to do with Jesus. Quick summary: Isaiah 53 describes someone beaten (not crucified) for others’ wrongs, yet living a long life and seeing numerous descendants, unlike Jesus, who reportedly died young and childless. Verse 10 of the passage specifically states that he shall “see his seed” — that will have biological posterity (offspring) — and that the Lord will “prolong his days”; i.e., that he will live a long life.
As for the “purpose” of Jesus’ death, you answer your own question. He was perceived as a threat to the established religious orthodoxy (as he would be if he returned today), and they had him killed. The idea that he gave up his body and blood FOR his followers, without mentioning sin transference at all, sounds more like he knew that he was risking his life to teach them salvation through personal, not vicarious, personal transformation, but he did it anyway, FOR them.
Your reference to the “Garden of Gethsemane” reflects a common misunderstanding as a result of conflating the contradictory gospel accounts. There is no such place as the “Garden” of Gethsemane. There is a “place” referred to in two of the synoptic gospels as “Gethsemane” (Matt. 26:36; Mark 14:32), but it is not called a garden. John (in chapter 18 verse 1 and 26) says they went to a “garden,” but does not give it a name. All four of the gospels (numerous references) note that, following the Last Supper, Jesus and the disciples went out to the Mount of Olives. At the base of the Mt. of Olives is a small cave that was used for pressing olives from the Mount of Olives into olive oil. The term in Hebrew “Gat S’mane” means OLIVE PRESS, and many scholars today believe that the wine press cave at the base of the Mount of Olives is the actual site referred to in Matthew and Mark. It would have been protection from the evening chill, and a secluded spot safe from robbers or arresting officers, unless led there by an insider turncoat.
OK. That makes sense; however, that doesn’t explain John the Baptist’s proclamation that Jesus was the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, unless we’re looking at Jesus’ death not as human sacrifice, but as symbolism? Also, Jesus saying his arrest was to fulfil scripture.
I hadn’t noticed Isaiah 53:10. I will go back and read the entire chapter again.
Deb, aside from the fact that I don’t accept the Bible as being factually, literally accurate as noted in my Bible commentary, you continue to operate under the assumption that the only way to “take away the sins of the world” is by killing an innocent human sacrifice in a process of gruesome torture.
It doesn’t say HOW Jesus “takes away the sins of the world,” only that he does. As noted in this article, which makes more sense? To remove the stain of sin by killing someone else, or to teach the transformative qualities of universal compassionate love expressed actively through deeds, which change our character and our souls to expunge the stains of selfishness, greed, violence anger which cause those sins in the first place?
And Jesus knew he was risking his life to stand up to the entrenched, established religious orthodoxy, so in that way he knowingly chose to give up his life to save others. It would be similar to someone jumping in front of an oncoming car to push a child out of the way, or a marine jumping on a live grenade to blow himself up as a sacrifice to save his buddies. They knowingly offer themselves up as human sacrifices, but no one would say they took upon them the sins of those they saved.
Thank you for you again for your thoughts. I have enjoyed our discussion.
One thing I had missed in your blogs and only discovered in your comments is that you dismiss the authenticity of Jesus’ life. If I understand it correctly, your blogs seem to say, if you accept the Bible to be true, you should consider these facts. I do profess to be a Christian and accept that Jesus was the Son of God. And I do see Him as more than just a good teacher, so here we have a strong difference of opinion.
Your insights, however, have made me think more about the redeeming nature of Christ. And because of your other blog re Paul vs James, it confirms my thoughts of the Pauline letters. I will be more hesitant in the future and careful to compare Paul’s words against what Jesus says in the Gospels.
Thank you again for your time.
You and I seem to share perfectly analogous beliefs.
Hebrews 9:22 ~ “God’s law requires nearly everything to be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
I think this essentially sums up that the religion is based on bloodshed.
Bloodshed as a condition for forgiveness and torture for not accepting it.
Thank you for your affirmation that you acknowledge that your religious superstition, like the superstitions of many other primitives, is based on bloody human sacrifice.
