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Nov 12 2012

Odious Christianity

It was a good weekend for harvesting bullshit. There was a line of cross-bearing protesters outside Skepticon handing the crap out, and I stuffed a few things in my pocket. I thought I’d share an excerpt from one little tract from Living Waters. The setup is the usual: you’re a sinner, every day you break God’s Law, and you are righteously doomed to hell…but they have one way out. Pay special attention to that conclusion.

There’s only one way…if a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!

Whoa, hang on there. How is justice served by punishing an innocent? So, with this judge, if I get a parking ticket I could get out of it by bringing in a baby and chopping off a finger, and announcing that there, I’ve more than paid off my crime now? Or do I need to get someone who loves me very much to selflessly volunteer to mutilate themselves in order to get me off?

It seems to me that if I were to accept such an offer, it would make me even more of a disgusting monster than just someone who let a parking meter expire. I don’t think justice is served by allowing others to take responsibility for my crimes — yet somehow a fundamental precept of Christianity is the doctrine of the scapegoat.

So, sorry, I reject the core belief, so I must reject the whole of Christianity. Joshua, get down off that tree! You’re doing me no favors!

I would like to thank Ray Comfort for so effectively distilling down the essence of his religion so that it’s heinous flaws are readily apparent.

116 comments

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  1. 1
    Rutee Katreya

    ANother data point for “YHWH and his ‘evil’ counterpart are basically running the same pyramid scheme”, I suppose. I remember from my upbringing that people in hell could reduce or end their own sentences by getting people to sell their souls.

    This whole fetishizatoin of purity is pretty ridiculous in general though.

  2. 2
    dianne

    So, with this judge, if I get a parking ticket I could get out of it by bringing in a baby and chopping off a finger, and announcing that there, I’ve more than paid off my crime now?

    Nope. Babies are little bundles of original sin. Bring in a fetus and chop its finger off. That should do it.

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    Hey, with that logic, helping out at an abortion clinic ought to earn forgiveness for just about every crime I can imagine!

  4. 4
    andusay

    You know, fo a group that uses a lot of analogies to get their point across, christians are really bad at them. Where in this analogy does this sacrifice take place? Does it ever happen in a court? Would it ever be allowed to happen? The answers are, of course, no. So how does this analogy work at all? Why even mention a court if your point does not follow from it? Complete idiocy.

  5. 5
    Freodin

    A fine case of Christianese doubletalk. They might say “justice demands that you pay for your crimes”… but they don’t mean it.

    They mean somethink like “justice demands that your crimes must be payed for, in an arbitrary way that we decide”.

    And then they double back on that already idiotic variant of “justice” to add “If a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!”

    Hey, fine! According to their doctrine, a sinless person just did that! Justice is served and I can go free!

    Hah, of course not. Only if I “submit” to their nonsense, and “have faith” and fulfil whatever meaningless theological drivel they invent… only then do I get this “get-out-of-Hell-free-card”.

    They want to have it both ways… offer mercy and demand punishment.

  6. 6
    carlie

    Also, there’s the fact that “can’t you just let it slide?” is the entirety of every prayer begging God for forgiveness, ever. And the answer is “Sure, just believe in your heart that everything’s taken care of and it will be.”*

    *wait, I think I just discovered Libertarian/Tea Party/current Republican politics.

  7. 7
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Only a corrupt judge would do that.

    Why is it they run straight through the truth to get to their lies?

  8. 8
    Zeppelin

    Not only is the innocent sacrifice thing insane, the whole underlying concept of “justice” meaning “we do a bad thing to you because you did a bad thing” is dangerous and destructive.

    It’s like they think that making the perpetrator miserable somehow erases the harm that’s been done, rather than adding additional misery to the world.

  9. 9
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    From the wording, it could be read as if it’s enough that an innocent offers themselves, without actually needing to get punished, the willingness being enough. But then again, if people knew that, they wouldn’t really be taking much of a risk, making the whole thing pretty meaningless.
    So what I’m guessing is, it would be a dice -will God provide mercy for the innocent or not? Pretty odious in any case.

    What makes them objectionable is not that they aren’t atheistic; it’s that they’re irrational, which is isn’t the same thing. Isn’t it lovely when Catholics sound almost reasonable* compared to these fuckers?

    *for a pretty loose definition of reasonable

  10. 10
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I have no idea how this sentence :

    “What makes them objectionable is not that they aren’t atheistic; it’s that they’re irrational, which is isn’t the same thing. ”

    got in there.

    (a quote from one of the comments at Ophelia’s, btw)

  11. 11
    Akira MacKenzie

    The idea is that there is no such thing as a completely innocent man. We are all supposedly steeped in sin. Oh, most of us may have never murdered or raped, but we’ve stolen an Oreo from the cookie jar and told little white lies about how their partner looks in a paricular outfit. I imagine Comfort’s brand of Christianty doesn’t recognize “venial” or “mortal” sin as others do; it’s all Hell-worthy in the hands of his angry god. Then, of course, we have Original Sin, passed down from that dirty, dirty, slut Eve for eating of the magic fruit and tricking poor Adam into trying it as well. Either way, you’re boned.

    Even if it was true, as PZ pointed out, it still wouldn’t make the idea behind Super Jesus’ supposed substitutional “sacrifice” any less horrible.

  12. 12
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    The idea is that there is no such thing as a completely innocent man. We are all supposedly steeped in sin.

    Good point.

    So I guess we’re all doomed (DOOMED!!!) anyway.

  13. 13
    anteprepro

    I love how the “try that in court” scenario abruptly ends when it would be inconvenient for them to illustrate their bald assertion that “if a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!”. Where’s the real-life dramatization of that? Where’s the criminal parent pressuring their kid to accept jail time on their behalf? Where’s the court room where the judge is forced to sentence the spouse of the serial killer to death, because the spouse was willing to take the real killer’s place out of love? Do they really fool people into thinking that this implied “principle” is anything but handwaving?

  14. 14
    rq

    @dianne #2
    Alright, babies are bundles of sin – therefore, fetus is sin-free. Does the process of birth put the sin on/in (?) the baby? If yes, do C-section babies count, or are they sin-free?
    But if any exit from a dirty woman’s body puts sin upon the baby, then it would be better to leave it in there… right? Because once it’s out, that’s it, original sin all over that thing.
    So I propose an extra sin-wiping step to the process, seeing as Christianity hates women, too – pregnant women should be sacrificed (or should ‘offer to be a sacrifice’, because they get to ‘choose’ and all that), and you have a two-in-one deal (literally): innocent fetus, plus get rid of a woman, and voila! sins forgiven…

    But if Akira (#11) is right, then yes, we are, in fact, DOOMED.

