Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The injustice of Christianity

Christianity and justice do seem to be strange bedfellows.

For example, if Hitler had repented he would have gone to heaven in spite of his crimes. This is one of the problems with evangelical Christianity. It is, at its core, unjust. Anyone can do anything they like to other people as long as they accept Jesus and repent on their death bed. That's a bigger problem than anything Rob Bell may or may not have written in his recent book “"Love Wins" which seems to be exercising Christians greatly at the moment.

The classic response to this apparent injustice is that God's justice is fulfilled by punishing Jesus instead of the sinner. Really? That's not justice. That's like having a row with your wife and then kicking the cat. Substitutionary atonement is no atonement at all, like rounding up the usual suspects and convicting someone of a crime even if they did not commit it.

The second explanation usually provided is that God gives his son in our place as an act of love. If we translate that to the real world it would be the equivalent of you committing murder then me murdering one of my children to make up for it.

The difficulty seems to be that Christians have blinkered themselves to this logical problem and spiritualised the issue until they can no longer see it in all its starkness.

9 comments:

  1. I suppose an Evangelical would say "Depends on how sincere the repentance was". Our character is shaped by our choices and someone who cultivated hatred rather than love might find it harder to choose God who is love.

    You do have a point though regarding Evangelicals who often speak of once saved forever saved.

    However, your criticism does not have the same sting for Catholics (65% of the world's Christians) because of Purgatory.

    I regard Purgatory as a state of transition following death. We meet Christ and see ourselves reflected in Him, seeing who we could be if we fully accept God's offer. To say this final 'Yes' and let go of (be purged of) all unworthy attachments might be more difficult for some than others. Some might take 'longer' (the language of time can be misleading in eternity). I imagine that part of my purgation is appreciating the suffering I have caused others due to my selfishness etc..

    It is also possible for someone to say No and choose Hell (eternal separation from God).

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  2. Hello Gordon,

    If Hitler sincerely repented of his sins and believed with all his heart soul and mind in the virgin birth,death,ressurrection and the deity of the LORD JESUS CHRIST,confessed Him as LORD and believed in His precious atoning blood to save him from his sins,then yes I believe that even a sinner like Hitler would be reconciled with his maker.
    I know that this is hard for many to understand,however if you study the bible you will see that the Old Testament is full of bloodshed,murder and genocide. Even king David was forgiven for murder and adultery because he saw the light and sincerely repented of his sins and turned to God with all his heart soul and mind.
    Please don't be deceived by so-called 'death bed' conversions. It is my belief that when a person ages their hearts get even harder and harder that they cannot see the error of their ways and end up cursing God even more. I read a book once about famous peoples dying quotes; it shocked me that even though they knew they were about to die,that many still cursed God even to the last breath. I am not particularly knowledgeable about Hitler's last moments,and I very much doubt that he ever repented and believed in the LORD JESUS CHRIST as his saviour. Only God Himself knows.
    As regards the book by Rob Bell,if you are interested please log on to Moriel Ministries UK and click onto 'Latest News,Articles and Information', for a book review under the title; 'Mocking Truth: Rob Bell's False Hope,Worldly Heaven and Earth-Based Hell', for a critical analysis. Christian bookstores are full of the Pagan/New Age 'Emergent Church Gospel of False Truth'.
    Gordon I respectfully believe that you confuse 'righteousness' with 'fairness'. God is NOT fair! I repeat He is NOT fair. He IS right,perfectly sovereign,just and righteous. The 'fairness' doctrine is humanistic in all its forms. Take for example homosexuality; I believe it is an abomination because,and ONLY because God says so! If anyone should debate it with me, I always reply 'Your controversy is with God,not me'.
    Please read Matthew 20.1-15 about the vineyard and the labourers. The householder went out to employ labourers (their wages were agreed up front),but when the labourers that worked from the first hour realised that they were paid the same as those that worked from the last hour, they complained. What was the Lord's reply in verse 15? 'Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? (NIV)
    1 Corinthians 15.22: 'For as in Adam all die,even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' It is His precious atoning sinless blood that has purchased our salvation,provided we believe in it's atoning power. There is nothing good in the human race, we cannot save ourselves; Isaiah 64.6; 'But we are all as an unclean thing,and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.'
    John 14.6 says; 'I am the way,the truth and the life:no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.' i.e. the bloody cross of Calvary. Believers have been redeemed by His atoning sacrifice. He is our Passover Lamb,just when the Israelites painted the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels ( spoke of the coming cross ) it saved their lives. Only those who didn't apply the blood were destroyed.
    'For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;but unto us which are saved it is the power of God'. 1 Corinthians 1.18.

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  3. That's not a good analogy because generosity can never be unfair because it favours one over another.

    What I would say, though, is that substitutionary atonement goes against the idea of grace and is inherently unjust (not unfair but actually against natural justice).

    What surprises me is not that Christians believe in it (that's a given), but that they don't have even a glimmer of concern or doubt about it. In my experience high levels of certainty are usually a sign that there is something not quite right somewhere.

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  4. The problem with quoting Richard Dawkins is that he tends to be discounted as having no merit, but here he is quoting someone elses immediate reaction to reading the bible for the first time:

    Dawkins on Randolph Churchill

    Its not an unreasonable reaction.

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  5. Hello Gordon,

    I think we can go round in circles with this one. As the bible teaches that sin came into the world through Adam's disobedience,Paul (whom was the chief Christian persecutor,before his Damascus road conversion) says in Romans 6.23; 'For the wages of sin is death;but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'.
    Most people just cannot grasp the utter simplicity of this: Grace and mercy; grace means we get what we DON'T deserve and mercy means we don't get what we DO deserve.(We ALL deserve to die) but God in His infinite wisdom provided a means of reconciliation (sin,faith and repentance) through the cross. This IS the message of the cross. As I said previously the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; 1 Corinthians 1.18. When you quote 'substitutionary atonement goes against the idea of grace' I disagree with that,because that is exactly what grace IS; unmerited divine favour! However when you quote that 'substitutionary atonement is inherently unjust and goes against natural justice' I agree with you. I oftentimes wonder why ever did the Almighty condescend to such efforts to save His people! But that is EXACTLY the Gospel message!; John 3.16;'For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,but have eternal life.' Such Amazing Grace!
    As to my 'high level of certainty,I ascribe that to being rooted firmly in the abiding Word of God!

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  6. I can't get my head around the fact that the creator of the universe became a helpless baby. BUT! I believe it!

    'For unto us a child is born,unto us a Son is given:and the government shall be upon His shoulder:and His name shall be called Wonderful,Counsellor,The mighty God,The everlasting Father,the Prince of Peace.
    Isaiah 9.6

    But without faith it is impossible to please Him,for he that cometh to God must believe that He is,and that He is a rewarder of them that dilligently seek Him. Hebrews 11.6

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  7. Which may strengthen the faith of the existing believer it doesn't really address the question that God lets people off then hook for their wrongdoing by punishing someone who is entirely innocent! I wonder how many right wing Christians would be willing to let criminals go free on that basis. I suspect very few.

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  8. If salvation was a question of justice, we'd be scuppered. That is rather the point.

    The thing about God was really angry but he took it out on Jesus so now it's okay is a travesty and a horrible blasphemy.

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  9. We are saved by GRACE not by what we have or havent done. God gave us a FREE will, our decisions greatly impact how our lived will be. I belive that if someone has lead a horrid life, and are sincere in their cry to God and they are Genuine in their repentance, and acceptance of Jesus ( this will show in their own lives), that God will forgive them. The ONLY thing that will make us Permananty seperate from God is Blashemy of The Holy Spirit. Matt: 12:32

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