We agree that your superstition is rooted in bloody human sacrifice.
We do not agree on whether that is or is not a good thing.
That is a former superstition of mine. I no longer hold these beliefs, and I actually find it disturbing that you think that I accept this as my own. xD
No, I am not a part of a blood sacrifice cult. I don’t even believe in any god.
Oh, and by the way, as to your comment about “torture for not accepting” your superstitions, yes, we also agree that your mythological invisible sky god, like that of so many other primitive gods, is guilty of TORTURE.
And, again, we do not agree as to whether or not this is a good thing.
My own death will attone me from alot of my sins as it will seperate body from spirit/soul.
It is my physical and primal instincts which causes me too sin most often. The physical body tells you what it craves and leads us to sin. It is the needs of our physical existence and our surrounds us that causes us to sin. Once we expire, we are seperated from body and thus free from much of our physical desires.
Yes the very idea of Christ dieing for our sins was from the rituals of human sacrifice to appease the Gods. So countless times humans and animals have die to attone for our sins, the egyptians were into it, and moses got much of his ideas from egypt. christianity claims that the death of christ was to attone for our sins, yet another human sacrifice,
Very excellent and well thought out points. A friend of mine introduced me to your page and its been a fascinating read. I apologize if this has already been brought up, but there was a lack of you mentioning God wanting its daughters/sons to maintain their autonomy (i.e free will) and therefore passing off any assistance or help to another party, hence the angels/archangels/Jesus. Which also poses the problem of them interfering only in certain cases, God or Jesus asking them to become involved in situations and any clear lack of Jesus or an apostle teaching us how to ask these angels/others for assistance us to cleanse our sins when we are unable to do so ourselves.
The bible has become a “rumor game” in which a story starts out stating fact but each new person that hears it and passes it on changes it to suit their own needs. While most of the context would be correct, there would be many changes in it and while each new pastor/priest agrees with the core of “a bloody sacrifice” to pay back sin at no cost, they also add in their own thoughts, creating a belief system entirely run to work in their favor while blaming those that point out its inconsistencies or incorrectness.
There have been some statements of Jesus’s sacrifice based on only removing the original sin of Eve’s betrayal that was forced upon all those she had given birth to, allowing us – after Jesus’s death – to ascend, whereas before a group of angels (known as the Mastema) had been in charge of “cleansing” humanities sins before Jesus had taken up the task and introduced this idea. I am curious what you think about this, as you haven’t brought it up in the above reading.
Thank you and I look forward to reading more from you
Yes, Laveria, but still the problem remains of the concept that “sin” is a physical property that can be cleansed or removed or purified.
“Sin,” if it exists at all, is not physical in nature, but moral or ethical. If it is a stain, it is a stain on character, not the physical nature of the human species. If “sin” is to be “cleansed,” it can only be removed by addressing the aspect of character. In that way, Jesus, who as an imperfect mortal had his moments of anger and negativity, in his better moments taught universal love and compassion expressed actively through good works as the means by which these flaws of character are removed by the changing of our character.
In that way, while I personally do not see the need for such a theological construct, one could create a fairly rational “theology” of Christianity in which Jesus “saves” humans from “sin” by teaching them how to expunge flaws of greed and selfishness from our human character and, in preaching an unpopular view against the established conservative religious orthodoxy, knowingly risks his life to sacrifice himself as a ransom to pay for the opportunity of showing humans how to conquer “sin.”
That one segment should be called Sin Transgression, sin is basically transgression, it starts there, the fallen angels sinned because they were the ‘Shining Ones’ created by Sabaot (YHWH Sabaoth, you might think of this as being similar to say the Goddess idea in India and ‘avatarship’) at a stage before generation, so, in the Kabbalistic sephirot, Netzach-Hod(Shining Ones)-Yesod(Daughters of Adam)-Malkuth. One might say parts of what you wrote exhibit the idea of the Many being like a Ruach or unaware spirit affecting one person and he acceded to the ‘Sexual Rule’. So the God in a low sense being created and worshiped is a collective astral image defined by ignorance.
