What does Jesus save us from?

Post from Gezza:

What does Jesus save us from?

This a question that has puzzled me from the first time that I began to wonder, whenever I heard the constantly uttered slogan from Believers in Christianity that Jesus is our Saviour. Saviour from what?

Fortunately this is answered, reasonably comprehensively, in my view, in this summary here:


Jesus is the most important figure in all of human history. He is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9), physically risen from the dead (John 2:19-21), Lord (Luke 24:34), and Savior (Acts 5:30-32). He came to die for sinners (Rom. 5:8) and to deliver people from the righteous wrath of God upon us.

Are you a sinner?

Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, coveted, or been angry with someone unjustly? If so, then you have broken the Law of God. God has said, “You shall not steal; You shall not lie; You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall not murder, etc.,” (Exodus 20). He has given the standard of righteousness and if you have broken any of God’s commandments then you have fallen short of that standard and are under the inevitable judgment of God. When you die, you will face Him and on the Day of Judgment, He will punish all sinners.

Jesus is the One we all need to be saved. Him alone. Not your works (Rom. 3:10-12; Isaiah 64:6). Not your sincerity. Not your goodness. You have nothing to offer God except your sinfulness. It is only by the love and grace of God found in Jesus and His sacrifice that you can be delivered from the righteous wrath of God upon all who have broken His law. Jesus saves you from God.

God’s wrath on the Day of Judgment is upon sinners

On the Day of Judgment God will judge all people for their sins against Him. He will judge all who have lied, stolen, cheated, lusted, dishonored their parents, etc. He will do this because He is holy and righteous. God must punish the sinner. God cannot and will not ignore the person who has broken His righteous law. The Law is a reflection of the character of God. Therefore, to break God’s law is to offend God and deny the holiness of His character. He will be vindicated. He will judge.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). That means that your sins have caused a separation between you and God (Isaiah 59:2) and the result is death (Rom. 6:23) and wrath (Eph. 2:3). The only way to be saved from the wrath of God, is to be saved from it by faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 5:1). You must trust in what Jesus did on the cross to forgive you of your sins and not trust anything else, not even your own sincerity or works. It is Jesus and only Jesus who can turn away the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.

The Gospel

The gospel is that Jesus died for sinners on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4). His death was a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God (1 John 2:2). This is the only way to be saved.

Jesus is the one who died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). He is the only way to the God the Father (John 14:6). He alone reveals God (Matt. 11:27). He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). It is only through Him that you can be saved from God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3). He can forgive you of your sin (Luke 5:20; Matt. 9:2). He can remove the guilt that is upon your soul. Jesus can set you free from the bondage of sin that blinds your eyes, weakens your soul, and brings you to despair. He can do this because He bore sin in His body on the cross (1 Peter. 2:24) that those who trust in Him would be saved.

If you are not a Christian and want to be delivered from the righteous judgment of God upon you due to your sin against Him, then you must come to the One who died for the sins of the world. Come to the One who died for sinners (Matt. 11:28). Turn from your sins. Believe and trust in Jesus. Receive Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4) as your Lord and Savior. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Receive Christ (John 1:12). Only He can wash you clean from your sins and only Jesus can deliver you from the righteous judgment of a holy and infinite God. Pray to Jesus. Seek Him. Ask Him to save you.
He will.
… … …
PS: By the way, please note that the writer of this material states that: the Jesus of Mormonism (the brother of the devil), the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (an angel made into a man), the Jesus of the New Age (a man in tune with the divine consciousness), etc., cannot save you from your sins. That Faith is only as good as the person in whom you put it… the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is God in flesh, the creator. God is a trinity and Jesus is the second person of the trinity.


My considered opinion on all that

I’m sorry but, looked at in the cold, clear light of rationality, modern education, plain common sense, and in the context of the modern world (or any “world” which has never had, or which long ago outgrew the foolish notion in more primitive societies that sacrifices must be made to propitiate vengeful, powerful, human-like gods) in my view, this is a really, obviously, long-out-of-date – understandable – but silly idea.

Even if you want to believe there’s some sort of supernatural, scientifically undetectable or empirically-unprovable creator – what intelligent, educated person these days can seriously be expected to still believe in this very old idea? That of sacrificing animals, plants, even humans, to placate, thank, or feed imagined gods – which it was quite reasonably thought back then must somehow be responsible for natural phenomena whose causes and mechanisms were otherwise incomprehensible at the time – that seems to have been widespread among ancient, primitive, uneducated societies everywhere ?

Even the Aztecs, who seem to have had some knowledge of astronomy, are reported to have also been in to killing & sacrificing willing or unwilling unfortunates to gods. But, like the ancient Kingdom of Israel, their civilisations eventually crumbled or were eclipsed by other peoples’, with other gods, who just ignored theirs & took over.

And even if it is accepted that Jesus of Nazareth was one of many – usually blokes – who had during their lifetime, observed the behaviour of their fellows & concluded there must be a better way for humans to live to make a kinder, nicer, more generous, more gentle, more tolerant society – thought about it, & began to formulate, teach & preach his ideas – there’s nothing particularly unusual about this.

It’s kind of common sense stuff, once you abandon the idea a primitive imaginary god – that some persuasive person or leader had thought up, & which (or who) they’d convinced others, had given them not just 7 practical common sense “laws” to prevent common causes of disharmony, violence & rage, disruption & vengeance in societies everywhere, but also dozens of other unnecessary rules, customs, & rituals to govern simple tribal peoples living relatively unsophisticated lives in places like the Middle East.

