Monday, March 17, 2008

The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

You hear the argument all the time: "I may not have proof, but I feel it in my heart," or "I may not know the fancy science talk, but I know in my heart what is right and true, praise Jesus!"

It's hard to argue against "feelings" and "personal experience" once you have pinned a fundie in the corner of logic and reason, isn't it? As soon as you have crucified (quite ironically) their faulty synapse connections, they whip out the good old stand-by: Personal feelings and experiences that no ruler can measure, no test tube can bottle, no scientist can scrutinize...

It all hinges not only on that intangible "faith" thing that so many seem to think is evidence of some kind, this faith is based on something likewise quite intangible and destructive--a death based on "love"--a love held by a god for his creation, so much so that he killed (or "sacrificed" if you abhor the term "killed" so much...) his kid just so everyone who gives god enough props will spend eternity praising him over and over and over (multiplied by eternity...)

And I feel this begs the question, was it truly a "sacrifice" if god knew his kid would "rise from the dead"?

The very first thing you learn in Sunday school, when the indoctrination begins, is that god knows everything! Absolutely nothing exists (or doesn't exist) that isn't neatly folded, stacked, labeled, and filed in that great white desk in the sky. Time, money, weather patterns, and the mating habits of the fruit fly in winter are all part-and-parcel of the Jeopardy! mind of god--so therefore, god knew (if non-urban Hebrew legends of old are to be believed) that Jesus would survive just fine from his ordeal on Earth (nothing a little god-counseling couldn't handle after ascension, anyway...) and therefore, since god wasn't really losing anything, how can this be considered a sacrifice? What has god truly "lost" in order to "pay" for the "wages" of our "sin"? What's the god-to-human blood ratio/cost?

If I were to hand my brother a $50 and say, "I was going to pay my electric bill with this, but I know you need it for groceries, so..." But if I knew I was also going to get a $50 from my husband, and that my brother had to pay my husband for the groceries he needed... You see? I haven't given up $50, my electricity, or my own comfort--in fact, not only have I not sacrificed anything, I've also "martyred" myself in front of my brother by making it seem as if I were sacrificing in order to manipulate him into thinking I am greater than I really am! Is there really any worse type of "sacrifice"? This indeed is the crux of the salvation message peddled on street corners in New York and preached from pulpits the world over--that somehow god has sacrificed something of such great value in order to pay for us, when really we weren't for sale, didn't need purchased, weren't in danger except from the hell the purchaser created, and the purchaser really didn't pay for anything anyway--he knew the boomerang effect of Jesus' life...

In a post from what seems eons ago (and still a pretty popular read if my site stats are anything to go by...), we discussed for quite some time how people "know" god and Jesus from experiences and personal feelings that aren't actually "knowing" (and how "knowing" is the antithesis of FAITH... and still is...), but one of the points brought up by Ergo (who continues to be a brilliant voice in the blogosphere in my opinion) was the following:
[W]hen two (or more) people love each other, they make absolutely NO sacrifices for each other. A morality that preaches sacrifice as a virtue and as a package-deal with love is an evil and harmful morality--it implicitly says that all that you love, all that you value, all that you desire, you must attain through suffering and pain and sacrifice.
Ah--the crux of the matter: Is "sacrifice" really a good measurement of the amount of love that went into an act? (Suppose, like, the death of a god?) Was it actually "love" from which this story is born? Or merely a poignant tale of the lengths intelligent beings will go to in order that they be held in high regard?

A "fact" that we also learned in indoctrination class (Err... Sunday School...) was that god is all-powerful. That is, he can do whatever the hell he wants whenever the hell he wants irregardless of scientific law, reasonable limits, or elephant migratory patterns. So not only did he know his kid would rise from the dead, he also could have produced a myriad of scenarios in which this "sacrifice" wouldn't have been called for! So now we are left wondering: if it wasn't truly sacrificial in the light of his foreknowledge of not losing his son, and if he could have produced any number of ways in which our "sin" could be redeemed without said "sacrifice," how is it again that this imaginary creature is supposed to be the creator of all and worthy of us denying ourselves for the "greater good"?

If there were such a creature about, one who created us in love and only wished for our continued happiness and a bountiful life, one would hope he/she/it would have the sense to actually use this foreknowledge with a dash of common sense (not to mention a pinch of decency) and create a world in which not only wouldn't he have had to "sacrifice" his kid, but avoided the whole Tree of Knowledge altogether...

It's hard to place any amount of faith, let alone love, in a being so lacking in basic common sense.

Knowing may be half the battle, but the other half is using that knowledge wisely and for bettering yourself as a person. It certainly isn't chalking up the rest to a whim and a prayer in the hope of a being that didn't even have the decency to apologize.

