This is a long overdue reply to a reply to one of my blog posts from earlier in the month. James D Jordan, a cool cat who I disagree with…well, everything on, yet still would call a friend, replied to said post of mine. If I saw his reply earlier than a couple of days ago, I sincerely don’t recall, but I apologize (note the image) and I’m replying now. Rebuttal shall be after the “Read More” link.
I won’t quote the whole post, since that would be super long and would eliminate the need to look at his article. Anyway, in response to my point that Jesus can’t sacrifice himself to god, since he is god, he says this:
Jesus was exactly God? Atheists seem to think so. While on a spiritual level, Jesus is also God, the "God can't sacrifice to Himself" theory falls apart under basic scrutiny. Jesus is not only Son of God but Son of Man.
The datum that destroys Ben's theory is that Jesus had a mother, a quite human mother named Mary. Mary was not perfect. I've argued that she clearly sinned at Cana when she asked her son to make wine in lieu of going to Walgreen's. Mary was fully human. And, here's the stone in the "skeptic" shoe: Jesus was fully human, too.
While that might not make sense to the atheist, it is exactly what the Scriptures predicted. God was going to redeem us Himself. Jesus taught exactly this point as well. God was going to give us His Son. (Isaiah 41:12-14, Isaiah 9:6, and in dozens of passages in the OT and the NT)
It doesn’t make sense, period, James. The trinity is a nonsensical idea if taken literally, as you seem to be doing. I understand the idea of different aspects of a being, and in that way (figuratively rather than literally) the trinity makes sense. I am a person, my online activities are an aspect of my identity, but they are not different entities. Imagine I was playing some online game that allowed for transfers of in-game goods between players, and I set up 2 accounts on this game. They’re both “fully electronic” and “fully me”. If I sent a bunch of gold from one account to the next, is this a multi-person transfer? No, it’s me giving something to me. What if “benfromcanada” makes some money then gives it to Ben Dobson? This weblog does make some money, or would had I enough traffic. If “benfromcanada” sends money from PayPal to Ben Dobson’s bank account, is that a multi-person transaction? No, it is not. Being “fully human” and “fully god” at the same time matters not, it’s the same entity controlling the actions of Jesus, it’s the same being.
Of course, if we assumed you were right, that opens up some major issues. Mary had other children. Does Jesus’ bloodline still exist through their descendants? Did Jesus have identity problems, issues reconciling his god side and his human side? What was Jesus' identity?
Now a "skeptic" will protest that God can't give us His Son as a sacrifice. My response is to ask them to show how He CANNOT do such a thing. I'll help them out; His spirit PLUS a 100% human body EQUALS the perfect sacrifice.
No, it’s his spirit PLUS a 100% human body that he’s owned and been in control of for 30-some years. Under Christian thought, spirit/soul controls the body, and the spirit in Jesus is the important part, not the body.
His response to my second point, that Jesus forfeited nothing of value, is to wonder why I quoted verses about Jesus’ body being beaten beyond recognition. Note: I didn’t “quote” any bible verses, I merely cited chapters where Jesus’ resurrection story was told. The reason is that the reflex from christians is to complain about taking things out of context, so if I simply say “this is the chapter where I got this from” and briefly touch on what happens there, I avoid that asinine criticism altogether. The point is, if your body regenerates, then “sacrificing” it means nothing.
Keep in mind, if Jesus is the Son of God, then His sacrifice is of the utmost importance to every person who lived before, during or after that event. The horrors of September 11, 2001 affected only a small percentage of people. Jesus's sacrifice on the cross affected everyone who ever lived.
Maybe you can explain this problem I had even when I was christian. How does Jesus’ crucifixion affect me at all? I did nothing wrong 2000 years ago when he was executed, so how could my sins have in any way been affected by his death?
As for his criticisms of my third point, that human bodies aren’t worth much in the Christian worldview…yes, human bodies are all but worthless in christianity. Why do christians look so forward to the next life if this one is so worthwhile? The soul is what’s worthwhile, and the reasoning behind prohibitions against murder, adultery, etc. is that it taints the soul of the offender.
But then he says this…
Reread all of Ben's comments and then consider the atheist attack in general. Every atheist argument starts with the assumption that the universe was not created by a deity. You can sum up their argument by saying, "There is no God, therefore......"
But I'm going to help out my atheist friend here. Assume that the claim is true and proceed from there. You do that with the Qur'an and you find that the claims of Allah's deity are incoherent. You do that with the Bible and it becomes harder and harder to dismiss.
NO. I do no go in simply assuming anything. In this exercise, as in all of them where I talk about the christian god, I assume he’s real for the sake of the exercise. And NO, the bible is not hard to dismiss. In fact, you have it backwards: the Qur’An is a well written piece of poetic literature that does put forth a somewhat coherent argument. Or at least an argument with fewer textual contradictions than the bible, which has over 400 textual contradictions in its pages.
Your final point puzzles me. Why does it matter that Jesus makes you happy? Does that make him real?