Jesus on the Cross: The Immorality of Vicarious Redemption

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,539
    Likes Received:
    1
    This is from a Christopher Hitchens debate, and it touches on themes I've felt since I was a teenager - dictatorship, control, autocracy - about the underlying, subliminal concepts inherent in Christianity.

    Hitchens says that the idea of god incarnate coming to earth as man in order to die and "redeem" you, to wash away your sins, is immoral.

    --------------------

    Hitchens:

    I can't forgive what you did. I can't wash you clean.

    The name for that in primitive middle eastern societies was "scapegoating": you pile the sins of the tribe on that goat and you drive the goat into the desert to die of thirst and hunger, and you think you've taken away the sins of the tribe.

    A positively immoral doctrine that abolishes the concept of personal responsibility - on which all ethics and all morality must depend.

    It has further implications. I'm told I have to have a share in this human sacrifice even though it took place long before I was born. I have no say in it happening; I wasn't consulted. Had I been present, I would have been bound to do my best to stop the public torture and execution of an eccentric preacher. But, no, no! I'm implicated in it. I'm told I myself drove in the nails. I was present at Calvary. It confirms the original filthy sin in which I was conceived and born, the sin of Adam in Genesis.

    Well, it's here that we find something very sinister about monotheism and about religious practice in general. It is incipiently, at least -- and I think explicitly -- totalitarian: I have no say in this. I was born under a celestial dictatorship which I could not have had any hand in choosing. I don't put myself under its government.

    I am told that it can watch me when I sleep. I'm told it can convict me of (and here's the definition of totalitarianism) thought crime. For what I think, I may be convicted and condemned.

    In the Old Testament, gruesome as it is, recommending as it is of genocide, racism, tribalism, slavery, genital mutilation, the displacement and distruction of others -- as terrible as the Old Testament gods are, they don't promise to punish the dead. There's no talk of torturing you after the earth has closed on the Amalekites. Only when gentle Jesus, meek and mild, makes his appearance are those who won't accept "the message" told they must depart in everlasting fire.

    Is this morality? Is this ethics?

    It is the origin of the totalitarian principle which has been such a burden and shame to our species for so long.

    --------------------

    This part starts one minute in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCDOrLPTvtY&NR=1
     
  2. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,790
    Likes Received:
    17
    I do not think Christianity is the origin of totalitarianism or authoritarianism in society. It does provide a handy document to use as a basis of evidence to support actions.

    However, I think most humans lean authoritarian, meaning they prefer a strong man/government/father figure kind of thing - it just seems a part of the human condition.
     
  3. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    10,576
    Likes Received:
    25
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Warwick, NY, USA
    Thanks Willtom! I'm going to watch the whole thing. It looks very interesting.
     
  4. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,539
    Likes Received:
    1
    I hope you get a chance to watch this, Jason. Hitchens seems unusually controlled, articulate, and focused in this debate (he's not too arrogant, either, a term his detractors love to slap him with). We're still such a blindly religious people. Somehow, ideally, we have to give up Christianity and the other major religions and forge some new morality based on reason, justice, mutual respect, humanism -- and do away with the concepts of sin and everlasting hellfire.
     
  5. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
     
  6. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
    Blasphemer! :eek: I like the sound of that; but whom do we trust to exercise reason, justice, mutual respect, and humanism? What person or group of people have a firm grasp on these most basic of tenets? :confused:
     
  7. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    10,576
    Likes Received:
    25
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Warwick, NY, USA
    Certainly not religious organizations.
     
  8. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,790
    Likes Received:
    17
    Ourselves as we do now and, arguably, always have accomplished to differing degrees of success.
     
  9. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
    Exactly! I almost said the Dalai Lama, but then I remembered he heads up a religious group. :redface: I definitely wouldn't want the Pope or any of the bishops of the more prominent Protestant religions either. And I say that as a protestant, not just some random hater of organized religions. :cool: If there were truly a 'religion' like WillTom describes I would consider forsaking the faith I grew up in for that.
     
  10. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,509
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    722
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    I'm not sure Jesus tried to get rid of personal responsibility...I think he (supposedly) died to pay for people's sins yup - but that didn't mean they were meant to continue in them. He said to some woman (who was gna be stoned) go forth and sin no more. He wasn't saying all ur sins will be forgiven so behave however the hell you like. :p
    [It was tied in with the OT concept of the biblical holy days...'Passover' was when ppl were forgiven...but the following holy day 'Unleavened Bread' was where they were supposed to start anew, and remove the sin/leaven from their lives]. Anyway, lol...