  15. 15
    dianne

    rq: Judging by the behavior of certain members of the Catholic hierarchy who wish to run hospitals, I believe your analysis is theologically correct. The pregnant woman who dies rather than end a completely doomed pregnancy is a martyr and, presumably, absolved for her sins. Including deserting any already living children she may have. And, of course, it’s only right for the clergy to “help” them make the “right” decision.

  16. 16
    Alex

    Hmmm. If King Herod had gotten a hold of baby Jesus the first time around, this would have avoided 30 more years of savedlessness for everyone. Really, Mary and Joseph are to blame for those lost souls.

  17. 17
    carlie

    Isn’t it lying to the court when an innocent person takes the blame, and therefore also a crime?

  18. 18
    Akira MacKenzie

    I’ve come to suspect that Christianity’s substitutional atonement is a possible remnant of human sacrifice rituals practiced by the ancient Caaninites/Hebrews (e.g. Issac, the share of human captives to Yaewah after the Midianite genocide in Numbers 31, Jeptha’s daughter) along with the dying/rising god traditions cribbed from other Mystery Religions of the era.

  19. 19
    chigau (違う)

    I’m pretty sure the soul™ is there from conception therefore Original Sin® is also there.
    I wonder if there’s a way to baptize embryos?

  20. 20
    Akira MacKenzie

    I think that our DOOMED status is more emphasized in Protestantism than Catholicism, especially since the former eschew the idea of atonement by confession or penance or other sacrament. Look up the Calvinist concept of “Utter Depravity” sometime.

  21. 21
    dianne

    I wonder if there’s a way to baptize embryos?

    Dunk all used pads/tampons in holy water, just in case?

  22. 22
    anteprepro

    Next time I’m in traffic court, my defense is going to be that Jesus did it. I was just one of many who let Jesus take the wheel, and he done fucked it up, as usual.

  23. 23
    Akira MacKenzie

    chigau @ 19

    I’d say it depends on if the denomination accepts total immersion baptism as a sacrament. ;)

  24. 24
    Akira MacKenzie

    Correction: That should be “Total Depravity.”

  25. 25
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    @ Rutee Katreya #1

    Another data point for “YHWH and his ‘evil’ counterpart are basically running the same pyramid scheme”, I suppose.

    Not ‘evil counterpart’. Read the book of Job – Satan is his employee and gambling buddy.

  26. 26
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Bah blockquote fail.

    @ Rutee Katreya #1

    Another data point for “YHWH and his ‘evil’ counterpart are basically running the same pyramid scheme”, I suppose.

    Not ‘evil counterpart’. Read the book of Job – Satan is his employee and gambling buddy.

  27. 27
    steve84

    It’s really just a human form of scapegoating. Heap all the sins of the tribe on an animal (with magic) and then send it into the desert to die. That’s the pre-civilization barbarism Christianity is based on.

  28. 28
    Matt Penfold

    Isn’t it lying to the court when an innocent person takes the blame, and therefore also a crime?

    Yeap, it would be perjury and obstructing justice.

  29. 29
    machintelligence

    Zepplin @ 8

    Not only is the innocent sacrifice thing insane, the whole underlying concept of “justice” meaning “we do a bad thing to you because you did a bad thing” is dangerous and destructive.

    I think not. The removal of the threat of punishment would undermine one of the foundations of civilized culture. It is not usually sufficient to reward good actors, but also to punish bad ones to get compliance to cultural norms. Since humans do a pretty good job of anticipating the future, the phrase “We can’t make you do the right thing, but we can make you wish you had” carries some weight. See the TED talk by Johnathan Haidt.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html
    You can start at 11:30 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing.

  30. 30
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem
    I wonder if there’s a way to baptize embryos?

    Dunk all used pads/tampons in holy water, just in case?

    Don’t be silly. Everyone knows that you can’t ‘unfilthify’ those icky female parts. They are permanently unclean.

    Now, having the dude wash his junk with holy water before sex! That might work! Everyone knows there’s nothing holier than the mighty penis!

  31. 31
    steve84

    @2 & 14
    According to Catholic doctrine (after they abolished limbo) unborn children are free of sin. So we’d be doing them a favor by aborting them. They’d certainly go to heaven without the chance to be infected by the cooties of original sin.

    It was pointed out here:

  32. 32
    Marcus Ranum

    Can’t we just tell the judge that jebus already paid for our speeding tickets with his holy blood, on the cross? Oh, and his insurance should get the points, too.

  33. 33
    rq

    dianne @21
    If I have a priest bless my toilet, does that count as Holy Water?

  34. 34
    Gregory in Seattle

    Wait a moment. If this were really a Christian tract, the conversation would be:

    Kid: “I’m really sorry and will try to do better.”

    Judge: “All forgiven, case dismissed.”

  35. 35
    Gregory Greenwood

    rq @ 14;

    Alright, babies are bundles of sin – therefore, fetus is sin-free. Does the process of birth put the sin on/in (?) the baby? If yes, do C-section babies count, or are they sin-free?
    But if any exit from a dirty woman’s body puts sin upon the baby, then it would be better to leave it in there… right? Because once it’s out, that’s it, original sin all over that thing.

    Don’t forget that this is christianity we are talking about, so the sexual intercourse by which the foetus was conceived was also sinful*, and of course if the child was conceived without sex – by invitro fertilisation for instance – then that is even worse, because sex is sinful, but such technological means of conception are both sinful and unnatural.

    And that whole immaculate conception thing – it was totes a one time deal.

    So I propose an extra sin-wiping step to the process, seeing as Christianity hates women, too – pregnant women should be sacrificed (or should ‘offer to be a sacrifice’, because they get to ‘choose’ and all that), and you have a two-in-one deal (literally): innocent fetus, plus get rid of a woman, and voila! sins forgiven…

    I think that neatly sums up the position already adopted by most of the religious forced-birthers.

    —————————————————————-

    * All sex being inherently awful in the eyes of christians for some reason… well, except when their god supposedly magically raped a teenage girl to bring forth a version of himself he could later sacrifice to himself to appease himself, but that wasn’t nasty, fluid-exchange-enabled mortal sex, so it was all good.

