Thoughts to Passover
We are told Jesus came to die in our stead for our sin and to give man a direct means of relating to God. This is a powerful idea that made a lot of sense to me until I began to really ponder it. As a child of the Worldwide Church of God I questioned nothing, now I question everything. Here are some serious questions regarding Christianity that have yet to be answered to my satisfaction. I do not ask these questions to slam Jesus or blaspheme God. These are quite sincere although asking them may offend Christians who have never entertained such thoughts and simply assumed the foundation they built their faith on. These questions flow from the assumption that there is a God, he is perfect and he created us (there is no point to asking anybody to prove this, it can't be done). If anyone can answer these questions, I welcome the response.
Question #1: Why did God create us with imperfect natures?
God either created us with fallible human nature or he created us perfect and we became imperfect, as in the "fall of man" theory that many Christians adhere to. If God created us imperfect, we are simply victims of his design and coming to rectify the situation is the least he can do. If man became imperfect in a "fall from grace", God, who is omnipotent, could not have overlooked this possibility, and again, coming to right the situation he knew would happen was his duty and not that particularly noble. He owed it to his creation to make things right. Creating us fallible, knowing we would screw up is planning to fail. Planning to fail sounds like failing to plan and that is a very silly way to run the universe. If the fall was a big surprise to him, he is not omnipotent and is not worthy of much adoration.
Question #2: Why is Jesus dying so significant?
Since God is immortal, sending an aspect of himself to our dimension for thirty years and suffering for three or four hours may not be all that impressive for the ruler of the universe for the following reasons:
1. Yes, his death was very, very, painful and unjust since he did nothing to deserve it. However, as painful deaths go, a three hour torture is really bad, but by no means the worst way to die in terms of agony. Mortal, fallible men throughout history have suffered equally torturous and painful deaths without really deserving them. If making honest mistakes with good intentions makes men candidates for agonizing death, then God is unjust. Starvation, murder, torture/mutilation, cancer. The Holocaust, the Battan Death March, The Black Death, Ebola just to name a few. Many endured deaths that have dragged-on for weeks, months, years instead of just hours. And they did not even have the knowledge that they were God and would live again. It must be a lot easier for a God to go through three hours of extreme suffering than a mortal man to endure years of pain.
2. Since God had prophesied the success of Jesus' mission, there is no way he could have failed in his mission to earth by sinning. It was a done deal even before he came. To me, removing the possibility of failure also removes a lot of the significance of the sacrifice. However, if he could have failed, the prophecies would have been invalid and God cannot lie. And if he had sinned, he would have justly incurred the eternal death penalty and with being immortal, that is not a option.
3. If you were God and knew that becoming partially mortal for a few years and then suffering for a few hours when you did not deserve it would complete your creation effort of a planet, would the act of coming and dying be all that earthshaking? Getting something you don't deserve is called life and men face that every day. what's the big deal? If God loves us even half as much as we love our own children, I would expect it of him because people have given their lives for their children throughout history without the given they would live again. Now that's impressive.
Question #3: Why does Jesus dying pay for us being imperfect?
The idea that blood sacrifice atones for anything is an ancient and barbaric idea practiced by many primitive religions. Killing an animal to make you acceptable to God? When you think about it, it is really a stupid idea. Why would God want animal blood shed and a dead animal that can't be eaten is worthless. Of course, when animals equaled wealth, throwing money away made one humble. That's all I can figure out.
I cannot see how Christ's mortal death erases the death penalty we are under for our sins because we still die. Jesus did not pay the price for us because he still has eternal life and will never give it up. Now, if Jesus gave up eternal life so that we could have it, that would bring me to my knees instantly because that would be the supreme sacrifice. But giving up a mortal existence when you are immortal is not quid pro quo. I would think he would be eager to return to being fully God and avoid the aches and pains of mortal existence. If this is so, killing him was a favor.
Question #4: What did Christ tell us that other spiritual leaders didn't?
Rather than focusing on his death, I am told Christ's coming can be seen as giving us a template to live by. If this is the case, why did God wait thousands or millions of years instead of coming only two thousand years ago to come? Would it not be better to have started us off with an example rather than waiting around and letting man do nasty things to each other without a clear example of the way it should be? Bad timing. Christ's message was pretty simple: it's the Golden Rule. He did away with all the animal sacrifice stuff since he was the sacrifice. Did away with all the Old Testament superstitious mumbo-jumbo and said that we had direct access to God through him. Of course, since he has always been a dimension of God, I do not understand why we could have not gone through him in the first place. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Pretty good message but not that original.
Question # 5: What makes me think spiritual feelings are leading me to do God's will and are not just indigestion?
Everyone always tells me about how wonderful it is to have a relationship with God. I understand how I can communicate to God (e.g. prayer, making sacrifices), but its how God communicates to me is where I have a problem. If the Bible is the primary method of communication, God made it pretty confusing.
To think that if I start reading, God will mysteriously cause me to find a passage that will give me a message to help me in life is pretty superstitious. That makes the Bible nothing more than a holy Ouija Board.
The only way a Christian can tell what God wants from him is through the feelings he gets from reading the Bible or from talking to others thinking its God talking to them. Listening to feelings and talking to others landed me in a cult for most of my life. How do I know the feelings I get from a religious experience are valid? I spent thirty or more years of my life operating this way and the messages I got were to do what the Worldwide Church of God said. So much for feelings.
The Apostle Paul, Abraham, Noah, Charles Manson and the Son of Sam all had voices and visions that revealed a specific will of what they thought was God, and were told to do things they had never thought of on their own or went contrary to widely held beliefs. Noah would have been commonly considered delusional for building an ark in the middle of nowhere. Son of Sam listened to a voice coming out of a hole in the wall. God told Abraham to go kill his own son. He told Mason to kill Sharon Tate. Paul fell off a donkey and was told to join the group he was persecuting. Old testament prophets were told things like go around the countryside naked for years to witness to the nation. If I had such revelations, how would I know if I were delusional or truly called from God? When historically God told people to do crazy stuff, they had faith. Today, when God tells people to do crazy things we have thorazine.
People who spend a lot of thought trying to determine Gods will for them are also playing Bible Ouija. Its very convenient when your hopes and dreams fail, God did not want you to take that path usually because we were trying to do it "our way not Gods way." When good things happen, its Gods way of blessing us and telling us we are on the right path and doing it his way. This makes us the blame for when we fail and gives God all the credit when we have a success. A perfect recipe for low self-esteem.
MY ANSWER AND MY NEW RELIGION
In my post-WCG life, I have forgotten about Gods will. If his will for me is so important, he needs to be more clear. I now take personal responsibility for life. Some things I can do something about. Some things I can't. I think time and chance rule, but that is not comforting enough for those who need things spelled out for them. Go with the flow and do the right thing.
Follow the golden rule.
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