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Jehan
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 06:03 AM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.

Waarnemer
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 11:01 AM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.
return to sender, stay atheist. Its in the story of jesus one can see through the mystics surrounding christianity, for example why would an god of absolute knowledge and power have to send his son to the earth besides for a concept of pure symbolic? Surly the reason cannot be the one the bible intends for, because who would have determined the rules for doing so, the devil? Its a negation of human intelligence

Leofric
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 06:16 PM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.

Here's the way I see it (in simple terms):

God's perfect. That means everything he makes is perfect. He made a world for his children (us). It was perfect.

The reason he made the world for us is so that we could grow up (like any father wants for his children). But people learn to grow up by confronting bad stuff. I mean, little kids do dumb things like touch hot oven racks when their moms are baking cookies — as they grow up, they learn to stop doing so many dumb things and start doing smart things. But they can't even have the chance of doing dumb things in a perfect world — everything's perfect. So God needed his children to be able to encounter the possibility of bad stuff — that way they could grow up by learning to do good things and ditch the bad things.

But God only makes perfect stuff — he's not in the bad stuff department. So he needed to get a way for his children to do bad stuff on their own. That's where Satan and the tree and all of that Garden of Eden symbolism comes into the picture. Basically all of that boils down to this — God told us to be perfect and we couldn't hack it (since we were still just little kids compared to him). We messed up. And since he knows the future, he knew we would mess up.

But like any father, he didn't want our mess-ups to keep us down. He wanted us to be able to mess up without getting all the negative consequences of our mess-ups. Just enough negative consequences for us to learn.

That's where Jesus comes in. Jesus suffered the negative consequences for all our mess-ups. But since he was God, he was able to overcome it on his own. After becoming (briefly) the biggest outcast in the universe and getting killed for being the biggest mess-up ever (since he had all our mess-ups on his shoulders), he came back to life and went to heaven anyway. And because he did that, each of us can come back to life and go back to heaven anyway if we follow him (which makes sense — if you follow someone, you would expect to end up where he ends up).

Now God's not stupid, so he planned all that from the beginning. He knew he wanted his kids to be perfect (he wants everything to be perfect — it's like a never-ending fetish for him). He knew they wouldn't. He knew their mess-ups would make life on earth kind of sucky compared to what he wanted for them (even though it's really not all that bad, which means he wanted a whole lot better for us). He wanted to make a way for us to get past the suckiness so that we could get the kind of life he was after for us. So he sent Jesus. As a result, we won't be stuck with the suckiness forever. We'll get to move beyond that. We can grow up healthy and strong to our heart's content without having to endure all the bad effects of all our bad choices forever.

That's just one Christian's take on the matter. There are probably about a billion other versions of that idea (since there are about a billion other Christians). But that's the way I see it. What do you think? Does this answer your question at all?

Taras Bulba
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 08:17 PM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.

Hey, congrats on your decision to make "the Journey Home" (http://www.ewtn.com/journeyhome/index.asp) ;), I myself am a former atheist who reverted after several years of being outside the Church.

Anyways. I cant really speak at volume on this issue for several reasons at the moment, however I'll give some links to where you can read some interesting explainations.

For one, Jim Kalb gives an interesting take on this issue; and how Christ's atonement runs counter to the hedonist perspective all too widespread in today's society:
http://turnabout.ath.cx:8000/node/562


Personally, possibly one of the best explainations Ive heard about this issue comes from Ellen G. White in her book Patriarchs and Prophets, which is about the battle between good and evil and how it played out within the Old Testament. Chapter four of the book is entirely dedicated to the issue of Christ's sacrifice and the meaning behind it. Here's some excepts:



http://www.egwtext.whiteestate.org/pp/pp4.html

"The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that God had made was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death. There appeared no escape for those who had transgressed the law. Angels ceased their songs of praise. Throughout the heavenly courts there was mourning for the ruin that sin had wrought.

