The metaphors for the atonement

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The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Sat May 28, 2016 1:19 pm

Reposting this here after posting it in a different forum.


The metaphors --
1. Judicial: Jesus was punished for our sins in our place.
2. Payment: Jesus' life was a payment of ransom for our liberation.
3. Blood Sacrifice: Jesus was the lamb slaughtered to expiate our sins.
4. Surgical: Jesus was transformed into our sin so it could be destroyed on the cross.

A metaphor uses something which is similar in some ways to help explain something which is not quite the same. So lets go through each as see how they are different and how they are the same.

Different --
1. We don't actually believe that an innocent person punished pays for the crime of the guilty.
2. We don't actually believe that God has to pay something to the devil in order to free us.
3. We don't actually believe that human and animal sacrifices have a magical power.
4. Jesus was not really transformed into sin and neither were our sins actually removed.

Same--
1. Often the innocent suffer because of our sins and this motivates us to change.
2. The atonement makes it clear that God would pay any price for our redemption.
3. Jesus was indeed the unblemished and the very best human being. His death was a painful price to pay for our sins.
4. Sin is a degenerative disease that needs to taken out of our lives before it kills us, and Jesus does represent a treatment for that disease.

While the Eastern Orthodox understand that these are metaphors, Western Christianity tends to take them (especially the first) somewhat literally in defiance of all reason. This is the doctrine of substitutionary atonement the belief in which many Western Christians practically equate with being Christian. It is almost as if, the sacrifice of our intellectual integrity and the acceptance of this blatant cognitive dissonance is the price we have to pay for salvation -- and thus the way they subvert a gospel of salvation by grace to make it a gospel of salvation by a work of the mind.

Because of this I would like to spend a little more time examining this judicial metaphor. For example, this metaphor compares sin with a crime that needs to be punished. But is sin really a crime? No it is not. Many sins are criminal, but there is a difference, and we can even say that the sinful nature of an action is quite different than its criminal nature when they overlap.

Crimes consist of breaking laws which are part of a social contract. What we learn from Jesus in Matthew 5 and Matthew 22 is that sin isn't really about living to the letter of some set of laws, as if the excuse, "I haven't broken any laws", is really a valid excuse for our actions. People are always twisting the laws to an evil purpose and to justify evil and selfish behavior. Thus Jesus shows that sin goes much deeper than the breaking of a set of laws.

Sin is hurtful to us and for that reason they should be stopped. But although many Christians with this judicial metaphor stuck in their head like to say the consequences are deserved, I don't think this is right. I think it is more like this...

We might tell a child not to climb tall trees because they could easily fall and break their neck. If the child climbs a tall tree anyway and falls to his death, then would we say this was a just punishment of a crime? Of course not. The judicial metaphor is a metaphor ONLY and the truth of this comparison only goes so far. Jesus did lay down his life so that we could have eternal life. That is where the metaphor matches reality but where it does not match reality is in the fact that we do not believe criminals should go free just because innocent people are punished in their place -- not unless there is something seriously wrong with you.

The Bible is mixture of many kinds of writings. Not all of it is history and not all of it is law. There is also poetry, songs, parables, dreams, proverbs, and letters. Thus it is full of metaphors whether you pretend otherwise or not. For example, according to 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5, Isaiah 45:18, the earth is fixed, firm, immovable, and can never be shaken. Take this literally and you burn scientists at the stake and pretend that earthquakes don't happen.

So, the question isn't believing the Bible or not but rather how hard headed, "stiff-necked", unreasonable, and willfully blind you are when reading the Bible. Because when you do that you are just like the people Jesus was talking about in Matthew 13 using the literal words to refuse to hear what is meant and returning the text of the Bible back word for word without any investment of thought, like the slothful servant in Matthew 25.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby kuwano » Sun May 29, 2016 9:01 am

Hi Mitch

This is an interesting topic - I don't have time right now to respond to all but will respond to some of it.

mitchellmckain wrote:

The metaphors --
1. Judicial: Jesus was punished for our sins in our place.
2. Payment: Jesus' life was a payment of ransom for our liberation.
3. Blood Sacrifice: Jesus was the lamb slaughtered to expiate our sins.
4. Surgical: Jesus was transformed into our sin so it could be destroyed on the cross.

A metaphor uses something which is similar in some ways to help explain something which is not quite the same. So lets go through each as see how they are different and how they are the same.

Different --
1. We don't actually believe that an innocent person punished pays for the crime of the guilty.
2. We don't actually believe that God has to pay something to the devil in order to free us.
3. We don't actually believe that human and animal sacrifices have a magical power.
4. Jesus was not really transformed into sin and neither were our sins actually removed.