I remember realising one day that it wasn’t just my parents & my Christian upbringing, nor empathy, that had embedded in me notions of fairness, compassion, charity, self-control, patience, good & bad, right & wrong, belief in looking & working always for the triumph of virtue over evil & cruelty. As a young child, I was an avid reader of children’s books. And Many Stories, Fairy Tales, Fables, & Wise Proverbs, from many parts of the world, had done exactly the same thing.

Isn’t it much more likely that this was ALL that a wise man, Jesus of Nazareth, did? Teach his theory of better behaviour? And that the rest of it is just embellishment by his disciples & later converts who never knew him – initially just to help them sell his ideas to folk who still believed in their original imaginary god, Jaweh?


This post has been added to the Your NZ menu for easy access. If there is continued interest in this it may be continued, or there may be further linked posts.

This post and discussion may be confronting for some people – if you don’t like your religious beliefs challenged then it may not be for you.

The usual rules on decent debate and no abuse apply – this is a debate on the concepts of gods and religion, and is not an opportunity for free shots at specific groups of religious followers. Comments that I think are inappropriate may be edited or deleted.

Other guest posts will be considered on this topic, but they need to be aimed at encouraging debate and should not try to preach a particular religious position.

Leave a comment

74 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 14, 2019

    Agreed. And this expands on my comment yesterday that as an unbeliever I am much happier than believers who must constantly worry they have failed their standard for perfection and may fail the entrance exam for eternal life.

    Who could better that for a self-inflicted torment?

    Not that it seems to worry the likes of Bishop Tamaki whose enjoyment of material assets in this world seems proportionate to his exhortations to his flock to transfer theirs to enter the next.

    Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  April 14, 2019

      And here was me thinking that good hard-core logical-positivists like yourself, Alan, are usually aware that personal anecdote is the weakest form of evidence! 😃

      Bad religion, like bad politics, bad ideology, bad parents, bad teachers, any bad authority may exploit guilt and shame. But the only reason they can is that they are already a natural existential reality of the human condition.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 14, 2019

        I’m offering the logic not the example, Kimbo.

        Doubt your last sentence is meaningful. Anything that happens must be a natural existential reality.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  April 14, 2019

          Fair enough. Let me rephrase; do you think there is such a thing as the human conscience?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 14, 2019

            Of course. How it comes about is a question for science rather than theology.

            Reply
            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Irrespective of the origins of conscience (and as I don’t dismiss metaphysics I favour both science and theology and/or philosophy myself. BTW, isn’t “logic” an expression of metaphysics? 😀)

              …theology provides a proven practical means for many to assuage the existential reality of a troublesome conscience.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              Logic is no more metaphysical than mathematics and physics.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              For assuaging conscience I recommend action over theology.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Yet again, Alan, by assuming that theology does not entail action, you commit the logical fallacy of the false dichotomy/excluded middle.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              …and last I looked, logic is a branch of philosophy, not mathematics or physics.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              Mathematical logic is a branch of mathematics. Attempts to derive mathematics from logic failed. Neither are a branch of each other. Logic is part of computer science as well as mathematics and philosophy and employed by all of science.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              I didn’t say it is a branch. I said it is on the same level.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              Action is specific irrespective of theology and implies more than words and lip service.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              I didn’t say it is a branch. I said it is on the same level.

              No, you didn’t say logic is a branch of philosophy – I did. I thought that was indisputable, but am interested to see you give it a go.

              Not sure we are envisaging the same thing with metaphysics. Whatever else, it deals with abstractions beyond the physical Universe – which are measured by the hard sciences such as Physics, Chemistry, etc. Sure Mathematics is also abstract but it is sure different from logic.

              Put it this way – in which branch of Science and/or the Humanities does logic best lie?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              Strange order in this thread. I answered your 7:10 at 7:19 but it somehow appears above.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Yeah, saw that. Cheers.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              I just want to add that logic, mathematics and physics underpin all of science and develop in conjunction with it.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Hmm. Yes, you can’t do science without logic….but it isn’t science itself. Physics is, and mathematics is in that ballpark. But logic is, in the first instance a form of metaphysics.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 15, 2019

              I don’t see logic as different from arithmetic or geometry. And quantum physics is as metaphysical and physical as all of them.

    • The goal is not happiness, but to be at peace. Most Saints lived very unhappy lives, but were completely at peace with themselves and their place in the world.

      It is not easy to struggle against one’s passions, and indeed those who don’t are much happier. However, ultimately it will be our passions that torment us. A little torment from that struggle now, to stave off much more torment later sounds like a better deal to me.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 14, 2019

        I think you have an odd notion of peace. However as I don’t know any saints I will defer to your judgement of them.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  April 14, 2019

          I think you have an odd notion of peace.

          In the three Abrahamic religions peace/shalom/salaam means wholeness or completeness and freedom from strife, be it cosmic, corporate, and as per blairmulholland example, personal (psychological, emotional, phyiscal, etc.) .

          As those are universal human desires, religion resonates with people. But as per yesterday, it is in the eye of the beholder whether or not the proposed solutions offered by religion are wish-fulfillment.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 14, 2019

            Struggle and torment don’t sound like freedom from strife to me.

            Reply
            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Seriously? Most good things of value, including personal improvement involve travail and often-painful growth.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 14, 2019

              You seem to overlook the distinction between being there and getting there.

  2. Blazer

     /  April 14, 2019

    Jesus will …save you…from yourself.