The Son of God, heaven’s glorious Commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him. But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be redeemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with Heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin—sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and His Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery to rescue the ruined race...The very fact that Christ bore the penalty of man's transgression is a mighty argument to all created intelligences that the law is changeless; that God is righteous, merciful, and self-denying; and that infinite justice and mercy unite in the administration of His government."

And so on. You can read more at the link if you wish(where the author goes into more details) but this is very much the basic point made.

Hope this helped!

Oswiu
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Here's the way I see it (in simple terms):
Sorry, Leofric, but it just seems like so much sophistry to me, only to the purpose of justifying some absurd Middle Eastern creation myth. :( As though the dogma comes first, and the reasoning after.
I was raised without Christianity, and find it hard to get into that way of thinking. I was up on the Hills today [that's my religion] and it struck me how odd it was that the people in the surounding villages [whose spires you could see in the distance] had based all their spiritual life for centuries on a man from the horriblest dustiest and most-troubledest part of the Earth. [Of course, they hadn't done that - see Taras Bulba's recent post on English Folk Christianity, but even so] :(

I remember the words of an English soldier in France in the Great War; "What I don't like about this 'ere France, is all these bloody Jesuses and Marys all over the place!" I can echo that; so many pictures of a man being painfully executed. Distasteful. A suicide cult almost. This stuff really puts me off.

As I've said before elsewhere, I'm not one of these zealous atheists who makes it their mission to do down Christianity, as I acknowledge its place in our history, but I just thought I'd voice my own feelings here, that's all.

montecristo
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 10:10 PM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.

Basically:
Jewish people had been gods elected people.
Jewish people went to far from gods laws.
Jesus Christ was sended to the elected people to save them from the evil.
Jewish people didn´t welcome him as god son, instead they killed him.
God took away his goodwilling from jewish people and gave it to us.
The christianity is established in Rom by Pietro, and is going to spread between all the European citizen.
Jew will be the cursed people from now on and will, therefore, try in every way to excel the european cristianity in every way to show that they are still the elected people.

Oswiu
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 10:31 PM
Basically:
Jewish people had been gods elected people.
Jewish people went to far from gods laws.
Jesus Christ was sended to the elected people to save them from the evil.
Jewish people didn´t welcome him as god son, instead they killed him.
God took away his goodwilling from jewish people and gave it to us.
The christianity is established in Rom by Pietro, and is going to spread between all the European citizen.
Jew will be the cursed people from now on and will, therefore, try in every way to excel the european cristianity in every way to show that they are still the elected people.
Well, that's just it for me, Montecristo. It's all about the bloody Jews. I don't want to be part of any belief system in which they take central, or indeed any, place. Why pander to their vanity?
The history of my ancestors before 1 Anno Domini, or our conversion in the 5th Century, was not merely a prelude.

montecristo
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 10:50 PM
Well, that's just it for me, Montecristo. It's all about the bloody Jews. I don't want to be part of any belief system in which they take central, or indeed any, place. Why pander to their vanity?
The history of my ancestors before 1 Anno Domini, or our conversion in the 5th Century, was not merely a prelude.


Vanity? There is no reason for them to show vanity. They have been the choosen one cause they accepted gods law and, later, they throw it away.
Now we are the chosen one, for one reason, cause we accepted gods and jesus law. I´m proud of this evolution, and am proud to be under gods goodwill in place of the cursed jews.
And we can still learn something from this: not to be such fool as them and throw it all away.
We are natural enemies to them cause of this, but they are going to beat us, making us atheist or holocaust religion believers instead of christian.

Leofric
Sunday, June 4th, 2006, 11:13 PM
Discussion on the term *plonk* has been moved to Free Speech:
http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php?p=423846&postcount=8

Please use the current thread to discuss Jesus.

Jehan
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 04:14 AM
First, I'd like to thank you all for your great help. I really appreciate it.

To all atheists, though: this thread wasn't made to discuss the existence of a God, Christian or not. I've already made my mind on this. We can always discuss the validity of a theistic worldview in another thread, though: I'm really not afraid of debates.;) But for the sake of keeping this thread on topic, I'd appreciate if we'd all leave this problem for another time.