Same--
1. Often the innocent suffer because of our sins and this motivates us to change.
2. The atonement makes it clear that God would pay any price for our redemption.
3. Jesus was indeed the unblemished and the very best human being. His death was a painful price to pay for our sins.
4. Sin is a degenerative disease that needs to taken out of our lives before it kills us, and Jesus does represent a treatment for that disease.


Same
1. This is clear and I agree the Bible speaks of Jesus death as an example (e.g. 1 Peter 2: 21-24). But I don't think all passages on the atonement can be reduced to this interpretation.

2. What is Jesus redeeming us from and how does Jesus death provide that redemption?

3. Again why is Jesus death the price for our sins - when according to your tree example below death isn't the price for our sins? Is it the price need to motivate us to change?

4. Again what treatment is Jesus death providing for the disease of sin - purely a motivational one?


Different
- I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience. For example, if you drove my car without being insured and ended up crashing it (this isn't such an extreme example - it actually happened in my family). I can make you pay for it to be fixed or I can refuse to let you pay for the repairs. If I choose the first option I'm making you pay for what you did wrong, if I choose the second option I'm bearing the cost of what you did wrong. The first option is applying justice, the second option is treating you with grace. Either way someone is bearing the cost, with forgiveness I think that's often if not always how it is.

We might tell a child not to climb tall trees because they could easily fall and break their neck. If the child climbs a tall tree anyway and falls to his death, then would we say this was a just punishment of a crime? Of course not. The judicial metaphor is a metaphor ONLY and the truth of this comparison only goes so far. Jesus did lay down his life so that we could have eternal life. That is where the metaphor matches reality but where it does not match reality is in the fact that we do not believe criminals should go free just because innocent people are punished in their place -- not unless there is something seriously wrong with you.


I think your example is speaking to one aspect of how the Bible teaches about sin - i.e. that its wiser to walk with God and in his ways as not listening to him can lead us to do stupid things. But I don't think that's all the Bible has to say on sin. Could you expand on how you think Jesus laying down his life gives us eternal life? I'm unclear from your example above.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby Aaron » Sun May 29, 2016 11:48 am

I have questions myself about sin, morality, justice and God. This is more of a shotgun shot of questions, I don't have much for organization here:

Why does David say, "Against you and you only have I sinned"?

Look at this passage from 2 Thessalonians:
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


God seems concerned with justice. There seems to be another scenario for the child, one in which his actions affect other children, including those children who are obeying the gospel of their Lord Jesus. I feel like there is something else there Mitch. I don't understand Justice and sin and atonement and the process of sanctification all the way through, how it all works, why Jesus' sacrifice made peace between us and God. I have faint whispers that is has something to do with a proclamation throughout all creation of the grace of God, just how powerful it is, but this also meets with justice and holiness. It is a new way to live, apart from the curse of the law, but instead love, grace, peace, joy and actual real pure righteousness. It is a miracle of God. Thanks be to Him. It is a mystery going into a mist I cannot see all the way into.

I guess what I'm saying is I don't think I've left my reason at the door, but at the same time I am coming to a place where my reason fails me, at least at this point in time and I must accept the gift of God in faith not fully understanding how grace and justice and the work of Jesus all works.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun May 29, 2016 3:10 pm

kuwano wrote:Hi Mitch

This is an interesting topic - I don't have time right now to respond to all but will respond to some of it.


Same
1. This is clear and I agree the Bible speaks of Jesus death as an example (e.g. 1 Peter 2: 21-24). But I don't think all passages on the atonement can be reduced to this interpretation.

These points listed under same and different were not meant to be exhaustive but only examples in order to illustrate that there are both things which are same and things which are different. There are frankly just examples I came up with off the top of my head.

kuwano wrote:2. What is Jesus redeeming us from and how does Jesus death provide that redemption?

Jesus is redeeming us from the self-destructive habits we call sin. The core of the problem is the human will and heart and this is what has to change. But that is exactly what the death of Jesus is all about -- changing how we feel about God, sin, ourselves and each other -- to give us the will and desire to change. This is the first and most important step. We have to trust God to provide and guide us to victory over sin.

kuwano wrote:3. Again why is Jesus death the price for our sins - when according to your tree example below death isn't the price for our sins? Is it the price need to motivate us to change?

Death (i.e. the destruction of the qualities of life) is the inevitable consequence of the self-destructive habits we call sin. Physical death is part of the natural order of physical existence -- integral to the way in which we came to exist. The death which is the wage of sin is spiritual death -- the death of who we are and everything of goodness and value within us.

kuwano wrote:4. Again what treatment is Jesus death providing for the disease of sin - purely a motivational one?

Desire and value is the substance of the spirit. It is the disconnect of our desire and values from God and the essence of life which is what is wrong with us. God gave us life and the challenge to learn and grow but we habitually turn away from this looking for cheats, excuses and blaming evertyhing but ourselves. God is ready to help, but we have to want that help before it can do any good.

