Why did Jesus have to die?

iBrian

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Here's a question for general discussion - I noticed someone mention in another post that "Jesus had to die".

But why?

It's something I see stated and presumed a lot, but I don't really understand the logic, other than as a general pagan element of appeasing the gods through sacrifice.

Human sacrifice has often been regarded in Mediterranean cultures as the most extreme sacrifice, but in Northern Europe and other places there are instances of kings becoming gods who then must be sacrificed.

The suggestion that Jesus would have to die to appease the sins of Adam just seems to fall into this category - a pagan process - than anything new and enlightening.

Especially as I don;t recall anywhere in the Old Testament suggesting that Adam's sins needed atoning for through a sacrifice of god?

So my question is - is there a reason for Jesus to die, and be sacrificed, that makes sense outside of this?

After all, if god is on earth, doing miraculous things, and needs to convert the world to a particular view, then surely an everlasting god on earth doing miraculous things would make more logical sense?

Just asking. :)
 
Of course you can get a variety of answers from people. The mystery of Jesus dying involves several things: 1. addition of Gentiles to Israel 2. Christians include themselves in Jesus' death 3. altering the judgment against mankind. Instead of being completely destroyed, perfected through death & resurrection into a new form, just as Jesus was.(Heb 5:9)

Observing our imperfection (and trying to compensate for it) is what sacrifice is about, symbolized by the story of people looking at a brazen serpent on a pole. They had been bitten by poisonous snakes, but if they looked on the image of the snake they lived.(Num 21:6-8) The gospels teach that Jesus had to be 'raised up' just like the serpent in the wilderness.(Joh3:14) In Christianity his body was cursed (Rom 8:3) by God but not his actions, so we are to work for perfection in spite of our limitations. We 'look upon' sin upon the cross, seeing ourselves, and we are healed.(Rom 7:20) Sacrifices are not for appeasing an angry god. No sacrifice exists for murder, lying, or disobedience, etc; but they are all for unintentional sins and for our defects. Sacrifices are ritual, teaching us to understand our human limitations and imperfection. Central to sacrifice is the phrase 'lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:'(Genesis 3:22) which is the judgment upon all of humankind that we must strive to rise above.(Rom5:12)
 
Dream said:
Observing our imperfection (and trying to compensate for it) is what sacrifice is about, symbolized by the story of people looking at a brazen serpent on a pole. They had been bitten by poisonous snakes, but if they looked on the image of the snake they lived.(Num 21:6-8)
it's a bit of an odd episode, this; there are various opinions as to why it was a snake and why it was brass (the words "nahash" - snake - and "nehoshet" - copper use the same root), none especially conclusive to my way of thinking. however, the specific reason for the original plague of fiery/venomous snakes was slander, the original serpent in the garden of eden having lied to eve and caused slander, so that's the most connection we can really understand at this level.

Central to sacrifice is the phrase 'lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:'(Genesis 3:22)
well, yes, but that's also about lying, namely that one might obtain "eternal life", but that thereby one could represent oneself as a god, which would be, effectively, slandering G!D, because nobody is Eternal except G!D.

i suppose one might understand it as an excellent example of a temporary measure which, when it became permanent, lost its original purpose and in fact became a hindrance rather than a help: the original copper snake-on-a-stick became worshipped as an idol eventually, so king hezekiah destroyed it during his revival (2 kings 18) - there's a page on this here: Nehushtan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

hope this helps, but it doesn't seem to have too much to do with sacrifice as far as i can see.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
Here's a question for general discussion - I noticed someone mention in another post that "Jesus had to die".

But why?

It's something I see stated and presumed a lot, but I don't really understand the logic, other than as a general pagan element of appeasing the gods through sacrifice.

Human sacrifice has often been regarded in Mediterranean cultures as the most extreme sacrifice, but in Northern Europe and other places there are instances of kings becoming gods who then must be sacrificed.

The suggestion that Jesus would have to die to appease the sins of Adam just seems to fall into this category - a pagan process - than anything new and enlightening.

Especially as I don;t recall anywhere in the Old Testament suggesting that Adam's sins needed atoning for through a sacrifice of god?

So my question is - is there a reason for Jesus to die, and be sacrificed, that makes sense outside of this?

After all, if god is on earth, doing miraculous things, and needs to convert the world to a particular view, then surely an everlasting god on earth doing miraculous things would make more logical sense?