Leofric: interesting point of view. However, I have some objections.


Here's the way I see it (in simple terms):

God's perfect. That means everything he makes is perfect. He made a world for his children (us). It was perfect.

God's perfect, I agree with this. I don't see how it follows that everything he makes his perfect, though. That would make him limited in his actions, wouldn't it? Perhaps we should try to define perfection first.

Personally, I think that to be perfect, something has to be absolute, as in independent of all external forces. We are obviously not perfect, as we are limited by the system we call a universe. Moreover, this universe that we inhabit was created by God. Its exitence thus depends on an external entity, making it relative to that entity. It follows that this world cannot be perfect.



The reason he made the world for us is so that we could grow up (like any father wants for his children). But people learn to grow up by confronting bad stuff. I mean, little kids do dumb things like touch hot oven racks when their moms are baking cookies — as they grow up, they learn to stop doing so many dumb things and start doing smart things. But they can't even have the chance of doing dumb things in a perfect world — everything's perfect. So God needed his children to be able to encounter the possibility of bad stuff — that way they could grow up by learning to do good things and ditch the bad things.

So we are not perfect, are we? But we are God's creatures, and he, as you stated before, can only create perfect things. How does that make sense? And then you said he created "bad stuff" as some kind of challenge for us, which means he would be the source of evil in this world, right? (Isn't this statement strongly against the Christian doctrine?)


But God only makes perfect stuff — he's not in the bad stuff department. So he needed to get a way for his children to do bad stuff on their own. That's where Satan and the tree and all of that Garden of Eden symbolism comes into the picture. Basically all of that boils down to this — God told us to be perfect and we couldn't hack it (since we were still just little kids compared to him). We messed up. And since he knows the future, he knew we would mess up.

God told us to be perfect but made us imperfect, knowing that we wouldn't be able to hack it. Wouldn't that make him responsible for our failure? Couldn't he just create us without any defect of any kind, making it easier for everyone?



But like any father, he didn't want our mess-ups to keep us down. He wanted us to be able to mess up without getting all the negative consequences of our mess-ups. Just enough negative consequences for us to learn.

Fair enough. But still, why would he want us to mess up in the first place?


That's where Jesus comes in. Jesus suffered the negative consequences for all our mess-ups. But since he was God, he was able to overcome it on his own. After becoming (briefly) the biggest outcast in the universe and getting killed for being the biggest mess-up ever (since he had all our mess-ups on his shoulders), he came back to life and went to heaven anyway. And because he did that, each of us can come back to life and go back to heaven anyway if we follow him (which makes sense — if you follow someone, you would expect to end up where he ends up).

Jesus being God, that would mean God took responsibility for all our mess-ups, which makes perfect sense. However, I don't think we can say Jesus really died, as he was, well, divine. But wouldn't that mean we don't have to take responsibility for any of our faults, since in the end, it's all God's fault?


Now God's not stupid, so he planned all that from the beginning. He knew he wanted his kids to be perfect (he wants everything to be perfect — it's like a never-ending fetish for him). He knew they wouldn't. He knew their mess-ups would make life on earth kind of sucky compared to what he wanted for them (even though it's really not all that bad, which means he wanted a whole lot better for us). He wanted to make a way for us to get past the suckiness so that we could get the kind of life he was after for us. So he sent Jesus. As a result, we won't be stuck with the suckiness forever. We'll get to move beyond that. We can grow up healthy and strong to our heart's content without having to endure all the bad effects of all our bad choices forever.)

But how is the sacrifice of Jesus necessary for all this? Couldn't we move beyond the suckiness anyhow? And I still don't understand why he didn't make us perfect in the first place.


That's just one Christian's take on the matter. There are probably about a billion other versions of that idea (since there are about a billion other Christians). But that's the way I see it. What do you think? Does this answer your question at all?

Wow, that's quite protestant. I don't think Catholics would agree that there is as much theories about this as there is Christians. There is only one, and it's the Church's.