I guess the point is that I don't believe in anything magical here which I see as distinct from spiritual. I am definitely a methodological naturalist and I see the spiritual as simply another form of energy (or pre-energy) apart from the physical operating by different kinds of rules in which desire and the things of the heart are central.

kuwano wrote:Different
- I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience. For example, if you drove my car without being insured and ended up crashing it (this isn't such an extreme example - it actually happened in my family). I can make you pay for it to be fixed or I can refuse to let you pay for the repairs. If I choose the first option I'm making you pay for what you did wrong, if I choose the second option I'm bearing the cost of what you did wrong. The first option is applying justice, the second option is treating you with grace. Either way someone is bearing the cost, with forgiveness I think that's often if not always how it is.

I only see more examples of similarities in this. Doesn't change the fact there are some fundamental differences also. We do not believe that all a criminal has to do for justice is provide an innocent patsy and his crimes are all paid for. That is a vile interpretation of "justice."

Could you expand on how you think Jesus laying down his life gives us eternal life? I'm unclear from your example above.

We have eternal existence already. The question is only whether we will also have what is needed to make that existence worthwhile. This is the substance of eternal life. But I think the only thing that can accomplish this is an infinite being who has no end to what He can offer us. Thus the point of Jesus' death on the cross is to reconnect us with that source of life. For that we have to understand, not just in our minds but in our hearts, that God is not the problem. There is nothing effective He will not do -- nothing He will not pay, endure, or sacrifice in order to bring us back into a life giving relationship with him. We have to understand that the problem is within ourselves. This is what the death of Jesus on the cross speaks to our hearts.
Last edited by mitchellmckain on Sun May 29, 2016 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun May 29, 2016 3:34 pm

Aaron wrote:I have questions myself about sin, morality, justice and God. This is more of a shotgun shot of questions, I don't have much for organization here:

Why does David say, "Against you and you only have I sinned"?

Psalms wrote:51 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love;
according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Fill[a] me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

As I read it, this refers to the fact that the standards of God are not the standards of the world. David may be blameless and beloved by all the people of Israel as if he can do no wrong, but David knows this is not the reality and he wants to aim higher than what the people expect from him.

Aaron wrote:Look at this passage from 2 Thessalonians:
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is involved in our lives and interferes within limitations (not voiding the laws of nature) according to a superior understanding of the consequences of His involvement.

Aaron wrote:God seems concerned with justice.

Sure. From Isaiah 1 we see that He is certainly cares more about justice that religion ceremony and ritual. But He is not obsessed with justice. Otherwise what would He have done in John 8? He wouldn't have stopped them from stoning the adulteress but killed all the rest who were participating there as well.

Aaron wrote: There seems to be another scenario for the child, one in which his actions affect other children, including those children who are obeying the gospel of their Lord Jesus. I feel like there is something else there Mitch. I don't understand Justice and sin and atonement and the process of sanctification all the way through, how it all works, why Jesus' sacrifice made peace between us and God. I have faint whispers that is has something to do with a proclamation throughout all creation of the grace of God, just how powerful it is, but this also meets with justice and holiness. It is a new way to live, apart from the curse of the law, but instead love, grace, peace, joy and actual real pure righteousness. It is a miracle of God. Thanks be to Him. It is a mystery going into a mist I cannot see all the way into.

I guess what I'm saying is I don't think I've left my reason at the door, but at the same time I am coming to a place where my reason fails me, at least at this point in time and I must accept the gift of God in faith not fully understanding how grace and justice and the work of Jesus all works.

I don't have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is insisting all this as simple and literal so we ether warp our reason or subvert our ethics -- all for the sake of buying into some deranged idea of paying for our salvation with mental degradation.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby kuwano » Mon May 30, 2016 8:24 am

kuwano wrote:2. What is Jesus redeeming us from and how does Jesus death provide that redemption?

mitchellmckain wrote: Jesus is redeeming us from the self-destructive habits we call sin. The core of the problem is the human will and heart and this is what has to change. But that is exactly what the death of Jesus is all about -- changing how we feel about God, sin, ourselves and each other -- to give us the will and desire to change. This is the first and most important step. We have to trust God to provide and guide us to victory over sin.


I think you're arguing all passages on redemption in the Bible are about Christ as example and guide. As I said I agree some passages are about that but others are clearly not:

Ephesians 2:1-10 wrote:All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved... 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


This passage is clearly saying our redemption isn't primarily about Jesus advice and example that enables us to victoriously overcome sin. Our redemption isn't something we are doing but what something that Christ has done.

kuwano wrote:3. Again why is Jesus death the price for our sins - when according to your tree example below death isn't the price for our sins? Is it the price need to motivate us to change?

