“You have fallen into such immoraliy; your crimes are so great, they demand death in payment.”
Said the King to the horrified crowd.
“But I am kind; in your place I shall kill my only son to absolve you.”
“Can’t we just say we’re sorry?”
Someone yelled from the assembly.
Something I’ve never understood about the Christ story is why God needs to have his son crucified in order to absolve all of our sins. I’m sure I’ve said something like this before, and I’ll probably say something similar again, but what does Christ’s dying have to do with the sins of individuals? How, that is, does one person being punished absolve anyone else of a crime?
This feature of the story makes a little more sense if we think of the theological background at that time: Christianity was a new religion with ambitions to spread across the Roman Empire, which at that time had established religions: Judaism and Paganism (from Egypt for instance). The easiest way to get converts to your religion is to keep things pretty much the same as in your older competition. As an example, think of the dates of Christian festivals, all occuring around old pagan festivals.
Blood sacrifice was a large part of paganism and Judaism, and people were used to the idea of sacrificing animals to their God(s) for harvests/forgiveness/fertility etc. so it had to make an appearance in Christianity (people like familiarity after all). But Christianity wanted to phase out sacrifices; so, what to do? Well, you make the story revolve around the greatest blood sacrifice ever: the sacrificing of a God; an offering of such a magnitude that it wipes away all sins for all time.
Still, when we think about it now, does it really make much sense. Would an all powerful God, who is completely without limits, need a sacrifice in order to forgive us for sins, some of which were carried over from before our births? (think Garden of Eden and original sin) Surely, being all gracious and all loving, he could just forgive us. Perhaps someone will say that if God could forgive sins without payment at all then he would not be just and there wouldn’t really be any justice in the world. Maybe this is true, but how does sacrificing an innocent get you justice for a crime committed by someone else?
All very interesting, and all very confusing. That’s all for today. Pip Pip!