And ticks off all kinds of Christians by doing so but intrigues others. I’ve never heard of the man, but he’s written a few books about the historical Jesus and the Toronto Star features part of an interview with him.
There’s not a problem, in one sense, with saying he died for our sins. To use an American example, Martin Luther King died for our sins. He opposed racism, and racism got him killed. Jesus lived a life of non-violent resistance to Roman imperialism, and he was put to death for that. But the idea of “substitution” is bad anthropology, bad theology and bad history. Jesus was considered by the Romans a non-violent revolutionary — a rebel. That’s why he died. If anyone says he died for our sin, the sin would be violence. And we’ve not been saved from it; at the rate we’re going, it will destroy our species.
I haven’t sat down to read a bible in years (I recycled mine ages ago) but isn’t it possible that Paul made up some of that salvation stuff to make himself feel better? He thought he had a vision, came up with some kind of beliefs as to why and the rest is recorded as truth and history and theology. All Paul might have had on the road to Damascus was a dose of heat stroke or something. Hardly a reason to create a religion, but so it goes.
If you put a camera crew outside the tomb on Easter morning, what would it have seen? Well, CNN would have seen nothing, but Fox News would have seen exactly what it wanted to see, as it usually does. “Jesus Rose from the Dead” is a metaphorical, not a literal, statement about the status of Jesus. He is now “with God.” This means he is now even more powerful.
As an idea, yeah, but that’s only good so long as people are using these godly ideas in a beneficial way. If they’re still finding ways to treat people unethically, can proudly stand behind the bible while they do it and still want to call themselves loving Christians deserving of heaven, then they need to be called out as hypocrites.
Too many people are willing to look at the bible as a literal “this really happened!” mystic telling of a point in history, so I’m glad to see people willing to stand up and try to correct those flawed assumptions.
Which reminds me, James R. Brayshaw released his second book recently. It’s called Imagine There’s No Satan and it’s half the size of the first volume (Satan, Christianity’s Other God), which means I’ll actually manage to get the thing read instead of just skimming it for a blog post.