MitchellMcKain wrote: Death (i.e. the destruction of the qualities of life) is the inevitable consequence of the self-destructive habits we call sin. Physical death is part of the natural order of physical existence -- integral to the way in which we came to exist. The death which is the wage of sin is spiritual death -- the death of who we are and everything of goodness and value within us.


I think contrasting the physical and spiritual has more in common with Greek thought than Hebrew thought - many have traced this to Augustine who was very uneasy about the incarnation of Christ as fully human. Interestingly, the Eastern Fathers (e.g. the Cappadocians) were much less willing to make this distinction between physical and spiritual.

I'm still unclear how does Christ's death pay the price for our spiritual death? If he's redeeming us from spiritual death, does he spiritually die too or is it just a physical death? Why is his physical death seen as being for us - when its really just a natural consequence of him taking on humanity? Why in Gethsemane is he agonising over his physical death - is the cup he's agonising over just about his physical death?

kuwano wrote:4. Again what treatment is Jesus death providing for the disease of sin - purely a motivational one?

MitchellMcKain wrote: Desire and value is the substance of the spirit. It is the disconnect of our desire and values from God and the essence of life which is what is wrong with us. God gave us life and the challenge to learn and grow but we habitually turn away from this looking for cheats, excuses and blaming evertyhing but ourselves. God is ready to help, but we have to want that help before it can do any good.

I guess the point is that I don't believe in anything magical here which I see as distinct from spiritual. I am definitely a methodological naturalist and I see the spiritual as simply another form of energy (or pre-energy) apart from the physical operating by different kinds of rules in which desire and the things of the heart are central.


I think I've already discussed above, but I think the Bible speaks of salvation as past (we've been saved), present (we are being saved) and future (and we will be saved). I think you're focusing on the present and future tenses of salvation - but the Bible also clearly does speak of salvation as something that has been acheived by Christ and that is above offering an example and guidance.

kuwano wrote:Different
- I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience. For example, if you drove my car without being insured and ended up crashing it (this isn't such an extreme example - it actually happened in my family). I can make you pay for it to be fixed or I can refuse to let you pay for the repairs. If I choose the first option I'm making you pay for what you did wrong, if I choose the second option I'm bearing the cost of what you did wrong. The first option is applying justice, the second option is treating you with grace. Either way someone is bearing the cost, with forgiveness I think that's often if not always how it is.


Mitchell McKain wrote: I only see more examples of similarities in this. Doesn't change the fact there are some fundamental differences also. We do not believe that all a criminal has to do for justice is provide an innocent patsy and his crimes are all paid for. That is a vile interpretation of "justice."


I think you've misunderstood my example. My point was that forgiveness always involves the innocent bearing the cost of the guilty - do you dispute that? My point was that
in paying the cost of fixing my car due to your mistake - I'm offering grace. I could demand you pay for fixing my car, demand some further additional damages, hand you over to the police, and also hate you forever - that seems to me the most common human reaction when someone harms us. I'm not saying that's the wrong reaction (perhaps with exception of hating them forever) but if you are my son who I love most likely I'll want to show you mercy. But when offering mercy and forgiveness there isn't an option that involves me bearing no costs.

Les Miserables also has a similar example when Jean Valjean steals some silver from a Bishop who has taken him into his house. Valjean is arrested and taken back to the Bishop's house by the police. The Bishop 'rebukes' Valjean in front of the police for forgetting also the silver candlesticks - and by bearing that cost sets him free from the prison sentence he deserves and calls him to live the rest of his life for good and not evil. I'm sure some sneer at that but for many its a moving picture of costly forgiveness that changes our lives.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue May 31, 2016 2:19 am

kuwano wrote:2. What is Jesus redeeming us from and how does Jesus death provide that redemption?
mitchellmckain wrote: Jesus is redeeming us from the self-destructive habits we call sin. The core of the problem is the human will and heart and this is what has to change. But that is exactly what the death of Jesus is all about -- changing how we feel about God, sin, ourselves and each other -- to give us the will and desire to change. This is the first and most important step. We have to trust God to provide and guide us to victory over sin.


I think you're arguing all passages on redemption in the Bible are about Christ as example and guide.

You are wrong about that. If you are going to insist on simple categories then these are appropriate.
1. What is accomplished by Jesus is some kind of unexplainable divine magic.
2. What is accomplished by Jesus is a perfectly rational way of changing the human heart and will in the way it needs to change.
I am certainly in the second category and not the first.

kuwano wrote:
Ephesians 2:1-10 wrote:All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved... 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This passage is clearly saying our redemption isn't primarily about Jesus advice and example that enables us to victoriously overcome sin. Our redemption isn't something we are doing but what something that Christ has done.

