On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 Roger Clough <rclo...@verizon.net> wrote:

> > I have no conflict being a scientist when I deal with science, and being
> a Christian when I deal with the Bible.

As a Christian how do you deal with the fact that the God of the old
testament was such a petty repellent piece of shit? And as for the new
testament, well,  this is what Richard Dawkins had to say about it in "The
God Delusion":

" I have described atonement, the central doctrine of Christianity, as
vicious, sado-masochistic and repellent. We should also dismiss it as
barking mad, but for its ubiquitous familiarity which has dulled our
objectivity. If God wanted to forgive our sins, why not just forgive them,
without having himself tortured and executed in payment - thereby,
incidentally, condemning remote future generations of Jews to pogroms and
persecution as ‘Christ-Killers’: did that hereditary sin pass down in the
semen too?

Paul, as the Jewish scholar Geza Vermes makes clear, was steeped in the old
Jewish theological principle that without blood there is no atonement.
Indeed, in his epistle to the Hebrews (9:22) he said as much. Progressive
ethicists today find it hard to defend any kind of retributive theory of
punishment, let alone the scapegoat theory - executing an innocent to pay
for the sins of the guilty. In any case (one can’t help wondering), who was
God trying to impress? Presumably himself - judge and jury as well as
execution victim. To cap it all, Adam, the supposed perpetrator of the
original sin, never existed in the first place: an awkward fact - excusably
unknown to Paul but presumably known to an omniscient God (and Jesus, if
you believe he was God?) - which fundamentally undermines the premise of
the whole tortuously nasty theory.

Oh, but of course, the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t
it? Symbolic? So, in order to impress himself, Jesus had himself tortured
and executed, in vicarious punishment for a symbolic sin committed by a
non-existent individual? As I said, barking mad, as well as viciously

   John K Clark

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