    I also don't agree with the belief that the bible indicates ppl will be punished forever in hell - it sounds like the fire is unquencheable, but that sinners are destroyed in it...not burnt forever in some horrible torture...

    As far as the two goats go (I think it was in the Day of Atonement ceremony?) - the sacrificial lamb (representing Christ) was meant to pay the penalty for the sins...but the other goat (Azazel - representing the Devil) had the blame layed at his door and was sent into the wilderness (tying in with the supposed future fulfillment when Satan is supposed to be banished and take the blame for the sins he's supposedly caused).
     
    #10 Joll, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009
  11. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    10,730
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    That twinge in your intestines
    You are obviously very bitter. Have you thought about getting therapy? It must be miserable to tote all that resentment around with you.
     
  12. Sergeant_Torpedo

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,409
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    I am glad Hitchins has the freedom to express himself. He is plagiarisng more than a dozen philosphers of the past. You can accept redemption or not.
     
  13. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,539
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hitchens point is not about accepting or rejecting redemption.

    You redeem yourself. An imaginary skygod does not "redeem" you.

    This is the very same skygod, by the way, that says you were born into "Original Sin" (involving two made-up people in a Garden with a talking snake), that, unless you accept a Virgin Birth preacher as your "personal saviour" you will perish in eternal hellfire.

    Most people here do not accept the basic tenets of christianity (Hell, miracles, Rapture) although they still call themselves christians. You can't just lick off the parts you like (redemption, Love, community, Angels) and jettison the parts that make christianity an evil philosophy. You have to take the thing whole (according to true christians). If you use the Bible as a buffet table and take only the parts that appeal to you, you are not a "Christian" by definition.

    The concept of "burning eternally" - punishing souls forever - punishment from the totalitarian skygod is not in the Old Testament. At least the Jews did not introduce this "idea" into the culture. Hell is first introduced into the New Testament. Jews do not believe in an afterlife.

    The whole POINT here is: these are ancient man-made stories first concocted in the late bronze age and continuing on through the early jews who invented christianity. These Creation stories and Rapture stories are not compatible with Science. There is a reason people like Copernicus and Darwin were condemned as heretics. The philosophy of the Enlightenment (upon which is based our U.S. Constitution) and the new science of the modern era (starting approx. the beginning of the 16th-century) are not compatible with the worldview of ancient jews in the middle east 2000-3200 years ago. The Creation story and Evolution science are not compatible.
     
    #13 D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  14. HUNGHUGE11X7

    Verified Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,080
    Albums:
    16
    Likes Received:
    1,371
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Earth/USA/GA! DEEP IN YOUR THROAT,See vid TO SEE H
    Verified:
    Photo
    CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS is an absolute genius and a thrill to listen to . I have long enjoyed his verbose diatribes while agreeing with 99% of it !

    He is a devout Atheist, if we are speaking in the devoutness of Christianity then I am atheistic as well but I do not consider myself an atheist.

    I KNOW what GOD is and how GOD will never be found inside any building which charges me to attend and piously denounces what is natural !

    To use a Biblical reference "YE ARE GODS" and from JESUS "THE KINGDOM OF GOD(HEAVEN) IS WITHIN YOU" .
    Really doesn't take a Rhodes scholar to see that means HEAVEN is not some mythical place we strive for in the afterlife but a state of consciousness we endeavor to achieve here on Earth !


    HH
     
    #14 HUNGHUGE11X7, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  15. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,509
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    722
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    I don't think the Bible does endorse the idea of original sin - that's just a Catholic thing. Yes, we're supposedly suffering (ie in childbirth, etc) because of what Adam/Eve supposedly did, but I think only our own sins are attributed to us. We're not 'born' sinful.

    I think some atheists (Dawkins in particular) have issues with christian doctrines that aren't in the Bible anyway (like being burned forever in hell, being born with original sin, and pagan stuff like christmas).

    Also, I think Christopher Hitchens can only be fully appreciated if you've experienced the writings of his newspaper-columnist brother, Peter. He's an uptight, paranoid fundamentalist, the complete opposite of Christopher.
     
    #15 Joll, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009
  16. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    7,317
    Likes Received:
    8
    By Catholic I presume you mean Roman Catholic right ? Or do you mean all the catholic christian denominations including, all the Orthodox churches, Copts, Nestorians, Anglicans and Episcopalians ?

    It must also be said that all these other branches of the christian faith also believe in original sin and Hell, as do a number of other protestant sects...

