Thursday, December 07, 2006


Jesus Christ/Redemption

By Richard E. Noble

One aspect of “Jesus” that has always fascinated me is how mankind turned Jesus, the prophet of peace and love, into a military general who would return at the end of the world with a vengeful sword in his hand.
For decades and centuries after the death of Jesus, followers of this prophet of peace were practitioners of non-violence. If they were struck on the right cheek, even by an enemy, they would turn the left cheek also. This presented the Romans with almost as much fun as Adolf Hitler and his Nazis had with his Jews. And yet by the year 300 or so, Christians formed a significant part of the army of Constantine. How did this happen? Somehow the interpretation of the life and teaching of Jesus had changed.
As far as I can see, two major theological transformations took place. The first was that Jesus’ death on the cross was interpreted not as a political act of passive resistance by a brave and courageous prophet to the cause or principle of non-violence, but as a pre-ordained, mystical sacrifice, performed by Jesus through a divine collaboration with or within the spirit of “Godness” for the salvation of mankind. The death of Jesus would be interpreted as a sacrifice to heavenly justice to be offered to God for the sins of mankind and in particular to re-open the gates of heaven closed to mankind due to the disobedience of their Biblical parents, Adam and Eve.
Non-believers have never accepted this divinely, mystical view. Non-believers claim, for example, that the death of Jesus could no more atone for the sin of Adam or the sins of mankind in general, than a loving mother or grandmother could substitute herself in a gas chamber or electric chair in the place of her convicted, guilty son.
In other words, even if Jesus wished to sacrifice himself on behalf of sinners, even human standards of justice and fair play could not accept his offer. If man is guilty, he alone must suffer the consequences for his sins. No other man or even Son of God can “justifiably” take up this burden.
Saint Augustine did not put the sword into the hand of Jesus, “the warrior”, but he thought up the rationale for its justification.
Jesus, it is true, would not defend himself even against an enemy, Augustine admitted, BUT certainly he would not stand idly by, a witness to injustice. Jesus would, undoubtedly, come to the defense of an abused, and even defend such, against an abuser, or offender. So, even though, Jesus would allow himself to be crowned with thorns, whipped, tortured and then crucified, without lifting a “divine” finger in his own defense, he might very well be willing to bust somebody’s head open with a baseball bat if they unjustly attacked an undeserving child, for example. And thusly the Christian was redeemed from his pacifism.
Others also ask why Jesus, the savior God-man and lover of humankind, did not step in and defend the future lives of his apostles against their unjust torture and abuse; or his people, the Jews, from the Romans; or babies from disease; or mankind from death? It has been suggested that it was easier to open the gates of a fictitious heaven for eternity than cure mankind of even one real disease in the present. As Wimpy was prone to say; “I’ll gladly pay you for two hamburgers tomorrow, in exchange for one hamburger today.”
The non-believer, for centuries has also had a problem with this notion of a son being held guilty for the sins of his father. In other words, even human justice, as inferior to Divine justice as it must be, could not imprison the child of a thief as atonement for the crimes of his father. So then how can God justifiably hold the sons and daughters and future descendants of Adam and Eve responsible for the mis-deeds of their Biblical ancestors? And so then, where is the justification for atonement or redemption in the first place? The only injustice here, being the cruel and unusual punishment of God against the innocent children of Adam and Eve. Even humans have a higher standard of justice than this.
They ask how the Creator of sin, Himself, is relinquished from any responsibility in this Biblical scenario. Does God not also possess “free will”? Is He not the culprit who decided to create evil and consequently precipitate this whole horrible chain of events? And how could a loving father allow his son to be tortured to death if it were within His power to do otherwise?
This whole story is a simple case of abuse. Should not the Authority of True Justice arrest this God of Christianity and imprison Him for all time for his crimes against his own child? In addition should He, the God of Creation, not be charged also, with crimes against humanity? God could, of course, plead insanity which may be His best defense.

11 comments:

MACALESTER BOUND said...

Mr. Noble,

I respect your work. I am presently enjoying your Hobo book. Very well written and I thank you for sending. A question keeps returning to me concerning this "Jesus Christ/Redemption" piece. Why does the world insist that the Catholic faith holds the reigns of christianity? The presupposition that they do acts as the premise for all 34 questions you ask. Are they?

Richard Edward Noble said...