    Just ignore that Joseph chap standing in the corner…

  36. 36
    Gregory in Seattle

    @steve84 #31 – If that is the case, then why the need for baptism? Ancient Christian doctrine holds that the entire point of baptism was to wash away original sin. Or was that doctrine eliminated too?

  37. 37
    stuartsmith

    Any baby who exits the womb immediately comes into contact with dirty lady parts. Even for baby boys, this is adultery. For baby girls, it’s homosexual activity as well. I’m not sure about c-section babies, but I’m sure they still touch some sin-infused parts on the way out. Clearly the only point at which the fetus is pure and sin free is when it’s pre-sentient, and thus incapable of responsibility.

    That said, Jesus already died for everyone’s sins, which makes God guilty of pretty much the worst case of nepotism ever. Given that the penalty for sin is infinite and eternal suffering, and that Jesus took on the sins of millions of people, he should AT LEAST be suffering infinitely and eternally for those sins. Instead, he gets a few days nailed to a cross. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty shitty way to spend your time, but if I had to choose between crucifixion or infinite and eternal suffering, I’d pay for the nails. When a judge imposes massive, draconian punishments on everyone, and then his kid comes up and gets a (relative) slap on the wrist for a million times more crime, we don’t call that justice.

  38. 38
    joachim

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    Even for Hitler and Stalin.

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    The Moral Relativists don’t want judgment, but they don’t cease making judgments.

  39. 39
    PZ Myers

    Any baby who exits the womb immediately comes into contact with dirty lady parts.

    Children born of a C section are therefore without sin.

  40. 40
    Alex

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    It so happens that atheits generally don’t believe in an afterlife.
    Of course this statement is true for everyone

    Even for Hitler and Stalin.

    even those guys.

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    There is an important distinction to be made: of course, atheists don’t believe in the possibility of forgiveness by some moral authority outside of our world, i.e. god, because there is no moral authority outside of our world. The only forgiveness that counts is forgiveness by humans for humans. The christian brand of forgiveness via human sacrifice is not even in the same category, although it usually goes by the same name.

    The Moral Relativists don’t want judgment, but they don’t cease making judgments.

    I don’t understand this statement.

  41. 41
    TonyJ

    andusay

    Why even mention a court if your point does not follow from it?

    If they were any good at logic, they wouldn’t believe this crap to begin with.

  42. 42
    tbp1

    @Steve84, #31: Yes. Interestingly I heard an interview on the radio recently with the odious Tom Monaghan, who essentially admitted that. I’m paraphrasing by memory, so don’t hold me to the details, but basically he said everything he did was to help bring people to salvation, but sometimes he wondered if his anti-abortion efforts actually accomplished that, since all the souls of the aborted fetuses went to Heaven, while many of those who came to term and became adults would end up in Hell. Still, he said, abortion was just wrong, so he would continue fighting against it.

    And wasn’t this essentially Andrea Yates’ rationale for killing her children?

    I wonder how making teenagers and 20-somethings break speeding laws to live up to a ridiculous delivery time guarantee helps bring people to salvation.

  43. 43
    chigau (違う)

    Here’s what the Roman Catholic Church actually says about un-baptised infants.
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html

  44. 44
    tbp1

    “Children born of a C section are therefore without sin.”

    They can also defeat Macbeth in a sword fight.

  45. 45
    anteprepro

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    Yeah. Against ETERNAL punishment, fuckwit. Because even the most horrible offenses aren’t horrible enough to warrant being tortured forever. The only thing that could come close to deserving that is an entity who happens to be an immortal creature who was torturing several people for an infinite period of time.

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    Yeah, because it ignores harm done and reduces morality down to whether you feel bad about it. And not even that in Christianity, because you can get blanket forgiveness for sins, even without necessarily admitting doing wrong regarding any specific sins. Oh, and I love that you don’t bother applying the same Double Standard Test to yourself: Hitler was a Christian. In your worldview, he is not suffering eternal punishment for anything that he has done, but is experiencing eternal reward while the innocent Jews he killed are suffering eternal punishment. You dare to fucking ignore that and accuse us of moral relativism and avoiding judgment? Your belief system throws justice out the fucking window. And you are too pig ignorant to even realize it, and would be too proud to even admit it if you did.

  46. 46
    erikthebassist

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    Even for Hitler and Stalin.

    Maybe that’s because there is almost certainly no afterlife to begin with?

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    The Moral Relativists don’t want judgment, but they don’t cease making judgments.

    I don’t mind judgement at all, I could gaf if you think my having sex while not married is sinful. Go ahead and judge all you want. I do have a problem if you try and make it the law. I’m not hurting anyone and to inject law in to the process would violate my constitutional freedoms.

  47. 47
    Alex

    @tbp1

    Thou winst thy own shining interwebbe :D

  48. 48
    anteprepro

    Hitler was (likely an unorthodox kind of) Christian (but Christian nonetheless)

    Fixed that for myself.

  49. 49
    rq

    Gregory Greenwood @35:
    He didn’t magically rape, he gifted her with purpose.
    Also, yes, being the product of sex puts the sin on the fetus right off the bat. Sorry, everyone, no freebies for C-sections!

    And if Jesus already died for all our sins (from my understanding, past, present and future) aren’t we all going to Heaven anyway?? Let the crime-spree begin!

  50. 50
    dianne

    If I have a priest bless my toilet, does that count as Holy Water?

    It has to be reblessed after every flush. I recommend against having a priest hang around your house that much. Obviously, the solution is for the Vatican to send out prepaid fed ex envelopes to every ovulating woman once a month so that she can send her possible embryos in for baptism. Sure, it’d cost the Vatican a little money, but what’s that compared to the possible loss of a soul? They can cut back on their anti-birth control efforts a bit to make up for the added cost.

  51. 51
    Thorne

    I wonder if there’s a way to baptize embryos?

    Why yes, there is! It involves a turkey baster.

    ‘Nuff said!

  52. 52
    dianne

    @31: I’ve made that argument several times on threads about abortion. I’ve yet to get an answer coherent enough for me to reproduce, muchless be convinced by.

  53. 53
    Gregory Greenwood

    joachim @ 38;

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    There is the issue of proportionality – what offence can conceiveably warrent torture as a punishment? Still less eternal torture? What kind of moral being would even countenance such a thing?