Taras Bulba: I'll get back to you when I have time. I know there's a lot to learn from you, so I wouldn't miss that opportunity.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 04:55 AM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.

Christianity grew right out of its Helenistic foundation and into Rome and the Roman world. Jews who still ran it decided to incorporate non-Jews for the first time. Why? Jews were always under pressure from the suspicous Romans. Non-Jewish Christians were seen by Jews as a scapegoat literally to be fed to the lions. Jews offered up Christians as the source of Rome's problems. Now, if you are going to tell new conscripts that they may be fed to lions for their beliefs, isn't it convienent to equate their sarifice with a story in which Jesus sacrifices his life for the good of others?

It is just like "civil rights". It is all about who is shoved to the head of the line and who is spared.

Leofric
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 05:19 AM
Leofric: interesting point of view. However, I have some objections.

God's perfect, I agree with this. I don't see how it follows that everything he makes his perfect, though. That would make him limited in his actions, wouldn't it? Perhaps we should try to define perfection first.
You're right, we could use a good definition. I've used it two different ways in my post, I think, which is a bad thing. "Perfect" in the Bible (that's the last time I'll mention that, and it's not that important) is often a translation of "teleos," which means something more like complete or finished or even accomplished, if I understand correctly. We also use it colloquially to mean flawless. I was using both definitions in that post. Sorry about that.

A baby can be flawless, but it's still a baby and therefore not finished. Something that's really finished (like, made fine) probably has to be flawless, but not all flawless things are finished.

I think God is perfect in both senses. I think his creations are perfect in the flawless sense. I also think that makes good sense. We know a sculptor is a better sculptor than others is his sculptures are better than others'. It seems to me, then, that a perfect sculptor would be recognized by his perfect (flawless) sculptures. So I think all God's creations are perfect (flawless).


Personally, I think that to be perfect, something has to be absolute, as in independent of all external forces. We are obviously not perfect, as we are limited by the system we call a universe. Moreover, this universe that we inhabit was created by God. Its exitence thus depends on an external entity, making it relative to that entity. It follows that this world cannot be perfect.
Hmm. We're definitely working with two different definitions. I think flawless things can be dependent on external forces. Perhaps our semantic disconnect will not permit good conversation between us about the topic.

But, I didn't say that the world as we know it is perfect. I said that the world God made was perfect. I also said (at least I thought I did) that the world became imperfect because of man's bad choices.


So we are not perfect, are we? But we are God's creatures, and he, as you stated before, can only create perfect things. How does that make sense? And then you said he created "bad stuff" as some kind of challenge for us, which means he would be the source of evil in this world, right? (Isn't this statement strongly against the Christian doctrine?)
Okay, two perfects again. God's creations are flawless, but not necessarily complete (I think this complete definition of perfect might coincide with the independent defintion you used). We are not perfect (complete). We might start life perfect (flawless), at least in our souls.

And I don't think I said he created bad stuff, just that we needed to encounter bad stuff. I think I said that the bad stuff came about as a result of man's sin.


God told us to be perfect but made us imperfect, knowing that we wouldn't be able to hack it. Wouldn't that make him responsible for our failure? Couldn't he just create us without any defect of any kind, making it easier for everyone?
God made us, our souls anyway, perfect (flawless). But he didn't make us perfect (complete). He told us to be perfect (complete). He didn't make us perfect (complete) because you can't make someone that way. A father can't make his children fully-grown and perfectly self-sufficient. A lot of that growth and self-sufficiency is ultimately up to the child himself. The best parent in the world can't guarantee that every child will become a complete adult. Too much of it is up to the kids to decide. I think it's the same with Our Father.

He made us without defect in our souls. But we can't develop the kind of discretion that characterizes adulthood if we never encounter defective things. If all we know is good, then we can't ever learn to discriminate between good and bad. So for us to grow, we need to encounter defect. But God doesn't make anything defective. But we (being incomplete) can.

