Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blasphemous Questions II

Back in November 2008 I wrote a post entitled Blasphemous Questions, in which I raised a number of frank questions about Christianity that had been on my mind. Certainly none of the comments that I received on that post help me to frame any semblance of an answer to any of them. I guess this means that they are doomed to continue rattling around my gray matter for a while longer. However, in today's post I wanted to pose some new thoughts that have been plaguing me. Some may view what I have to say as blasphemous, but with all due respect, I know that my God is big enough and graceful enough to allow me full freedom to raise such questions. Today's issue is crucifixion. The bible tells us that Jesus died upon a cross. It is believed that over the past 3 or 4 millenia, tens of thousands of men have also been crucified in the same manner. Jesus and countless others were hung upon a post to die a slow and agonizing death.

I have read two books recently during my devotional time that both made explicit statements that God showed his great love for each of us by allowing his son to die on a cross. For this very reason, we are told that we should fall on our knees and worship. However, given the tens of thousands of ordinary men who also died in this same manner, what is so unique about Jesus dying in this manner? To me, the only thing that makes the death of Jesus on the cross any different from any of the other men who died in this way, is that he knew that his death was temporary. If he was God as he claimed, he knew his fate from the beginning and he also knew what would happen afterwards. Like Jesus, each of the other tens of thousands of men who were executed upon a cross, died an excruciating and humiliating death, but they had no knowledge if that death was the end, or if they would wake up in hell or in paradise. It seems to me that if Jesus were fully human as he claimed, his suffering was no worse than what any of the other men faced. However, in some respects he had the easier road to take because he knew what lay ahead of him.