Just asking. :)

We value the quality of life, but how do we value the quality of death. The answer to your question is in John 12 but requires more than the normal secular mindset to grasp. But only a few sufficiently need more than what secular life provides in order to grasp the significance of this passage so it is rarely understood and just seems absurd that Jesus had to die.

23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
 
Ok, here's the stock answer:

God is Perfect and Holy.

Man WAS perfect and holy, but sinned.

Therefore there is incompatability between God's Holiness and Man's Sinfulness.

As long as there is Sin, there cannot be true communion between God and Man.

God is Just, but God is also Merciful. Again, there is an incompatibility issue between Justice and Mercy.

The solution is for the Justice to be enforced on an Intermediate, so that Mercy can be enacted.

The symbolism for Sin is Death, that is death in the relationship with God. So in death, God's judgement is meted out. (Hence the judgement to Adam upon his sin would be death).

This Intermediate, in order to qualify, would have to be sinless Himself, or else He would die in His own sins, rather than the sins of the people. His death, which is the punishment for sin, was unjustifiable, for He did not sin. Therefore, the punishment must be made justifiable by the transfer of sin, which comes from Man.

Now at this point, one must ask how Christ would be able to take on the sins of the whole world, and not just, say, one person. One would think that it would only be a one-for-one exchange at the most. Well, in the Jewish Temple there was only one sacrifice that the High Priest sprinkled onto the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. But as the temporal things on earth are a shadow of things eternal, Christ entered into the Holy of Holies in the Presence of God in the Heavens as the Lamb of God.

Justice and Mercy, therefore, became compatible because of Christ as that Intermediate between God and Man.

The Resurrection comes into play because death cannot hold the sinless Lamb of God down. Christ rose on the virtue that He was sinless and the punishment of death could not hold Him in the grave, for the Spirit of God was in Him to raise Him to life.

Our hope as Christians lies in that our sins are not imputed due to God's Mercy's tempered by His Justice. That whereas we ought to suffer death because of our sins, Christ took care of that and we have the hope that the Spirit will raise us to Life on the Day of Resurrection, seeing in effect that there is no sins to hold us down, either.

IMHO, however, to obey is better than sacrifice. Our duty as Christians is to obey God and practice righteousness, even though we are prone to sin. But as we practice righteousness, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we progress practically toward righteousness and perfection, even though we will goof along the way. In essence, Christ's sacrifice for our sins is our stop-gap measure for our sins. And we can be forgiven on that basis.

I see it as a way to 1) acknowledge our sins before God, but 2) obtain forgiveness for our sins so that our guilt will not eat us away. Yes, we may live with regret for committing sins, and often suffer the consequence of our sins, especially since some sins cause irrevocable damage. And I would think that we need to seek forgiveness from others we have harmed by our wrongdoings before we come to God seeking forgiveness. But ultimately our accountability is toward God (David, Psalm 51, proclaimed, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight..", even though he arranged to have Uriah killed and slept with his wife. I'm sure his consequences affected many people.) Our starting place for getting things right in our life begins with the Source of Life, that is God.
 
bananabrain said:
it's a bit of an odd episode, this; there are various opinions as to why it was a snake and why it was brass (the words "nahash" - snake - and "nehoshet" - copper use the same root), none especially conclusive to my way of thinking. however, the specific reason for the original plague of fiery/venomous snakes was slander, the original serpent in the garden of eden having lied to eve and caused slander, so that's the most connection we can really understand at this level.
Its nice to see where the brass serpent fits in, and it brings some facets together. Many of Bible laws are based upon not slandering. Even the law against murder was 'because man is made in G!d's image', which was surprising to me when I started thinking about it. There is a comment in Timothy that "Whosoever hatethhis brotheris a murderer," which seems related; and I didn't think about the slander connection before.
bananabrain said:
well, yes, but that's also about lying, namely that one might obtain "eternal life", but that thereby one could represent oneself as a god, which would be, effectively, slandering G!D, because nobody is Eternal except G!D.
Here is a fragment that repeats that: "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto;"(1Tim6:16)
bananabrain said:
i suppose one might understand it as an excellent example of a temporary measure which, when it became permanent, lost its original purpose and in fact became a hindrance rather than a help: the original copper snake-on-a-stick became worshipped as an idol eventually, so king hezekiah destroyed it during his revival (2 kings 18) - there's a page on this here: Nehushtan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Interesting article.
bananabrain said:
hope this helps, but it doesn't seem to have too much to do with sacrifice as far as i can see.
So it may not relate to sacrifice, however it does relate to our slanderous tendencies. I understand the sacrifices are not to appease an angry god but are something much more meaningful. I did go through the sacrifice types and didn't see anything to make up for disobedience murder slander, etc. They all related to 'uncleanness' or admitting deficiencies and 'oopsies', being thankful, or maybe some sort of improvement for the individual or drawing closer to G!d.
 