Samuel Gerson — thank you for participating, but your rambling, disjointed comment does not address the points about human sacrifice or sin transference or how killing an innocent man makes anyone else’s “sins” magically disappear. You further do not address the nature of “sin” as character flaw and, like the moral failings of fundamentalism, present nothing consistent with practical or moral reality in the real world.
You explained it beautifully. Well done.
God had no reason to become a human and die on the cross. Even if there were something called Original Sin, how God could be so helpless as to atone for that sin by dying on the cross.
Did God really love the world so much… so much that He decided to sacrifice even His son, His only begotten son, to save the world from Original Sin?
I believe God is Just, He would not punish the innocent to save the sinners.
Original Sin could not be such a problem for the Almighty God that He is compelled to sacrifice “His own Son.”
He could very well cancel that sin or He could simply demand an atonement from the sinful or at least ask for sincere repentance from them.
Indeed, there was no need for God to subject His Son to the terrible torture he is said to have undergone, as portrayed in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, for instance.
As against the teaching of the Master (Jesus) that salvation only comes through keeping of
the commandments (Mathew 19:16-17), Paul nails the law and the commandments to the
cross (Colossians 2:14)1, and claims that salvation can only be obtained through the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ:-
“If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and
your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)
One should really think and ponder was it really Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction?
“How does killing an innocent human sacrifice do anything to make other peoples’ sins go away.” danizier
‘Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18)
Jesus and God allowed Himself to be sacrificed for the sins of all men, through the sinful execution of a few…Just as Abraham prophesied He would do with Himself as the Lamb of God (Gen 22:8)(John 1:29)
The error is to be juding the event by what sinful men were doing, rather than what the righteous Lord was doing for sinful men…
You not only change the subject from the question I posit to a different issue, you still do not address how killing an innocent man makes someone else’s sins magically disappear.
You confuse Jesus’ willing to sacrifice himself with the transfer of sins from others to himself. They are not even close to being the same thing.
One can certainly argue that for Jesus to take his revolutionary, iconoclastic message of religious rebellion against the established religious orthodoxy was clearly to put his life at risk and knowingly offer himself as a sacrifice in order to better the lives of the majority of oppressed people at the hands of the few elites at the top.
Being willing to sacrifice one’s life for another has nothing to do with sin transference or the atonement for someone ELSE’s sins. If someone jumps in front of an oncoming train to push an old lady in a wheelchair out of harm’s way but loses his own life in the process, does he take upon himself the sins of the old lady? If a heroic marine jumps on a live grenade and smothers it with his own body, killing himself but saving his platoon, does he take upon himself the sins of his platoon?
Heroes who lay down their own lives for someone else are rare treasures. They do NOT take upon themselves the sins of those whose lives they save.
I was making the first point, that Jesus laid down His life of His own will, and was not taken from Him unwillingly. As you say, like a hero.
And if we were talking heroes, you would be correct. But we are disputing what Scriptures says of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, laying down His life, that we might be cleansed of our sins by His blood.
“Paul is the one who seems to have adapted this to a literal transference with a human sacrifice. While Jesus does mention ransom for sin and forgiveness for sin (and please note that words such as “ransom” or “sacrifice” do not imply sin transference — those who pay ransoms to kidnappers do not transfer sins, and heroes who give their lives for others do not take upon themselves the sins of those others), Paul is the one who introduces a literal concept of sin transference.” Danizier
‘Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men… All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ (Isaiah 52:13-15,53:5)
So we see the Prophesy of Scripture of God laying our sins upon His servant, with the shedding and sprikling of blood.
‘For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ (Matthew 26:28)
‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.’ (John 12:32-33)
Jesus declaring Himself to be that servant, who would shed His blood for us on the cross.
