Christians would have us believe that God’s sacrifice of his son for our sins was necessary and a loving and merciful act towards mankind. But is it? Really? Let’s see the order in which things were done:
I’d like to focus on act 8 at this point. The big question we should ask ourselves here is how does the spilling of innocent blood cleanse us of sin? No, the question is not “Why does the spilling of innocent blood cleanse sin”, but how. There is a huge difference here. Any old Christian can tell us why, but none seem to be able to tell us how.
As for the “why”, the Bible tries to tell us that pure and innocent blood must be spilt if we are to be atoned and cleansed of our sins. It’s why the Jews used to practice animal sacrifices. It’s why Jesus had to die on the cross. Without him dying and without his blood being spilt there is no way for mankind to be forgiven and cleansed of their sin.
But really… no really, how does a purely symbolic act of an innocent life being brutally slain cleanse us? What magical properties does the blood of an innocent being have that the blood of a sinful being does not have? After all there are only so many blood types and none of them have anything to do with whether you’re a Christian or not. Even if it was spiritual significance, how really does it do the job? Ask this question of a theist and surprise, surprise the answer is often circular in logic:
How does a sacrifice cleanse us of sins?
Because innocent blood is needed to cleanse sin.
What does it do that cleanses us?
It makes us holy.
How does it make us holy?
It purifies us due to its own sinless essence.
How does slaughtering the victim achieve this?
Because a sacrifice is required by God for atonement of sin.
And around and around we go until the theist realises he has no logical answer to give and out comes the ultimate cry of despair… “Because the bible says so!”
But really is the God of the bible really that barbaric and primitive that he would require the merciless slaughter of an innocent life? Is he no better than the many other petty and cruel deities worshipped by humans in the past?
When you cut to the chase, it soon becomes clear that the whole blood spilling thing is superfluous to the whole process of cleansing. Well superfluous unless God is a bloodthirsty deity who needs the slaughter of the innocent and who is able to be placated when something or someone is brutally slain in his honour.
Let's look at the act of sacrifice itself and see why the act of the blood sacrifice is redundant:
Clearly, the blood sacrifice is a symbolic gesture only and the only way blood can actually cleanse anyone or anything, is if God decides to forgive the offender and cleanse him himself. So really when it comes down to it, the sacrifice is erroneous and all that is needed is just a repentant heart and God's willingness to cleanse us. Even Romans 9:15 infers that God’s mercy is arbitrary: For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
Many Christians also believe that babies, young children, mentally challenged and those who have never heard the gospel will be automatically given a free pass. Once again this is God choosing to cleanse without the need for a blood sacrifice.
The bible even backs all this up. There are numerous scriptures in the bible that insist that God does not require blood sacrifices (Ps 40:6 in particular) and that all is required is love, faithfulness, repentance, forgiving others and doing what is just and right, (Ps 40:6, Ps 51:16-17, Prov 16:6, Isa 55:7, Ez 18:21-23, Luk 6:37 – 37,) In 2 Sam 12:13 we have an example of David being forgiven by God without the need for a blood sacrifice. In fact many times Jesus himself forgives people without the need for a sacrifice. So quite clearly, God is quite capable of forgiving and cleansing without the need for violent slaughter.
Apart from perhaps the matter of atonement, ie “someone must pay for this travesty!”, Christ’s death just wasn’t necessary. God is the one who ultimately cleanses and forgives and the sacrifice is only needed to satisfy his thirst for blood and to soften his rage towards us. Why would God really need the slaughter of the innocent to achieve something that he is quite capable of doing without that slaughter? (After all, he is all-powerful). The only obvious answer is that he doesn’t need it. Blood has nothing to do with it. Even when it comes to atonement, God could easily have come up with a less barbaric and cruel method.
I can hear the protests now. ‘But wait a God damn minute, you Satan-loving Heathen! Do you think we should be allowed to just go around sinning and doing whatever we like? We deserve punishment for sin! We deserve to be cast into Hell and roasted for all eternity! It was the ultimate act of love, God sending himself down in human form to be brutally slaughtered so as to appease his own bloodthirsty wrath! He paid the price for our evil disgusting sins! Just you wait you son-of-a-bitch. When you’re there burning in Hell, I’ll be there to look down at you and laugh and tell you “I told you so!”.’
Ok, so you’ve pretty much skimmed through most of this and refused to acknowledge many of the valid points I’ve made, but then I expected that. I am certainly not saying we should be allowed to do whatever we want without consequences. I am simply illustrating how a blood sacrifice, Jesus’s in particular, is erroneous to whether God can forgive you or not. Jesus’s sacrifice was clearly not really needed and all it did was to pacify the rage of a malevolent God, if that!
How about a story…?
Judgment Day had arrived. A man floated up to Heaven where he stood and awaited in the crowds for his chance to stand before God to give an account of his life. Another went up to God before him and the man who stood in the crowds was horrified to see who it was. It was Adolf Hitler.