After all, if god is on earth, doing miraculous things, and needs to convert the world to a particular view, then surely an everlasting god on earth doing miraculous things would make more logical sense?
A couple things that I've notice in my tenure on this planet. When it comes to religion (any religion), logic and science are not to be used by those questioning why, but then are often attempted to be used by those proving how.

Now when I look at it all, 'G!d so loved us he sent us his only begotten Son to save us' As if that were a sacrifice. Let's see the universe is how many billions of years old? Man has been on this planet for how long? Jesus is believed to be G!d yet not G!d, yet sent to this earth 2000 years ago for 33 years. In anyone's notion 33 years out of infinity is a nanosecond blink, not much sacrifice there, especially since he's coming right back without a scratch. Tis an interesting notion.

As I see it Jesus died because he was human (yes a child of G!d), and humans die. But during his life realized and revealed his connection to the almighty...and tried to inform that we should have a goal to do the same.
 
Here's a question for general discussion - I noticed someone mention in another post that "Jesus had to die".

But why?

It's something I see stated and presumed a lot, but I don't really understand the logic, other than as a general pagan element of appeasing the gods through sacrifice.

Human sacrifice has often been regarded in Mediterranean cultures as the most extreme sacrifice, but in Northern Europe and other places there are instances of kings becoming gods who then must be sacrificed.

The suggestion that Jesus would have to die to appease the sins of Adam just seems to fall into this category - a pagan process - than anything new and enlightening.

I believe that the answer lies in the pagan roots of Christianity, so here's a pagan answer in the Christian forum. As Brian alluded to, many of the pagan European cultures had seasonal rites. The most basic breakdown of this is that in spring, the male god mates with the goddess, bringing about the vegetative cycle. There are hints and suggestions from ancient cultures that the goddess, represented by a priestess, actually had sacred sexual intercourse with a priest or other man chosen to represent the god. In spring and summer this green man is alive and verdant, while with the autumnal equinox his powers wane. Sometime in autumn or winter the god is sacrificed, and this is done in different ways in different cultures, and perhaps some were symbolically or dramatically acted out while others were actual human sacrifices. One interesting variation on this them is that in fall and winter a god of death (or rest and regeneration) becomes ascendant, or the vegetative god of life goes to dwell in the underworld. The darkness and cold of winter follow, only to be followed again by spring, when the solar/vegetative god returns and life flourishes once more.

So during Christmas, we are in a period of retreat, rest, and regeneration (see winter solstice thread started by Netti-Netti). When Easter rolls around, that is the time of resurrection or regeneration.

:)
 
wil said:
Now when I look at it all, 'G!d so loved us he sent us his only begotten Son to save us' As if that were a sacrifice. Let's see the universe is how many billions of years old? Man has been on this planet for how long? Jesus is believed to be G!d yet not G!d, yet sent to this earth 2000 years ago for 33 years. In anyone's notion 33 years out of infinity is a nanosecond blink, not much sacrifice there, especially since he's coming right back without a scratch. Tis an interesting notion.

But see, you're looking at the wrong side of eternity. God is eternal, therefore every moment is past, present, and future with Him. You really measure the quality of sacrifice with time? If someone pushed you out the path of an oncoming car and they died in a split second in the process, seems to me that you will spend the rest of your life valuing that sacrifice, hmmm?
 
But see, you're looking at the wrong side of eternity. God is eternal, therefore every moment is past, present, and future with Him. You really measure the quality of sacrifice with time? If someone pushed you out the path of an oncoming car and they died in a split second in the process, seems to me that you will spend the rest of your life valuing that sacrifice, hmmm?
I can understand the beginning, following the logic then Jesus never left G!D: a. as they were one; and b. due to G!D living all time at once past, present and future so his Son was never gone. In the standard Christian understanding he returned, unscathed yes? So I can't follow the analogy as I don't see how either the two parties in the analogy fit what G!d or Jesus went through.
 
