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Question to Christian readers

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 10, 2009

I have a question to ask our Christian readers. This is something that has been bothering me for a while. Maybe it is a misconception or a misunderstanding, but either way I’m throwing it out there for comments:

If we are born sinful because of the original sin perpetrated by Adam and Eve, and if Jesus died on the cross for our sins (presumably absolving us of our sins) does that mean that any human born after Jesus died and was, allegedly, resurrected born free of sin? If not why not? Wasn’t that the purpose of Jesus’ death on the cross?

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  1. fellerlab said, on March 10, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    Interesting question and widely distributed misconception of christianity as a whole.
    It is not so much about sin than about a personal relationship with God. God designed the whole creation and especially mankind to live in relationship to him, communicate with him, have fun with him, exchange thougts, views and love from heart to heart. Sin was not so much a single deed (taking forbidden fruit), it was rather a concept of unbelief und doubt that entered human’s hearts and disconnected them from God’s heart. Jesus came to heal this broken relationship. Now, if someone tells you he has got tickets for a great football game available for you that’s great, but you have to get to this person and grab those tickets in order to experience the game. Likewise you have to personally ask Jesus to heal the broken relationship to God and come into your heart – all inclusive (body soul and spirit). This is first and foremost a very personal experience, a very personal decision to make. No one can urge you into it, but there seems to be no other way to come into this sort of originally intended relationship. Grab the tickets – go for it!

    • Skepdude said, on March 10, 2009 at 9:37 AM

      I see, but why do pastors and priests and the likes keep saying that Jesus died for our sins? And if this is about a “concept of unbelief and doubt” why are babies thought to be born sinful? They are incapable of unbelief and doubt.

      I guess the question remains are we still thought to be born sinful and did Jesus die for our sins?

      PS: “Now, if someone tells you he has got tickets for a great football game available for you that’s great, but you have to get to this person and grab those tickets in order to experience the game.” Well, technically they could leave the tickets at the stadium ticket booth (Pearly Gates equivalent in this analogy), so I don’t necessarily have to track this person down to get into the stadium.

  2. alpinmack said, on March 10, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    No, we are still born with sin. Jesus died for our sins so that we might be covered by his sacrifice, but we have to accept his gift. Think of it like this. There’s a court room with a judge. You are guilty. But wait, there is a lawyer available to you. Jesus. If you know him, he will argue your case and present the evidence that actually, your price (death) was already paid (by him.)
    If you don’t know him, he will say, “You’re not my client. I don’t know you.” and you will have to pay the penalty yourself.

    That was why Jesus died for us. To pay our penalty for sins. But we have to accept his gift. We have free will to choose. Otherwise we would just be mindless clones. God could have MADE us love him, but what is the point in that? Is that real love? No. We have to choose. Anyway, that’s my two cents. Enjoy, and may God bless you.

    • Skepdude said, on March 10, 2009 at 10:00 AM

      Thanks, I don’t quite agree that this solution makes any rational sense (for God to have decided this was the best answer) , but I do see why from your point of view this makes sense.

      It still bothers me though, because it implies that a young baby or a person that does not have the faculty to actually choose Jesus, can die and not be absolved of the sin, right? I mean if a 2 day old baby dies, it has not had a chance to accept Jesus, so where does he/she stand as far as the whole sin thing is concerned? Does that mean he/she is doomed forever?

  3. fellerlab said, on March 10, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    I’m not to fond of pastors and priests anyway… Jesus died for our sins is a technical expression. In other words: through his death Jesus removed the roadblocks to a fulfilling relationship with God. All our doubts as well as ourdeeds against the humanity of our fellow men and women are subsummised under the term “sin”. YOu know perfectly well, how easy it is to break a relationship, to wound somebody else and my best guess is, that each and every person is constantly doing exactly this. With the “original sin” we not only lost paradise but also the ability to maintain healthy relationships among ourselves.
    No one needs to teach the children to behave noughty, to live an egotists life, that is probably meant with the term ” born sinful”.
    Finally, to leave the tickets at the stadium boot is fine, but even so you’d have to get them in order to view the game, or am I wrong?
    My point is, that it takes your personal decision to activate what Jesus achieved for you. Without this decision you’d remain witout the tickets and so outside the stadium…