    Carrot =Heaven,stick=Hell….time honoured method.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 14, 2019

      Yup. Bingo. And all the rest of it is just an expansion of your ellipses.

      Reply
  3. Kimbo

     /  April 14, 2019

    Cheers, Gezza. Interesting to see you make the step from amateur psychologist yesterday (Why do people believe in a non-existent Abrahamic God?) to amateur theologian today. 😃)

    I don’t dispute that the version of the Gospel you have presented exists, indeed since the so-called “Second Great Awakening” on the frontier of 1820s America, it is all to common. In that sense if the parts of the church that are the most vocal and ever-ready to market a simplistic and dumbed-down supermarket version of Christianity, then other Christians can’t really complain if the (‘scuse me getting theological, but you did start it!) holiness-tradition Arminian Protestant version is wheeled out for examination and dismissal.

    I’ll try and be brief in presenting a more nuanced alternative. A few days ago you posted a copy of Genesis chapter 3, the “tale of the talking snake”. Irrespective of the dramatis personæ, a careful reading of the Hebrew narrative according to the principles of interpretation of that genre presents universal human existential problems, albeit in the context of 1st or 2nd Millennium Ancient Near Eastern agrarian priorities.

    For example, there is conflict between people; the man and the woman are now at odds. Hence Adam’s very-human response of blame-shifting when God queries him about the cause of his disobedience,

    “The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

    There is now also struggle with nature – the ground gives forth inedible weeds, and must be must worked with hard toil to produce sustenance (verse 17-19).

    Also, there is natural conflict between humanity and the animals:

    So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (verse 14-15).

    And, as per verse 7:

    Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

    …there is a universal human existential problem of guilt.

    And the great leveller,

    …until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. (19b).

    Whatever it is from which Jesus “saves” us, according to the Scriptures it is, and will be ultimately those universal problems. You talk of the idea of animal sacrifice to propitiate ancient gods as “primitive”. Ok, but it was still nonetheless their existing belief system before the advent of the revelation of the Old Testament (hence you also mentioned the Aztecs in another continent). When God spoke to those ancients he used examples and illustrations, or more precisely analogies (two things that are different in every respect except for one point of comparison). Hence the existing propitiatory sacrificial system, picked up from the surrounding Ancient Near East and modified in the books of the Torah, is a useful one with which to present the gospel/saving message of Jesus to both Jews and gentiles of the 1st century.

    You may, in a different place and time and culture find God’s “comms message” outdated, crude and superstitious. Fair enough. but then on that basis much of literature (and whatever else the books of the Old and New Testament are, they are literature and should be read and understood as any other literature according to their genre), including Homer, Shakespeare or Mark Twain is deficient.

    Or maybe the problem is with you, in not rightly comprehending that the Gospel of Christ as presented in the culturally and historically-framed narratives of the Scriptures, which purport to address those universal existential problems…from which I’d suggest you are not immune. You don’t have to believe it, but may I suggest if you are going to profess to understand its core message, then you need to do more study…used-car salesmen evangelists like Israel Folau trying to peddle a dumbed-down “buy-it now” version notwithstanding! 😀

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 14, 2019

      I’ll have a better read of that shortly, Kimbo. But I do wish you would stop attempting to label & pigeonhole me. Neither is of much interest to me. I’m happy just to use my own intellect to examine matters that interest, & and to go deeper & do more reading if I find I don’t understand things sufficiently to form a considered, logical viewpoint.

      While I know that people like philosophers & theologians like to examine all kinds of concepts & theorise about them, the few times I’ve bothered to look into any of them or their theories & categorisations of ideas or themes, they’ve bored me.

      Christian & religious theologians have seemed to me have a basic underlying existing belief or need to have or find a God & to attribute aspects of the human condition – including the psychological needs they have – to them.

      I think they’re a waste of my (& others’ time). Because I don’t have any pre-conceived belief in the need for a God to start with. (I do think what we have learned thru psychology explains much, & personal experience explains much about our needs, morals, concepts such as conscience.

      I don’t recognise any religious authority on the existence of gods. Because I don’t think there is one. Only people who like to invent & argue different belief concepts with each other. I see no need to do that. Whether one needs & believes in a god or gods with any properties boils down to a personal decision, if one is able to make it rationality.

      I don’t think this is arrogance. This is just my own view & reasoning & I’m happy to be talked out ofbit, but I see no need at present to change it. do see a need to question many aspects of the Abrahamic God belief, which morphs all the time as knowledge increases & new, often mind-boggling, seem to me to have been devised by believers – and especially those professionally religious – who make, or have made, their living off religion to explain away all the now-obviously-wrong things.

      Once it was all taken literally & the doctrine that the Bible is the Word Of God & there were no errors of any significance was simply drummed into & accepted by the faithful. In fact it could be downright dangerous not to.

      I’m posting a response to a comment of yours in yesterday’s thread shortly, as well.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  April 14, 2019

        *often mind-boggling theories & arguments

        Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  April 14, 2019

        No Gezza. Not trying to pigeon hole you much less criticise you lack of faith in God. Just suggesting you need to acquire more tools in interpreting and applying Bronze and Iron Age literature before opining on their message. Irrespective of the fact there are many purportedly qualified Christian preachers who also are too quick to shoot from the hip.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  April 14, 2019

          Well, I might, but my point is not that the messages are wrong but that the Biblical God’s communication strategy is incredibly incompetent & in fact is an absolute bloody shambles. He needs to be sacked, in my view.

