Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Atonement

I know some people like this blog because it kinda veers from one subject to another: in this cases if from tits to the nature of sin. Some of the discussion among Anglicans about what is central to Christian faith has got me thinking about what the mean by atonement.

I think that the substitionary atonement theory of why "God became man" is barbaic. The theory argues that the ONE God sets up an system in which any sin against him is infinite, and so sends his own son to pay the debt of many sinners (because only an infinite sacrifice can pay an infinite debt...)

All I have to say to this is "why did God not set up somthing more reasonable?" A thirteen year old boy jerking-off to a mental image of a naked women is simply not rationally equal in sinfulness to someone who stalks and murders five innocents. Make no question I think all can be saved but also that sin is possible, but in Evangelical theology, and some forms of Catholic theology all kinds of sin (or mortal sin in the case of Catholics) have the same result - eternal damnation.

Even if I go to hell, this is nonsense.

I do believe Jesus was God incarnate, but not so much as atonement as a kind of apology. In other words I think Christianity is as much about theodicy as atonement. God could have made a better world, but in this one he introduced chance and suffering, and perhaps need to make an apology. Or less controversially, he ight have a perfectly good reason for having created a world in which suffering occurs, but understands that it is hard for us to comprehend why.

He could have sat back and just watched what happened. I think the Christian myth of the incarnation is this: God did not sit back and express "compassion" but became human in order to get covered in excrement, sweat, and pain like the rest of us. He really went through it - although he bowed out early: six hours bleeding and uncontrolled loss of body fluids while naked on a cross was a lot, but others have suffered more. But he did enough to demand humanity's trust and love.

God could have atoned for out sins ( and I have a few ) by decree, but he did it by being tortured naked in public and screaming for relief. He was no Buddha looking how to be compassionate. If Jesus is not the eternal expression of God into the world, damn GOD.

I don't understand the world at all, I'm afraid, but I think he alone (of all the worlds fake gods) can speak to us without shame.


Anonymous said...

Should you be so certain that a world without chance and suffering would be a better world? I don't think so. Of course, those who want to explain the existence of chance and the possibility of suffering as part of what allows the world to be good (NB: chance and suffering are not themselves necessarily good) will need to explain why it is usually thought that, in the Resurrection, chance and suffering will be absent.

Alternatively, one could dump all the theological nonsense and accept that either God does not exist, or he is a sick fuck.

Nuala/Sandy said...

Hey there Paul!

I don't necessarily buy into the whole Christian theology, but I do agree that equating any sexual act (outside of procreative marriage) with the same degree of sinfulness as an act of murder is ridiculous. I do think there is evil in the world and I hope there is some kind of divine justice - but I don't know that I believe in it. At least not yet.
The idea of Christ as an apology is intriguing, but it still falls short of an explanation of why a "compassionate" god would allow some of the horrors that exist in the world. Oops! This world sucks, so I'll send my son down to be tortured as an apology?

Call me sometime, and take care of yourself.

Nuala/Sandy said...
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