Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Jesus had a Really Bad Weekend for Our Sins

Dear Internet Diary,

I was just confronted by a belief I had not yet challenged. Those pesky things can sometimes elude me for years! I'm talking about the belief that Jesus' Suffering was the worst suffering anyone could endure.

I was listening to Julia Sweeney--Pat, from Saturday Night Live. She has a one-woman show called "Letting Go of God." She described the day she realized that there is no God. This suffering concept occurred to her sometime before she realized we all really die, for real. She said she could think of a lot of people that have suffered more, and for much longer, than Jesus supposedly did. Including her brother, who suffered from cancer.

I was shocked and surprised when I heard myself saying, "I never thought of that!" Just one more belief - virus supressed. Makes me wonder how many more of them are floating around in my system!

I have heard of this suffering idea before. I've read that the reason christians do not sacrifice anymore is that they acknowledge Jesus' sacrifice as being final. Any subsequent sacrifice would be vlasphemous to the suffering of Jesus. In this world, Jesus' suffering is kind of like the Speed of Light. We can only hope to approach it, but if you hypothetically could match it, you become it. So Jesus is the Ultimate Suffering, and Suffering Ultimately makes you Jesus. No matter how much pain you are in, you have to acknowledge that Jesus suffered more. That's what makes Christianity immoral. That suffering is holy, therefore as good as it gets. We do not want suffering. We want to get away from suffering. I guess their argument is, the more suffering on earth, the better it will be after death, or something crazy like that.

That would be inconsistent, however, with the idea of God's Grace. We're not supposed to be worthy of heaven, that's why God is so good. You're scum, but God's such a nice guy, if you scratch His back, he won't put throw you into a lake of fire or fill your intestines with parasites. So it doesn't matter, in this doctrine, how much you suffered or if you never suffered at all. What's happening with the hair-shirt, flagellation, and constant guilt people is some kind of just-in-case scenario. You never know when the devil could be tricking you or living inside your flesh, so just a few more punishments could do the trick.

It's all about hating the world, people. But it makes no sense. Human suffering is a fact of life, and some people suffer more than others. We shouldn't have a World Suffering Olympics. We should be trying to end suffering, not canonizing those who suffer. But don't be an asshole and tell POW survivors, or tell sick children that their weekly spinal taps, or chemotherapy vomiting is "nothing special. Now, what Jesus went through, that's suffering."


breakerslion said...

Hmmm. That's a pretty one that I somehow missed in my white bread protestant upbringing. What happy horse manure. The practice of sacrifice (animal and vegetable)was disappearing before the Romans put the screws (or nails) to poor Yeshua, that's what those money-changers were all about. The clergy of the day had already shifted to a cash economy. For that matter, every time the plate is passed in a third-world country, those poor people are sacrificing something to drop money into the church coffers.

The whole glorification of pain and suffering is just an adjunct to the concept that this world doesn't count, your reward is in heaven. That concept came about because: a. before modern medicine, life was fairly cheap, meaning you had about a 50-50 shot of dying young of disease anyway, and b. the glorification of suffering can be used to pave the way for whipping up the masses into a religious frenzy and pointing them at "the enemy". Pain and suffering in the service of the god is good! Ever hear of the Children's Crusade? If this seems outdated, think about Iran giving children little gold keys and dropping them off on the battlefield. Same god of Abraham! Control, control, control.

Hellbound Alleee said...

It's an easy way to get money out of your pants--or get a little boy out of his pants.

Rev. Barky said...

I was going to play devil's advocate and say that Jesus supposedly "DESCENDED INTO HELL. ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN" - you know, that place where you burn forever and ever and the fires are a thousand times hotter than the sun? Then I read somehwere that "hell" used to be just a place where the dead go and not a place of eternal torment.

Guess it wasn't so bad after all.;)

Hellbound Alleee said...

Well, that's a very interesting story.

First of all, the suffering that christians refer to is the cross stuff, never the hell stuff.