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  April 14, 2019

            Because it does not match your cultural expectations?! Not wanting to pigeon hole you, but when you complain about

            …but also dozens of other unnecessary rules, customs, & rituals to govern simple tribal peoples living relatively unsophisticated lives in places like the Middle East.

            …that’s sure what it sounds like. OK, so what else from the Ancient – and Medieval and pre-early 21st Century do you want to ditch because it is just, oh, so tedious to take the time to understand what it meant, and what it may mean now?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              Because it does not match your cultural expectations?!

              No. Because everybody is so confused by what is trying to tell us, so it obviously didn’t think this comms strategy through.

              I accept that it can’t be expected to have thought of everything, nobody knows everything – but surely to God it had considered the possibility that people might one day invent writing, try to write it all down, clearly, in languages that would disappear & would then go and lose the bloody originals?

              And there were no bloody Notes:, saying things like:

              “Note: For the avoidance of doubt, this bit is not meant to be taken literally. If you weren’t there at the time & are strugglng with the translations now – for further clarification, come back later in the 20th Century, when people have backtracked & figured it out – & talk to whoever got it thru to blairmulholland & Kimbo. Thank you.
              God.
              Signature……………………… Date …./…./….”

              Tell me, if you think you are going to make it thru the Pearly Gates (using some simple tools to interpret what this really means) what does it ultimately want – from YOU, and from others who pass their entrance exam on marking day?

              What will you (and they) be doing for eternity? What has it told you in its Holy guidebook?

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              I would suggest, Gezza, for all of the undoubted issues and challenges in interpreting Scripture, it helps if you focus on the big questions and answers first. Bg rocks before small pebbles. Hence your questions are straightforward in terms of a bare answer, although admittedly complex in how they are applied and experienced in the Chrsitian life. For example:

              Tell me, if you think you are going to make it thru the Pearly Gates (using some simple tools to interpret what this really means) what does it ultimately want – from YOU, and from others who pass their entrance exam on marking day?

              16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1: 16-17)

              What will you (and they) be doing for eternity? What has it told you in its Holy guidebook?

              Heaven, the dwelling place of God, and earth become one and the same place. So a renewed world, free of disharmony, with a renewed humanity within it (and as this is apocalyptic literature which uses highly figurative language, it is using the familiar analogy of a walled city familiar in Roman Empire, to try and capture the cosmic reality and experience beyond the end of this Age):

              Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
              5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
              6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

              22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21: 1-7, 22-27)

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              …but surely to God it had considered the possibility that people might one day invent writing, try to write it all down, clearly, in languages that would disappear & would then go and lose the bloody originals?
              And there were no bloody Notes

              Uh, huh, yet elsewhere you complain:

              It is one of the problems when discussing religion & Chritianity that it soon goes off in all sorts of directions because over time more & more theologians, religious, professionals & sect leaders have introduced many more versions & so many metaphysical concepts…

              ….when people, some with great expertise spend time trying to explain to people like you and me, the meaning of the texts, both to the original recipients and also for us now.

              You are a mighty hard man to please, Gezza! Indeed a contradictory one. Maybe this advice from Jesus, admittedly written in a 1st Century musical analogy and in a way typical of Jewish rhetoric, may assist:

              31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “ ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’ 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” (Luke 7:31-35).

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              Oh gawd. Figurative be damned.

              Revelations reads like it was written by someone having a series of psychotic episodes & lsd trips, truly. If you are relying on that for the answer, no wonder other peoples have come up with their own other ideas & preferred those instead.

              Those read like fairy tale magic castle land descriptions – and I don’t mean that in an insulting way. They sound to me like some class of 10 or 11 year olds’ cobbled-together class project white board thought cloud ideas for a nicer world one day. Which is not entirely inapt given the level of knowledge & education at the time (although that is not to say they were stupid; there’s nothing to suggest the human brain’s structure or function has physically changed in the last 2,000 years).

              Ok. I might leave this one here. I don’t buy the apocalyptic prophecies – and I don’t think anyone else should either.

              Just a minor point, although I am only ever giving my viewpoint & opinion, it would be wrong for you to think I lack any knowledge or understanding of some of these concepts you think I know nothing about. Like you I have sources of information who do know these in some detail, I watch & listen religious/atheist debates – sometimes 2 hours or so long – & while I don’t see the atheists featured as authorities for my views either (I don’t even like some of them), I have seen & listened to them debate the validity & usefulness or otherwise of the more famous theologians & religious & other philosophers in rebuttal.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Revelations reads like it was written by someone having a series of psychotic episodes & lsd trips, truly. If you are relying on that for the answer, no wonder other peoples have come up with their own other ideas & preferred those instead.

              No, not “Revelations” (plural), but the Revelation (singular). Is a common mistake that, unfortunately betrays a very basic misunderstanding in interpreting of what the Apocalypse is revealing.

              And as apocalyptic was a well-established Hebrew genre in the centuries leading up to 96AD, designed to disguise the meaning from the casual reader, it’s a form of code written by a persecuted community to convey their message in a way that is unintelligible to the authorities if it falls into their hands. Hence the stylistic features for which you criticise it are deliberate….and more complex than your supposedly sophisticated 21st Century eye has discerned this far.

              I mean, you may as well gripe “why did that Billy Shakespeare write all those bloody sonnets in 14 lines in Elizabethan poetry!”. If you cant be bothered learning about it because (as you’ve mentioned elsewhere), it isn’t important to you, fair enough. But Gezza, when you do opine from ignorance, irrespective of whether you believe it or not, it is just that – ignorance.

