The real creeps are the Republicans »« Utterly shameful

The media have become Jesus-stupid

OK, this is just stupid. A lawyer is trying to get the conviction of Jesus overturned. The state involved no longer exists, the man has no living kin or friends to carry the case forward, and it’s not even certain the individual actually existed…not to mention that the case is 2000 years old and is only one of many thousands of similar executions carried out by Rome. Dumb, a total waste of time, something to laugh at briefly and then dismiss.

But the article goes on and on, at overtly theological length. I had just clicked through when someone sent me the link, and as I was reading this, I was wondering…what is the source here? Is this one of those wacky religious newspapers or something? No serious secular source would give a good god damn for this nonsense.

So I looked. This was from Time magazine.

As oddball as the case may be, Indidis’ effort does raise a larger theological question that Christians have long debated: Why did Jesus have to die? Theologians have argued that his death was required for salvation to actually happen and that it was important for Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah, the God-man, to experience human suffering and death.

TIME devoted a cover story to that question in 2004, when Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ premiered. Theories of atonement, the theological term for the meaning of Jesus’ death, have varied throughout Christian history, and the story is a deep dive into how the doctrine of atonement changed over time:

What was the cosmic reason for his agony? What is its purpose, its divine calculus? How precisely does his death, usually referred to in this context as the atonement, lead to the salvation of humanity?

The atonement “is the centerpiece of Christianity, and it’s what distinguishes it from all other religions,” says Giles Gasper, a religious historian who has written a book about one of the topic’s great medieval interpreters. Without at least an intuitive comprehension of atonement, a believer stands little chance of making sense of the faith’s promises of redemption and eternal life.

It is a question believers will continue to ponder. But as the Apostle Paul explained, in the New Testament’s Book of Romans, the atonement comes with rewards: “If we have been united with [Christ] in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

How does the execution of some guy lead to our salvation, and what cosmic purpose did his agony have? It doesn’t, and none. Case closed. Bye.

I knew there was a reason I haven’t read Time in years.

Comments

  1. Alverant says

    At least Jesus got better (according to legend). The innocent people executed in the USA are still dead. That’s what Time should focus on.

  2. Walton says

    It’s a silly stunt. The ICJ doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear cases brought by individuals, so the case will be held inadmissible without consideration of the merits. I imagine the lawyer in question knows this – it’s hardly an obscure fact; any legal professional, certainly any with a background in international law, will be aware of it – and is only doing this for the publicity. Which indeed he’s succeeded in getting.

  3. k_machine says

    What is greater than an animal sacrifice?
    Human sacrifice.
    What is greater than a human sacrifice?
    Sacrifice of king.
    What is greater than a royal sacrifice?
    Sacrifice of demi-god.

  4. Crudely Wrott says

    As oddball as the case may be, Indidis’ effort does raise a larger theological question that Christians have long debated: Why did Jesus have to die?

    Pro tip: Read the fucking bible!!!!!!

    This has been a free service of Answers to Dumb Questions, supported by non believers all around the world, helping the hapless to cope with the obvious since 1,000,000 BC. No thanks are necessary. We run into this sort of thing all the time. =)

  5. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Ooooh, Pontius Pilate better watch out! They may try to find his bones and put them in jail or somethin’.

  6. says

    This sets an interesting precedent. While they’re at it, they can also take God to court on behalf of all the people drowned in the Flood. Talk about your class action suit!

  7. says

    It is a good point. If Jesus (assuming he existed) had simply been allowed to live out his life as an itinerant preacherman, eventually dying in his sleep of old age, would the reseurrection have worked? Or is it a crucial part of Christian theology not just that he die, but that his death be painful and public?

  8. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    Eric @10

    Ooooh, Pontius Pilate better watch out! They may try to find his bones and put them in jail or somethin’.

    Nah, he had Pontius Prosecutor Immunity. It said so in the Pilate By-Laws. I think Newsweek had a cover story about that.

  9. equisetum says

    I actually subscribed to Time for a while. I cancelled when they published their second (!!!) editorial saying what a great guy Rick Santorum is.

  10. cuervodecuero says

    “Why did Jesus have to die…”

    Because the editor at the Time Life Publishing house said it was a grittier, punchy ending and zombie books are hot right now.

    ….what do you mean the book is not in the fiction aisle?