    • Skepdude said, on March 10, 2009 at 10:05 AM

      Ok, but doesn’t that mean that the whole “dying on the cross” thing was just theatrics then, that we were not really absolved of our sins, that we must seek Jesus in order to do that? So what was the point of dying on the cross? Convince a handful of people 2,000 years ago that he was in fact the real thing?

      But what about the billions of people since? They have not witnessed that, they haven’t seen Jesus die and resurrect. Isn’t that a bit unfair that some people got actual proof while we are asked to believe without proof, while the punishment remains the same? Somehow that strikes me as wrong.

      • Fellerlab said, on March 11, 2009 at 9:01 AM

        Hi!
        Thought I might better show up again. It’s a common strategy to ask more and more questions when one is answered, though I don’t think it is too helpful. Nevertheless I try to give you feedback on your last questions.
        “It still bothers me though, because it implies that a young baby or a person that does not have the faculty to actually choose Jesus, can die and not be absolved of the sin, right? I mean if a 2 day old baby dies, it has not had a chance to accept Jesus, so where does he/she stand as far as the whole sin thing is concerned? Does that mean he/she is doomed forever?” – If you read the bible, you’d find that no man can definitely decide for somebody else if he/she is sinful or not. But it also clearly says two things:
        First- You have to clear that question between you and God very personally, very alone, with no shortcuts, because in this case. there is only one absolute truth, not because I am sying it, but because The risen Son of the Living God claims to be that truth.
        Second: The same Bible tells you, that everybody, and that would imho include a 2day old baby as well as billions of people that have lived on this earth, everybody is judged by his or her insight. Nearly everybody has a basic feeling or insight into the existence of a God or at least an ultimate truth.
        “But what about the billions of people since? They have not witnessed that, they haven’t seen Jesus die and resurrect. Isn’t that a bit unfair that some people got actual proof while we are asked to believe without proof, while the punishment remains the same? Somehow that strikes me as wrong.” – Maybe but are we in the position to say what is right and what is wrong? Do you mean, that you would “believe” if you ‘ve had the chance to see Jesus Die and rise again? You don’t need to believe something, that you have experienced, you just know it. Therefor believing is something other than knowing or experiencing.
        Beliving means, that you put your trust and your hope and your whole life in facts, that cannot be seen but can be gripped by the heart of every human beeing.
        I hope that we have clarified things so far and pray for you, that you come one day across the living God and experience with your heart, what en unexplicably good and loving God he is!
        Be blessed!

        • Skepdude said, on March 11, 2009 at 9:47 AM

          It is not a question of strategy it is a question of getting clarification, let’s get that straight. I am asking the same question in different ways since I feel you’re dancing around the original formulation of the question. If I were moving on to another topic unrelated to the original one, then yes you’d be right, but I don’t think I did that here.

          The same Bible tells you, that everybody, and that would imho include a 2day old baby as well as billions of people that have lived on this earth, everybody is judged by his or her insight. Nearly everybody has a basic feeling or insight into the existence of a God or at least an ultimate truth.”-I am sorry but that is a load of nonsense. Are you telling me that a 2-day old baby somehow knows about Gods existence or not and therefore is responsible for taking a side on this whole issue? That a 2-day old baby somehow has an insight on an ultimate truth? That is ridiculous and it still does not answer my question. What happens to a 2-day old baby if it dies? Does it go straight to hell because it has not yet accepted Jesus? Does it get a free pass because it’s too young? Stop dancing around the question and give me a straight forward answer. If you do not know just say so.

