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.
I will do. We'll be in The Skinners Arms, 5 mins from Kings Cross Station from mid-day, if you or anyone else fancies coming along.
114 Judd St, London, Greater London WC1H 9NT
I would love to, but sadly I am in the wrong London.
Let's just hope that works out better for you than the invitation you issued to Kir Komrick --
Strega said hi back.
Beautiful, simply beautiful @ "Hell, the biggest sin I'm apparently guilty of, I didn't even commit. Some Middle Eastern lady I've never met ate a fruit in early history. WTF does that have to do with me?" Lol... well said!!
"Let's get over the bungled logic ... you'll probably address it later in the discussion."
This isn't our concern - those are Christian matters, and we're atheists.
"Willingly going to your death takes courage and humility? ... I'd say it takes FEAR of something worse than death, not courage."
You've been there, so you know. However, absolutely, there are times when it takes courage and humility. Think about Joan of Arc or Martin Luther King, for example.
To answer your other points I'll make some points of my own. This is a first attempt at an analysis, a work in progress.
The more I look at this story, the more I see it has profound spiritual and moral relevance. The message is there loud and clear, it just needs to be unlocked and brought out into the light of day. I think that Jesus' very pointed example was extreme - but it had to be, did it not? Because he loved humanity, he wanted it to stand for all time.
It can be applied to:
people not taking responsibility for their bad feelings.
In order to do the right thing, we need to be willing to put our own selfish desires and first impulses aside, look at the bigger picture, and do whatever is necessary. This takes courage and humility.
To forgive can mean to block a destructive cycle of tit-for-tat and start again on a brand new, positive path. This is one way among (as you point out) many others of promoting life. At the same time, forgiveness is only valid and useful when it is truly earned. As for apologizing when it's not appropriate - yes, sometimes that's cowardly and does not solve the problem.
People not taking responsibility for their bad feelings is one of the worst and least understood problems in the world. Look at the way one or two people on TA follow me around biting at my ankles, like little yappy dogs trying to bring down a lion. To face your own bad feelings takes courage, and not to project or take them out on other people, but to handle it yourself - takes humility.
All in the service of doing the right thing.
I despise slack behaviour in men, it makes my blood boil. In their stupidness they don't realise the damage they can cause. I love nothing better than to fuck up a bully, it's an amusing sport of mine. Once I get inside their little goldfish brain, they've had it. I don't even play games - that's not how I roll. (I don't even roll.)
RE: "like little yappy dogs trying to bring down a lion" - there's that humility!
RE: "I love nothing better than to fuck up a bully, it's an amusing sport of mine. Once I get inside their little goldfish brain, they've had it."
Could we see an example of that?
"Think about Joan of Arc or Martin Luther King, for example. " Why? these are figures that lived long before I existed. Pretty much everything about their state of mind is hearsay now. They are more legend than human, so isolating actual facts, let alone their general demeanor is an absurd exercise. Why the two religious examples? Why not a few documented military or tribunal executions that have actually been recorded? Your example is flimsy to me.
"The more I look at this story, the more I see it has profound spiritual and moral relevance. " Good for you. As soon as you show me evidence of a spirit, I might care about spirituality. As for morality, I'm still hung up on that whole barbaric blood sacrifice bullshit, so no. That fails the morality grade, too.
" I think that Jesus' very pointed example was extreme - but it had to be, did it not? Because he loved humanity, he wanted it to stand for all time." If he existed, there is no way to know what he loved or liked. Most of his life story is missing, and what is documented was done so decades later in contradicting stories. Want to show your love in a way that lasts for a long time? Don't showcase the fact that your father wants to kill his own son as a way to keep from killing his own creations. Want to show you love humanity? Don't found a religion that's responsible for more death than all known disease combined.
people not taking responsibility for their bad feelings."
...the Jesus story is actually ENFORCING those concepts, you do know that, right?
1)Taking responsibility for their bad feelings. - You aren't taking responsibility if someone else just paid for your sin. How about YOU pay for your own sins, not a perfectly innocent Jewish guy?