In the standard Christian understanding he returned, unscathed yes?
Actually in traditional Christianity, no. The Resurrected Christ bore the Five Wounds of the Passion, and bore those wounds at His ascension. It is in the traditions of both Western Rite and Eastern Rite Christianity that the wounds remain.

Thomas
 
Dream said:
I did go through the sacrifice types and didn't see anything to make up for disobedience murder slander, etc. They all related to 'uncleanness' or admitting deficiencies and 'oopsies', being thankful, or maybe some sort of improvement for the individual or drawing closer to G!d.
it's discussed in far more detail in the Oral Torah. remember that what is translated as "uncleanness" is in fact a ritual status with nothing to do with hygiene whatsoever. it is more like a "positive" or "negative" charge in electricity, simply a matter of polarities. the disease commonly misnamed as "leprosy" is specifically linked to slander and other "sins of speech", the archetype of which is the prophetess miriam, moses' sister, being stricken with it when she badmouthed her sister-in-law zipporah. not all the sacrifices are for this, of course, some are to do with specific guilt, some are to do with unspecified guilt, some are to do with contributory obligations, some to do with fertility and so on. if you look at the liturgy for the day of atonement that is all about how the Temple service relates to the structure of sin and its remedies.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
my own personal thoughts on the matter are such- Jesus was a man, a human being, not a God, and he faked his own death, so he could show the believers something miraculous... today's equivalent of a good P.R trick... he did not have to die to save us, or the world, as most of us never met him, and most of the sins we create he will never know about- even if he is supposed to be God... statements like these are simply part of the shonky rhetoric popular in most faiths...

I have heard another version of the same "he had to die" theme, which says that God sent Jesus, his God-Son, to be a man, so that Gods would know how hard life was for a man trying to do good things on earth, and then the Gods would go easier on the mortals.... Although intellectually I prefer this version I am aware it is equally as dubious as the other...

Most likely the idea of the ressurection has been borrowed from "pagan" faiths, the rising of Osiris, most likely. After all, Egypt isn't that far away. Christianity, like most faiths, has attempted to adopt aspects of other faiths to draw in those of other faiths, and the old cults of Osiris/Horus etc were still quite popular in those times, so too it's themes.

The majority will never buy the idea that the ressurection of Jesus has pagan origins, though.

What you have to remember is that the majority of "the faithful" have the intellectual capacity of seven year old girls. They might feel all sophisticated with their nail varnish and mobile phones, but they are children. Like all children, they do not have a wide or mature enough world view and so they believe in fairy tales, and pour forth sound-bites which they have never actually thought deeply about, instead quashing any doubt wth other neat stock phrases such as "It's not my place to determine God's will", "God is so great s/he can do anything"...

By making Jesus a God, instead of a man, you move Man and Jesus so far away from each other that walking in Jesus' way is much harder and less achievable than it could be...

I think it denigrates Jesus, and his achievements, to view him as a God.

As far as ritual human sacrifice goes, it was widespread all over the world, and most cultures have the same over-all idea about it: blood was life, humans were the best animals, so killing a human instead of a cow- the gods would take more notice of this.

The best sacrifice? A human, usually a young male, preferably just coming to maturity, and preferably "religious", or schooled in the ways of the faith which sacrificed him, or a warrior who could fight in the afterlife for the sake of the land.

The spilling of blood, of life, as a sacrifice, is still practised today- goats, chickens, rabbits, the occasional human. Again, this is just a clinging to primative beliefs, all of which believe that the life is in the blood.

It was only later that blood became a dirty issue, especially in the case of the "women's issue". For this- I blame the Jews. They started it. Everbody else got it from them. Christians, Muslims, et cetera. The curse of women, given to them because they are dirty ho's who "do it" instead of devoting themselves to God...

Thanks Abba!

So, to conclude- Jesus didn't have to die, he didn't die for me, or you, dying through time for everybody's sake. It's a fairy tale- wake up to yourselves!

But no, you won't buy this either, as it means you might have to climb down from your soap box and start being a bit more normal, and average, and not so special. Being a chosen one for the virgin King who dies and rises again- it's all over...!!!!
 
