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.
RE: "There's someone downstairs from me who wants to fight me the entire time, and it's distracting." - possibly you called him an ass, like you did me.
I certainly did.
Then I root for your neighbor.
"Jesus made forgiveness possible.."
'Jesus' was his own father who created himself as a blood sacrifice for a sin that he damned us for, knowing he'd raise from the dead.
That's not a sacrifice.
That's a rough weekend of sadistic masturbation.
You know what a sacrifice is? Living 30 years in constant pain because you're a double amputee. Leaving a wife and two kids behind forever..not just three days. The Jesus story is by far the WORST example of love and sacrifice I can imagine. If god loved you so much, he wouldn't have to kill himself to be in your eternal presence.
" in order to be forgiven, we are first required to make good for our sin. "
Says who? You don't get to make the rules for everyone else. YOU might have some prerequisites for forgiveness, but those are your own hang-ups, not mine.
Sometimes my husband acts like an asshole and doesn't apologize for it. I forgive him for it because meh. He's my husband. I like having him around most of the time. It's small stuff. If YOU have some elaborate ceremony for saving face or shame or forgiveness, that's your problem. If you have all these stages and steps of forgiveness (which is a pretty routine human interaction) it's no wonder you don't get on with your neighbors. Not everyone has to 'make good' or 'take steps' or 'stages' to be forgiven. Not everyone even has to apologize or ask forgiveness to receive it. That's what unconditional love is. That's why your god isn't unconditionally loving.
"... promoting life ..." - promoting health. "harmony or happiness" are aspects of that. " Really? Are you a medical doctor, now? Tell me, how happy does the balance of bacteria in your gut seem? Is flora and fauna not life? What about patients in comas? What about people that are healthy but depressed? You're just arguing to argue, now.
"I only apologize if I think I've been at fault, otherwise I'm telling a lie. " SFW? What made this about you? I think we've already established that your concept of forgiveness isn't universal, and your neighbor hates you.
You think it's important if someone is unhappy with your behavior. I don't. I'm not all that bothered if someone is unhappy with my behavior, unless it's someone I care about.
This is why the Jesus story is not a universal story of forgiveness.
It's just something you grew up hearing, mate.
Jesus was his own father?
That is, if nothing else, the most bizarre kind of incest imaginable. And THEN to become a zombie!
What a life he led.
Misty, thank you for some more excellent points, I'll respond to one or two straight off otherwise I'll just be spluttering into my pillow.
My neighbour hates me because he happens to be a sad fuck and I'm supercool, and he can't handle it. He moved in and was bothered immediately and started giving me hassle. Yes I was rude to him, because he was an asshole. I don't consider being popular to be the be-all-and-end-all, I consider that to be weak. I consider behaving well to be the only thing that really matters. As always in this kind of situation, he's lost and I've won. He'll die miserable and unhappy. I might die young but I'll die happy. I'm happy all the time. Could I have handled it differently? Whatever I did, the result would have been the same, believe me.
OK, I can sleep now. I'll respond to your other excellent points in time.
RE: "I'm supercool" - I'm sure we've all noticed that --
My neighbour hates me because he happens to be a sad fuck and I'm supercool...
Story of my life. (sigh)
Could we have some actual words please, Arch? I'm looking for something specific and articulate, and something not dug out of someone else's private e-mail and taken out of context.