          Maybe but are we in the position to say what is right and what is wrong? Do you mean, that you would “believe” if you ‘ve had the chance to see Jesus Die and rise again? You don’t need to believe something, that you have experienced, you just know it. Therefor believing is something other than knowing or experiencing.” – Yet more nonsense. You can glorify blind faith all you want, my question is still not answered. Is it fair? Who am I to judge what is right and what is wrong? Someone who, according to your theory, your God gave a sense of right and wrong, gave me that faculty. He gave me the faculty to think, the faculty to discern right from wrong, and now you want me to supress that. Are you listening to what you’re saying? That is the problem with your religion, it makes you actually believe that you’re worthless, that you’re a worm, a wretch, a sinner, that you can’t think, that you can’t know right from wrong. Well you may be happy to be abused, but I have a bit more self-respect, because that is what it boils down to.

          Beliving means, that you put your trust and your hope and your whole life in facts, that cannot be seen but can be gripped by the heart of every human beeing.” – I agree that is a fair definition of religious belief, except for the “every human being” portion. Obviously not every human being has these beliefs, and even more obviously not every human being has the same beliefs. But you know what else can also be defined that way? Naivete! Being taken for a ride! Blind faith is not something to be proud of, it is something to be ashamed of.

          • Fellerlab said, on March 12, 2009 at 5:10 AM

            Hi,
            seems to me pretty harsh reaction to well-ment answers. I don’t mind beeing naive, if you like to badge me like that. Rather beeing naiive and have a personal relation with Jesus and living today in His Kingdom, than beeing ever so smart and getting lost! But nevertheless, let’s get to the points:
            Your original question was in my understanding, if we are still born sinful after Jesus death and resurrection. Did I get that right?
            OK, is that of pure intellectual interest for you or is it of existential importance? I’m sorry, but on the intellectual level the question has not been solved for 2000 years now and I dont assume, that you or I may be smarter than Millions of people befor us. But on the existential level there are answers possible. That means you get the answers only by getting involved yourself. How would you try to explain the feeling of plunging into a lake of cold water to a non-swimmer? It is simply not possible. Only by getting immersed himself, the non-swimmer would start to understand what you mean.
            So the whole question is only meaningful, if it concerns you personally. Are you in a state of sinfulness or are you saved without doing anything? If you are interested in that sort of questions – great!
            >”What happens to a 2-day old baby if it dies? ” My answer was, that it depends on everybodies insight into the truth about God. Obviously a 2 days old baby hasn’t got too much of intellectual insight. So it is not able to accept or reject Jesus. I agree perfectly with you. But your conclusion is astonishingly negative for a sceptical. Is there not also the “intellectual” possibility, that God judges such a child for what it is, an innocent human beeing,tragically confronted with premature death and absolutely in need of acceptance and love? Would you not embrace such a child with open arms, if you were God? Why then must God be such a zinical old tyrant, that he is not able to have at least the same means of love and mercy to such a child as you and I have? Directly answered: Yes it goes straightaway – to the heart of the heavenly father God!!!

            >”Who am I to judge what is right and what is wrong? Someone who, according to your theory, your God gave a sense of right and wrong, gave me that faculty. He gave me the faculty to think, the faculty to discern right from wrong, and now you want me to supress that. Are you listening to what you’re saying? That is the problem with your religion, it makes you actually believe that you’re worthless, that you’re a worm, a wretch, a sinner, that you can’t think, that you can’t know right from wrong. Well you may be happy to be abused, but I have a bit more self-respect, because that is what it boils down to”
            Another lovely comment! I expect from someone who calls himself a sceptic, that he at least glances through the basic teachings of the christianfaith. The first pages of the bible, to be exact 1.Moses chapter 2 and 3 describe, what the original sin was all about. It is not sexual temptation. It is not the mere fact of eating a forbidden fruit. It is a twofold thing: It is first the devil importing doubts about the goodness of God (Something none of us can proof, we can only naively believe that God is good at heart) “God does not want you to have the ability to know good from evil”.
            The second theme is that devilish promise: ” You will be like God…” How much of the dreadful things in the history of mankind is based on the whish ” to be like God…”
            Is it so terrible to accept a instance, a beeing, that is higher than we, more powerful, more perfect and full of love?
            Is it so terrible to live in a personal relationship with this glorious beeing, that generation after generation puts a lot of effort into denieing Him, ridiculing Him, declaring Him dead or stupid or cinical or what else…?
            Who then is abused and abusing? Me who believs, that my sin is forgiven and I am accepted by that great God as his grown-up son or all these ever so smart child-abusers, murderers, scoffers, womanizers and all the more or less good men and women who do a lot of evil through their “normal” ego-centered behaviour.
            It is so cheap to blame God for all that is not working out well on earth!
            It is so cheap to blame God for keeping us as worms, wretches sinners and what else you said about the christians. There are some poor fringes of Christianity that cherish these believes, but the vast majority of my fellow believers are as smart and up-to-date as some scepticals.

