The Glaring Problem with Christianity
Assoc. Presbyterian Correspondent
If Christ’s life taught humanity was already forgiven, why did Christ die as an act of ultimate forgiveness?
The fact that the nominal god of the religion died kind of undercuts the truth of the faith. Christians rectify this with the resurrection, and so with it the idea that if god can resurrect himself that he can resurrect anyone else as well.
Christianity has a number of huge plotholes, as most anyone would be able to account for, whether it be the Problem of Evil, the fallibility of humankind, or the contentious nature ancient religions have with modern societies and factual understandings.
My purpose is not to address any of those, as they are perhaps extrapolated issues with the religion — meaning these are criticisms that come form outside of the religion and represent some kind of offensive challenge.
I want to speak only at once about the Bible itself, and one particular issue I have, and that is the death of Christ, i.e. the birth of Christianity.
But that creates a similar conundrum, in why he had to die in the first place? How were the pagans able to find, overpower, and kill a living god?
The responses to this question were various, but over time have been widdled down to the prevailing idea that Christ was an immortal spirit in a mortal body, not fully a god in terms of awesome powers but not actually a man, instead being an iteration of god living the human experience.
What does it mean to have a mortal concept of an immortal god? And Christ did die, but he came back to life, then left the planet Earth for some other plane, so did he actually come ‘back to life’ at all, if he left the mortal world anyways?
So the spirit of Christ was immortal, but the man wasn’t. Yet a central tenant of modern Christianity, particularly Protestantism and Catholicism, is that the spirit of all humans is immortal already, and the body is a mortal vessel through the world. In what way does Christ differ from the rest of humanity if his resurrection was mainly in spirit?
The similarity between Christ and everyone else, and his preeminence over everyone else as a divine being aren’t contradictory to the religion, but are sticking points. It’s hard to reconcile being immortal at the same time as being mortal, and then its even more difficult to promise the same power to every living person while also having the dilemma of making Christ more divine than everyone else.
In Christianity it wasn’t just that Christ was a moral person that makes him important, it is that he is in fact a god, but a partially mortal god that interacted with people at their own level. Stooping down to ordinary and imperfect people’s levels to guiding them, while also being perfect as a being is difficult to say the least, and it causes a contradiction which is the founding crux of Christianity — that human beings are imperfect manifestations of sin, but perfect constructions of god at the same time.
Depending on how people live their lives, they can at the end either be forgiven their imperfections and embraced by god, or choose to reject god and be abandoned to death with no afterlife, or a permanent limbo, depending on belief.
This is the central issue of the Christian bible. The forgiveness by god. If god forgives everyone who asks for forgiveness, then there is no possibility for judgement or punishment, since god categorically cannot punish someone who asks for forgiveness: Anyone who suffers in the Christian worldview chooses to do so, by ignoring god.
If forgiveness is the absolute promise of Christianity, why did Christ die?
Christ died to absolve sin, but Christ’s message while he was alive was that there was no punishment for sin, only forgiveness. If god forgives all sin, why did Christ die as punishment for all people’s sins, which Christians say is what now allows absolute forgiveness?
Christianity tells that Christ died on the cross so that all people would be freed of sin, that Christ was punished instead of humanity. But humanity was already forgiven before Christ died, according to Christ himself. So why did Christ die?
Not only that, when Christ was dying he said, “God, why have you forsaken me?” For thousands of years, there has never been a clear explanation from Christians why Christ said this, because it sounds like everything he believed and he stood for was invalidated right at the point he was murdered, while his entire life he was claiming to be above death and above punishment.
When Christ was murdered, that means either there was no validity to the idea that Christ couldn’t be killed or overcome by worldly and evil forces, because he was; Or it means that god purposefully killed Christ or allowed him to die where he otherwise wouldn’t have, against his consent, because Christ was dying for the forgiveness of mankind, which Christ believed had already been achieved.
At this moment, it is apparent that Christ and god aren’t on the same page, meaning that in some ways and in many possibilities Christ was unknowing and probably wrong. Was Christ a parallel to god, or was Christ ‘created’ by god to send a message of peace to Earth? The latter, while more likely at first glance, is problematic in terms of the utility of Christ’s life. Would Christ have chosen to die if he knew what was coming? Did he have any ability of choice at all?
If humans were already immortal in the spirit and already forgiven if going to god, what did killing Christ accomplish? The victories of his death were already one by the theophany and providence of god, but his death poses a massive problem for Christianity — that an undying god can die. It seems like the worst possible way to convey a message, if not completely undermines it.
When Judea cast Christ out, why not have him leave the world before dying? He left the world anyways, but he had already died and cried a quote from Psalms, “Why have you forsaken me?,” first.
Christians are waiting for Christ to return and destroy the world, separating the good from the bad, however the word of Christ, himself, suggests that such a thing could never happen. Christ was nonviolent, so he would never go around destroying the unbelieving. Christ was adamant about forgiveness, which eliminates the sorting mechanism of the rapture, since sorting itself would be unforgiving.
A message of forgiveness somewhere down the line became a church of damnation. The Christian churches tell people that without Christ they are damned, but that was not the message of Christ at all; The message of Christ is that everyone, even nonbelievers, were saved.
Christians proselytise non-Christians under the mistaken belief that nonbelievers will not be saved by Christ during death or the rapture. Christ said that everyone is already saved, and being a believer is not a requirement — however denying belief was disqualifying.