To be honest with you, I do not understand your question. But in general the idea of "redemption" is not peculiar to the Roman Catholic. As far as I know this is an assumption and teaching of all groups who make claim to the title of Christian. I also have a blog entitled Christianity that may help with your query but I'm not sure. I'm sorry but I would need more specific detail as to exactly what you are asking. I will re-read my Jesus and Redemption blog but I don't think that I made any reference to the Catholic faith but of course the Catholic faith was dominant in the early history of Christianity - it wasn't until the 1500s and Martin Luther came along with the Protestant Reform movement. But as far as I know the Philosophy of both the Protestant and the Catholic as regard to the notion Of Redemption are similar.

Richard Edward Noble said...

Dear macalester bound - I thought of another blog that I have posted that might interest you and may answer something for you - it's entitled "the History of God". This blog is a review of a book by Karen Anderson. I think I did a good job on it and the book may interest you. If the concept of "God" is one of your curiosities.
If it is Christianity and conflicting ideas that is your interest, there are many writers and numerous books. I would recommend Bertrand Russell, Tom Paine, Robert G. Ingersol and Clarence Darrow has some interesting essays on the subject.
God and Religion - as with the National Debt and the nature of money - is another very confusing area. I have been working on the God and Religion area all my life and I'm still researching - so what can I say other than good like to you on your personal search.

MACALESTER BOUND said...

Mr. Noble,

Please give me some time. The new college term just started and it is wild for work. I will answer you but please... give me time. I am swamped.

JD

MACALESTER BOUND said...

Mr. Noble,
I am nearing the end of your Hobo Book. I cannot recall when I have ever laughed so loud for so long, yet learned so much about what life is really like trying to make a living pickin fruit here in the U.S. It is grass roots original without the hokey, and witty and fun while you examine the stark truth behind what it takes to get a peach to my plate. Excellent work.

Now…back to my original question concerning your Redemption piece: Your comment, “by the year 300 or so, Christians formed a significant part of the army of Constantine” peeked my interest. Have you concluded that the true Christian Remnant has roots in Constantine’s army?
I realize that this is certainly not the focus or intent of your essay but I cannot seem to get past the statement without first satisfying my question. It strikes me odd that the same culture, which prosecuted, condemned and crucified Jesus Christ, claim exclusive ownership, rights and privilege to His legacy of peace.

I also went to “the History of God” link but cannot seem to find anything with your name tied to it. Any link that would be helpful?

Thank you and I am back to the coursework.
Prevail, good sir.
JDs Tavern

Richard Edward Noble said...

The "true" Christian remnant?
Check out my blog entitled "Christianity". I think it is in the same section with the Redemption piece. I wish I knew how to find things on these blogs. There used to be a index on this thing - but it's gone now. So I don't know what to tell you.
Your question implies that you know the true Christian remnant.
If you do I would be interested in hearing what you think it is. thanks for commenting. Take care.

JDs Tavern said...

Where is your blog on Christianity Mr. Noble.

JD

Richard Edward Noble said...

Jd's Tavern - I have tried to send you that blog twice. But your e-mail address always bounces.
But ... Go to the top of my blog page. Click in the space Search this blog. Click in and type in the word Christianity. The blog will change even though you may not notice. Then scroll down through all the various blogs. I think it is the second from the bottom.
Or possibly you can go to your google search engine and punch in the Hobo philosopher/Christianity. I have many, many other blog relating to religion - but maybe I should add to that the fact that I am a non- believer. I have a blog "Age of Reason" by Tom Paine. I think he is very close to my belief - though I'm not a Deist. I also have a blog about Einstein's Universe. His concept of an amoral cosmic god - I also find interesting but yet difficult to adhere to. I have another blog "God, Yes or No" - I think that states pretty concisely where I'm at at this moment.

jds tavern said...

My blog is at: http://www.jdstavern.blogspot.com. Changed from two into one and the theme a big.

JD

JDs Tavern said...

Mr. Noble,

I followed instructions successfully for the second time in my life and I now have sitting in front of me your review of "A History of God" and...your piece on "Christianity." Thank you. I am putting together sources to support my beliefs about The Remnant and you shall be the second to see it.

Prevail,

jdstavern

Richard Edward Noble said...

"The True Christian Remnant?" Well that should be very interesting. I read a book quite some time ago that you might find interesting. It was titled "In Search of the Historical Jesus" and it was written by Albert Schweitzer. I will say that it is rather dull reading but it contains substantial information on the Historical Jesus. Also Bertrand Russell deals with a good deal of general Christian History in his "Why I'm Not a Christian". This book is a lot easier to read than the first - but not so detailed and documented as the first. Good Luck. You're paper should be interesting. I'll be looking forward to reading it.