    There is also the issue of the toxic parameters of punishment – according to religious doctrine, this eternal punishment is also applied to people who haven’t actually harmed anyone else or committed any crime recognised by any functional system of law, but were simply born with the ‘wrong’ sexual orientation or gender identity, or who backed the ‘wrong’ deity (or didn’t believe in such things at all) when there is no rational, evidential basis to choose the ‘right’ religion. The Abrahamic god is altogether too free with this notionally ‘divine’ punishment. It also makes something of a mockery of all that ‘god of love’ business that theists like to talk about.

    Then there is the question of moral authority – by what right would this god, if it actually existed, pass judgement on anyone, when it has so much death, pain and suffering to answer for itself? If it designed all life, why the heck did it create cancer, small pox, bubonic plague, ebola and AIDS (to name but a few)? What about all those killed in its name, while it did nothing to stop it? Should it not be held to account for all those deaths? Or is mass murder OK when you are a magic sky fairy?

    Even for Hitler and Stalin.

    Torture is inherently morally offensive and unnacceptable, irrespective of how heinous the crimes of its victim may be.

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    When that supposedly ‘divine forgiveness’ is offered so easily, and is used as a means to justify repeated unethical and harmful behaviour on the basis that an undetectable magic man in the sky will make it all good, then yes; it is objectionable. It leads people to ignore their moral obligation to their fellow humans in favour of seeking to appease an unevidenced and undetectable phantasm.

    Furthermore, I would point out that this isn’t a binary situation – either eternal torture or no consequences to one’s actions at all. A functional society can respond proprotionately to criminality, empty religious fire and brimstone or easily granted indulgences notwithstanding.

    The Moral Relativists don’t want judgment, but they don’t cease making judgments.

    Firstly ‘judgement’, meaning divine punishment arbitrarily handed down from on high, is not the same thing as ‘judgement’ meaning making up one’s own mind and thinking for oneself. Please don’t conflate the two.

    Secondly, moral absolutism can be a very dangerous thing indeed – it tends to lead to little problems like genocide. To use your own example, nazism was a system that wholeheartedly embraced the absolute moral position that the Germanic peoples were the ‘master race’ who were justified in securing lebensraum by exterminating those they considered ‘untermenschen’ like the Jewish peoples of Europe. The nazis never expressed doubt or considered that their genocidal butchery was anything less than an absolute moral imperative once the ‘final solution’ had been enacted.

    Be very careful of throwing your lot in with anyone blinkered enough to endorse moral absolutes, whether they are religious believers or not. Such people can be more dangerous than you realise.

  54. 54
    Alverant

    This is part of the core reasoning in my argument that christianity is not a religion, but a marketing campaign. ie “The only way to wash away your sin is to use the new and improved Christ! Yes just buy our product and be assured that when you die you’ll get the eternal reward you want!”

  55. 55
    hypatiasdaughter

    #19 chigau (棒や石)

    I wonder if there’s a way to baptize embryos?

    No, which is why the RCC were against abortion. It used to be that anyone not baptized by the RCC went to hell – even the unborn – because they were conceived in (original) sin. So if a baby died in uteri or too soon after birth to be baptized, it was straight to hell.
    The RCC has softened this stance in the last century, first putting unbaptized babies in a “nicer’ part of hell; then limbo; and now they get a free pass. I am not sure at what age “original sin” kicks in these days…

    The whole idea of sacrificing to god is interesting. Cain and Abel fell out because god liked Abel’s offering of meat and spurned Cain’s offering of vegetables. The idea of a thanks offering goes way back in Jewish history.
    Jews at some point added offerings to purify themselves (like new mothers cleansing themselves after the birth of a child by sacrificing doves or giving oils); and offerings to atone for actual sins, which generally meant killing some animal.
    The last is the basis for Jesus’ sacrifice – he stood in for the sacrifice of a lamb as a sin offering.
    The OT doesn’t say how these sacrifices all came about; it just describes them in detail.

  56. 56
    Owlmirror

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    Would you like to discuss the morality of eternal punishment?

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    Can forgiveness be truly sought by those in hell?

    The Moral Relativists don’t want judgment, but they don’t cease making judgments.

    Do you realize that everyone is a moral relativist, including (the character of) God in the Big Book of Middle-Eastern Fairy Tales?

  57. 57
    jose

    When will catholics give up and just consider Jesus another mythology of rebirth. There are a lot of them.

    @56: Not everyone is a moral relativist.

  58. 58
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    What jumps out to me is this gaping hole: the “sentence” for sin is to be “cast … into eternal fire.” The injustice of the eternal duration has been flogged repeatedly above, but leave us not overlook the blatant mismatch to the claimed atonement. “…a sinless person offered to take your punishment” presumably refers to Christ’s death. But Jesus was only dead 3 days, and suffered no torment during that period.

    Jesus undergoes a no-doubt agonizing few hours on the cross (but no more agonizing a death than millions of other sentient beings have undergone before and since), followed by a long weekend in limbo. How does this possibly equate to an eternity of weeping and gnashing, not just for one person but for billions and billions? This is nothing like an equal exchange.

    It’s as if I could put a fiver in the tip jar at Starbucks and that would atone for all the bank robberies every committed.

  59. 59
    dianne

    Ok, stupid question for you: Why is death the dividing line for Christians? That is, why can’t someone repent after death and be saved? Maybe it’s like buying flood insurance after hurricane has started, but if god is really loving and merciful, wouldn’t he prefer to accept repentance, even tardily, rather than consign those he loves to eternal torture?

  60. 60
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ OP

    yet somehow a fundamental precept of Christianity is the doctrine of the scapegoat.

    Sin is infectious. Fortunately it can be beaten out of people so that they become purified. Not for nothing was Jesus beaten (and he is certainly not unique). The sins of the community need a purified receptacle they can be transferred to.

  61. 61
    birgerjohansson

    So if I chemically synthesize the DNA of a fetus and a synthetic egg and put it into an incubator without any dangerous lady parts, the resulting person would be free from original sin?

  62. 62
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    So, with this judge, if I get a parking ticket I could get out of it by bringing in a baby and chopping off a finger, and announcing that there, I’ve more than paid off my crime now?

    Stay away from DarkInfant!