Ok, here's the stock answer:

God is Perfect and Holy.

Man WAS perfect and holy, but sinned.

Therefore there is incompatability between God's Holiness and Man's Sinfulness.

My personal view is that traditional and conventional Christianity has misunderstood (and therefore distorted) the purpose of the crucifixion. While the New Testament records that "he died for our sins," I think this is where we're misunderstanding the whole concept. What does it mean by "our sins?" Who is being referred to by the pronoun "our?"

I think it is important to recognise that Christianity arose out of a culture not only permeated by a monotheistic religion, but also a religion deeply-rooted in law.

Laws have their interpretations. Some would argue that the purpose of Law is justice. Others would argue that its purpose is to maintain cultural, religious or national identity. When you have a written tradition associated with laws, it becomes somewhat more complicated, especially with regards to the notion of justice. People would have different opinions on that. Some would assert that because it's God's word, justice must come from an objective, impartial and impersonal interpretation of Scripture and such an emphasis on the written tradition often leads to people being technical. Others would assert that God's will, ultimately is justice but that it doesn't have anything to do with the way the laws have been written and that being technical about the way it has been written down is the wrong way of doing what God wants.

The technicalities and semantics arising out of the interpretations of laws and their purpose may lead to people forgetting, or going astray from what God actually wanted. If what God wanted was justice, then being technical and literal in one's interpretation of laws does not lead to one doing what God wants. If your goal is justice, you cannot really be sure that your technical interpretation of a written tradition actually leads to justice.

Technical-minded people like working in terms of rules. They like making rules a part of their mental framework. They create this reality, this culture, this way of seeing things that comes from that mental framework. The trouble with making rules and making people follow them is that you start judging and evaluating people on those rules.

Under this framework of rules, you do not see it as a priority to understand people and their struggles in life. You don't care about why they ended up with the kind of life they have now. You are not interested in helping them. All you care about is how is where you fit in with this system of rules.

The problem with this way of thinking is that it leads to an artificial form of morality, as well as an artificial sense of justice, and this is what I believe Jesus came to resolve.

My understanding of Jesus' life and sayings was that he was a defender of the poor, persecuted and the oppressed. Jesus said that, "whoever humbles himself will be exalted; whoever exalts himself will be humbled." He also said that "whoever is first in this life will be last in the kingdom of God."

I think we have to be pragmatic and practical in understanding what he meant. He surely could not have meant that you should be a bum or a slob, a bad-mannered or obnoxious person who doesn't care about morality because it's snobbish, phony, pretentious or pompous. It doesn't mean we shouldn't have dignity or self-respect. What he meant was that we shouldn't try to be important in the ways of the world, but important in what is ultimately right for the people of the world.

Evaluating oneself according to this framework of rules was one way of exalting yourself and being "first." It caused an injustice that I would call "ideological oppression."

Jesus didn't come to offer forgiveness for the saking of offering it. He came to deal with persecution, injustice and oppression in its many forms. Ideological persecution was one of the injustices he came to deal with.

Many of the people regarded as "sinners" were not really "sinners" in the sense of being despicable people. I think most of them were just misunderstood people. They were decent people with an inner dignity that society did not see. Jesus came to bring that private life out into the open so that those people could see the light inside them.

The woman with the alabaster jar, the prostitute was a woman who I believe wasn't responsible for the kind of life she lived. I imagine that she was really a sex slave, and that the reason why she was a "prostitute" was because she was probably sold into that profession or lifestyle when she was young. (I'd have to give credit to c0de, who is, according to my impression, a Muslim, for helping me understand that. I can't remember the thread where we discussed the topic of prostitution, but I just never thought of it the way he described it.)

What society regarded as "despicable people" were not really as despicable as they thought. This is where I believe the crucifixion comes into the story.

Jesus was a friend of these people. That was why he meant so much to them. He was their hero. That's why they worshipped him as a legend. He dared to challenge the oppressive attitudes of the society of Israel in the first-century. He died in support of these people. That is why I believe he died. He was a martyr.

But that is where I think we may start to misunderstand him. The whole idea of Jesus "dying for our sins" has to do with issues in the first century in Israel. The word "forgiveness," I believe has become cliche here. I don't think it was about "forgiveness" but "acceptance." Forgiveness implies that you have sinned. The people to whom Jesus was offering the so-called "forgiveness" didn't really need forgiveness. They were not sources of oppression, injustice and persecution. They were, instead, the oppressed and persecuted themselves! What I believe Jesus was really offering was acceptance. God accepted them. It was not God, but society that could not accept them.