  11. sirbedevere says

    How could anyone overturn any conviction when there’s zero evidence that the conviction ever took place?

  12. throwaway, gut-punched says

    I haven’t read Time magazine since they named me person of the year, three years straight. Every morning I’d get up and there would be my framed copy, staring me in the face…

  13. timberwoof says

    It would be entertaining to hold a Moot Court … several of them, in various styles, including juries, tribunals, prosecuting judges, and Kangaroo.

    Let’s begin with the charges: Jesus held various illegal rallies, fed farm workers without a license, made wine without a license, operated a boat on public waters without a life jacket, rode his motorcycle through the crowded streets of Jerusalem (the Bible says he rode in on a Triumph), painted “Romani ite domum” all over the walls of the city (according to The Life of Brian, often cited as a biography of Jesus), interrupted legal proceedings, assaulted bankers, and encouraged people into a subversive and harmful belief system. Anything else we need to add?

  14. jnorris says

    Yes timberwoof, he left his widowed mother all alone with no visible means of support while he lived off the kindness of others.

  15. busterggi says

    According to the bible Jesus rose from the dead which means he wasn’t truly executed and there was no point to any of the mess. Even if there were a real human being buried somewhere under the accumulated mythology any actual facts of the case (if any) are unknown – its all hearsay multiply removed.

  16. says

    “How does the execution of some guy lead to our salvation, and what cosmic purpose did his agony have?”

    Only a lich had the power to save the world, and the ritual to become a lich required a very painful, bloody death?

  17. Who Cares says

    Geez a lawyer should know better. Jesus confessed to planning an insurrection. That is why they stuck him on a cross. And that is after Pilatus recognized that he was just a harmless preacher but didn’t count on the Pharisees having planted their people amongst the spectators to insure that Jesus wouldn’t threaten their racket any longer.

  18. Subtract Hominem says

    I misinterpreted the headline. When I saw “Jesus-stupid,” I thought it meant the media have become as unintelligent as Jesus. Of course, that got me wondering: Can God say something so stupid that even He cannot restrain Himself from facepalming?

  19. David Marjanović says

    The state involved no longer exists

    “And the third Rome will be Moscow. A fourth Rome, however, shall not be.”

    Or is it a crucial part of Christian theology not just that he die, but that his death be painful and public?

    Yes. The more painful and humiliating, the better.

    http://www.theonion.com/video/time-announces-new-version-of-magazine-aimed-at-ad,17950/

    So full of win! :-)

    they published their second (!!!) editorial saying what a great guy Rick Santorum is

    So full of fail! :-o

    rode his motorcycle through the crowded streets of Jerusalem (the Bible says he rode in on a Triumph)

    + 1

  20. numerobis says

    I’m just barely old enough to yell at new grad students to get off my lawn — old enough to remember that brief period when there were science and history shows on Discover, History, and TLC — but I’m not old enough to remember a time when the US media were not Jesus-stupid.

  21. Nemo says

    I think the closest thing to an extant legal successor to the Roman state is… the Roman Catholic Church.

  22. numerobis says

    He could try Germany, too, the last country to claim to be the roman empire.

    The top comment on that story is by someone who offers to help, and claims a degree from the “Saint Rene Descartes University”, an offshoot of the Cesidian church. It is so ridiculous that I am unable to ascertain whether it is satire or real.

  23. Brain Hertz says

    …rode his motorcycle through the crowded streets of Jerusalem (the Bible says he rode in on a Triumph)

    No, no, it was clearly a sports car, not a motorbike. The Bible says that he

    “…entered Jerusalem in his Triumph”

  24. tbtabby says

    @timberwolf

    Reminds me of how I wanted to give Pastor Jones a taste of his own medicine by placing the Bible on trial the same way he did with the Koran. I’d even cite his mock trial of the Koran as legal precedent while listing off the numerous wars and atrocities committed over the centuries in the name of Christianity which far outnumber the ones committed in the name of Islam (even if that’s only because Christianity’s been around longer), also bringing up the acts of Christians like Timothy McVey and the Hutarees and the children who dies when their parent prayed for them instead of taking them to the hospital, and when the Bible is inevitably found guilty and sentenced to burning, I bring out the Hibachi grill, grab the Bible, and. say things like “Hey, Bible! You’re just like school in the summer: NO CLASS!” Because that’s the only kind of book burning I’ll be associated with. Pastor Jones may like to emulate the Nazis* by destroying literature because he disagrees with it, but I don’t.

