A few weeks ago it was Easter, normally a time of celebration for Christians, and a time to enjoy some extra days off work for almost everyone else. Where did you go this Easter? Nowhere? Ha! Me too. Well, unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have Covid-19 right now, then good for you.
When I was a kid, Easter involved eating lots of chocolate with my family, and going to church services where there would normally be a play depicting the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. This message is, of course, the central theme of Easter, and Christianity as a whole. God sent his son Jesus to die on a cross for everybody’s sins, so that anyone who believed in him could have eternal life. Three days later, Jesus came back to life again, and ascended to heaven after giving his disciples some messages to tell everyone about him.
When I was Christian, this message meant a lot to me, and it was a cause for celebration. We should be eternally thankful for what God has done for us through his son Jesus. But as someone who isn’t religious anymore, this message seems just strange at best, and potentially harmful at worst. Why? Here are some good reasons:
It’s not much of a sacrifice.
Jesus’s death is presented as the ultimate sacrifice. He gave himself up so that we could be reconciled with him again. Except… it’s not really. Sure he suffers on the cross, but then three days later he comes back to life again, and he gets to enjoy eternity in Heaven afterwards, away from all the problems down here. What did he lose? Also, Jesus being God, knows that all this will happen in advance. I am sure you could think of many instances of humans enduring more than that. God’s sacrifice seems petty in comparison.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
If God wanted to redeem us from the problems he created, why did he need to sacrifice someone? I see no link between Jesus dying and us being redeemed from ‘sin’. He could have came up with a better way that didn’t involve human sacrifice. It would be the equivalent of me killing a goat, so that I can get more rainfall for my crops. It’s archaic and barbaric thinking. Of course, those who have read the Old Testament will recall that animal sacrifice was a common theme, and done for various reasons including the atonement of sins, and as offerings to God. By extension, Jesus offered himself as the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ to God as atonement for ‘our sins’, because God is pleased by sacrifice apparently… except when he isn’t. But again, as mentioned earlier, it’s not much of a sacrifice when he comes back to life again, and when he’s… well, God.
Jesus’s sacrifice is ridiculously unjust.
Imagine a justice system like this: A thief breaks into your home and steals a few of your prized possessions. The police catch him and invite you to the police station with the thief. The thief apologises and says he won’t do it again. In response, the police grab an innocent person, beat him up and then impale him with a spear. Because of this, the thief can be atoned for his actions and isn’t sentenced anymore. Would you be OK with a justice system like this? Because the Christian God apparently is. I think you will know where I’m going with this now. According to the Bible, we were all going to be sent to Hell for our ‘sins’, now matter how big or small. But because God sent his son to be flogged and hung up on a cross, it is now fine apparently, as long as we repent of our ‘sins’ and believe in Jesus.
There’s a lot more I could say about this, but let’s just leave it at that. What are your thoughts on this? If you have some more points to add, share them here.