This is the gospel of salvation by the grace of God. BUT... I don't think this is referring to some special divine magical power. Only God can change us because only God can see clearly how we must change and how to accomplish that change. It is a change of our heart and will and this is not accomplished by magic but by providing us with the experiences we need for that change to happen.

The problem with your blatant attempt to mischaracterize and railroad what I say is that you make this all about providing us with something we need in order to save ourselves. That is where the majority of those who call themselves christians go wrong, because in thinking god has given them the tools and the path they think they just need to pass these on and lead other on the proper path. But that is no longer a gospel of salvation by grace. The believers in divine magic do the same because then it is all about how to get that magic, and they are still doing exactly the same thing with a bit of twisted rhetoric to hide what they are doing, which is still passing on the tools and leading others on the path which they think as been given to them. Making it magical doesn't make it grace.

kuwano wrote:3. Again why is Jesus death the price for our sins - when according to your tree example below death isn't the price for our sins? Is it the price need to motivate us to change?
MitchellMcKain wrote: Death (i.e. the destruction of the qualities of life) is the inevitable consequence of the self-destructive habits we call sin. Physical death is part of the natural order of physical existence -- integral to the way in which we came to exist. The death which is the wage of sin is spiritual death -- the death of who we are and everything of goodness and value within us.


I think contrasting the physical and spiritual has more in common with Greek thought than Hebrew thought - many have traced this to Augustine who was very uneasy about the incarnation of Christ as fully human. Interestingly, the Eastern Fathers (e.g. the Cappadocians) were much less willing to make this distinction between physical and spiritual.

Crawl back to Judaism and the Pharisees if you want, but this contrast of the physical and the spiritual is what both Jesus and Paul does. Jesus does in Luke 9:60, Matthew 10:28, Mark 9:43, and John 6 and Paul does it quite thoroughly in Corinthians 15 (among other places).

kuwano wrote:I'm still unclear how does Christ's death pay the price for our spiritual death?

It is a metaphor! We use the same metaphor all the time for other things. Brave men pay for our freedom with their lives...

kuwano wrote:Why is his physical death seen as being for us - when its really just a natural consequence of him taking on humanity?

But it is precisely for us he took on humanity -- "that we might have life and have it more abundantly." It is for us that he submitted himself to the natural consequences and for us that kept to the course which led to his torture and death.

kuwano wrote:Why in Gethsemane is he agonising over his physical death - is the cup he's agonising over just about his physical death?

It is because these are metaphors rather than literally the case.
1. Judicial: Jesus was punished for our sins in our place.
2. Payment: Jesus' life was a payment of ransom for our liberation.
3. Blood Sacrifice: Jesus was the lamb slaughtered to expiate our sins.
4. Surgical: Jesus was transformed into our sin so it could be destroyed on the cross.
Just like I said in the OP...
1. We don't actually believe that an innocent person punished pays for the crime of the guilty.
2. We don't actually believe that God has to pay something to the devil in order to free us.
3. We don't actually believe that human and animal sacrifices have a magical power.
4. Jesus was not really transformed into sin and neither were our sins actually removed.
It is not about justice or payment or any power of ritual sacrifice or Jesus actually being transformed into sin.
That is a thoroughly magical way of understanding all this and it makes no more sense that interpreting the Bible to mean the earth is flat and unmoving.

The Bible also makes it crystal clear that what happened to Jesus was very very wrong. The idea that this was just some ingredient in a magical spell is just twisted. It was no such thing. But a thousand years has proven over and over that it is just what was needed to change the heart and will of many many people.

kuwano wrote:I think I've already discussed above, but I think the Bible speaks of salvation as past (we've been saved), present (we are being saved) and future (and we will be saved). I think you're focusing on the present and future tenses of salvation - but the Bible also clearly does speak of salvation as something that has been acheived by Christ and that is above offering an example and guidance.

Sounds like you have made Christianity into something which has no relevance to modern life or to the very real presence of evil in the world.


kuwano wrote:Different
- I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience. For example, if you drove my car without being insured and ended up crashing it (this isn't such an extreme example - it actually happened in my family). I can make you pay for it to be fixed or I can refuse to let you pay for the repairs. If I choose the first option I'm making you pay for what you did wrong, if I choose the second option I'm bearing the cost of what you did wrong. The first option is applying justice, the second option is treating you with grace. Either way someone is bearing the cost, with forgiveness I think that's often if not always how it is.
Mitchell McKain wrote: I only see more examples of similarities in this. Doesn't change the fact there are some fundamental differences also. We do not believe that all a criminal has to do for justice is provide an innocent patsy and his crimes are all paid for. That is a vile interpretation of "justice."

I think you've misunderstood my example. My point was that forgiveness always involves the innocent bearing the cost of the guilty - do you dispute that?