              Just a minor point, although I am only ever giving my viewpoint & opinion, it would be wrong for you to think I lack any knowledge or understanding of some of these concepts you think I know nothing about. Like you I have sources of information who do know these in some detail,…

              Great. But if you do have access to “sources of information” regarding the biblical literature of which you are ever ready to criticise, I can but observe

              1. it doesn’t show from much you’ve written thus far, and

              2. it might lift the standard of debate immensely if you were to drag ’em out!

              Cheers,

              Kimbo

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              I mentioned elsewhere that I regard apologists, including the Christian variety as akin to used car salesmen. True story:

              I once had a discussion with a well-known and world-famous NZ Christian apologist. I probably got off on the wrong foot by asking him, “hey, I know apologists are ultimately trying to help others understand the gospel, but do you think, in their desire to “prove” the Scriptures, they come up with simplistic, even distorted explanations that muddy the waters when it comes to ordinary people understanding the Bible” (I was thinking of how some try and use the alleged predictive prophecy of the Old Testament to “prove”, in a Nostradamus-like fashion, that Jesus of Nazareth had to be the Messiah”. Interpreting the Old Testament is difficult enough without treating it first and foremost as an instant prediction-book, which is all too common in churches).

              Well, when he answered, “why should I waste my time talking to you?”. I knew we were off to a start different to what I had anticipated. 😀

              Should have seen his reaction when I said, as I posted earlier, “the Bible is a collection of literature” (meaning whether you believe it or not, that’s the way you should interpret it – like any other literature of varying genres.

              “No it’s not!!! It’s the Word of God!!”.

              “Yeah, I’m not saying it isn’t the Word of God, indeed I believe that too. But that doesn’t stop it being…literature”

              “No it’s not!!” etc.

              When I mentioned a few theologians and biblical scholars he counselled I should throw those books away. I decide “f*%k you, you big goat’s c*&k” …but I resolved to be gracious enough not to throw his books off my shelf. Where they still remain. In spite of his arrogant rubbish attitude. 😀

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              Ok, that does need a precise answer.

              1. it doesn’t show from much you’ve written thus far, and

              With no disrespect, I don’t want to trawl thru the Bible (that is all over the place) & then post great tracts of old-fashioned language when I don’t think it is necessary to quote big chunks of scripture to get, or make, a point.

              That is one of the clear flaws, in my view, in the proofs for the Biblical God. It doesn’t matter what you say this conceptual metaphorical stuff that needs to be seen in a context arguably applicable to two millennia back that you & other doggedly committed determined believers argue must be used to understand & interpret what it really means.

              I sm not a stupid person. I live in the 21st Century. His requirements & rules & real estate descriptions etc are intended also for folk like me.

              God is supposed to be perfect (to summarise somewhat extremely). They should be simple, clear, accurate & intelligible in any language. FFS, humans can do this in technical, medical, psychological, policy statements, UN Charters. Instead he has faffed about for centuries with this confusing set of interminably olde age garbled blueprints, song sheets, proverbs, historical novels, dreamtime legends, washing instructions, & table manners.

              God should be able to just get to the bloody point. Today. Once a week. Worldwide. Everywhere. We need to re-examine those properties of God we’ve discussed previously, because he’s not up to scratch.

              2. it might lift the standard of debate immensely if you were to drag ’em out!

              You don’t set the standard. Nobody dictates what’s relevant or how the issues should be discussed. Unless they know that empirical proofs & modern day explanations are perfectly valid answers for things like consciences, morals, values, “spirituality” etc.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Yeah, nah – you demand something that is not possible of any literature over time. All language and illustrations and analogies by which concepts are mediated change over time. The Bible was (to quote you) “simple, clear, accurate & intelligible” to those to whom it was originally written….just as Chaucer and Shakespeare were the same for their original audiences. The further downstream you go the further you have to use appropriate tools to discern the original meaning and a faithful application today. You may not be stupid – indeed, I don’t think you are – but you just haven’t thought this one through enough.

              Oh, yes and speaking of reading more carefully, I didn’t say I set the standard of debate, nor do I intend to dictate any. Hence I deliberately phrased my advice as a suggestion:

              “it might lift the standard of debate immensely if you were to drag ’em out!”

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              Also, if, as you say

              I don’t want to trawl thru the Bible

              …from where then, pray tell, did you ultimately derive the question of this entire post

              What does Jesus save us from??

              Sorry, Gezza. No one has the right to dictate to you, but in free and open debate in a public forum anyone has the right to point out glaring inconsistencies.

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              I think we’re talking past each other again. We agree the Bible Old Testament was wriiten for its time. God, it is argued, wanted the Israelitea to know & do his bidding, & know & follow his laws. Ok. Good so far. Except they were such backsliders; they were forever in the grotney pudding & needed reminders & divine punishments regularly – suggesting design problems in the humans & the instructions, to me.

              (I like to use humour & colliquial language to illustrate how odd or musing issues with the Bible often seem to non-believers. It’s my way. Maybe I need to try & stop that because you may be misinterpreting it as being flippant, or saracastic – neither is intended.)

              But with the New Testament came a new God concept & Jesus. And it’s not actually any easier to understand God’s wishes for us in many places, and it’s prophetic which means it still gets argued over. The disciples reportedly expected him to return in glory before they died, for example.

              But the messages are supposed to be valid for all men for all time until the end times & the arrival of the new heaven on earth.

              He talked to them back then (the story goes). He could explain, show, clarify. He proved his supernatural power to them. He actually DID work miracles. The story goes. They had reason to believe he was God. He gave them empirical proofs. Then he buggered off.

              The rest of it is history. Nobody’s ever got any more, up to date, empirical proofs. All we have is the stories – debated among sects.

              Why? Why no more proofs when clearly needed then. Just as clearly needed now.

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              …from where then, pray tell, did you ultimately derive the question of this entire post

              It was a straight out google query. Saved heaps of time.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              So just to be clear based on that last post, your primary complaint is not really that the Bible says that, in some way Jesus died to save us

              ….but that the Bible, indeed any written record of a purported divine revelation, will over time prove a wholly inadequate means by which to give it?

              OK, well that is a different topic to what you have posted here (which at least presumed to interact with Scripture – after all if the Bible tells us Jesus died to save us, one would presume it is also the best source from which to find out from what we are saved)

              …so maybe if that is what you think we are discussing, send through another post to Pete (that’s a suggestion, not a demand nor dictate).

              And maybe (again a suggestion, not a demand nor dictate) you might like to suggest, if there is a transcendent God in the Abrahamic model (or any other), how best do you think he should reveal himself?

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              It was a straight out google query. Saved heaps of time.

              Love that sense of humour but for all your complaints about ancient literature being incomprehensible, maybe (a suggestion, not a demand nor dictate) it would help if you read more recent writing, indeed a post I wrote today, more carefully. As per my emphasis, I asked

              …from where then, pray tell, did you ultimately derive the question of this entire post? 😀

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              From my mind.

              Do you want to rephrase the question?
              Just so that there is no possibilty of any ambiguity?

              I’m reading your two replies above, Kimbo. Will respond.

            • Kimbo

               /  April 14, 2019

              I think you may (yet again, a suggestion, not a demand nor dictate) need to research more the meaning of the word “ultimately”. I’m sure the name “Jesus”, and the concept of “salvation”, and contemplation of its alleged nature and extent did not originate sui generis (google it – you’ve already confirmed you know how 😀) from your mind, but rather derive ultimately (there’s that word again) from the Bible.

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              Ultimately every thought I have originates in my mind. Therefore the question did. Sometimes your tendency to talk down to me when chastising maybe needs a little more careful thought beforehand. Your questions are not always as clear to the receiver as they sre to the sender.

              So just to be clear based on that last post, your primary complaint is not really that the Bible says that, in some way Jesus died to save us
              ….but that the Bible, indeed any written record of a purported divine revelation, will over time prove a wholly inadequate means by which to give it?

              No, my point was that he didn’t need to die to save us. That this is connected with the whole pagan idea of sacrifices & wasn’t necessary. That I think I can see why it was desirable for the sacrificial lamb idea to be worked in to the Gospels for the sake of proving the degree of God’s love for his wayward creations by sacrificing his son & has huge psychological emotional impact & appeal to the Jews & other Gentiles familiar with the practice. But it doesn’t absolve anyone from sin. And I reckon it was a post facto idea, to fit it to a prophecy.

              Heaven & hell were good ideas. I don’t believe his death or his teachings will save us from the wrath of God, because I don’t believe that God exists.

              OK, well that is a different topic to what you have posted here (which at least presumed to interact with Scripture – after all if the Bible tells us Jesus died to save us, one would presume it is also the best source from which to find out from what we are saved)

              I see your point. I agree now.

              …so maybe if that is what you think we are discussing, send through another post to Pete (that’s a suggestion, not a demand nor dictate).

              I think two posts in two days from me is enuf for now. I may come back with that later.

              And maybe you might like to suggest, if there is a transcendent God in the Abrahamic model (or any other), how best do you think he should reveal himself?

              A personal appearance with the opportunity to quiz or see the wounds (shouldn’t be a problem to miracle those up)

              A miracle – an observed, preferably reliably (& for external phenomena visually recorded – a la, the miracle of the sun), supernatural occurrence, prayed for & delivered, that breaks any known laws of physics or say, completely cures a substantial physical health condition with an evidentially supported prognosis of progressive deterioration or death

              The unmistakeable grand return of Jesus in glory, as predicted in the Bible (which some of his apostles were expecting in their own lifetimes, I believe, owing to yet another miscommunication)?

              Remember, this God doesn’t have to remain hidden. It has frequently shown itself with various manifestations. Reportedly. But now it doesn’t.

              Late enuf for me. I do you see your point that my topic heading should have been different as it was not the main point of my commentary. I will pay closer attention to that in future.

              One from someone else next before me, I think. Nite Kimbo.

            • Gezza

               /  April 14, 2019

              Drat. Another long reply has gone into the Twilight Zone & won’t appear until PG finds & releases it tomorrow morning. I’m getting a bit concerned God’s got it in for me now, Kimbo.

              Late enuf for me. Another post from someone else before me next.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 15, 2019

              The more words you two use the less interested I get.

              Being a simple soul of few words I tend to think if you can’t say it simply you don’t know what you are talking about and don’t want anyone to realise that.

    • Gezza

       /  April 14, 2019

      Thanks Kimbo. I did a longer interim response but it’s gone into the ether. Probably PG’s spam folder or the moderation queue & will hopefully eventually get released.

      You may, in a different place and time and culture find God’s “comms message” outdated, crude and superstitious.

      That’s not really what the problem with it is that denies the credibility of the Biblical God Theory. That’s only a part of the problem.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  April 14, 2019

        Ah. Good. It’s arrived. PG has obviously located it & been its salvation. 👼🏼

        Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  April 14, 2019

        Fair enough, but as you are adopting a bit of a scatter gun approach, I can only respond to and address what you write one at a time, and in as orderly a manner as I can.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  April 14, 2019

          Yes, well, I think I could argue with some justification & evidence that so do you. But I don’t think it’s been intentional. It is one of the problems when discussing religion & Chritianity that it soon goes off in all sorts of directions because over time more & more theologians, religious, professionals & sect leaders have introduced many more versions & so many metaphysical concepts as time has progressed & the translation issues & scientific & logical problems have damaged its credibility & coherence.

          Off fown to check on ma, have dinner, & watch Te News with her.

          I have tried to keep the topics narrowed to a simple question each time. And I think two from me is enuf for anybody for now. Do you think you might be able pick a topic you think needs understanding better & can confine to narrow parameters & have a bash at a post this week? Are you game enuf? 😉

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  April 14, 2019

            Will give it some thought and if I have enough time to do something that is relevant for believers and non-believers alike. Personally I always like exploring and the intersection between church/synagogue/temple/mosque and state as that is something that affects everyone in practical ways.

            Reply
  4. artcroft

     /  April 14, 2019

    There is boat load of scholarship done of comparative religions which is well worth reading to get a better handle on the phenomenon of religion. I suggest starting your questioning there if you are genuinely interested.

    Reply
  5. Penal substitutionary atonement, as students of theology call it, is a popular protestant soteriology, but it is false. Christ saves us from sin and death by His incarnation, death and resurrection, but not to pay some legalistic penalty owed to God the Father by us. Sin ontologically leads to death. The purpose of Christ’s saving acts was to defeat death, and bring about the resurrection of the dead. Jesus saves us from DEATH. Not some imagined juridical sentence imposed by God.

    PSA ultimately is not Christianity, but a form of gnosticism whereupon Christ’s acts merely separate disembodied souls from the wrath of God in some sort of walled Arcadia. But the purpose of Orthodox Christianity is to *unite* people to God in both body and soul, saving them and resurrecting them so they are at one with His Energies.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 14, 2019

      Good luck with that. I’m picking none of us will be saved from death, Christ or not.

      Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  April 14, 2019

      Had a feeling if we were to get the Eastern Orthodox perspective you would turn up. 😀 Modern Protestant theology is more inclusive and recognises the validity of more than just the penal-substitutionary view outlined in Gezza’s post. Including recognising the historical Orthodox priority on Christ addressing the problem of death. As in many cases both/and, rather than either/or is preferable to understand the multiplicity of meanings and applications, especially when it comes to the work of Christ.

      Reply
      • I don’t necessarily disagree with you, in a general sense at least. Atonement is an important aspect of salvation (and heavily present in the Bible). Even the substitutionary element is present, at least mystically. It’s when it is emphasized as the primary or only narrative that it becomes a problem, and especially if it is seen as Christ taking a legal punishment in our stead. Among other things, as even the likes of Richard Dawkins gleefully points out, it divides the Trinity and pits the persons of the Godhead against one another.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  April 14, 2019

          Yeah, as above I’m no fan of what an “altar call” revivalist like Charles Finney did with Calvin’s penal substitution. And among Protestants Calvin was the theologian of the Trinity, relying heavily upon the Cappadocians.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  April 14, 2019

            I’m realy pleased to see Blair here. I will read your exchanges on any topics with interest.

            Reply
  6. Jehan Casinader also talking about faith and gods.today.

    As a Christian, Folau’s comments make me angry. They’re inflammatory, tone-deaf and damaging to young people who may be processing their sexuality.

    But I’m also frustrated by the way in which many Kiwis have responded to Folau’s views – condemning not just him, but the entire faith community he claims to represent.

    It’s not surprising, because we aren’t good at talking about faith. In fact, the mere idea of a god – any god – makes some people deeply uncomfortable.

    For years, public discussion about religion has focused on its many failures. Division, wars and hatred. Muslim extremists. Sexual abuse by dodgy priests. Bad organ music and musty songbooks.

    And amongst the mess, a God who’s sitting on a cloud, eating grapes and throwing lightening bolts at us – the kind of God that Folau described.

    In 2018, the national Faith and Belief survey asked 1000 Kiwis for their views on spirituality. It found that our country is increasingly secular, with 55 percent of Kiwis not identifying with any religion.

    The survey also found that the top two issues that block people’s interest in Christianity are the church’s stance on homosexuality (47%), and the idea that a loving God could allow people to go to hell (45%) – exactly the two issues that Folau chose to amplify.

    In any real-life conversation, his views would be challenged and moderated by others. He would be encouraged to empathise and engage with those who have different points of view – and explain his beliefs about love and salvation. After all, by his own admission, Folau is a sinner.

    But on Twitter, which gives us a taste of what hell – if it exists – would look like, nuanced discussions are near impossible. Fire and fury trumps reasoned debate.

    We’ve missed the real conversation: is there actually room for communal faith in our culture? After all, individualism is at the centre of Western values. We hoard our personal wealth. We shut out our extended family. We build our own kingdoms.

    And yet, we struggle with loneliness and mental health issues. Our communities are fragmented. We wrestle with our demons in isolation and silence.

    There’s an irony here.

    Surrendering to a higher power doesn’t make you a saint. Those who believe in God, including me, are just as broken, flawed and selfish as everyone else.

    That’s why Folau – and those who have vilified him – have lost sight of the bigger picture. Judging others is easier than engaging in deeper conversations about faith, truth and morality.

    If there is a God, what is he or she really like? Where do we find meaning? And how do we decide what is right and wrong?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/opinion/111975887/as-a-christian-israel-folaus-searing-sermons-from-cyberspace-make-me-angry

    Doing better here at the moment.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 15, 2019

      Those last two sentences are actually good topics for here.

      Reply
      • Mother

         /  April 15, 2019

        Hello Alan. I agree with you re the multitude of words. But being not enough educated, I appreciate Kimbo’s theological explanations in context to Gezza’s words.

        Alan, PCANZ continue to cause my family grief. It’s because of that I am reduced to talking to strangers. So please forgive me wherever I annoy you. Some of my attitude is cheeky, but it helps my sanity and it’s also because I love my country. I don’t quit easily.

        I want to say to you that if the believers around you seem oppressed, you could consider putting your trust in Jesus Christ. Immediately you would receive the Holy Spirit. That’s His promise. You don’t have to earn Him.

        Then your strong self would be well placed to help those around you who are oppressed. You obviously care.

        Gezza’s main difficulties are because of dabbling in god stuff. It’s not his fault. Catholicism, and lies from other directions, hurt people. There’s a simple remedy.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  April 15, 2019

          your word is…worthless.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  April 15, 2019

          You don’t annoy me at all, Mother. I don’t disturb believers’ beliefs unless they try to disturb mine, or even less likely, ask me for help with them.

          I don’t need to trust Jesus. I appreciate his good ideas and intentions and subscribe to them without worrying about the metaphysics and God stuff I regard as fallacious extraneous padding designed to manipulate people and probably added gratuitously by those trying to use Him for their own purposes.

          Cheers and good wishes.

          Reply
          • Mother

             /  April 15, 2019

            That’s exactly what I do too Alan.

            I appreciate Jesus’ “good ideas and intentions and subscribe to them without worrying about the metaphysics and God stuff I regard as fallacious extraneous padding designed to manipulate people and probably added gratuitously by those trying to use Him for their own purposes.”
            This is the way I always behaved, and it sure does annoy the hell out of people. Unlike you though, I gave decades of patience to those clowns. I admire you. It must be so nice to be a strong man.

            There’s great underlying heart for Christianity in our country.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 15, 2019

              I’m a simple soul, Mother. Give me a good woman to love and things to do that are creative or help people and I’m happy.

        • Gezza

           /  April 15, 2019

          I want to say to you that if the believers around you seem oppressed, you could consider putting your trust in Jesus Christ. Immediately you would receive the Holy Spirit. That’s His promise. You don’t have to earn Him.

          Mother, I’m not going to respond further than this to your last paragraph up there because while it’s completely wrong, you genuinely believe that.

          Howver, in relation to that piece I’ve quoted above, I’ve “been there – done that”, more than once, and know many others who have too, & that is simply not true.

          Reply
          • Mother

             /  April 15, 2019

            I didn’t write that to you Gezza. It was especially for Alan.

            Gezza, what Alan wrote is very applicable to you.

            Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even more confusing is when those strange methods for ‘receiving the HS’ appear to work for others.

            But Gezza, this is a situation just between you and the Good Shepherd.

            I tell you my experience because you deserve to know –

            I’ve also been cajoled (briefly) into, and tempted by those ‘HS inspired’ type religious things you say you suffered from.

            Alan’s words are wise.

            I would never have come onto YNZ boldly stating my hope if I hadn’t been put out of Christian fellowship. For me, it was sink or swim, and the lioness rose up in me regarding my children, and I genuinely want to know the state of Christianity in NZ. Nobody can kick me out of the Body of Christ. I go by Jesus’ promises, one of which is that He gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust Him. You don’t even need a big trust. A little is enough.

            Blazer – oh I suppose I shouldn’t waste my time there.

            Jesus is the Victor.

            Reply
  7. Mother

     /  April 16, 2019

    “You have nothing to offer God except your sinfulness.”

    That’s very negative. That might be the way it is for some people. Others are more like, ‘Well God, I’m willing. There’s much I don’t understand. I accept that I cannot understand as much as I desire. Please take my willingness to admit that I need you, along with my willingness for you to convict me of my sin as we go along. I simply put my trust in Jesus. You judge whether it’s because I’m a sook or whether it’s because I’m genuine. I trust you to teach me. Thank you for your Holy Spirit.”

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 16, 2019

      “You have nothing to offer God except your sinfulness.” That’s very negative. Etc…

      Yes, it is. It’s a shallow & I think ignorant reduction of all human apes to a single category or personality – that of a “sinner”. And it’s quite hard to even define in any useful way exactly what sin is. Most explanations I’ve heard from Christians revolve at the core around the notion that they offend against their God, an anthropomorphic creature that reportedly revealed itself thru various actually humanly empirically demonstrated ways in the Bible but has become only a metaphysical concept as time has continued because it no longer does.

      The things we don’t understand that were attributed to God’s presence & actions everywhere have reduced immensely, sometimes completely, as we have learned to understand the natural, physical mechanisms which produce & drive them. God’s constant guiding hand & ongoing micro-management of everything in the universe isn’t necessary because it runs itself according to scientically demonstrated now-known physical laws.

      The same is happening with medical & social sciences, like psychology. We don’t need to try & understand ourselves in terms of how Christians & the Bible see us. We are far more complex than that.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s