Besides, what happened in hell was not Jesus being tortured. He went to hell to free the saints of old; the ones who went there before. It's complicated, because everyone went to the same place before Jesus "saved" us. "Hell" meant "grave."
It referred to the underworld. Jesus, therefore, is Orpheus--this is not the only trait he shares with Orpheus. anyway, hell was this big circle, and "paradise" was sort of a zoo in the middle of the circle, where Moses and Noah and Abraham went. It had gates of iron. Jesus had to go get them and put them in heaven. How greek.

Anonymous said...

I listened to Julia Sweeney's story on NPR (and the rest of the show). I think most everyone has these revelations at some point in their life. It can go three ways: 1. The realization that jesus is bullshit and 'why am I wasting my life on him?' way. 2. Stress reaches a breaking point and a person chooses to believe it all hook line and sinker rather than accept their realizations. 3. Denial. Agnosticism. Apathy. Confusion. Go through the motions with family to avoid detection of doubt.
Julia Sweeney chose rational thinking. Only if more good people were like her. The bad people who don't believe are your greedy atheists (mega-corporate billionaires and such). The bad people who do believe are your televangelists, faith healers, Pat Robertson's and such. Ofcourse, even some of these assholes don't believe either, they just like lots of money from suckers (Jim Baker).

Hellbound Alleee said...

Boywonder: who are these 'bad" people you speak of? You seem to refer to them as "greedy," with the word "bad" somehow attached to it. I don't understand. Do you have some kind of religious belief associated with the acquiring of money? 'Cause I don't.

Also, "bad people and good people." Still--I'm not sure I get it. What'a a bad people? What's a good people? I don't know what that is.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a way to make sense of the Christian claim that Jesus suffered more than anyone. Think about it...

Remember, according to Christian dogma Jesus took on the burden of all the sins in the world and expiated those sins by suffering on the Cross.

Now what is the (pre-Jesus) punishment for sin? Eternal torment in Hell.

That means that in order to expiate the sins of even a single man, Jesus would have to suffer eternal torment in Hell. But since Jesus expiated the sins of not just one man but of all of humanity then he must have suffered in Hell for eternity multiplied by the number of humans there ever were or ever will be.

By this logic Jesus must have suffered eternal damnation billions of times over while on the Cross. Naturally no human being is capable of suffering multiple eternities in the short time Jesus was on the Cross. But little temporal inconveniences like that couldn't stop God.

Anyway, the point is that some Christians think Jesus suffered much more (virtually infinitely more) on the Cross than is evident from such movies like The Passion of the Christ, where Jesus is simply tortured for a few days... and it is Christ's voluntarily undergoing virtually infinite suffering for his love of Man combined with God's sacrifice of his own son for Man that make God/Jesus worthy of worship.

Personally, I'm an agnostic, so I don't believe this crap... but I can see their point (a point that goes way over the heads most atheists/agnostics, and possibly most christians, imo).

Hellbound Alleee said...

No, actually, the bible re-defined hell at that point. What happened during those 3 days in hell was not "suffering," according to scriptural texts left out. Jesus, just like Orpheus, went down to hell to rescue Moses, Noah, Elijah--all those stars--from Paradise.

Paradise was a place that was situated like a zoo inside sheol, which was still referred to as hell. It was basically Hades, or just a dark, hidden place. Jesus had to open the iron gate, get the saints out, and take them to Heaven II.

No, I am not making this up.

Hell becomes a lake of fire after Jesus comes and kicks ass and kills people like us. See, God creted a Lake of Fire for Lucifer and those wicked angels like Azazel, the fathers of the Nephilim, who taught mankind how to wear jewelry and makeup, get tatoos and paint pictures. After the Judgement day, all of us will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with these demons.

The Judgement Day is supposed to happen all at once. So the ones that die kind of wait around in a state of stopped time until The End, when we are all judged.

So you see, the punishment for sin is Death, as it says in the bible. The punishment for rejecting Christ is the Lake. Jesus did not go into the Lake, because nobody has gone there yet. Jesus went to Sheol.