  63. 63
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Ok, stupid question for you: Why is death the dividing line for Christians? That is, why can’t someone repent after death and be saved? Maybe it’s like buying flood insurance after hurricane has started, but if god is really loving and merciful, wouldn’t he prefer to accept repentance, even tardily, rather than consign those he loves to eternal torture?

    Enough with all the reason. Seriously people.

  64. 64
    irisvanderpluym

    rq @14 & chigau (棒や石) @19:

    “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” -Psalm 51:5

    I’ve seen this verse interpreted in several traditions (including the one in which I was raised) to mean that one is guilty of original sin at conception.

    But more to the point of the comic, what sacrifice? Okay, so the Jeezus d00d has a really bad weekend, but then he flies up into the sky where he rules the world for eternity? Please.

    Even if vicarious atonement weren’t manifestly unjust and evil, the atonement here is pretty weak sauce.

  65. 65
    irisvanderpluym

    @TriffidPruner: Sorry, I didn’t see your comment before I posted. I was going to mention the ongoing abuse, torture and suffering of countless men, women and children as a comparison to Jesus’ experience, but your statement about the agonizing deaths of millions of sentient beings makes the same point at least as well.

  66. 66
    tbp1

    @64: Yep. One of the many realizations that put me on the road to non-belief (at least in Christianity) was that, even assuming the Biblical account is true, there was actually no sacrifice involved at all. Not only did Jesus not “die for our sins,” he didn’t die at all. In fact, in their belief system no one dies, ever. Death is just a transition to another mode of life. And while I will admit that scourging and crucifixion is a pretty nasty way to go out, lots and lots of people suffer that much or more before dying, either from disease or at the hands of other humans (including the Church itself). As you put it, “a really bad weekend,” yes, but the equivalent of an eternity in unbearable torment? No so much.

  67. 67
    tbp1

    @#43: Wow, that’s convoluted. And long.

    Shorter: We realize that the whole idea of baptism as an absolute requirement for salvation, rather than as a symbol of commitment to God, is sort of problematic, particular when it comes to something as self-evidently wrong and morally repugnant as infant damnation, but we’re stuck with it. So…we’ll come up with a bunch of torturous rationales to justify the conclusion that any person with a shred of decency demand, whether it’s born out by scripture and tradition or not.

    As Bones said to Booth about baptism, “Sprinkling water on her forehead seems like an excellent way to counteract the sins she apparently committed before birth. “

  68. 68
    chigau (違う)

    tbp1 #67

    …we’ll come up with a bunch of torturous rationales…

    It’s sophistimicated theology!

  69. 69
    chrismorrow

    If I’m not mistaken, some Christians believe that Jesus did in fact suffer for an eternity within those three days. (Yes, the cross had time-bending properties.) Or that we just have to accept that the degree of suffering, though bounded in time, was equivalent to Hell.

    That doesn’t cut it for me — after the “eternal” ordeal, he got to die and come back and now he’s in heaven, presumably not suffering. Surely it’s now as if it were a dream to him? Whereas other hell-sufferers can never have that consolation. On any given day since they first got into Hell — day 1, day 150, day 95999999 — they’re still in hell. An “orthogonal” eternity is less significant, I think.

    Hmm… does Jesus ever experience flashbacks, nightmares, PTSD?

  70. 70
    Moggie

    if a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!

    Even if this sinless person was the judge in another body, punishing himself? Whatever, dude, but YKINMK.

  71. 71
    octopod

    #64: Nonono, the sacrifice was Judas, who {was predetermined/chose of his own free will} to spend his life in the worst part of Hell for eternity. Obviously. Just ask Jorge Luis Borges.

  72. 72
    zathras

    Since this is hypothetical I look at it this way. If some guy raped, tortured, and murdered my wife and goes before this judge. Then some sinless guy shows up and says “I’ll take this guy’s punishment” and the judge the guy go, I would beat the judge to death.

  73. 73
    monimonika

    Jack Chick made a comic/tract called “The Execution” with a very similar premise, but went further to actually having an innocent(?) person really do take the punishment for the sinner.

    Here’s a link to the dissection:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/11/12/odious-christianity/

    To summarize: A very violent guy (Sonny) who cares for no one kills an old man. Sonny is arrested and sentenced to death. Sonny’s kind mother constantly visits him in jail to give him cookies, but he hates her too and shows no remorse. The night before his execution, he finally begins to worry about dying. His mother goes to talk with the warden. The next day, Sonny is led out of jail and set free. His mother was sentenced to death instead.

    What’s noteworthy is that this mother out-Jesuses even Jesus himself in that she does not ask for, nor expects, her son to appreciate her sacrifice or to even change his ways.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    John Kruger

    Contradicted itself in just 6 panels. Very impressive. God will indeed “just forgive you”, we did torture and kill Jesus, after all.

  76. 76
    sj54321

    Can someone explain to me who the prosecutor is in the scenario? god judges, christ comes to our defense. What authority greater than god is defining and demanding justice and accepting the atonement? In the machinations of the atonement it has always seemed as if god is bound but what can bind god? Growing up mormon we had a fairly convoluted answer to this question but I have never seen any other christian denomination even ask it?

  77. 77
    Nick Gotts

    joachim,

    I have frequently seen atheists argue against punishment in the after life even for the most horrible offenses.

    Even for Hitler and Stalin.

    Do you mean that they say it doesn’t happen (because, of course, there is no afterlife); or that they say it shouldn’t happen? Assuming the latter, which is more consistent with what else you say (although of course expecting a Christian to be consistent exemplifies the triumph of hope over experience), what are the valid purposes of punishment?
    1) Deterrence. At least in the conventional Christian idea of the afterlife, this makes no sense.
    2) Rehabilitation. Not clear that this does either. It certainly doesn’t if we’re talking about eternal punishment. In any case, God, being God, could simply make the sinner good without causing needless suffering.
    3) Restitution. Again, not clear whether this could make sense. Seeing the person who wronged them suffer might make a victim feel better, but God, being God, could simply make them feeling better without causing needless suffering.
    So, punishment in the afterlife cannot be morally justified; if god inflicts it, God is a sadistic shitbag.

    But if forgiveness is offered to those who truly seek it, they don’t like that either.

    Forgiveness should be for those who have actually been harmed. An omnipotent being cannot possible be harmed by human beings, so God, if it existed, would have nothing to forgive.

    The Moral Relativists don’t want judgment, but they don’t cease making judgments.

    It always amuses me when worshippers of a being that the Bible shows to be a lying, pathologically jealous, genocidal sadistic psychopath, who supposedly intends to torture people forever call atheists “moral relativists”.

  78. 78
    stonyground

    Zeppelin @ #8 said:

    “Not only is the innocent sacrifice thing insane, the whole underlying concept of “justice” meaning “we do a bad thing to you because you did a bad thing” is dangerous and destructive.

    It’s like they think that making the perpetrator miserable somehow erases the harm that’s been done, rather than adding additional misery to the world.”

    Punishment is really a form of coercion. People who don’t know any better are persuaded to behave as their ‘superiors’ wish them to by the threat of unpleasant consequences if they don’t. Being quite an old guy, the most obvious example that comes to mind is what used to happen at school*. Kids who misbehaved were whacked on the behind, either with a blackboard ruler, a cane or a slipper. Kids didn’t stick to the rules because they thought that it was the right thing to do, although, on reflection, most did. The rest did it to avoid pain.

    A big problem with the Christian system is that the punishment that they propose for even minor misdemeanors is infinitely excessive and, being forever, serves no purpose. It has to be excessive to give their target victims no choice but to submit. Were the proposed punishment proportional to the, let’s face it, totally trivial sins that the vast majority of us have committed, even over an entire lifetime, most of us would be prepared to bend over and take our whacking if that is what divine justice required.

    *As I understand it, you don’t have to be old to be familiar with this kind of thing in some US states.

  79. 79
    nms

    God hates sin and everyone who sins against him goes to hell, unless Jesus accepts their punishment instead.

    So I guess the message in this comic is that either Jesus is burning in megahell or God is enormously nepotistic.

  80. 80
    Menyambal

    I’d seen a variation of this once, where the entire punishment part was a fine, which the judge felt like paying for the guilty person. That made a little more sense, but was still wrong.

    What they are leaving out is that the judge made the rules as to what is a crime/sin and what is not, and also made the people, and made them in such a way that they were likely to commit crime/sins.

    Although I do like the thought that God is punishing part of himself for the craziness, I’ll say again that Jesus has suffered less than my nephew suffered in his short life, and hasn’t paid any part of the eternity of suffering of even one person.

    There’s a story somewhere that former New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was once sitting in night court, acting as judge, when a poor man was brought in for vagrancy. LaGuardia sentenced the man to a fine of $20, then pulled out $20 from his own pocket to pay the fine, then waived the fine, then fined everybody else in the courtroom for living in a country where a man had to sleep under a bridge, then all the money in the poor man’s hand and let him go.

  81. 81
    Pierce R. Butler

    TriffidPruner @ # 58: Jesus undergoes … a long weekend in limbo.

    chrismorrow @ # 69: … within those three days.

    Y’all overstate the case. According to the story, J gave up the (holy?) ghost on a Friday, shortly before sundown. By sunup on Sunday, he had rock’n’rolled his way out of the Christcave and trotted off to hook up with his drinking buddies.

    Given that this reportedly occurred fairly shortly after the spring equinox, at a near-subtropical latitude, we can say that the whole downtime was – varying on how long an interval you posit between each biophase transition and following passage through the Jerusalem terminator line – quite close to 36 hours.

    I’ve had lost weekends that went on much longer than that.

  82. 82
    Jadehawk

    How is justice served by punishing an innocent?

    well, this explains their unwavering love of the death penalty, regardless of how many people on death row are shown to be innocent. As long as someone gets punished for the crime, “justice” is served.

  83. 83
    Travis

    I often wonder what the average Christian is thinking of when they say something about Jesus dying for out sins, maybe some ex-Christians can explain this to me. I have no idea how someone can actually do this, how someone else’s death can atone for any of my actions or original sin. Is it just something they say, a mindless statement that is often repeated, or is there more to that thought in their minds?

  84. 84
    Jadehawk
    Any baby who exits the womb immediately comes into contact with dirty lady parts.

    Children born of a C section are therefore without sin.

    all parts of a woman’s body are dirty and sinful, and thus even the contact that happens during the C-section transfers sinfulness onto the newborn.

    And before you sinful pagans try your gotcha, let me inform you that the uterus is not a female body part. It’s an extension of church property, which is why it’s referred to as a “sanctuary” (same as churches) and arguments about bodily autonomy don’t apply to it.

  85. 85
    Jeffrey G Johnson

    “How is justice served by punishing an innocent?”

    The obvious conclusion is that “God” is some kind of mindless computation engine adding and subtracting merits/demerits for all humans, while regarding each human as an utterly indistinguishable boson.

    When this calculator punishes or rewards, one boson is just as good as the next.

    If this were actually true, we could clone an enormous number of scapegoat humans to take our punishment for us, all sin like mad to our heart’s content, and let the scapegoats take the fall for us.

    What an idiot God is to design such a flawed system of morality.

  86. 86
    vaiyt

    What I can imagine is some really evil person abusing the system, and convincing innocents to sacrifice themselves for him/her to escape divine wrath.

    There’s a movie to be made about this.

  87. 87
    microraptor

    There’s a story somewhere that former New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was once sitting in night court, acting as judge, when a poor man was brought in for vagrancy. LaGuardia sentenced the man to a fine of $20, then pulled out $20 from his own pocket to pay the fine, then waived the fine, then fined everybody else in the courtroom for living in a country where a man had to sleep under a bridge, then all the money in the poor man’s hand and let him go.

    Is that story supposed to convince the listener that Mayor LaGuardia was a really swell person who was looking out for the little guy or that he was possibly bipolar and shouldn’t have been elected mayor of New York?

  88. 88
    Menyambal

    “Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins.”

    I agree with the calculation that Jesus was only gone for about 36 hours. Dead on the cross on Friday evening before Sabbath started, one night-time and one daytime (which was the Sabbath), and another night-time (Saturday night), and out and about on Sunday morning. (Shipping, handling and processing not included.) Which is most certainly NOT the three days and three nights that were so infallibly prophesied.

    Further, I learned here and at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell that there really isn’t anything in the Bible that said Jesus spent that time in Hell. It’s just a folk belief accreted on to the story.

    So it may be that Jesus just got crucified, and died rather quickly at that, and did no other suffering at all. I’m more impressed by the guys who said, “I am Spartacus.”

