|Originally posted by Moral Hazard |
I think that you have somewhat missed the message in the Jesus story. It isn't so much that sins are forgiven because Jesus died; rather, the story of Jesus is a declaration that redemption is available for all. One needs to look beyond the resurection itself to see this. In the times of Jesus Jews believed that illness was punishment for sins or caused by sins against God; this is why there are many stories of Jesus healing the sick... showing the forgiveness of sin. Jesus expresses a clear desire not to be curcified but ultimately defers his desire for Gog's will, which he states is more important than his own; showing that humility is required for redemption. He then gives himself willingly to those that will execute him; further showing deference to God's will and contrition in the face of it. Jesus suffering a terrible death complete with mockery, flogging, and insult is an example of the worst offences that could be commited against God (he is rejected, treated with distain, tortured, and then disposed of in the same manner as those who have commited crimes against men). At the moment of death the release of God from his human form is echoed in the tearing of the curtain that seperated the ark of the covenant from all but the highest of priests in the temple in order to show that God's love is available to all, not just the privileged. This terrible death being followed by Jesus' resurection to tell his followers to go and show the same love he has shown them to all men shows that God's love and forgiveness is not deminished by even the worst offences that man can show him.
There is a whole lot of fantastic shit going on here that if nothing else is a beautiful bit of writing to convey the message that God loves all and is willing to forgive all. Jesus' death is not necessary for this as the forgiveness of sins is illustrated prior to his death; thus, the death and resurection is not the mechanism of redemption but an illustration of it. In this sense redemption isn't vicarious; Jesus has not redemed us; rather, God is showing us the magnitude of his love by suffering this terrible death and returning in love despite the indignities suffered. The story of Jesus is meant to show how we may redeem ourselves through humility, contrition, and by the simple act of accepting God's love. Make no mistake we are not forgiven through Jesus... we were forgiven anyway. We are not redeemed through Jesus' death; rather, we redeem ourselves through his life. Christianity does not teach that one needs to be Christian to receive God's love... you get that no matter what. Note; it does teach that living a "Christ-like" life is the best path to true happiness and fulfillment, but not a condition upon which the love of God is contingent.
Sorry for the wall of text, which I'm sure is probably ranting and disjointed at times.
Not for me, You are the only (I assume) Religious person I don't mind reading their Wall O' Texts
On a government scheme designed to kill your dream. You wonder why we're only half ashamed.
'Cause enough is too much. And look around, can you blame us? Can you blame us? Interesting drug, the one that you took. Tell the truth, it really helped you.