And he knew we could hack it. He just knew we'd mess up along the way. When you tell a kid to ride a bike, you expect that he will fall and get hurt before he becomes a great bike rider. But you also expect that he will eventually make it, as long as he keeps practicing.

But you are right, God is responsible for our mess-ups along the way. That's why he sent his Son to atone for those mess-ups. That way, we don't have to live forever with the bad consequences of our mistakes. That lets us have the time we need to grow up, which is what every father wants for his children.


Fair enough. But still, why would he want us to mess up in the first place?
He doesn't want us to mess up. He thinks more long-term than that. He wants us to succeed. He just knows that we will mess up along the way, just like you know a kid will fall off the bike at some point.


Jesus being God, that would mean God took responsibility for all our mess-ups, which makes perfect sense. However, I don't think we can say Jesus really died, as he was, well, divine. But wouldn't that mean we don't have to take responsibility for any of our faults, since in the end, it's all God's fault?
I think Jesus did die. The whole idea behind him is the Word made flesh and flesh dies. His flesh died. But it also came back to life.

Do we not have to take responsibility for our faults? That depends on what you mean. I think we don't have to take responsibility for our mistakes. We do have to take responsibility for our shortcomings. We're God's kids. We're here to grow up. A kid who won't take responsibility for his shortcomings will never grow up. Inasmuch as our mistakes reflect our shortcomings, we should take responsibility for them. But the mistakes themselves we don't really have to take responsibility for. They're in the past. We should move on.

Say I steal. That's a mistake. It also reflects a shortcoming — it shows that I have insufficient respect for my fellow man. I should develop more respect for him. As I do that, I will not only stop stealing, but I will also seek to return or repay that which I have stolen — it's disrespectful to continue to enjoy the benefits of having something I stole from another. But the actual mistake — I don't need to take responsibility for that, I think. I think Jesus covers that.


But how is the sacrifice of Jesus necessary for all this? Couldn't we move beyond the suckiness anyhow? And I still don't understand why he didn't make us perfect in the first place.
We can learn to stop being sucky on our own, I think. But we can't undo all the negative effects of our mistakes. We can't undie, for example — death is a result of man's mistakes that we can't overcome on our own. We also can't be with God while we have been tainted by sin. Jesus undoes those negative consequences, letting us come back to life and go back to be with God. But it's up to us whether we want to grow up and become responsible.


Wow, that's quite protestant. I don't think Catholics would agree that there is as much theories about this as there is Christians. There is only one, and it's the Church's.
I think an honest Catholic would recognize that no two Catholics have the same exact view on the need for Jesus.

Georgia
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 06:07 AM
John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Georgia:)

I only know this, that if He had not sought me out, I would never have come to Him.-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

LumendeLumine
Saturday, June 10th, 2006, 08:53 PM
Hello, this is my first post on the Skadi forums.

First, the existence of Jesus and of his dying on the cross is not a matter of faith but a historical fact. The Resurrection itself is, as states the Cathechism of the Catholic Church "a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified".



640 "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen."492 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SG) The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.493 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SH) Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.494 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SI) The disciple "whom Jesus loved" affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered "the linen cloths lying there", "he saw and believed".495 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SJ) This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.496 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SK)

The appearances of the Risen One

641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.497 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SL) Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves.498 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SM) They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers,499 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SN) and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"500 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SO)

642 Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles - and Peter in particular - in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. the faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary "witnesses to his Resurrection", but they are not the only ones - Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.501 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SP)

643 Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.502 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SQ) The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad"503 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SR)) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale".504 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SS) When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."505 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$ST)

644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering."506 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SU) Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted."507 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1S.HTM#$SV) Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.


Therefore the problem here resides more in what interpretation we give of these facts and not wether these happened or not.

That Christ have died and has risen from the dead is historically accurate; that he has died for man and allowed him to enter supernatural life from which he was banned, is a matter of faith.

But "a matter of faith" doesn't means that it is irrational, that is, contradicting logic, but only a-rational, that is, it cannot be proven by experience. (Like the mere existence and nature of God is).