  89. 89
    Menyambal

    LaGuardia was acting as the judge and legally had to fine the guy, but gave him the $20 as a friendly citizen, then overrode the fine in his capacity as mayor. So a little like the Trinity, maybe?

    LaGuardia was a little odd, in good ways, and went a little too odd later, sadly. But, overall, the Little Flower was a great mayor, one of the best ever.

    His dad was a former-Catholic atheist and his mom was a Jewish scholar, BTW.

  90. 90
    antialiasis

    I’ve always found this whole idea kind of interesting. While here it’s painted as if genuine justice is somehow being done by Jesus taking on the punishment, which is absurd, the interpretation I was taught – and which the crucifixion analogue in for instance the Narnia books actually makes explicit – is that Jesus genuinely didn’t want humanity to be doomed despite our sins and went through the whole execution and resurrection in an act of heroic sacrifice to save us from it. And while that idea in itself could be appealing as a narrative, it requires that Jesus actually had to be tortured and executed in order for human sins to be forgiven: in other words, Jesus has to answer to something higher than himself that demands punishment for sins regardless of what he has to say about it, making such drastic measures necessary and not just a masochistic cry for attention.

    Interestingly, Narnia actually makes this explicit: Aslan is as bound as the White Witch is by the ancient magic from Narnia’s creation, even if he knows a loophole. There really did have to be blood sacrifice, and the best he could do was take it on himself instead of having the actual traitor killed. The moment he’s actually omnipotent and infallible, the story stops making any sense.

  91. 91
    Koshka

    The moment he’s actually omnipotent and infallible, the story stops making any sense.

    Also the talking animals.

  92. 92
    Kimpatsu

    I would like to thank Ray Comfort for so effectively distilling down the essence of his religion so that it’s heinous flaws are readily apparent.
    “…IT IS heinous flaws…”, PZ? For shame!

  93. 93
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    And before you sinful pagans try your gotcha, let me inform you that the uterus is not a female body part. It’s an extension of church property, which is why it’s referred to as a “sanctuary” (same as churches) and arguments about bodily autonomy don’t apply to it.

    That certainly explains why churches seem to get so upset at the idea of premarital sex, and why they focus so much on the girls. Those boys are dumping semen about, as boys do, but don’t you dare get it on the floor of our sanctuary!

  94. 94
    Menyambal

    I get the feeling sometimes that Jesus sacrificed himself to put an end to the whole punishment business (internal squabbling of the Trinity aside). He ended it forever—no more Hell, no more cruel gods. It was a hero tale from the old-time religions.

    The Christians warped it into a contest to believe that Jesus was indeed divine, and they now think that belief is the whole damned point of their religion. Which gets us to the irrational belief in stupid things that seems to be the focus of conservative Christians and conservative Americans.

  95. 95
    Ing

    Pz made a typo…quick have an abortion!

  96. 96
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    I get the feeling sometimes that Jesus sacrificed himself to put an end to the whole punishment business (internal squabbling of the Trinity aside). He ended it forever—no more Hell, no more cruel gods. It was a hero tale from the old-time religions.

    A nice thought, but Judaic tradition didn’t really HAVE a hell until Jesus came along.

  97. 97
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    What y’all are missing is that god has an inventory problem that manifests itself in two ways. First, heaven keeps producing more and more souls, and god’s got to find bodies for them all. Think of Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory: god’s been stuffing all the souls coming off the assembly line under his shirt and into his mouth. That’s why he gets so pissed off at abortions and contraception; all those little babies that never make it to quickening result in fewer bodies in which to stuff souls.

    The second issue is that heaven is getting overcrowded. Back in the good old days, when only a few lucky Jews got into heaven, it was a pleasant place to hang out in. But then god got the brilliant idea (without bothering to clear it with his boss first) of sending his son to earth to forgive our sins so we could all make it into heaven, and now heaven is getting mighty crowded. Needless to say, the CEO of heaven is royally pissed at god, and he’s assigned god the task of making sure all those souls go to hell.

    So anyway, that explains the whole Barack Obama/pot/gay marriage mess. And if you want to do god a favor, keep sinning.

  98. 98
    ChristineRose

    @Travis, #83

    The only coherent explanation I ever heard was that God is so perfect that he can’t tolerate even being in the presence of sin and that separation from God means eternal torment. I think this is because the Godless are so depraved that they torture one another in hell instead of working together to smack down the demons and putting out all those fires.

    Anyhow, you can atone for sin by killing a goat. It’s some sort of cosmic equation. The very fabric of reality demands that you bleed but the mystic cosmos will settle for a nice, juicy goat. Problem is that we keep on sinning and there are only so many goats. But if you could find a sheep, and not just any sheep, but an absolutely perfect human sheep, then you could kill it on passover and atone for 100% of all the sins through all of eternity.

    I wasn’t at all satisfied by all this. It doesn’t seem to be consistent with an omnipotent deity at all. And the idea that cosmic evil equals a dead goat seems laughably far from all those philosophers theists are always telling us atheists that we need to read. Maybe I’ll get lucky and one of the Jr. Hovinds will pop in here and make it sound coherent.

  99. 99
    Menyambal

    Stevarious:

    A nice thought, but Judaic tradition didn’t really HAVE a hell until Jesus came along.

    Good point.

    And from what I understand, the popular idea of Hell isn’t really in the Bible, either. It’s just one of those things that the good and loving folks made up and enjoy believing in.

  100. 100
    Ing

    From the cartoon it seems the Leisure Suit Larry’s fornicating ways have finally caught up with him

  101. 101
    cactuswren

    Travis @83:

    I often wonder what the average Christian is thinking of when they say something about Jesus dying for out sins, maybe some ex-Christians can explain this to me. I have no idea how someone can actually do this, how someone else’s death can atone for any of my actions or original sin. Is it just something they say, a mindless statement that is often repeated, or is there more to that thought in their minds?

    It’s about penalties, and prices to be paid. If the price of a particular wrongdoing is one goat, it doesn’t really matter whose goat it is. I can sacrifice my own goat, or buy someone else’s, or my brother can give me one to offer. Just as long as the gods get one goat, it doesn’t matter.

    Except that in the case of this god, the wrongdoing is existence. Simply by existing, you’re sinning. It is your nature — you are innately filled with sin. This is the way God made you.

    And the only acceptable penalty for this sin of existence is blood and suffering and agonized death. And, as with the goat, it doesn’t matter whose. Certainly God doesn’t care who suffers and dies, just as long as someone does. He loves suffering.