Believing in such a being requires more than faith--it takes a blind faith of tremendously naive proportions, and for what? To praise god for eternity...

Souls may have been paid for with his kid's blood, but the true cost is much, much higher. Can you guess what you've really paid for, buying into this "eternal life" scam?

Here's a clue: It isn't love...

12 comments:

FCSuper said...

It's as though god is a 6 year old playing with his action figures G.I. Joes. He'll stage battles and such; make fake machine gun sounds; kill Cobra over and over. Then puts the toys in their box, puts them away. Next day, he pulls them out and does it all over again, until he gets bored or discovers video games.

mom said...

hello jason! maybe God doesn't think you have common sense either. love and prayers

mom said...

hello jason! this is me again. that last thing i commented was done out of a angry heart. i hate how you make God look to others. i know God deals with things like this on His own and does not need my help. but i do not think you can put God in a common sense thing. would anyone of us really lay our life down for anyone and for people that treat us the way we treat each other sometimes? i will confess sometimes i can't say i could. Gods Son layed His life down because He wanted to because of the love He felt for His Father and for us. to sacafice is to lay down what you love for to make others life better. we to can live on after death is what Him coming back from the dead was all about. this all is wrapped up in how much power God does have. God did not say we needed a good dose of common sense to come to Him. He said to have faith in believing in what He did for us and what He can do for us as His child. love and prayers

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add to your mothers comment to . Jesus also took the Burden of all our sins. It was sacrfice . But it is a suffering that we won't know what it is like .

Anonymous said...

I just read this today on a friends blog. I thought I would post in on yours since that was what your topic was about . I am the same Ann. from above.

WHY JESUS???


In our post modern culture, the question frequently arises, "Why do you say Jesus is the only way?" or "Who are you to say Jesus is the only way?" Well, in my position I expect our culture to ask questions like this, but in the last few years the Christian church itself has begun to ask these same questions. So, if the church is now scratching its head, then I think it’s fair to make the judgement call that in our day and age Jesus has become confusing. But is it that Jesus is confusing or might it be just possible that our culture has confused itself about anything having to do with religion and God? I watched an interview on MSNBC not to long ago with a very prominent ex-politician who has always claimed to be a Christian. In an answer to a question he stated, "that all religions serve the same God in different ways."

We have all heard similar statements – all roads lead to the same God and all religions worship the same God in different ways. BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!


But when you throw Jesus into the mix it messes everything up!!! Or does it actually make everything crystal clear?

So here is the question of the ages………..WHY JESUS?



Why Jesus? Why would God send his son to die for us? Well, John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that who ever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life!" God gave his son out of pure love.

And why did Jesus allow himself to be viciously crucified when with a simple whisper of a word 10,000 angels would have came and saved him and taken him down off that cross? But he did not ask for HELP! Well Why?

Most of us have a really hard time completely understanding just why our salvation came at the cost of Christ’s life. God in all His splendor could have just told us to ask for forgiveness, right?



But that would not have erased sin nor would forgiveness defeat death.


Even after Christ gave his life for our own, much of the world did not acknowledge that he even lived, that alone came to save that which was lost. And it still doesn’t. This gets back into the whole confused culture religion thing.




And I could very easily go all theological on you and bore many of you to tears. That ain’t how I roll. And for those who know me know just that. So, I have a story to share that might make sense and open our eyes to this confusion of religion and God and Jesus.




Once upon a time! Just kidding……..

In a galaxy far far away! Just kidding again……..




One winter night this farmer heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to the window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.

Touched, the farmer bundled up and trudged through fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in a corner. But the sparrows, which had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness afraid. They were confused and did not know what to do.

The man tried various tactics to get them into the barn. He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them. He tried circling behind the birds to drive them toward the barn. Nothing worked. In their eyes he was a huge alien creature and the birds were terrified of him; the birds couldn’t comprehend that he actually desired to help. That he did not want to see them be harmed. He wanted to give them a chance to continue living. But they just hid in the darkness staying clear of the farmer. All they had to do was go towards the light in barn and they would be warm and safe.

The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window. As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning strike: "If only I could become a bird – one of them – just for a season. Then I wouldn’t frighten them. I could show them the way to warmth and safety." At the same moment, another thought dawned on him. He had grasped the reason of WHY JESUS?



WHY JESUS? To pay the price and take our place.


Where? On a hill ( Golgotha ) a place called "The Skull". Nailed to a cross. Christ gave his life that we might have ours. Though it may have happened there, this event lives in all Christians. His love, His salvation, His life.




In the book "A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel look at what he learned from a historian and physician as it relates to just what Jesus went through for the world.

