Kyle S on Atonement (BOOK Club 7)
In comments on the previous post, Kyle S has been defending his version of the Biblical theory of atonement from the charge that it “doesn’t make sense” (see previous post). I respond below.
Hi Kyle S
You say the Biblical account (or rather, your version of it – many Christians, such as Rev Sam, reject your version) must make sense, “Otherwise, how would we be able to discuss the precise meaning of certain statements or consider possible counter examples?”
As I said, the sense in which it “doesn’t make sense” is not that the words are meaningless, but that the theory is bonkers. E.g. Like believing that fairies are what make the flowers grow (n.b. if you read the preceding post you will see that the context makes it perfectly clear that that is what I meant.)
You then say:
“Most of the responses to me in this thread seem to be along the lines of ‘but that doesn’t fit well with my understanding of morality’.”
Not quite. I say that these beliefs are not moral truths:
1. All wrong doing must be “paid for” with suffering and/or blood.
2. The sins of one person can be “paid for” with the suffering/blood of another.
3. We are all so utterly steeped in sin, that only the torture and death of a sinless god/man can “pay” the price and save us from… (well, what, hell?)
You can just assert these are moral truths, of course.
However, seems to me, you yourself don’t really buy into this moral point of view: while primitive peoples might have ordered their lives in accordance with it, no modern Christian does. You would surely consider a court that, say, allowed an innocent child to be sacrificed to “pay for” a murderer’s sin to be profoundly immoral. Indeed, somewhat bonkers! This would not “make sense”, morally speaking.
That’s precisely my reaction to your little theory about Jesus’ blood and suffering “paying for” my sins.
BTW, do you really see each human being as so full of sin that a price must be “paid” in blood, suffering and death, and not just their blood, suffering and death (for that wouldn’t be nearly a big enough “price”) but that of a sinless god/man? Can’t you take a step back and see, not just how bonkers that is, but also what an awful, poisonous word view it is?