    But there’s another catch: He has set the entire system up such that you are incapable of paying your own penalty. In life, anyway. You can arrange to make time payments afterward, but the interest rate is such that after an eternity of infinite agony and torment, you’ll still be paying on the interest and not even have touched the principal of your debt. Infinite torment is not a high enough penalty for the sin of existence. A sin, I must add, which you did not intentionally commit.

    But, as with the goat, someone else can pay your penalty for you. Jesus’s suffering is somehow super-powered: his bad weekend somehow counterbalances that eternity of shrieking agony that awaits you. It’s all one to Daddygod. Suffering is value to him. It’s the currency with which sin is paid for. And it doesn’t matter who suffers, as long as someone does. As long as someone is shrieking and sobbing and begging for death, he’s sexually satisfied.

  102. 102
    Menyambal

    Jesus’s suffering is somehow super-powered because he’s so much more important than you. He’s either part of God or is God’s son, and that’s worth ever so much more. His bad weekend is more suffering than you in a fire for ever … and all your friends, and your mom, and your entire piss-ant species, you dumb humans.

    The whole Jesus for-your-sins thing was just God showing off.

  103. 103
    John Morales

    [OT]

    It’s not an after-life, it’s an after-death.

    (duh)

  104. 104
    Ataraxic

    “There’s only one way…if a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!”

    Um – No. that wouldn’t fly in court any better that the “just let it slide” strawman.

  105. 105
    Nick Gotts

    And from what I understand, the popular idea of Hell isn’t really in the Bible, either. – Menyambal

    I don’t think that’s so – there’s a lot in the NT about weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and “everlasting fire” and “fire that shall never be quenched”. Of course, some Christians find ways to reinterpret these passages as metaphorical, or “everlasting” as meaning, er, lasting until it goes out, but both the obvious and the majority interpretation is that Hell is eternal torment.

    The stuff about the “circles” of Hell, demons with pitchforks, etc., OTOH, isn’t in the Bible, but in Dante’s Inferno, although presumably he didn’t make these ideas up out of whole cloth.

  106. 106
    ChristineRose

    Nick Gotts (formerly KG)@105

    As with so many things, the explanation is that the various bible authors did not agree with one another and contradicted each other on this point. To look at the most obvious applicable one, the idea of a judgment day is not compatible with your waking up a millisecond after death and finding out that your gullibility should have been aimed at a different sect.

    Some sects teach that the fire is everlasting and that the demons will get it, but that humans cast into will burn up and die and then stay dead because there is no dualism, no eternal soul, just resurrection of our bodies. But you’re right, some of the NT writers clearly believed in an eternal torment.

  107. 107
    Jeffrey G Johnson

    #97 What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Hell can’t be any worse than spending eternity with a bunch of redneck evangelizing young earth creationists. This seriously changes the odds on Pascal’s Wager.

  108. 108
    tbp1

    @#105: Indeed. Even though most people haven’t read Dante, we get most of our ideas about Hell from him. I think we get most of our ideas about the Devil from Milton, perhaps, even though most people haven’t read him, either.

  109. 109
    Jeffrey G Johnson

    @108 tbp1

    Blake’s “Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is way cooler though. Energy is eternal delight…

    “Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion,
    Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.
    From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil.
    Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing
    from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.”

    “The Voice of the Devil”

    “All Bibles or sacred codes, have been the causes of the following Errors.
    1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
    2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
    3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

    But the following Contraries to these are True.
    1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
    2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
    3. Energy is Eternal Delight.”

  110. 110
    unclefrogy

    having been subjected to a catholic education and been a natural skeptic all my life I tried to reconcile everything I was learning I still tend to do that. How could it all? only way is if you look at religions truths like the clues in a cross word puzzle or really hard riddles and not literally true so it really is a waste of time for me in the end.
    what if a truly innocent person bla bla bla bla?
    OK like it says in the book
    in the beginning god = the word there is nothing else no insides or outsides
    god makes the world out of the only thing there is himself
    then the garden and sin and all the crap that happens in the OT . it all comes from and is “part” of himself it is what it is made of.
    so then to “save” his creation from eternal punishment that he decreed of his creation he goes “down” to earth and does the NT story crucifixion and resurrection of himself so his creation can be with him forever in bliss? but not the bad parts?
    the whole thing is himself from start to finish
    does that sound like god is just a little bit schizophrenic to anyone else?

    so the point is there is nothing separated from god there can be no “personal god” like being who roams around who is GOD. but that is not what the churches teach is it?
    it is judgement, punishment, repentance and submission. slavery anyone?

    uncle frogy

  111. 111
    jamesmcgrath

    I posted a quick reflection on this on my blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/11/the-odious-penal-substitutionary-theory-of-atonement.html

    Just as there are many Christians who don’t see the problems with this view of the crucifixion (known as penal substitution), and who don’t know that it is a relatively recent interpretation, there are those who do know this, and who find it every bit as odious as you do, PZ!

  112. 112
    Ichthyic

    So it may be that Jesus just got crucified, and died rather quickly at that, and did no other suffering at all.

    even more likely is that the story is entirely fictional, and no real persons were harmed at all.

    well, for the story, anyway.

    AFTER the story was a whole different ballgame.

  113. 113
    microraptor

    I don’t think that’s so – there’s a lot in the NT about weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and “everlasting fire” and “fire that shall never be quenched”.

    But the question really is when those passages were put into the NT. Judaism, from what I understand, lacks the concept of an afterlife where you’re punished for what you did when you were alive, but the Greek/Roman pantheon certainly didn’t. So it would make sense (to me, anyway) that the early Christians adopted the idea of Hell and damnation in part because they were either trying to one up the Romans or make the religion more appealing to potential Roman converts.

  114. 114
    Nick Gotts

    But the question really is when those passages were put into the NT. – microraptor

    Why is that “the question”? Interesting historically, OK, but all the influential forms of Christianity today assume that the NT embodies Jesus’s teachings. After all, if they are not there, they are nowhere.

  115. 115
    Nick Gotts

    jamesmcgrath@111,

    Your link is borked.

  116. 116
    drbunsen, le savant fous

    Or do I need to get someone who loves me very much to selflessly volunteer to mutilate themselves in order to get me off?

    As long as it’s all consensual, what you get up to in your own time is your own business.

    (What, 115 comments and no-one went there?)

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