The man stood there marvelling, unable to believe that he was about to witness Adolf give an account of his life. He would get to see possibly the world’s most evil man dragged away to burn in hell.
Adolf approached God, his head hung low in shame.
‘Adolf,’ said God. ‘What makes you think I’d ever let someone like you into Heaven?’
‘You wouldn’t.’ Adolf had tears in his eyes and he fell to his knees. ‘I don’t deserve to go to Heaven. I have done much evil in my life.’
‘That’s an understatement!’ God said. ‘You had hundreds of thousands of people, particularly Jews, murdered brutally. Most of whom are burning in hell now as we speak, because they had no further chances to accept me as their lord and saviour! If you hadn’t had them murdered, they might have had a chance to redeem themselves. But you prevented that from happening.’
‘Yes. I realize that,’ bawled Adolf. ‘I have done so many terrible things, but lord, I repented on my deathbed. I realized how evil I had been and I am so sorry.’
‘Yes. I could see that you were sincere when you repented on your deathbed. You are truly sorry for the evil you have done and you have always believed in me and that I was the son of God. But your crimes against myself and humanity are so great, don’t you think so, Adolf?’
‘Yes, I realize that.’ Adolf rose slowly to his feet and looked at God. ‘I do not deserve to live. I will take responsibility for my evil acts. I will take any punishment you see fit. I deserve to burn in hell.’
The man watched on, feeling confident that God would have him taken to hell, but was shocked when God placed his hand on Adolf’s shoulder. ‘By your faith Adolf, you are redeemed. Your act of repentance on your deathbed shows me you are sorry for what you’ve done, so I forgave you for your heinous acts. You are righteous in my eyes. Welcome to Heaven, Adolf.’
The man’s jaw dropped as Angel’s came and led a smiling Adolf away. He couldn’t believe it. How could history’s most evil man be going to Heaven after all the things he did?
God motioned the man over. At first the man hesitated, but then with renewed confidence he approached. If a man as evil as Hitler could be shown mercy, then this was truly a merciful God. He would surely not throw him into hell.
‘So what have you done with your life?’ God asked.
‘Well God. I have to admit, I haven’t been perfect. In fact I’ve done some things I’m ashamed of. I’ve lied sometimes, I had pre-marital sex and I’ve told a few dirty jokes here and there, but basically, I’ve been a law-abiding citizen. I’ve given a lot of money to charity. I’ve volunteered my services to help those in need. I’ve given generously of my time and money. I even saved a friend’s life once. I’ve always tried to live a moral life and tried to be a good example to my kids…’
‘But what did you choose to do with me?’
‘I… well God, I never believed in you. I thought you were just a made up concept.’
‘But I sent many people to you, to tell you about me, but yet you continued to reject me.’
‘I didn’t believe them. They seemed like a bunch of wackos to me. Half the stuff they told me seemed like a crock of shit. How was I supposed to believe that stuff? Besides, I expected that if you really did exist, you’d be able to show me you exist yourself, not having to send people to do it for you. I mean, you’re supposed to be omnipotent, right? Besides, I’m naturally a sceptical person. That’s the way I was born, I require more proof than just the world around us or the words of someone who claims to know you. I need more than just some book people claim is your word. I guess you made me that way God, so surely you wouldn’t be angry at me for just being the way you created me?’
‘Let me be the judge of that!’ God growled. ‘You rejected me! You decided to side with Satan!’
‘No I didn’t, I don’t believe in Satan. I was never against you at all, honestly.’
‘He who is not with me is against me!’
‘But God, that makes no sense, I’m not…’
‘Why should I accept you into Heaven?’
‘Why, God, you let Adolf in and he’s…’
‘He repented! You did no such thing!’
‘You had your chances. It’s your choice. You have chosen to be cast into Hell for all eternity.’
‘Chosen? I didn’t choose to. There’s no way I want to go to Hell!’
‘You rejected me and as a result of that, I have no choice but to send you there. I cannot change the rules.’
‘But… but you’re almighty. You made the rules, so you can change them, right?’
‘No more buts. Angels, take this evil sinner away. Let him burn for all eternity in the pits of hell!’
* * *
A fictional story? Maybe, but one that could very well take place if the bible is to be believed. We do not know what soul-searching Hitler or people like him may have done before their deaths. The bible tells us all that is required is repentance and we can be forgiven. If Hitler repented, then he will be in Heaven rubbing shoulders with Jesus and perhaps even you, while many of the people he condemned to death are writhing in Hell. It goes to show what an unjust system it is. Murderers who cut short the lives of people who never had a chance to repent could be in Heaven, while their victims fry. But not only that, it shows us something else. It shows us that the only difference between a monster like Adolf Hitler and a so-called saint like Mother Theresa is belief and repentance. Do we, average law-abiding citizens deserve to suffer the same Hell as Hitler? Do you, as a Christian feel it just that someone like him could join you in Heaven? I very much doubt it.
God’s death on the cross is once again redundant, not to mention unjust if truly evil people can get a free pass into Heaven, while the victims of their evil writhe for all eternity in Hell.