This idea can have logic and great value even for an atheist.
Not that long ago I offered for some angry people to kick my head in, to prove a point about how men should treat women (i.e. don't bully them). (I guess they didn't have the heart to do it.)
Among the many interpretations which can be placed on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, we can say this:
Jesus went to his death willingly - in that he knew it was going to happen, and didn't run away, when he could have done - in order to prove and illustrate a point. That point was his life's work (well, the last 3 years'). One of his main lessons was that we can all be given the chance for our sins to be forgiven, provided we earn it and do the necessary real work involved. Provided we go to our Crucifixion willingly. If he can get himself crucified, we should be up to saying sorry and putting things right when we have to. We should be humble enough to suffer for what we have done. We should be humble enough to let something go instead of escalating to some kind of blood feud.
He also forgave the people who were crucifying him.
By dramatically illustrating the idea that God can forgive our sins, will always give us a second chance to make good: life became possible, life became good, life became fruitful. Instead of nasty, brutish and short. Hence the Resurrection.
What are your own beliefs regarding transubstantiation, Barry?
Don't believe in it in the literal sense, which is how most take it. However, it is a nice thought in terms of the allegorical meaning Jesus implied when he spoke of the bread becoming his body and the wine becoming his blood, essentially saying that by our partaking of such things we become "one" in him and he in us. So I would see the whole sacrament business as more a memorial to him than anything else.
Now THAT's what I call a fair exchange - I have often asked Professor Robert to be open about his own beliefs, but he prefers to ask ours, rather than reveal his.
RE: "I have been dating a rather charming gal" - knowing your recent history, James, all I can say is, "Yay, YOU! You go Boy --!"
Thank you. Sadly I am still trying to clean up the resulting mess, atleast the oceans were not compromised..;p)
I found this particularly insightful - the sound, unfortunately, is poor, headphones help:
I am punished for all eternity simply for not believing on pure faith, while all of humanities sins are forgiven for one man being punished for three days.
There is a good lesson here, life isn't fair, but if you believe us it doesn't matter.
@Joshua - I've come to see this message in the Crucifixion. If Jesus can forgive being crucified, then we should be able to find it in ourselves to try and forgive anything too. I'd even forgive Archaeopteryx. He knows not what he does.
He knows exactly what he does and to exactly whom he is doing it.
But he won't admit it.
Admit what? Be specific, if you know how. Quit pussy-footing around, stand up on your hind legs and say what you have to say, instead of skulking around, hinting at it.
@Archaeopteryx - this is what I said, specifically, within the last 3 hours, and which you replied to:
if I was to name the person whose private e-mail you quoted in public out of context in order to support your spat with me - that would be breaking confidence, as you well know.
You're always on my case, everywhere I turn.