            To cut a long story short: You are welcome if we can argue on a level of mutual respect. Everything else is not worth my time and effort.

  4. fellerlab said, on March 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Hey, good point. I’ve got to go out now, but I try to come back on this one tomorrow and also about the one on the young children.
    ok?

  5. Mark said, on March 10, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    Hi thanks for a great post. I’ll be back 🙂

  6. Skepdude said, on March 12, 2009 at 9:18 AM

    OK, is that of pure intellectual interest for you or is it of existential importance? ” I don’t even know that what to make of this. Are you accepting that it cannot be defended intellectually, just through some “existential” mumbo jumbo? Of course it is of “pure intellectual interest” to me, I am seeking to understand the logic behind your religion, and all I am getting back is philosophical word play.

    I’m sorry, but on the intellectual level the question has not been solved for 2000 years now and I don’t assume, that you or I may be smarter than Millions of people before us.” – Ah but you are assuming something. You are assuming that there is an intellectual solution. Have you considered that there isn’t one? Have you considered that it may be possible that this in an unintellectual thing to promote? And why can’t we be smarter than millions before us? People do that on a daily basis.

    But on the existential level there are answers possible. That means you get the answers only by getting involved yourself. How would you try to explain the feeling of plunging into a lake of cold water to a non-swimmer? It is simply not possible. Only by getting immersed himself, the non-swimmer would start to understand what you mean.” – In other words you should embrace religion in order to convince yourself that religion is worth embracing. A bit weird in its logic no? I am not asking you to describe how religion feels to you. I ask a simple question, and now finally you have accepted you can’t answer it. That’s all I needed anyway. I am not asking what it feels like to be plunged in icy waters, I am asking if it is happening. Don’t confuse the two.

    Is there not also the “intellectual” possibility, that God judges such a child for what it is, an innocent human beeing,tragically confronted with premature death and absolutely in need of acceptance and love? Would you not embrace such a child with open arms, if you were God? Why then must God be such a zinical old tyrant, that he is not able to have at least the same means of love and mercy to such a child as you and I have? Directly answered: Yes it goes straightaway – to the heart of the heavenly father God!!!” – Ok, that’s great, at least that is a positive statement. But then that contradicts the whole being born in sin thing, no? Either that, or not all sin is created equal. My point is that the whole being born a sinner thing, that so many Christians believe in their heart of hearts is nonsense. And calling something nonsense is not harsh, stop pulling the offense card on me. I am using non-fighting words here, as there are other words I could be using that would make it harsh and rude.

    Why should God be a tyrant? I don’t know, why is he? Isn’t he the one that killed all the first born children of the King of Egypt? Who sent the plagues to them? Who flooded the world and killed everyone and everything except Noah? Isn’t he a jealous God? Doesn’t he prescribe everlasting hell for many offenses that you would think a just God wouldn’t? And speaking of Hell why would a loving God even create a Hell to begin with? Why would a loving God want to see souls being tormented forever and ever? Those are not questions I’m asking you to answer. Those are questions that make me believe this God is a tyrant and an angry, vengeful being that will throw hell your way if you don’t do exactly as he says. By definition that is a tyrant.