That God embraced human nature, is beautifully acknowledged by reason, though reason cannot actually prove it.

Indeed, if God, in his absoluteness, and perfect liberty of action, created the world and the human person, it can only be out of pure love, since God has no motivation, or interest, in doing so. If he had an interest in doing so, then something could be added to his perfection, therefore his perfection would not absolute.

God has no interest in creating something different from Him, therefore, he created it not for his own good, but the for the good of the creation itself, which we identify as love.

But love tends to communication and ultimatly union of persons, therefore it is fitting, but not actually proven, that God would unite with man through Incarnation.

As Saint Thomas Aquinas says IIIa Q1 A1:



http://www.newadvent.org/summa/400101.htm
To each things, that is befitting which belongs to it by reason of its very nature; thus, to reason befits man, since this belongs to him because he is of a rational nature. But the very nature of God is goodness, as is clear from Dionysius (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05013a.htm) (Div. Nom. i). Hence, what belongs to the essence of goodness befits God. But it belongs to the essence of goodness to communicate itself to others, as is plain from Dionysius (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05013a.htm) (Div. Nom. iv). Hence it belongs to the essence of the highest good to communicate itself in the highest manner to the creature, and this is brought about chiefly by "His so joining created nature to Himself that one Person is made up of these three--the Word, a soul and flesh," as Augustine (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm) says (De Trin. xiii). Hence it is manifest that it was fitting that God should become incarnate.


The mystery of Redemption is not due to human nature but the following two elements:

1. A particular human act which we call sin and has corrupted, in a certain sense, human nature.

2. God's infinite love for his Creation

Neither of these elements absolutely requires that God would become incarnate and die on the cross; but this is the modality He, in his eternal Wisdom, has chosen; and it is a fitting, beautiful time, way and place to redeem man, as we discover when studying the scriptures and the catechism.

Therefore, of course I will not cite the Scriptures as it was asked, but it is through Scripture and the teaching of the church that the main elements of faith will find their basis.

Oswiu
Saturday, June 10th, 2006, 10:01 PM
Hello, this is my first post on the Skadi forums.
Wes hael! Good to have you here! :hutheb
Before we get into the theology, I want to look at the history.

That Christ haS died and has risen from the dead is historically accurate;
I have no doubt of Yeshuah's existence, or indeed of his 'holiness' as such, but that particular resurrection bit always gets me.
The testimony of a few followers two millenia ago, recorded a century or more after the event by passionate believers in his cult, is not good enough for me. I have no time for a god who claims universality and omni-everything, who restricted his earlier attentions for a small Semitic tribe, and then announces his new covenant by means of a quiet little "commonplace miracle" as someone once said. That the religion spread subsequently has more to do with the ideological state of the late Roman Empire than the event itself.
Why does this god insist on playing this childish games of testing us? Expecting us to believe the impossible.

LumendeLumine
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 02:39 PM
why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians.Once again, simply to clarify and summarize my last post, the mystery of Redemption and how it happened is by no means necessary or logically follows God's existence or nature. It is what actually happened to people who witnessed it 2000 years ago, and what continues to happen today to millions of christian followers around the globe.
This is why faith in Jesus-Christ typically requires some personal experience of God's love for us, which ultimate expression is the mystery of Redemption (ie: God's Incarnation, Death and Resurrection).
How do so many people turn and have turned to Christianism? By seeing how christians live and act in everyday life, especially the saints; by reading the Gospels and the Holy Doctrine of the Church; last but not least, by opening their hearts to God in simple, maybe short, but sincere prayer: because God's personal and loving nature, which is revealed in Jesus-Christ, calls to a personal and loving relation with Him, which engages every dimension of our being.