Not that it is relevant, but yes I dispute this. Forgiveness is not always given by one who is victimized. Nor is forgiveness always or even usually about a willingness to bear anything let alone the cost of the guilty. Usually it is just about letting negative feeling about something go so it doesn't hurt you anymore. Usually forgiveness requires that the guilty make up for what they have done as much as is possible and most importantly the guilty accept the fact that they were wrong and certainly not to pretend that they are innocent.

kuwano wrote:My point was that in paying the cost of fixing my car due to your mistake - I'm offering grace. I could demand you pay for fixing my car, demand some further additional damages, hand you over to the police, and also hate you forever - that seems to me the most common human reaction when someone harms us. I'm not saying that's the wrong reaction (perhaps with exception of hating them forever) but if you are my son who I love most likely I'll want to show you mercy. But when offering mercy and forgiveness there isn't an option that involves me bearing no costs.

And I insist that this can never be more than a metaphor for the atonement. Take this too literally and you end up with paying indulgences for sin.

kuwano wrote:Les Miserables also has a similar example when Jean Valjean steals some silver from a Bishop who has taken him into his house. Valjean is arrested and taken back to the Bishop's house by the police. The Bishop 'rebukes' Valjean in front of the police for forgetting also the silver candlesticks - and by bearing that cost sets him free from the prison sentence he deserves and calls him to live the rest of his life for good and not evil. I'm sure some sneer at that but for many its a moving picture of costly forgiveness that changes our lives.

Sure and most Christians look at Jesus upon the cross in much the same way -- myself included. Therein lies the aptness of the metaphor. But as a literal comparison it fails miserably. Sin is not a matter a stealing anything from God and His forgiveness is not about letting you get away with what you have stolen.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby kuwano » Tue May 31, 2016 12:27 pm

Mitch I didn't intend to offend you - I was simply interested in understanding your position and clarifying what you meant precisely because I don't want to misrepresent you. As I said previously these are interesting issues and its good to discuss them. But I don't have any interest in a discussion where I have to put up with these rants and ad hominems. I was trying to treat your position with respect and interest and you respond with bile.

I'll reply below mainly to clarify what I've said here and you're free to have the final word and continue with your rant. Its a shame you're a smart guy and would be fun to discuss with you but I won't be treated with that kind of disrespect.

mitchellmckain wrote:You are wrong about that. If you are going to insist on simple categories then these are appropriate.
1. What is accomplished by Jesus is some kind of unexplainable divine magic.
2. What is accomplished by Jesus is a perfectly rational way of changing the human heart and will in the way it needs to change.
I am certainly in the second category and not the first.


I'm just attempting to understand your position - if I'm not understanding properly then fine. But it would be helpful if you clarified what your theory of atonement is if I have misunderstood.

What I've understood your theory of atonement as that Jesus death helps us to change - I've understood that as you meaning his death is an example for us to follow which brings us redemption. I appreciate you've said this isn't your position so what is your position? Your clarification is basically that Jesus death helps us to change - yeah I got that previously so I'm unclear in what way I've misunderstood you. The only clarification you give is that your way is perfectly rational and the other option is 'unexplainable divine magic'. It doesn't really take me forward in understanding your position. Maybe that's just how we have to leave it - but I am happy for you to explain if you want.

mitchellmckain wrote:This is the gospel of salvation by the grace of God. BUT... I don't think this is referring to some special divine magical power. Only God can change us because only God can see clearly how we must change and how to accomplish that change. It is a change of our heart and will and this is not accomplished by magic but by providing us with the experiences we need for that change to happen.


Again I'm unclear about what contrast your making between 'special divine magical power' and salvation by the grace of God. What you're describing sounds to me like sanctification rather than salvation by the grace of God. I agree sanctification is also by the grace of God and is achieved by providing us with the experiences we need for that change. But I would distinguish that from salvation by the grace of God. Again I don't think I'm interpreting you correctly so perhaps its better to quite while we're behind.

mitchellmckain wrote:The problem with your blatant attempt to mischaracterize and railroad what I say is that you make this all about providing us with something we need in order to save ourselves. That is where the majority of those who call themselves christians go wrong, because in thinking god has given them the tools and the path they think they just need to pass these on and lead other on the proper path. But that is no longer a gospel of salvation by grace. The believers in divine magic do the same because then it is all about how to get that magic, and they are still doing exactly the same thing with a bit of twisted rhetoric to hide what they are doing, which is still passing on the tools and leading others on the path which they think as been given to them. Making it magical doesn't make it grace.


I appreciate you think I'm trying to mischaracterize and railroad what you say - but that genuinely isn't my intention. Believe it or not I'm trying to genuinely understand you but clearly I'm failing to do that.

