Mary Naegeli, who blogs at Bringing the Word to Life, asked her readers: Did Jesus Die for the Sins of Humanity, Or Not? Ms. Naegeli is infamous as the one who keeps stalling the ordination of Lisa Larges through the Presbyterian court system.
Since the right wing has had little luck stopping the tide of human decency, reason, and biblical and theological literacy regarding ordination equality, now they are up to their old tricks of trying to enforce theological purity. In the spirit of the fourth century they seek to impose their superstitions on the entire church.
An excellent book by the way is A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State, by Charles Freeman. The interesting and compelling thesis of this book is that the doctrine of the Trinity was forced upon the empire by Theodosius I. This put an end to freedom of thought. Enter the Dark Ages.
This is where our true believers want to take us today. Upset that the presbytery of Coastal Carolina welcomed to its membership a teaching elder (new/old word for minister) who doesn't believe Jesus died for our sins, she attacks the presbytery:
So now we have a concrete example of our worst nightmare, when a presbytery fails to recognize a serious departure from the essentials of the Reformed faith. Coastal Carolina has determined that “Jesus died on the cross for our sins” is not an essential of our faith. All I can say at this point is, “Thanks for nothing. You failed to act according to your responsibilities: to ‘provide that the Word of God may be truly preached and heard’ and to ‘nurture the covenant community of disciples of Christ . . . [by] warning and bearing witness against error in doctrine and immorality in practice within its bounds’ (Book of Order, G-3.0301a,c). This is a serious irregularity that leads only to confusion, disunity, and pastoral fraud. When the church perpetrates such a hoax, it is denying our church members that which the PCUSA promises to deliver: the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; and preservation of the truth.Same old trick. Browbeat people into submission with dogma. Ms. Naegeli and the right wing of the church are not interested in truth. They are interested in power. They wish to enforce their narrow and pitifully dated theology on the entire church. I wonder if these blog posts from her and others on the rabid right are testing the waters for heresy trials?
Here is my answer to Ms. Naegeli's question, Did Jesus Die for the Sins of Humanity, or Not?
Jesus was executed like thousands of others as a perceived threat to the Roman Empire. Some, and I emphasize some of his followers attempted to find meaning in his death and many theological explanations were offered including the perverse notion that God the Father sent him to die in order to satisfy the Father's honor and to save you from hell. It doesn't even make sense.
Adam and Eve supposedly sinned in the garden and as punishment all their descendents are infused with a shot of original sin. Since God the Father needs to have his honor restored (talk about patriarchal nonsense) he kills his Son (who in the weird Trinitarian formula is really the same guy, sort of) so that everyone on planet Earth doesn't spend eternity in hell. If anyone takes twenty minutes thinking this through they can see that the whole structure is absurd. Beginning with the fact that Adam and Eve never existed.
This is an entirely imaginary scenario invented by the first through fourth century mind. It is theological fantasy. The only reason it still exists is because of force and guilt. The goal is to keep people childish. The respective reward and punishment of heaven and hell and the guilt that plays on our individual psychologies and need for acceptance keeps this nonsense going.
If you want to see this psychological and spiritual abuse in action visit one of the "Judgement Houses" we have in our area. They are operating at full speed during the Halloween season. Gotta love that irony.
Even as absurd as the "Jesus died for our sins" notion is, it has been successful at claiming to be the right and only way to understand Jesus. That is why religious literacy is so important and why we do our little part to bring it to our neck of the woods.
Do join us if you can for our Jesus Seminar on the Road, this weekend, October 21-22. We examine the historical person of Jesus. Who was he before he was bitten by Christian dogma and what might he be for us today? Here is the information. Full-time students with ID get in free.
Freedom to think.
It is worth it.