What makes this seem like a bad choice is that if everyone who doesn’t forsake god will be given the same benefits of existence after death that people are supposed to have, it removes a real element of choice. No one would chose to die, or have something bad happen to them, if they weren’t pushed to by the possibility of something immoral or something worse happening otherwise.
Satanists reject the teachings of “god,” as they see it, because they view god as immoral and a tyrant, while the devil, to them, was a noble rebel who gave the world true knowledge, which is a prerequisite for true choice. Satanism as a religion doesn’t make any sense, mostly because the devil is not a god, and Satanists do believe in god but don’t like him. The problem is that Satanists do believe in god, and are acting in a way which they consider to be the most moral, meaning that their interpretation of the Christian doctrine has been to reject it.
Would Satanists, who believe in god and consider themselves to lead moral lives, be accepted by god as righteous individuals? If a Satanists were ever given the choice during a rapture to accept Christ or not, the only reason they would say no is because they didn’t trust Christ was telling the truth, and that an eternity with Christ would be worse than death. In this way, Christianity asks followship with god not because of moral guidance, but as an act of submission to the more powerful entity.
A loophole is that Christ or god could convince a Satanist that he was actually telling the truth, and the devil’s objections aren’t really important. If Christ is correct, and if everyone is given a properly informed choice, then no one could possibly choose in their right mind to die instead of going into the afterlife. What’s more, the bible actually never promises that there is an afterlife, but only suggests some kind of continuation. And the bible never mentions any concept of a hell, which was made-up later.
Satanists would be the only people who decided not to go to heaven, because they are the only people who have (A.) heard the message of Christ, (B.) fully believe that Christ exists as a divine entity, and (C.) still reject Christ as evil. Heretics believe in Christ and argue about the best way to follow him; Heathens, infidels, and pagans may or may not have heard the message of Christ and believe in another god and therefore don’t believe in Christ; And atheists don’t believe in Christ at all and reject Christ.
If there is a final moment of reconciliation with Christ during the rapture, then the problem of disbelief becomes obliterated, because everyone would have to believe in that moment. Only people who already believed and still rejected Christ would then make the choice to forsake him. And in the Christian perspective, surely those people must be well-meaning, but woefully misinformed.
Will Satanists be punished because they question Christ’s motives? It might not sound like a punishment, per say, but if everyone else doesn’t make the choice, and they’re acting on faulty information, they are suffering from misinformation beyond their control — and they are moral individuals. Satanists don’t follow the devil because they are immoral, since an immoral person would just abandon religion entirely. They actually have to believe that the devil has something worthwhile to offer them, and by definition, no one who believes god is good and the devil is bad would worship the devil. Worshipers of the devil believe that god is supposed to allow people to have free will, but limiting people’s choices by denying them the knowledge of sin while allowing the glaring contradiction of creating sin in the first place.
If Satanists are the only people in the world who won’t be saved by Christ at the end, because they are the only people making an informed (even misinformed) choice to forsake god, then it does begin to appear that god is punishing choice more than god is punishing sin. Sin is forgiven, but only choice can condemn or forsake a person — namely the choice to not go with Christ. But if going with Christ is an unequivocally good thing, and only this small exception of people will be deprived it, why does the exception exist at all.
Not only does it exist in the first place, it still exists after Christ died by crucifixion.
The whole message of Christ seems to make his death unnecessary. If humans were saved by the blood of Christ, why did Christ tell the world it was already saved before he died? If the point of his life was to tell the world that it was saved, why did he have to die to save the world?
What did Christ actually die for anyways, if Satanists still won’t be saved, and by the current definition of salvation through submission to faith in god, never can be saved because they will never agree to that?
The only believer’s explanation is that god killed Christ off for something that even Christ wasn’t aware of, not the salvation of mankind, and made a special point of showcasing the death and resurrection followed by an uncharacteristic flight from Earth. Christ refused to flee Jerusalem, which led to his death, but after his death he came back to life then immediately fled the living world, including Jerusalem. It almost comes off as if the message didn’t get through to him until they proved just how serious they were, by murdering him.
The only rational explanation of all the death inconsistencies is that Christ never expected to be murdered, and it kind of ruined his plans. However, he did know people wanted to kill him, and previous attempts had been made on his life. As a mortal, he had to die somehow, eventually. So Christ wasn’t divine and was a prophet who was murdered, or he was divine and chose a very theatrical death.
The problem is: Why did he have to choose a death at all? Why not give the message of salvation to the world, and simply leave. He ultimately left anyways, so why go through all the self-doubt and dramatics of dying?
The death of Christ accomplished nothing. It didn’t save the world, because the world was already saved. And it didn’t preserve the possibility of choice, because there is no effective choice if everyone is going to be saved at the end of the Christian calendar, except for those people who willingly and informedly choose to be erased. The bible doesn’t even answer itself. Christ doesn’t answer himself.
What are Christians going to do if there is a rapture and they realise they never actually had a choice their entire life? Making people choose good or bad, and punishing people who think traditional ‘bad’ is actual ‘good,’ isn’t a form of salvation.
There may yet be existential and eschatological questions yet to be answered. Christ dying proves he didn’t know everything, so why should people listen to him? Not that they shouldn’t, but why should they?