‘Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied….Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ (1 Peter 1:2,18-19)
‘But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ (1 John 1:7)
‘And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…’ (Rev 1:5)
‘And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ (Rev 7:14)
Peter and John declaring remission and forgivenss of our sins by the washing of the shed blood of Jesus.
So, we see in Scripture the full teaching and preaching of our sins being laid on God’s servant, His Son Jesus Christ, by which blood also we have remission-forgiveness of our sins and thus being washed clean. Even As Paul also preached the gospel of the cross (1 Cor 1:17-18). Who, in Scripture of the Bible, was neither the first nor the last to do so…
Sorry, Robert, but you continue to deal in irrelevant distractions and red herrings.
Citing any reference to Jesus as merely sacrificing himself does not do anything to support your Pauline conclusions about blood atonement (human sacrifice) to make anyone else’s sins disappear any more than any other hero who jumps on a live grenade or in front of an oncoming train to save someone else. Thus, it is 100% irrelevant to a claim of a unique, messianic role for Jesus as a human sacrifice for sin.
Your reference to Matthew 26:26 does not prove your point. It does not say that Jesus takes upon himself the sins of anyone else. It says he died for the remission (removal) of sins, not that he transferred those sins to himself or took them upon himself. He shed blood; he died; sins were removed. It does NOT say that the blood paid for those sins or made them go away. More consistent with Jesus reported teachings is that he died to teach people how to live compassionately, without sin, resulting in a remission (removal) of sins through the process of changing one’s character, not just pawning them off on someone else. He died to teach them how to remove sin through universal compassionate love.
Jesus taught in several key points, in self-contained passages, that IF YOU DO THAT (practice universal compassionate love) YOU WILL BE SAVED. He gave his life to help promote that remission of sins in others. Any other interpretation means that you are saying that the account of Jesus assuming someone else’s sins contradicts what he said elsewhere about the mechanism of salvation.
The reference to Isaiah 52-53 is simply absurd. Despite all the efforts to make it so, Isaiah has nothing to do with prophecies of Jesus. Not his birth, not his life, not his death, not his atonement. Every instance of a so-called “prophecy” in Isaiah, if you read the complete passages, have specific details that eliminate any possibility that they could be referring to Jesus as reported in the gospels.
In Isaiah 53, verse 10 of the passage specifically states that he shall “see his seed” — that will have biological posterity (offspring) and that the Lord will “prolong his days”; i.e., that he will live a long life. Unless you want to try and tell us that Jesus didn’t really die young (age 33) and that he had a secret family (shades of the Da Vinci Code!), those qualifications, that he lives a long life and that he has biological posterity specifically rule out any possibility that the subject could be referring to the Jesus of the New Testament gospels. Just as important as what is there, is what is not: The passage contains NONE of the actual details of the Jesus myth.
No triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey or palm leaves.
No thirty pieces of silver.
No crown of thorns.
No dying and rising from the dead three days later.
NOT EVEN A CROSS is mentioned!
In fact, it doesn’t even say that the subject of this passage even dies, only that he is “bruised.”
And according to Isaiah, this hapless subject, whoever he is, will not only survive, but live a long life and “see his seed” (offspring that Jesus never had).
Who is the unfortunate victim here?
The reference is vague.
The attempt to make it Jesus is desperate.
The references to writings that come after Paul are irrelevant; these are gullible fishermen and sheepherders who have been brainwashed by the wealthy, educated, erudite, smooth-talking Paul, who had repeatedly contradicted and undermined every earlier teaching attributed to Jesus.
And the most important point of all: you have not even attempted to address the total irrationality and injustice of how punishing an innocent man does anything to make anyone else’s sins go away, or any of the other internally inconsistent or illogical aspects of this “Christian” version of human sacrifice. It is simply just another primitive human sacrifice myth, similar to those of many primitive tribal societies.
Also it is true that we all have the dirt of sin and it does need to be washed away. But it is not washed throught blood from sacrifice. Jesus gave us the cleaning agent.
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. John 15:3
The word that he spoke during his ministry here on earth around 2000 years ago. If you here it, accept it, and obey it then you are clean and purified.