I'm unclear what you are accusing me of when you say 'The believers in divine magic do the same because then it is all about how to get that magic, and they are still doing exactly the same thing with a bit of twisted rhetoric to hide what they are doing, which is still passing on the tools and leading others on the path which they think as been given to them. Making it magical doesn't make it grace.'

MitchellMcKain wrote:
Crawl back to Judaism and the Pharisees if you want, but this contrast of the physical and the spiritual is what both Jesus and Paul does. Jesus does in Luke 9:60, Matthew 10:28, Mark 9:43, and John 6 and Paul does it quite thoroughly in Corinthians 15 (among other places).


I'm sure you are aware that Jesus and Paul were Jews and not Greeks. None of the Scriptures you quote self-evidently make your case in the way that you think. You'd need to clarify your points.

mitchellmckain wrote:It is a metaphor! We use the same metaphor all the time for other things. Brave men pay for our freedom with their lives...


Ok fair enough - thanks for the clarification.

kuwano wrote:Why is his physical death seen as being for us - when its really just a natural consequence of him taking on humanity?

mitchellmckain wrote: But it is precisely for us he took on humanity -- "that we might have life and have it more abundantly." It is for us that he submitted himself to the natural consequences and for us that kept to the course which led to his torture and death.


Which sounds to me like your saying his death is an example and guide for us to live and in following that example we find freedom and salvation - which you've told me is a mischaracterization of your position so I'm none the wiser.

kuwano wrote:Why in Gethsemane is he agonising over his physical death - is the cup he's agonising over just about his physical death?

mitchellmckain wrote: It is because these are metaphors rather than literally the case.
1. Judicial: Jesus was punished for our sins in our place.
2. Payment: Jesus' life was a payment of ransom for our liberation.
3. Blood Sacrifice: Jesus was the lamb slaughtered to expiate our sins.
4. Surgical: Jesus was transformed into our sin so it could be destroyed on the cross.
Just like I said in the OP...
1. We don't actually believe that an innocent person punished pays for the crime of the guilty.
2. We don't actually believe that God has to pay something to the devil in order to free us.
3. We don't actually believe that human and animal sacrifices have a magical power.
4. Jesus was not really transformed into sin and neither were our sins actually removed.
It is not about justice or payment or any power of ritual sacrifice or Jesus actually being transformed into sin.
That is a thoroughly magical way of understanding all this and it makes no more sense that interpreting the Bible to mean the earth is flat and unmoving.

The Bible also makes it crystal clear that what happened to Jesus was very very wrong. The idea that this was just some ingredient in a magical spell is just twisted. It was no such thing. But a thousand years has proven over and over that it is just what was needed to change the heart and will of many many people.


Ok thank you for clarifying your position.

kuwano wrote:I think I've already discussed above, but I think the Bible speaks of salvation as past (we've been saved), present (we are being saved) and future (and we will be saved). I think you're focusing on the present and future tenses of salvation - but the Bible also clearly does speak of salvation as something that has been acheived by Christ and that is above offering an example and guidance.

mitchellmckain wrote: Sounds like you have made Christianity into something which has no relevance to modern life or to the very real presence of evil in the world.


Again this is just another assertion - you don't attempt to argue why that is the case.

mitchellmckain wrote: Not that it is relevant, but yes I dispute this. Forgiveness is not always given by one who is victimized. Nor is forgiveness always or even usually about a willingness to bear anything let alone the cost of the guilty. Usually it is just about letting negative feeling about something go so it doesn't hurt you anymore. Usually forgiveness requires that the guilty make up for what they have done as much as is possible and most importantly the guilty accept the fact that they were wrong and certainly not to pretend that they are innocent.


I agree forgiveness is also about not letting negative feeling hurt us further. But primarily forgiveness is about treating the guilty one beyond what they deserve. If you punch me in the face - the natural thing is to strike you back likewise. Forgiveness is foregoing the option of treating the guilty as they deserve.

Yes I agree forgiveness requires the guilty person to repent and acknowledge they are wrong. But even if they did do both of these I'm not obliged to forgive them - in fact the natural response is precisely not to do that. Forgiveness is reaching out in reconciliation to those who have repented - I'm sure you've had people harm you and mistreat you at some point in your life. Did you find it straightforward and uncostly to forgive them?

kuwano wrote:My point was that in paying the cost of fixing my car due to your mistake - I'm offering grace. I could demand you pay for fixing my car, demand some further additional damages, hand you over to the police, and also hate you forever - that seems to me the most common human reaction when someone harms us. I'm not saying that's the wrong reaction (perhaps with exception of hating them forever) but if you are my son who I love most likely I'll want to show you mercy. But when offering mercy and forgiveness there isn't an option that involves me bearing no costs.

mitchellmckain wrote: And I insist that this can never be more than a metaphor for the atonement. Take this too literally and you end up with paying indulgences for sin.


