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December 22, 2013

Today I’m sitting in church once again, the sermon topic today, through the lens of the story of the birth of Jesus, it’s salvation. Salvation is one of the central tenants of Christianity. It is taught that we require salvation because we are a horrible, sinful people who can do no good. Without salvation, it is said, we are damned to eternal torment (fire and separation from God!) In hell. How is salvation given? Since it is our sin that curses us to examination then those sins must be forgiven in order that we might be saved. How are sins forgiven? Blood sacrifice.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” Leviticus 17:11 (ESV)

This is one of the things that I was never able to make sense of. Why is bloodshed required for this forgiveness? Why would animal sacrifice be accepted temporarily fir this purpose for a few thousand years? Why would one person’s blood be accepted for all time and all people?

It send to me a silly system to set up. If this god is, indeed, all powerful, then it seems like he didn’t have to set things up like this at all. Why make things like homosexuality or extramarital sex a sin? Why require sacrifice to forgive said sin? Why require a piece of himself/his son come to earth to be brutally killed because of this? It never food fully make sense to me…

Nite that I can look at it rationally, I see it for what it is: bronze age myth twisted to fit first century religious ideas, and then modified through the ages as changes needed to be made to outdated beliefs. If course none of it makes sense, it’s a hodgepodge of ideas from multiple cultures and ages.

Merry Mythmas, everyone!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2013 5:42 pm

    It seems to me that finite human minds can not fully comprehend or explain God’s work in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The church has come up with all these theories and analogies through the centuries to explain the precise mechanics of this…But, it seems to me that every image falls short of the thing itself, and seems crude in comparison.

    I even think that the Biblical writers are using images that would connect with the people of ancient, primitive cultures communicating the idea that forgiveness is costly and requires sacrifice.

    However, if you read the parable of the Prodigal Son, which seems to me an image communicating God’s forgiveness, the Father forgave without requiring “blood sacrifice.”

    The image of the atonement of Christ that I find most helpful is as much about healing as forgiveness. I think God fully entered into human life and suffering, absorbing the consequence of sin and evil into Himself so that we could be healed and share in His life.

    Well, to put this another way, the atonement of Christ seems to me about as much as changing us to reflect the love of God in our lives as it is about simply forgiveness. It’s just deeper and more complex than we can imagine, IMO.

    On another subject, I don’t feel that homosexuality is sinful. I don’t feel that the Scripture is addressing the issue of loving, committed same sex relationships among people who are constitutionally gay at all.

    The problem I see with extra marital sex in part involves the issue of commitment. If as a Christian, I think marriage is deeper and means more than a piece of paper, then it seems to me that the level of physical intimacy between two people should match the level of caring, respect, and commitment that is actually present in the relationship. When all that is out of balance, then I think people open themselves up to some serious hurt on both an emotional and spiritual level. I think there are harmful physical consequences that can be connected with sexual promiscuity as well.

    • February 7, 2014 11:09 am

      But what reason do you have for believing in the god you believe in? If the human mind cannot comprehend it, and the scriptures are not all reliable because they came from human mind, on what do you base your belief?

  2. February 22, 2014 6:28 pm

    Hi S.A.,

    I’m in my early thirties, and was once a “secret atheist,” too. I grew up going to church, but began to have serious problems with God in my twenties. I’ve asked many of the same questions you asked in the article above. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a miserable time for me.

    I hope to communicate some answers to some of your questions that I had to learn the hard way…

    To answer the most important question: If there is a Creator God, what’s the point of human life? The answer is found in Ephesians 1:1-6. It says that before the foundation of the world (before anyone sinned), God chose us to be adopted as beloved children through the death of Jesus. Think about that. God knew His beloved son, Jesus, would have to die if we were going to be His children…and he made us anyway….Why? Because He wanted to display his love in us.

    We’re not like goldfish in a bowl to God, nor are we like puppies at a pound. God adopts us as His children to make us his family. And why does God allow sin? Because He can defeat it, and His defeat of it brings us joy and him glory.

    It’s like a couple going to an orphanage to adopt a child and instead of choosing a healthy baby, they choose one with severe handicaps and challenges that will require all of their care, resources, and will be a sacrifice to bring to good health. We’re like that unhealthy child because of our sin, but God had decided before we were born to love us anyway and give everything He had to make us alive.

    The bottom line is that God made us, knowing we would become sinners, so that He could lovingly give all to make us alive again. He’s so loving and kind that He just wants to give.

    Sin must be paid for by blood because sin causes death. Sin causes death because sin is the very antithesis of the nature of God, so of course, God is sinless. He is sinless AND life. When we sin, we expel ourselves from the realm of God’s sinlessness (holiness) and life, causing us to enter into the realm of death. But, God doesn’t leave us there. He paid the price for our sins through the blood of Jesus.

    So why all the animal sacrifices in the OT, leading up to Jesus? To show us: 1. The glaring difference between our sin and God’s holiness, 2. to show us the consequences of our sin (death—represented by the bulls, etc), 3. to show us that we can’t earn salvation by following rules and trying to clean up our own mess—we need God’s grace (kindness), and 4. to point toward Christ who was that grace for us.

    You might be a part of a legalistic church like I was. If so, don’t let that destroy your faith in God. He is the most beautiful truth in the Universe.

    So, God made us so that He could forgive us so that we’d be His children and we could get happiness from praising Him for his kindness and He could get the affection of our praise. It’s the most beautiful love story imaginable. Win-win!

    Life is good with God, even when we go through hard times.

    God loves you and has given everything to pardon your sin against him. Won’t you accept his love? :)

    • May 31, 2014 10:20 pm

      Quoting a bible verse at me will not make me believe in your god. I do not believe the bible is the word of god because I do not believe in a god, therefore nothing in it will prove to me that there is a god because I do not believe in it.

      “…in Ephesians 1:1-6. It says that before the foundation of the world (before anyone sinned), God chose us to be adopted as beloved children through the death of Jesus. Think about that. God knew His beloved son, Jesus, would have to die if we were going to be His children…and he made us anyway….Why? Because He wanted to display his love in us.”

      I don’t believe in God, or Jesus, or that any sort of deity created everything. To me this is just a mythology someone created a few thousands of years ago. I have no reason to believe in it any more than I do in Zeus or Ra.

  3. March 12, 2014 1:18 am

    I haven’t yet read your blogs yet .. but the premise intrigues me … as a Wesleyan/Armenian -> then Calvinist -> now in limbo between Agnostic and Atheist … I shall read on ..

    • May 31, 2014 10:18 pm

      Sorry it took me a few months to get back to your comment! I’m not regularly updating anymore (as you can tell) and it slips my mind to check the comments. I hope that reading my story has helped you in some small way to sort out your own journey!

  4. Nadia permalink
    February 3, 2016 3:46 pm

    This was always an issue of mine. Why does an all powerful, sovereign, omnipotent God of everything need blood to forgive us for our sins? It reminds me so much of the story “The Whipping Boy”.

    I’m not an AtheistJust a Christian who is searching…finally realizing there are flaws in the supposed inerrant and infallible word of God. I think I may be a gnostic theist. But time will tell.

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