The testimony of a few followers two millenia ago, recorded a century or more after the event by passionate believers in his cult, is not good enough for me. I have no time for a god who claims universality and omni-everything, who restricted his earlier attentions for a small Semitic tribe, and then announces his new covenant by means of a quiet little "commonplace miracle" as someone once said. That the religion spread subsequently has more to do with the ideological state of the late Roman Empire than the event itself.
Why does this god insist on playing this childish games of testing us?
God came as man, as a single and apparently ordinary man, in a specific time, place, culture. When here on earth with us, He spent most of His life doing ordinary carpenter work, then praised to a portion of our actual Israel and Palestine, then died of a bandit's death.
In this way, God has embraced human condition with all its contingencies, with all its limitations, with all its humiliations. He was one of us. The mission of annoucing the Gospel to all the nation has been given to twelve very humble men, one of which, assigned as their chief, had denied Him three times.

That the most important message in History, which would determine humanity's destiny, would be announced by one ordinary man in Palestine under the roman empire, and then spread to all the nations by 12 others taken from illeterate fishers and the like, seems crazy. This is what the Jews found ultimatly shocking, unacceptable: they expected the Messiah to come in all His glory and to impose, in his all-mightiness, redemption unto Israel.

But God, as usual, defied our pride. That the mystery of Redemption happens with such apparent contingency reveals some important things:

- that God respects his Creation and the modality by which man is brought to a loving relationship: not by imposing Redemption but by giving it to the world in the most humble way
- that God has so much esteem in human nature that He would embrace it with all its contingencies
- that God has permitted our limitations and evil ways because through those particular limitations and evil ways (death on the cross), He could create a greater good: human condition through Redemption is greater than before the original sin. In this sense, Jesus and his sacrifice is the answer to the mystery of evil.

LumendeLumine
Monday, June 12th, 2006, 04:57 PM
Wes hael! Good to have you here! :hutheb Oh, and before it's too late, thank you for the kind welcome!

Rhydderch
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006, 08:54 AM
This has been bugging me for quite a long time now. I've been an atheist until recently, because I didn't think about it that much and that was the "hip" stance to take. However, after a debate with a Catholic friend that lasted two years(the debate, not the friend;) ), I've aknowledged the existence of a divine entity that would be the source of all things. What I don't get is why Jesus, or more precisely, his sacrifice, is seen as necessary in a theistic worldview by Christians. Could anyone please try to enlighten a confused theist soul?:D

Without any reference to the bible, please.Well, God created man perfect, sinless, but with free will (free will isn't an imperfection).

But man, who was perfectly capable of choosing good, chose evil. Logically, this means his whole nature changed to one of aversion to, and rebellion against, God and His holiness, which means that man is naturally no longer capable of perfection or even turning himself toward God.

This turning from God is a turning from all spiritual goodness (because God is the source of that), so it is painful bondage, a real burden, in one's inner being (which people are capable of ignoring and suppressing, but not eliminating).

And being alienated from the source of real satisfaction (i.e. God), people look for that satisfaction and peace in things other than God, and have the delusion that they'll get that perfect happiness in such things; they don't get it, so they go deeper, with no regard for the moral law, and doing all sorts of things which are against the way God designed man's nature; they are fixed on worldy things, they can't see anything better, and are extravagant in their desires.

Jesus had the burden of the sins of multitudes on himself; his physical suffering was nothing in comparison to that agonizing burden. Yet He lived a perfectly holy life, so all of his suffering was in the place of His people, none of it was for his own deeds.

But when He died, the sin and burden from those multitudes died with Him; then He defeated death (which is the final consequence of our rebellion and sin) by His resurrection. So He totally defeated the sin of His people in every respect.

His people are those who will believe on Him. When they believe, their whole nature changes to one in which their ultimate desire is toward God, that complete aversion to Him is gone; they no longer have to search for peace and satisfaction in worldly things, and yet they can enjoy those things far more than before. Sin dies in them, is washed away, and with it that burden, although it won't be completely eliminated until the death of the body (which is the vehicle of sin). But it has all been atoned for, which is why perfection can be attained in the next life.

In this life, a Christian can have more and more victory over sin, and therefore attain greater and greater heights of happiness and freedom, because Christ has taken away the power of sin and Satan for him.