2)Forgiveness- If it has to come with a blood sacrifice, that's not forgiveness. That's paying a fine. There is a difference.
3) Selfishness- I can be selfish and sin because I'm already forgiven in the blood of Christ.
"To forgive can mean to block a destructive cycle of tit-for-tat and start again on a brand new, positive path. This is one way among (as you point out) many others of promoting life. "
Bullshit. Hyperbole. Maybe you have a different definition of 'life' than the rest of the world and the dictionary. We have already established that I don't need anyone to forgive me for 'life.' I'm LIVING proof of that. Maybe the word you are looking for is harmony or happiness or something a bit more subjective? Please try again or further explain your stance?
" At the same time, forgiveness is only valid and useful when it is truly earned. As for apologizing when it's not appropriate - yes, sometimes that's cowardly and does not solve the problem. "
That is an absurd and factually incorrect statement. Plenty of less-than heartfelt apologies have been very useful in smoothing over situations and allowing both parties to move forward. That doesn't make it any less valid. That just means the party apologizing put the circumstances or relationships above pride. I could give you plenty of examples, but I'm sure you can re-think this statement and realize it's silly.
I'm not even going to reply to the rest of the post. It seems to be a bit of a personal message that has nothing to do with the discussion, -I'm not particularly interested. However, if you do genuinely feel like you are being harassed on this site by one or more members, please take your issue to a mod or admin immediately. This is not the place to discuss it. My mailbox is always open. Dan is always around. Just let us know what the problem is.
Thank you for some more excellent points, Sergeant-Major Misty.
"1)Taking responsibility for their bad feelings. - You aren't taking responsibility if someone else just paid for your sin. How about YOU pay for your own sins, not a perfectly innocent Jewish guy?"
This is really one of the crucial points I think. Strangely, you seem to be the first person ever to spot it.
Jesus made forgiveness possible (in a sense), for the reason that if he could get himself crucified after just three years of his ministry work, and accept the Crucifixion willingly and forgive the people who did it, if he could forgive that for the sake of the human race, then there's really nothing that the rest of us can't at least consider forgiving.
That makes perfect sense to me, if we accept the Jesus story at face value as it is given to us in the bible. The reason I say he did it for the sake of the human race is that doing things for the sake of the human race was really the central heart of his message and activities during his three years of public work.
"paid for your sin." - in order to be forgiven, we are first required to make good for our sin. There are several stages to this and I'm not in a state to go through them right now. There's someone downstairs from me who wants to fight me the entire time, and it's distracting. Well, he knows where I am.
"... promoting life ..." - promoting health. "harmony or happiness" are aspects of that.
"Plenty of less-than heartfelt apologies have been very useful in smoothing over situations and allowing both parties to move forward. "
I only apologize if I think I've been at fault, otherwise I'm telling a lie. However, I always find there's something I can apologize for, which smooths things over, like you say. It may not be enough, but it's important to make the effort if someone else is unhappy with your behaviour.
I find the concept of sin bankrupt of any real meaning to the human condition, and it's application to be deleterious to the mental well-being of those to whom it is applied. The concept of sin necessarily requires a universal judge (god) and since I don't buy that, sin holds no sway with me. People do bad things for myriad reasons -all ultimately leading back to biology. We are a complex machines and so malfunction is to be expected; it could be from the very get-go (something happened in utero, some malfunctioning genes etc.), could be from experience (abuse, depravation etc.), and a combination of these two. Now when i wrote that I was thinking of the big bad things (e.g., murder, rape etc.). But of course we also do little transgressions all the time. Again this is to be expected as we are complex creatures dealing in a complex environment with other complex creatures. To label this sin and place such shame and guilt on the transgressor is not to my way of thinking not very healthy - we are being unduly punished for being human. Now we should always strive to minimize these transgressions, not because of some universal judgment, but because we should work to minimize pain and maximize happiness for everyone so that we too could minimize pain maximize happiness. Even the believers recognize this: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I don't think it would hurt any of us, Terrence, to follow the physician's credo: "First, do no harm."