    The origin of the Theology of Original Sin and the theology of Hell are pretty clearly in the Bible, after all Revelation describes the punishment for unrepentant sinners, and the letters of Paul are pretty much where the doctrines and theology of Original Sin are outlined.
     
  17. Astrate

    Astrate New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    It is possible to criticise religion in a lot of ways, but this one makes no sense.

    Religion is only &#8220;totalitarian&#8221; if there is terrestrial enforcement of its rules on those who do not subscribe to it, which only exists in a theocracy. Outside a theocracy it&#8217;s perfectly democratic, you vote with your faith. If you think it&#8217;s immoral it&#8217;s doubtful you&#8217;ll keep the faith.

    Outside a theocracy it is not the religion that&#8217;s totalitarian, it is the innate moral instinct that humans are born with, ruling us through conscience, guilt and the urge to be compassionate in which we have no choice (apart from the psychos amongst us). Even then it is possible to become desensitised.
    Hitchings has it backwards. If you won&#8217;t accept &#8220;the message&#8221; you won&#8217;t worry about the &#8220;everlasting fire&#8221; either. But it&#8217;s precisely the deeds perpetrated on others in this life in compliance with a religious code, such as &#8220;genocide, racism, tribalism, slavery, genital mutilation, the displacement and distruction (sic) of others&#8221;, that makes makes religion utterly immoral and corruptive, not some imagined punishment in an imagined afterlife by an imagined agent.

    If you have the faith, forgiveness is only granted if you have true repentance. But this is only imagined forgiveness. Secular law will still hold you responsible. Your victims will not forgive until it no longer matters to them.

    I do reckon though, that a believer, who believes he watched in his sleep, is one step further away from sinning.
     
    #17 Astrate, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  18. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,509
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    722
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    I picked Catholics as an example really, cos I was pretty sure they espouse the doctrine of original sin (and eternal damnation in hell-fire). But I guess I would count any group who believes those things.

    I'm not sure original sin IS in the Bible - quote me some passages and I'll see what I think. :p

    Revelation mentions the sinful being cast into the Lake of Fire - it doesn't say they're going to burn in absolute agony forever. Jesus mentioned being afraid of he who can destroy your soul in hell fire - that doesnt sound like you're gna be burning forever. It does suggest tho, that unrepentant sinners, will be cast into a fiery lake, and killed.
    The reward of the righteous is apparently eternal life...we dont have it already (according to the Bible), and we certainly wouldnt be given it to spend in hellfire forever. The Bible does mention hell-fire (obviously), but not that we're gonna be tormented forever.

    This could be a long discussion, btw...

    PS: Eternal damnation could mean that yes, you're damned (and that decision is final), but not that you're gonna be writhing in pain forever...
     
    #18 Joll, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009
  19. Northland

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    6,082
    Likes Received:
    4
    A drunk atheist demigod tells me that the skygod doesn't exist and I'm to believe him? Why?

    By here, do you mean this board? The Internet? The U.S.A.? The Northern Continent? The Western Hemisphere? Planet Earht? Where exactly is this here of which you speak? I need to know to solidify the nature of your words in their proper setting.


    Which is odd, since later, you inform us that the jews (now using a lower case j), created Christianity, which is where the NT came into being. Well, see here in the bolded type of your post:

    They actually are more compatible than you might think. There are scientists who are Chrsitians and Christians who are scientists.


    Now, back to your atheist friend Hitchens, why do you keep treating him as a demigod? You've opened several threads on him-stating his brilliance while stating he is a drunkard (sort of dulls the brilliance)- and elevate all his ramblings to a state of grace higher than the Bible. I don't know that Hitchens would approve this treatment as it makes him seem divine and a leader which goes against the values he, er, um, preaches.

    I'm sincerely sorry WT27, you post this sort of thing and contradict yourself. Quite frankly, it's offered me a splitting headache and nothing more.

    I take the teachings offered by the Christians and others as blueprints- guides if you will- for living life. They also offer hope, where many might otherwise have no hope. As to Hitchens, he just takes away hope- though that may not be his intent.

    Is there a God or several souls working in tandem as our guides? Is there a Heaven or Hell or anything after this life? Will I come back as a goat or a tree or a human in another land or a being on another planet? I don't know, and I don't need to know. All I need to know is that I should attempt to not hurt my fellows as I traverse the highway of life as I currently have it.
     
  20. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    7,317
    Likes Received:
    8
    Come now, the very concept of an Omniscient, Omnipresent, all powerful god is a totalitarian concept to begin with. Once this entity has been invented it takes virtually no human agency whatsoever to impose the will of the entity, natural human fear and paranoia would do half the work.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted