Today is “Good Friday”: 10 Reasons the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense

I’m afraid that the crucifixion story doesn’t strike me as that big a deal.The Christian will say that death by crucifixion was a horrible, humiliating way to die. That the death of Jesus was a tremendous sacrifice, more noble and selfless than a person sacrificing himself for the benefit of a butterfly. And isn’t it worth praising something that gets us into heaven?Here are ten reasons why I’m unimpressed.

1. Sure, death sucks, but why single out this one? Lots of people die. In fact, lots died from crucifixion. The death of one man doesn’t make all the others insignificant. Was Jesus not a man but actually a god? If so, that fact has yet to be shown.

It’s not like this death is dramatically worse than death today. Crucifixion may no longer be a worry, but cancer is. Six hours of agony on the cross is pretty bad, but so is six months of agony from cancer.

2. What about that whole hell thing? An eternity of torment for even a single person makes Jesus’s agony insignificant by comparison, and it counts for nothing when you consider the billions that are apparently going to hell.

3. Jesus didn’t even die. The absurdity of the story, of course, is the resurrection. If Jesus died, there’s no miraculous resurrection, and if there’s a resurrection, there’s no sacrifice through death. Miracle or sacrifice—you can’t have it both ways. The gospels don’t say that he died for our sins but that he had a rough couple of days for our sins.

4. Taking on the sin vs. removal of sin aren’t symmetric. We didn’t do anything to get original sin. We just inherited it from Adam. So why do we have to do anything to get the redemption? If God demands a sacrifice, he got it. That’s enough. Why the requirement to believe to access the solution?

5. The reason behind the sacrifice—mankind’s original sin—makes no sense. Why blame Adam for a moral lapse that he couldn’t even understand? Remember that he hadn’t yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so who could blame him when he made a moral mistake?

And how can we inherit original sin from Adam? Why blame us for something we didn’t do? That’s not justice, and the Bible agrees:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)

6. Jesus made a sacrifice—big deal. Jesus is perfect, so his doing something noble is like water flowing downhill. It’s unremarkable since he’s only acting out his nature. What else would you expect from a perfect being?

But imagine if I sacrificed myself for someone. In the right circumstance, I’d risk my life for a stranger—or at least I hope I would. That kind of sacrifice is very different. A selfish, imperfect man acting against his nature to make the ultimate unselfish sacrifice is far more remarkable than a perfect being acting according to his nature, and yet people make sacrifices for others all the time. So why single out the actions of Jesus? Aren’t everyday noble actions by ordinary people more remarkable and laudable?

7. What is left for God to forgive? The Jesus story says that we’ve sinned against God (a debt). Let’s look at two resolutions to this debt.

(1) God could forgive the debt of sin. You and I are asked to forgive wrongs done against us, so why can’t God? Some Christians say that to forgive would violate God’s sense of justice, but when one person forgives another’s debt, there’s no violation of justice. For unspecified reasons, God doesn’t like this route.

And that leaves (2) where Jesus pays for our sin. But we need to pick 1 or 2, not both. If Jesus paid the debt, there’s no need for God’s forgiveness. There’s no longer anything for God to forgive, since there’s no outstanding debt.

Here’s an everyday example: when I pay off my mortgage, the bank doesn’t in addition forgive my debt. There’s no longer a debt to forgive! Why imagine that God must forgive us after he’s already gotten his payment?

8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology. Jesus’s sacrifice was small compared to the Greek god Prometheus, who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to humanity. Zeus discovered the crime and punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock so that a vulture could eat his liver. Each night, his liver grew back and the next day the vulture would return, day after agonizing day. The gospel story, where Jesus is crucified once and then pops back into existence several days later, is unimpressive by comparison.

9. The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.” This is the 21st century. Must Iron Age customs persist so that we need a human sacrifice? If God loves us deeply and he wants to forgive us, couldn’t he just … forgive us? That’s how we do it, and that’s the lesson we get from the parable of the Prodigal Son where the father forgives the son even after being wronged by him. If that’s the standard of mercy, why can’t God follow it? Since God is so much greater a being than a human, wouldn’t he be that much more understanding and willing to forgive?

If we were to twist the Prodigal Son parable to match the crucifixion story, the father might demand that the innocent son be flogged to pay for the crime of the prodigal son. Where’s the logic in that?

10. The entire story is incoherent. Let’s try to stumble through the drunken logic behind the Jesus story.

God made mankind imperfect and inherently vulnerable to sin. Living a sinless life is impossible, so hell becomes unavoidable. That is, God creates people knowing for certain that they’re going to deserve eternity in hell when they die. Why create people that he knew would be destined for eternal torment?

But don’t worry—God sacrificed Jesus, one of the persons of God, so mankind could go to heaven instead.

So God sacrificed himself to himself so we could bypass a rule that God made himself and that God deliberately designed us to never be able to meet? I can’t even understand that; I certainly feel no need to praise God for something so nonsensical. It’s like an abused wife thanking her abuser. We can just as logically curse God for consigning us to hell from birth.

Perhaps I can be forgiven for being unimpressed by the crucifixion story.

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Categories: Christianity, Islam

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16 replies

  1. Let’s see if this one is going to be deleted as well. Of course it can be perfectly explained historícally, psychologically. But that’s the case for any religious narrative, includíng the Quran Story.

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  2. “3. Jesus didn’t even die.” LOL. When I am cold and motionless the doctor cannot declare me to be dead according to this guy. No one has ever died according to this man’s criteria.

    “(1) God could forgive the debt of sin.” But sin is not just a commercial debt is it?

    “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin (Deut. 24:16)”

    This does not have to apply in Adam’s situation. God made another arrangement in his case.

    “God made mankind imperfect and inherently vulnerable to sin. ”

    Adam had to be made in such a way that he could relate to God and be tested. How is this imperfection? God made him inherently good but not in such a way that he could not sin.

    The guy is obviously muddled in his thinking.

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  3. @Erasmus,

    Anyone who is not perfect is potentially able to sin and given a situation with enough difficulty is inevitable to sin.

    It is impossible for the person to not eventually sin given enough hardship.

    So are you saying that everyone other then one who is perfect should be sent to hell to burn forever?

    And because no one other than God is perfect, are you saying that everyone, no matter how good should go to hell forever?

    What you are saying is illogical, absurd, preposterous, unjust, and if you are persisting to push this doctrine even while knowing it is wrong (even if you are not certain it is wrong), then you are committing evil.

    @Erasmus, stop committing evil. And please tell others who are pushing this doctrine to stop committing evil in pushing this unjust and absurd doctrine.

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  4. We already spent 193 comments back and forth on that:

    The crucifixion = Jesus voluntary death on the cross for sin and His resurrection from the dead, which proved all that He said was true and that He conquered sin, death, Satan. ( 1 John 3:8; Colossians 2:15-16; Ephesians 2:1-22; 1 Peter 2:21-25; Mark 10:45, etc.)

    https://bloggingtheology2.com/2019/02/25/10-reasons-the-crucifixion-story-makes-no-sense/

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  5. The Qur’an’s affirmation of the willingness of the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, and the substitution of the ram in place of Abraham’s son, actually illustrates the truth of the whole Bible. (both OT and NT)

    “We have ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice” Surah 37:107

    In the story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son, the Qur’an says:
    وَ فَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ

    “And We have ransomed you with a mighty sacrifice.”

    Qur’an 37:107

    فدیناه = “we ransomed him”

    بذبح = “by sacrifice” or “by slaughter”

    ب =b = “with” or “by”; ذبح (zbh)= sacrifice, slaughter, slain victim

    The cognate Hebrew word for sacrifice is similar, ZBH, זבח

    عظیم (“Azeem”)= “great”, “mighty”, “tremendous”

    Fada فدا ، فدیه ، فدی (ransom) is same word used to translate the Greek word for ransom in Mark 10:45 and Galatians 3:13-14

    For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
    Mark 10:45

    Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles (all nations, all ethnic people groups), so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    Galatians 3:13-14

    https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/so-why-did-allah-substitute-an-innocent-animal-in-the-place-of-abrahams-son/

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  6. The Christian will say that death by crucifixion was a horrible, humiliating way to die. That the death of Jesus was a tremendous sacrifice

    [very interesting that this is phrase in the Qur’an 37:107 – “we have ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice”]

    , more noble and selfless than a person sacrificing himself for the benefit of

    [mankind, people from all nations, cultures, people groups, language-ethno- linguistic groups – Revelation 5:9; 7:9, Galatians 3:13-14; Acts 20:28]

    a butterfly. [this is mocking. bad form]

    And isn’t it worth praising something that gets us into heaven?

    Yes, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, relationship with God, glory to God!

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  7. “Anyone who is not perfect is potentially able to sin and given a situation with enough difficulty is inevitable to sin.

    It is impossible for the person to not eventually sin given enough hardship.”

    What difficulty or hardship do you mean?

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  8. @Follower of the Prophet Muhammad

    I also don’t see any logical connection between my comment and yours because I was only talking about Adam not about mankind in general.

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  9. “It is impossible for the person to not eventually sin given enough hardship.”

    I thought we should turn to God in hardship. You are saying people should sin when they are in hardship.

    Are you not the one who should be repenting of your great wickedness teaching people to turn away from God and commit sins?

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  10. @Erasmus,

    No, of course I am not saying to turn away from God.

    The Qur’an tells us repeatedly and repeatedly numerous times that we must turn to God and repent.

    The point is that if we repent and we make amends and if the repentance is sincere, then we can be forgiven.

    But of course if we are given another situation, we will fall short of perfection again because we are not God.

    God does not expect us to be God.

    God expects us to be human but to try to improve sufficiently.

    If we continue to improve sufficiently but continuing to repent and to strive and to be grateful to God, then we can still be good.

    You are saying that anyone short of imperfection should go to hell.

    But the Qur’an and logic says that goodness is goodness….even if it is not perfection, it is still goodness and there reward for someone good is goodness…since God is generous, we will get even more than we deserve.

    And the result of someone who is bad is something commensurately bad.

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  11. @FPM “You are saying that anyone short of imperfection should go to hell.”

    The bible says we go to hell because of our wicked deeds which also includes deeds of omission as well as commission.

    The word “imperfection” is not in my bible.

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