Jesus was nailed to a cross with heavy, square wrought-iron nails through His wrists and through His feet. He hung there for several hours. When His body slumped, excruciating, fiery pain would shoot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain - the nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he placed the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he felt the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of the feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint rendering cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn form his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony began: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart. It is now almost over - the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level - the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues - the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.

He then felt the chill of death creeping through his tissues... Finally He was able to allow his body to die. "IT IS FINISHED!" All of this for you and me! If you were the only person in the world, he would have done this for you alone. He loves you!


This is WHY JESUS!!!!




There was no one else and No other way……



The Way, the Truth, the Life, was Jesus and will always be Jesus.

mom said...

hello jason! who wants to pass the offering plate? i get to keep it!! :) (only if its full or if the plate is pretty enough to use for a candle holder.) :) ann, are you a preacher? what a sermon!! :) you never know who you might touch when you spread the Word. i can't get all deep but i do know what God did to change me! so you preach it sister! love and prayers

Jason Hughes said...

First off, LOL to FC: Loved the analogy!

Mom and Anon: You both entirely missed the point, so for the sake of clarity, let me re-type it: How is it a sacrifice when god loses nothing/gives up nothing in the bargain?

If I have time in the next few evenings, I'll comment on your tangents which have nothing to do with the point of the post...

Anonymous said...

You Are right I did not answer that one. I am going to do a little research there. You know I wonder that same thing . You ask some very thought provoking questions. Things I have thought about too. But it does not make me ever doubt my faith but it does make me want to search and find out more about the things you say!!

mom said...

hello jason! maybe you should just ask the question for your mom point blank. :) sorry you thought i missed the point. maybe thats why i keep missing that boat with the millions of dollars on it. :) God was hoping that the death of His perfect Son could bring us humans to Himself to live with Him in heaven. He loves us and wants us to join Him in heaven to live forever. it would be like me wanting you to join me in a very cool place that is perfect but i am not God and we do not have perfect down here and in heaven it is going to be something that passes all our understanding now. i heard a preacher once say that the Bible talks more about hell than heaven since if they talked about everything that we will have in heaven people would not want to live down here. (now that joke i always say passing grave yards makes sense now?!?!? :) ) i don't understand all the in and outs but to have faith that it will happen for me some day and to see my loved ones that passed on and are now in heaven and to see God is a wonderful to me. i can't make you anymore excited about it since you do not want to share in that faith. you are trying very hard to look for reasons why there is no God and that is your right. God is real to me and i see it over and over again. you either believe it or you don't. its as simple as that. when you start believing things fall into place and you don't have to do a DEEP study on it. understanding God is through the work of the Holy Spirit. the love God has for us is greater than we will understand down here. like i said in your e-mail i sent you we will never know really till one of us die. again i will ask, who first? :) love and prayers ps i reread the anno. thing again and i miss read it since i took as the name 'ann'. sorry. maybe you are a boy named sue. :) you know, this would be easier for me to just put a name to the comments. we have alot of names to take out there. pick one. who cares if its not your name.

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mom said...

hello jason! maybe you should just ask the question for your mom point blank. :) sorry you thought i missed the point. maybe thats why i keep missing that boat with the millions of dollars on it. :) God was hoping that the death of His perfect Son could bring us humans to Himself to live with Him in heaven. He loves us and wants us to join Him in heaven to live forever. it would be like me wanting you to join me in a very cool place that is perfect but i am not God and we do not have perfect down here and in heaven it is going to be something that passes all our understanding now. i heard a preacher once say that the Bible talks more about hell than heaven since if they talked about everything that we will have in heaven people would not want to live down here. (now that joke i always say passing grave yards makes sense now?!?!? :) ) i don't understand all the in and outs but to have faith that it will happen for me some day and to see my loved ones that passed on and are now in heaven and to see God is a wonderful to me. i can't make you anymore excited about it since you do not want to share in that faith. you are trying very hard to look for reasons why there is no God and that is your right. God is real to me and i see it over and over again. you either believe it or you don't. its as simple as that. when you start believing things fall into place and you don't have to do a DEEP study on it. understanding God is through the work of the Holy Spirit. the love God has for us is greater than we will understand down here. like i said in your e-mail i sent you we will never know really till one of us die. again i will ask, who first? :) love and prayers ps i reread the anno. thing again and i miss read it since i took as the name 'ann'. sorry. maybe you are a boy named sue. :) you know, this would be easier for me to just put a name to the comments. we have alot of names to take out there. pick one. who cares if its not your name.

FCSuper said...

It's as though god is a 6 year old playing with his action figures G.I. Joes. He'll stage battles and such; make fake machine gun sounds; kill Cobra over and over. Then puts the toys in their box, puts them away. Next day, he pulls them out and does it all over again, until he gets bored or discovers video games.