    * Godwin’s Law does not apply when the comparison can be shown to be accurate.

  25. Ichthyic says

    a larger theological question

    larger or smaller, those would be best interpreted as nonsense questions.

  26. Ichthyic says

    Let’s begin with the charges: Jesus held various illegal rallies, fed farm workers without a license, made wine without a license, operated a boat on public waters without a life jacket, rode his motorcycle through the crowded streets of Jerusalem (the Bible says he rode in on a Triumph), painted “Romani ite domum” all over the walls of the city (according to The Life of Brian, often cited as a biography of Jesus), interrupted legal proceedings, assaulted bankers, and encouraged people into a subversive and harmful belief system. Anything else we need to add?

    sure!

    -unlawfully interfered with traditional internment customs (raised lazarus)
    -willful destruction of public and private property (overturned tables of money changes, etc)

  27. Ichthyic says

    -more private property destruction (fruit tree withered)
    -fraud (I bet he left most of his carpentry contracts unfinished)

  28. Ichthyic says

    “If we have been united with [Christ] in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

    I bet Paul was feeling considerable buyer’s remorse.

  29. Ichthyic says

    Besides, the conviction would have been under a society that no longer exists. Who cares?

    quibble…

    Jesus was exonerated under Roman law.

    he was convicted of breaking JEWISH law.

    last I checked, Israel was still around, and Jewish society is a vast diaspora.

  30. eoleen says

    only one of many thousands of similar executions carried out by Rome.

    Sorry… There were comparatively few crucifixions carried out by the Romans. That particular punishment was reserved for the most serious of crimes, such as treason or revolt by a governor. The riff-raff were punished by flogging, or hanging, or sometimes beheading. The “charge” was heresy – JEWISH heresy. Since the Romans regarded the Jews as trouble-makers anyway, the “crime” of heresy brought by the Jewish elders would have been laughed off. Any punishment administered may very well have been given to the elders for bothering the Governor with such a petty matter.

    You must remember that the Roman empire incorporated people of many different religions and sects. The Romans couldn’t be bothered with trying to enforce each sects “orthodoxy”. In addition at that time there were lots of so-called prophets running around the Jewish area.

    So, whether or not he rode in ON a Triumph or IN a triumph, the most the Romans would have gotten him for was excessive noise, or speeding, or jumping a stop-light, or a parking violation of some sort. For that the maximum penalty for a REPEAT offender, not a first time offender, would have been a few lashes – MAYBE. More likely it would have been confiscation of the vehicle in question.

    And oh, by the way, if the JEWS had tried to execute someone the perpetrators would have almost certainly been convicted of, and punished for, lese Majesty. Now THAT would gave been a capital offense.

  31. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    God and Mary clearly committed fornication, and if Mary was married at the time, adultery. In the latter case, under Jewish law they both should have been put to death. In which case Jesus had no business being born.

  32. lpetrich says

    Yes, Jesus Christ had been an illegitimate child, no matter who his father might have been — the Holy Spirit, Joseph, or a Roman soldier named Panthera.

    In various messageboards, I’ve written about what sins Jesus Christ has committed.

    He violated some of the Ten Commandments. He was rather lax about the Sabbath, and he did not have much respect for his parents. He even demanded that his followers show similar disrespect. In the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, when he was a little boy, he zapped another little boy for bumping into him.

    He was guilty of some of the medieval-Catholic seven deadly sins. Like sloth: he has yet to make his Second Coming. He was also guilty of wrath, like his Temple temper tantrum, and pride, like calling himself the Messiah and God Son of God.

    He also violated some of ancient Athenian politician Solon’s Ten Commandments. Like violating “Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made” by deserting his followers soon after his resurrection, and “Make reason your supreme commander” by his temper tantrums.

    He also violated some of the Buddha’s Five Precepts, some of the Papyrus of Ani’s Negative Confession, etc.

  33. lpetrich says

    Then there’s the question of successor states.

    Let’s first consider the Western Roman Empire. It ended with a soldier named Odoacer taking over in 476 CE and not bothering to call himself Roman Emperor. His realm had a long series of successor states ending with the present-day nation of Italy, formed in the mid 19th cy. However, Vatican City has had much better continuity over that time.

