Date sent: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 19:00:46 -0800 (PST)

The parts Roger has written are in italics. The parts Toby has written are in normal text.

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Roger: I will probably see it, because it's a phenomenon, but, the suffering will leave me unmoved.

Given that Jesus is human, as well as divine, he will experience all human emotions, and feelings -- I don't have a problem with that premise. My point is: as excruciating as crucifixion may seem to be from a mortal point of view, it's not going to be that terrible an experience for any immortal who knows they will survive the process. In other words, from his point of reference, Jesus hasn't taken on that much pain and suffering. It's only from a purely human perspective, a human outsider perspective, that the experience looks horrendous.

Compare what Jesus had to endure to what Prometheus had to endure (the Titan who gave man fire). Zeus chained him to a mountainside for hundreds of years, and had an eagle come every morning to peck out his liver. Now that's a significant crimp in the lifestyle of an unkillable immortal!

So, I'm saying that from Jesus' perspective the sacrifice was slight -- not because of smoke and mirrors but because of the inherent nature of unkillable immortality. Christian humans are making a much bigger deal of this than Jesus ever would.

--Roger

PS

There is another class of immortal -- ones who will live forever provided they don't suffer a violent death -- such as a Lord of the Rings High Elf. Life is risky for that style of immortal, and their lifestyle and outlook will be quite different from that of an unkillable immortal, as well as from a mortal human. For a killable immortal, crucifixion is high on the list of undesirable activities, and so is walking across a busy street.

Toby: no he did not know he would survive, "father why have you forsaken me?" that is being human... he died! he was resurrected; his faith was tested dearly, why "father take this cup from me?" it hurts, and I will die - be separted from you (God) and from life -- I am counting on you to resurrect me -- I will be dead.

100 years, 30 years, twelve hours -- by immortal standards it is all small change. but it is not small change when you ARE human. and again 100 years is no more than 12 hours to the immortals -- unless you are human. (human = mortal)

if your not moved by the suffering, it can only be that you are distancing yourself from the notion that someone would suffer for you that had nothing to gain from it... as I asked who would you suffer for (even unto death by torture) ?

it may be that your not moved because you would not suffer that much for anyone.

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Date sent: Thu, 1 Apr 2004 07:21:28 -0800 (PST)

Roger: Dear Toby,

Actually, I did not finish my thought in the last piece.

The finishing thought was:

The foundation of Christianity seems to be this suffering of Christ for humans. So, what happens to Christianity if this suffering is, in fact a sham -- if the immortal being really did not suffer much? What happens to the good teachings of the Gospels? Are they meaningless words if there is no significant sacrifice of an immortal being to back them up?

end of thought

The rantings of Christ on the cross about God foresaking him are just that, rantings. I'm an atheist, but I will still call upon God and Christ in very emotional terms when equipment I'm woking with starts malfunctioning and I get frustrated. Do these rantings mean I'm Christian deep down? No, they mean I'm frustrated, and that's how I learned to verbalize my frustration when I was young.

The same with Christ on the cross. Yes! The man/being is in agony! I'm not saying he isn't that. He/it is likely delerious, too, so I'm not surprised to hear he's venting frustration verbally.

But, no, you can't have it both ways in terms of what's happening to him during The Passion: you can't can have him know and not know he's immortal. He either knows he's immortal, in which case you are listening to valid (as in, divinely known) premonitions at the Last Supper, and then the emotional ravings of a being in severe pain on a cross, but not in a near-death situation. Or he does not know he's immortal, in which case during the whole Passion you are listening to the spoutings of a delusional mortal, with no particular immortal insight. And this being later gets "surprised" when he finds he really is immortal, and resurrected!

Either way, I see the logic beind The Passion as being very weak. What I see instead of a bona fide miracle is a deep-rooted emotional desire on the part of many humans to believe in some specific thing. This "something" that many humans desire to believe in is being expressed as belief in the Christ story, and the Christ story has been altered over the centuries (in part by the heretic controversies) to better and better fit what this deep-rooted emotion wants to hear.

(As another example of what I mean by a deep-rooted emotion, see my essay on "When did religion begin in mankind?", on the web site. Look at the part about the evolution from fortune telling, through religion into science. Also look at the essay on Worshipping at the Altar of the Holy Metal Detector.)

--Roger

Toby: Are you suggesting that mankind as a whole, or individuals do not suffer? The old, "How do I know I am experiencing what I think/feel I am experiencing?"

Or are you saying that Jesus didn't suffer? And if he didn't, if he was a spirit with a human cover? Or so "mystic" that he didn't feel the pain since he was so focused on the end of the god-on-earth thing; like the yogas who "put themselves in another state" while there teeth are drilled?.

I will assume that your not suggesting that it's all in our heads. And that it's not Part B or para 2.

If there is no sin, no need for atonement and no need for suffering (sacrafice) no lambs needed. But then, of course either there is no God since we see/feel the effects of sin.

--Toby

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The parts Roger has written are in italics. The parts Toby has written are in normal text.

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