    It is so cheap to blame God for all that is not working out well on earth!” – Oh give me a break. Is it not cheap to credit him with everything good that happens? Isn’t he all powerful? Didn’t he create us the way we are, with our faults and everything? We’re not blaming God for everything bad that happens. We understand that evil acts are the deeds of evil people, but so are good acts. Those are also our doing. You cannot have it both ways, everything good comes from God’s grace, but everything bad dont’ blame on him.

    It is so cheap to blame God for keeping us as worms, wretches sinners and what else you said about the christians. There are some poor fringes of Christianity that cherish these believes, but the vast majority of my fellow believers are as smart and up-to-date as some scepticals.” – Problem is who is right? You or the evangelicals? Do you see wiggle room in the Bible or is it literal. I actually think evangelicals are more sincere in their faith as they are willing to take the Bible for the good parts and the bad. Look at the videos I posted today, hear how the 13 year-old girl talks, what her thoughts are. How much of that do you find yourself agreeing with?

  7. fellerlab said, on March 13, 2009 at 3:47 AM

    Hi,

    theres only one sentence of your latest reply that I want to comment.
    “Are you accepting that it cannot be defended intellectually, just through some “existential” mumbo jumbo? I am seeking to understand the logic behind your religion, and all I am getting back is philosophical word play.”

    Yes my dear, thats the real point where our ways are definitly going apart. Religion, whatever sort of – can to some extent be explained and searched on an intellectual basis. To some extent – the same extent, that it is possible to define your love relathionship with your mate, your family, your parent, whoever is hopefully present in your life as a loving counterpart, as a beeing separate from yourself and still very close, very well-known. As soon as it gets to that – it is no longer religion for me, but living, personal faith in a living personal God. You may call that philosophical mumbo-jumbo, I don’t care. It is one of the greatest adventures of my life, going through every day with Jesus! Observing how he heals broken lives, mends marriages, that nearly fell apart, brings joy and peace of mind in unbelievable situations. Thats far more than intellectual discussions, thats real live!
    Im not looking down on the intellectual level, I only accept the fact, that there are limits to the intellect. There are realms of life, that are by no means approachable for the intellect allone. It needs the spirit, the heart to be involved. Thats why it would lead nowhere to discuss all these issues as long as we do not agree basically on this.

    I hope we can leave it with this and am confident, that one day all your searching will be answered if you are open to get involved yourselfes.
    Be blessed!

    • Skepdude said, on March 13, 2009 at 9:38 AM

      Ok, but let’s make one thing clear, I am not denying that you feel that way. I do not engage in a discussion about how people feel. You feel what you feel and that’s the end of it. You get pleasure, fulfillment out of your devotion to God and I don’t have a problem nor a comment about that. That’s your own personal life.

      However, let’s make another thing clear. Jesus does not “heal broken lives, mends marriages, that nearly fell apart, brings joy and peace of mind in unbelievable situations.” That was my whole point about giving credit when credit is due. It us people that heal their broken lives, or mend our own marriages. It is other people that help us through. Tell me one instance when Jesus “came to someone’s help” that it wasn’t solely in that person’s mind, or the other people that were helping him minds. That is my problem with this whole thing. When we as humans do good, we attribute it to whichever God we happen to believe in. When we do bad, God’s not to blame. That is an intellectual contradictory position and you must accept that much. You may be able to ignore this rational roadblock, but I can’t.

      Now don’t get me wrong, people must get inspiration from somewhere, and as such I guess religion is an acceptable source, but why do we have to go with religion, which can also inspire people to do horrible things? Why can’t we just do good deeds out of respect for humanity. There are other moral philosophies out there that don’t need a divine being telling us what to do, theories that rely on reason and respect for human rights to derive moral rules. To me those rules derived from reason will always be superior to those derived from an authoritarian figure, such as God.

      I thank you for the dialogue. It is good to see that there are plenty of reasonable, non-literal Christians out there, that are honestly interested in engaging in open debate.


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