    The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, even though it did not include Rome itself. It lasted until 1453, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. That empire’s successor state is Turkey. The present nation of Greece got started in some successful revolts against the Ottoman Empire in the 19th cy.

    As to the Jewish authorities in Jesus Christ’s day, their successors are rabbis, though if one wants a nation, Israel will do.

  34. oursally says

    Well, they might find, if they look carefully, that the Roman Empire no longer exists.

    On the other hand (according to the map in the third-world shop in our town) there is now an almost-state sometimes known as Palestine roughly where the province of Palestina was back then, so they could try their luck there. That would be fun to watch.

  35. Dauphni says

    eoleen @41

    only one of many thousands of similar executions carried out by Rome.

    Sorry… There were comparatively few crucifixions carried out by the Romans. That particular punishment was reserved for the most serious of crimes, such as treason or revolt by a governor. The riff-raff were punished by flogging, or hanging, or sometimes beheading. The “charge” was heresy – JEWISH heresy. Since the Romans regarded the Jews as trouble-makers anyway, the “crime” of heresy brought by the Jewish elders would have been laughed off. Any punishment administered may very well have been given to the elders for bothering the Governor with such a petty matter.

    Actually, ‘many thousands’ is entirely accurate. Consider what happened to the losing side of the Third Servile War: about six thousand defeated rebel slaves were crucified along the Via Appia. And that is only a single instance. There were several more like it.

  36. Nick Gotts says

    Jesus was exonerated under Roman law.

    he was convicted of breaking JEWISH law. – Ichthyic

    If he was actually crucified, then it must have been for an offense under Roman law, presumably sedition – the Sanhedrin (the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem) had no power to order a death penalty, and crucifixion was not a Jewish method of execution. The Sanhedrin may have wanted him dead, and told tales of him to the Romans, but the punishment for blasphemy was stoning. The gospel attempts to cast the blame for his execution on the Sanhedrin were probably part of an early Christian attempt to evade suppression by the Romans as a seditious movement.

  37. David Marjanović says

    * Godwin’s Law does not apply when the comparison can be shown to be accurate.

    Godwin’s Law states that as a conversation goes on, the probability of comparisons to the Nazis approaches 1. It does not say anything about such comparisons ever being inappropriate, or about anybody losing any argument.

    Jesus was a horse-thief, or at least the instigator thereof.

    Donkey, not horse. :-)

    a Roman soldier named Panthera

    That’s thought to be a garbled version of parthenos, “virgin” ( = “unmarried woman”).

    That would be fun to watch.

    Oh yes.

  38. Ichthyic says

    If he was actually crucified, then it must have been for an offense under Roman law, presumably sedition – the Sanhedrin (the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem) had no power to order a death penalty

    nope.

    don’t you recall Pilot telling the Jews who wanted Jesus executed that the man had “done no wrong in my eyes.”

    Pilot washed his hands of it, remember? He clearly was saying the man had broken no roman laws.

    of course, it’s all fiction anyway, but that point of the story was pretty clear.

  39. Who Cares says

    By reading the bible and a bit of background knowledge the following would be a more likely chain of events, IF Jesus was a real person and not a composite.

    The funny thing is that in religious matter the Jews had full autonomy. It was one of the perks they got from joining the Roman empire voluntary. They could have handled Jesus following religious law and that would have meant a stoning. However the guy was popular according to the bible, which would most likely have created a martyr instead of stopping the heresy.
    So they (the priestly caste) go to the Romans and say that there is this guy running around claiming to be the new king is attracting huge crowds with his preaching. If there was one thing the Romans didn’t accept it was insurrection (or in this case the prelude, sedition). So Jesus get hauled before the prefect, accused by the priests, testifies to his beliefs, most likely found to be harmless to the Romans. Which put Pilate in a bind. Alienate the people who effectively ruled Jewish society or put a guy who was a harmless (to the Romans) cook to death. The solution here was to toss the ball to the court of public opinion, which just happened to be packed by the accusers of Jesus.

  40. says

    “What was the cosmic reason for his agony? What is its purpose, its divine calculus? How precisely does his death, usually referred to in this context as the atonement, lead to the salvation of humanity?”

    Jesus had a bad weekend for our sins, yo.