You quote Jesus (via John 15:3) saying exactly what I explained: the cleansing of sin is in the teachings (and as Jesus repeatedly taught, our active obedience to them — see my commentary on Jesus v. Paul). Notice that Jesus, according to the statement you cite, asserts that the listener is cleansed by what he teaches us, and does not mention any bloody human sacrifice, which has not even occurred yet at the time Jesus says “already you are clean…”
In any case, no one has yet been able to address the point why one has to actually be one hundred percent without sin to get into heaven, or how killing an innocent man does anything to atone for or ameliorate in any way the sins of anyone else.
Then, by your definition, it was suicide. Not a good way out. Many use this exact excuse in their suicide letters. Let’s stop the fantasy, the myth, the mystery and get real. Really, real …. Just because an apologetic suicide note like this verse was written, does not condone it. This “God” or Satan chaos maker is the wrong concept to follow. Perceive the real and understand goodness and love …. not death and suicide of neo-polytheistic ideals of the trinity. Although, it was well excepted by the demigods of the Roman Imperialists, even Constantine and those after him, including the vicars of God the Catholic Popes.
You do understand, I hope, that the whole purpose of this article was to demonstrate the absurdity of the myth of bloody atonement as the basis for “salvation.”
I have for a very long time had a problem with the understanding of the trinity. I mean the logic of it all. You explain it brilliantly and humourously as well.
In reference to Luke 10 25-37 Jesus absolutely tells this ” Jewish” lawyer that he must follow the “LAW” and love God with all of his heart to be saved. THIS IS HOW THE JEWS WERE SAVED. By loving and serving God. Jesus did not speak of his atonement” death on the cross for our sins because He hadn’t died for them yet. Didn’t want to go spoiling the surprise to his followers. All this lawyer knew was the law that God gave them. Sorry but even an uneducated person could see that up until His death the jews would have to follow the rules that God had set before on salvation. How This passage is especially important because he wanted to show the ” Jews” that we must love our enemies” Gentiles ” because unbeknownst to this lawyer Christ would shortly be crucified for this Samaritan and This Jew.
Terry — Nothing in your comment address any of the salient points from this article about the futility of primitive human sacrifice myths. You say nothing that addresses how killing Jesus does anything to atone for anyone else’s sins, nothing as to why that is even necessary, how Jesus “paid the price” for sin if, as the renegade “apostle” Paul says, “The wages of sin are death” but, at the same time, “Jesus lives” or any of the other logical nonsense on which this entire mythology is founded.
What you do note is that Jesus never taught salvation through the process of substitutional vicarious human sacrifice, that he taught according to the Jewish Law, and that the entire absurd doctrine of salvation based on human sacrifice is therefore based on Paul. Accordingly, your approach might better fit in the article about the contradictions between Paul and Jesus (backed up by his brother James).
Again, read what is actually written in the article. And please actually read the article on Paul, since it points out the absurdity that, according to the Pauline doctrine you accept in rejecting Jesus’ teachings, really good, kind, generous, loving people (like the Samaritan) could be consigned to eternal damnation, while someone who never did one good or kind thing in their sorry existence could accept Jesus as savior and live in eternal bliss.
As far as your claim of what Jesus “wanted to show,” you just made that up. There is nothing remotely similar to that in the passage or, for that matter, anywhere in the gospel of Luke from which the passage originates.
Ok so maybe he didn’t want to spoil the surprise to his followers. Well what about after he was resurrected and talked to his disciples before assending to the father in heaven? This would have been a perfect opportunity to say “by the way… The purpose for my cruxifiction was so anyone who believes I died for thier sins can be forgiven.” Why didn’t he say so? Because that was not a part of the plan for salvation. The true plan for salvation had already been given through him from the father during his sermon and the mount and teachings in the streets along the way.
You give far too much credit to Jesus as being a compassionate teacher. Jesus turned away a non-Jew who asked him to save her son saying something to the effect: “I have come to take care of the children of Israel, not you.”
There are many other instances where Jesus reveals his true nature; see them all here:
We have no verifiable records of anything Jesus, himself, ever wrote, said or did. We have records written by others, most of whom never even met him, written decades after the fact, in an age when memories were not aided by pictures, legal documents (other than a very few top elites), videos and, again with the exception of a few elites, written documents produced by the principals at the time they occurred.
Further, I have provided extensive evidence of numerous internal contradictions.
When taken as a whole, and considering the lack of verification, there is possibly a historical figure named Jesus, and from that possible actual person a mythology has arisen. Yes, it is sometimes contradicted, but such in the nature of mythology written by primitive sheep herders and fishermen. I stand by my description of the myth of a teacher of universal compassion, however imperfect and compromised. That is the myth. And the mythology that has been built up around Jesus is undermined primarily by the renegade “apostle” Paul, as I have described in my web page about how Paul undermines Jesus.
Great article. i do agree with your position. Jesus was not a sacrifice. God is not a demon who accepts human sacrifice. God raised Jesus up from the dead to show that he did not accept any sacrifice. It is not possible for Jesus to be a sacrifice because in the Law of Moses a blood sacrifice is for unintentional sins. The path of salvation lies in us laying down our life according to the words of Jesus and i do not mean suicide.
You say that you agree with my position, but you have not described my position accurately.
My position goes beyond rejecting the notion of Jesus as a sacrifice. It rejects the idea of Jesus as a messianic savior.
Jesus was an inspiring teacher who laid down his life by voluntarily assuming known risks to offer the free gift of universal compassionate love, but I do not see any external evidence that Jesus came back to life after being unjustly executed, nor do I see any evidence of the Bible being a factually literal account, any more than any other ancient book of fables or myths.
But at least I appreciate the views of Christians who emphasize the compassion Jesus shared rather than the simplistic belief in salvation just because you “believe” and join the right team.
Hi, i think you might find this writer of great value. we attend the same fellowship
An warm, engaging analysis, but it relies too much on the supernatural aspects of the Jesus legend as told in the Bible mythology.
Actually, I found this teaching full of bitterness which blinds you to the reality of forgiveness in atonement, and power to walk righteously in redemption. As for the victim, and its terrible having forced to be one, yet, for the victim too, there is a releasing of forgiveness through the blood sacrifice, the substituted punishment. Sadly, there are also always consequences for wrong doing, both the the perpetrator, and to the victim. Often people decribe evil occurences as just being a matter of life. I disagree. It is the consequences of being within an evil world. Yeshua helps us, not only to cope, but also to rise above the evil perpetrated against ourselves. Turning the other cheek I feel is a misunderstood concept. It means that we are not to retaliate, not to seek vengence. Yet, turning the other cheek does not mean we do not attempt to correct the perpetrator. To ignore the perpetrator’s wrong doing would be to communictae that the perpetrators’s rights superceded one’s own rights. We have equal rights. God placed the legal system into place as a means to correct the wrong doers.
You did not address any of the points — not a single one — from the essay.
How does killing an innocent man atone for, remove or in any way ameliorate the sins of anyone else?
Why does the smallest infraction require the cosmic death penalty?
If god is so all-powerful, why can’t he simply forgive if he wants or find a way that is less cruel than killing his son (or, really, since they are all one god, HIMSELF)?
If god kills himself in the form of his son, is that suicide? Deicide?
I love the way Bill Maher offered a humorous definition of Christian theology in “Religulous”:
“The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in all humans because a women made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake in a magical garden to eat the fruit from a magical tree, which made an invisible man who lives in the sky very angry…”
As noted in the essay, if you want to address the issue of eliminating (curing) sin, then you have to address sin as a character flaw, and take steps to address character reformation and transformation, which has nothing to do with killing an innocent third party as some kind of magical human sacrifice.
I have always found the idea of human sacrifice antithetical to the whole concept of a loving god.
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