Westerners in the 21st century don't have so-called "sins" that require forgiveness or acceptance. Western society is not inherently a guilt-mongering culture. Jesus came to save the first-century people from ideological oppression brought about by forced guilt mongering. Jesus declared these people "not guilty." But he needed to do that because they lived in a guilt-mongering religious culture.

The question is, if you're not a guilt-monger, what relevance could Christianity possibly have for you? You don't need to be set free from any guilt-mongering by having to think that Jesus died to set you free from the ideological oppression of technical religious dogma.

What I would say to that is that apart from setting people free from guilt-mongering, Jesus was a defender against the oppressed, poor and persecuted. Jesus would, therefore have relevance in the present global economic crisis. The moral of the story is, don't put your heart on wealth. There may be a time in your life when you'll have nothing. You will have to fight to survive. A recession or depression is an opportunity to share, to seek out social connections, to form a community, to share the journey in the struggles of life. You're not alone.

If you are a capitalist and handle large sums of money, be careful how you use it. You do not want to be a source of oppression and persecution. You don't want to be one of those people. Jesus was against that. To be a "Christian," therefore, is not to be one of these people with big money that can make people's lives hard and difficult.

If you do handle large sums of money, see if you can help someone with your money. Don't be so obsessed about making profits. Think about the people in your country. Don't just think about the money. Think about the people. The people. The people. Not the money.

And don't cause a sub-prime mortgage crisis by lending money to people who can't pay you back! Be prudent with your money. If you're a home-buyer or home-owner, it's the same thing. Don't buy houses you can't afford. Don't be greedy and don't live on debt. Be honest and don't live beyond your means. Don't fool yourself and cause a national or global financial crisis. Jesus wouldn't approve of such behaviour because you're making life hard for people in your country by destabilising the economy.:)

Disclaimer: I am not a socialist. I am just putting Jesus' words in context.:eek::):D Personally, I think if Western societies had more community-connectedness, the economic crisis wouldn't make life so hard for people in Western countries, but market- and consumer-driven capitalism has thrown us into relentless competition against each other. Individuals have become more isolated. Economic crises are, I believe, a chance to get closer again.

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Sadly, I believe that traditional and conventional Christianity has forgotten Christianity's true meaning, the true meaning, I think, of Jesus' crucifixion. They have gone back to the days of technicalising religious written traditions, and in doing so, ruined people's lives, persecuted and oppressed people and done lots of emotional damage.

I believe there is a medieval and 20th century equivalent of what Jesus called "the killing of the prophets." It is where the medieval Catholic Church burned thousands of so-called "heretics" at the stake and took part in witch-hunting, and the killing of doctors and surgeons in abortion clinics by 20th-century fundamentalist Christians.

Moreover, I think the people who say that traditional Christianity is oppressive are actually right. By saying that people have to think Jesus died for our sins, we cause a lot of ideological oppression because people think they have to align themselves to guilt-mongering dogma and ideology. They think that God can't love them if they can't create guilt in themselves. I think the proper way of thinking of the crucifixion is not that we have to be guilt-mongers, but that Jesus was a defender of the poor, oppressed and persecuted, and that guilt-mongering was only a part of what Jesus' life meant to people.

As long as there is Sin, there cannot be true communion between God and Man.

No doubt, that's the traditional way of seeing things, but my thinking would be a little different. It would be this. Before Jesus came, what separated people from God was a framework of rules created either by society or the religious establishment. It continues today in traditional and conventional Christian churches. When Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life," he was saying that nobody, not the government, not even the Church or any denomination, can stand in the way between you and God. There is no institutional or ideological barrier between an individual and God. Jesus rescued us from ideological oppression. He defied the powers that be. He showed that nobody could stand between us or God. The religious establishment had no power over us. God can bypass the religious establishment and reach us directly. That was Jesus' purpose: to bypass the Establishment so God could connect with people directly.

In much the same way that the statues of gold and wood were lifeless objects that had no power even though people worshipped them, the governments, political systems, churches and denominations out there in the world have no power except what is created through political will. But even the political will of the people in this world, in principle cannot separate us from God.
 
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