Of course what I've said is a metaphor - the point of a metaphor is that its meant to illustrate a reality. If the metaphor is actually illustrating something actually quite different then its not a very good metaphor.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue May 31, 2016 7:45 pm

Frustration and anger look very similar a lot of the time.

kuwano wrote:What I've understood your theory of atonement as that Jesus death helps us to change - I've understood that as you meaning his death is an example for us to follow which brings us redemption.

Then you are forcing this into one of a set of categories you insist theories of atonement must fit into, because I NEVER used any such words as Jesus being an example or us following him. NEVER! Therein in lies my frustration with your response! Why are you insisting on something I never said? Now it is true that this idea of Jesus being an example and us following is a DIFFERENT example of a non-magical explanation, but it was NOT my explanation. The question is why you insist all non-magical explanations must be this explanation? The obvious conclusion (I don't know if it is the correct one) is that this is part of your repertoire for pushing a magical understanding of the atonement.

kuwano wrote: I appreciate you've said this isn't your position so what is your position? Your clarification is basically that Jesus death helps us to change - yeah I got that previously so I'm unclear in what way I've misunderstood you.

No that is not my clarification. To clarify it is NOT just Jesus death but everything he did all together and the effect of the story is a change in how human beings feel about God and each other.

kuwano wrote: The only clarification you give is that your way is perfectly rational and the other option is 'unexplainable divine magic'. It doesn't really take me forward in understanding your position. Maybe that's just how we have to leave it - but I am happy for you to explain if you want.

Ok.... nuts and bolts... no problem.

To understand how it helps you have to first understand what is wrong. God gave us life which is a process of growth and learning and the hope is a mirror relationship with him where we can receive all that God has to offer which is without limit. But Adam and Eve began some bad habits which are opposed to the very nature of life itself. Instead of learning from their mistake they decided to blame everything and everyone but themselves. This put their relationship with God in no-win scenario by transforming him from the perfect teacher and adviser into the perfect scape-goat. God had no choice but to separate Himself from us for our own good -- even though this put us in a desperate position of being unable to overcome the self-destructive nature of our bad habits.

So... How did what happen change this?
1. God showed us that there really were no limits to what God would do for our redemption.
2. It showed us that we were the problem. Our bad habits destroy anything which tries to help.
The word "show" is key here. This was not just an explanation or argument but a demonstration. These demonstrations are in direct opposition to what caused the problem in the first place, leaving no reasonable room for us to put God in the position of scapegoat on which to blame our problems -- not for those who really "get it" anyway. Forgiveness is predicated on accepting that our sin kills. Thus there is no forgiveness without an acknowledgement of sin. This is the truth behind the justice metaphor. No avoidance of the real problem is allowed.

kuwano wrote:Again I'm unclear about what contrast your making between 'special divine magical power' and salvation by the grace of God. What you're describing sounds to me like sanctification rather than salvation by the grace of God. I agree sanctification is also by the grace of God and is achieved by providing us with the experiences we need for that change. But I would distinguish that from salvation by the grace of God. Again I don't think I'm interpreting you correctly so perhaps its better to quite while we're behind.

Sanctification is the substance of salvation. Justification is only the promise and the agreement. People emphasize justification in order to turn christianity into a magical tool for power and manipulation, changing it all into a ticket into heaven which they can hand out to those who obey them. It is the indulgences of the late medieval Catholic Church all over again.

kuwano wrote:I'm unclear what you are accusing me of when you say 'The believers in divine magic do the same because then it is all about how to get that magic, and they are still doing exactly the same thing with a bit of twisted rhetoric to hide what they are doing, which is still passing on the tools and leading others on the path which they think as been given to them. Making it magical doesn't make it grace.'

Why do you read that as an accusation? My point is that magical does not equal grace. Grace only means that is something God alone can do. But making into divine magic doesn't mean it hasn't turned into something dispensed by people for their own power and control over others.

kuwano wrote:
MitchellMcKain wrote:
this contrast of the physical and the spiritual is what both Jesus and Paul does. Jesus does in Luke 9:60, Matthew 10:28, Mark 9:43, and John 6 and Paul does it quite thoroughly in Corinthians 15 (among other places).

I'm sure you are aware that Jesus and Paul were Jews and not Greeks. None of the Scriptures you quote self-evidently make your case in the way that you think. You'd need to clarify your points.

I don't even see the relevance of whether they are Jew or Greek. Something being Jewish does not make it right and something being Greek does not make it wrong. And your argument that what they said doesn't agree with the majority view of the Jews is absurd! Of course they disagreed with the majority of the Jews. Why isn't that obvious to you? The fact of the matter is they were Jews living in the area inundated with Helenistic culture by the efforts of Alexander the Great. In any case, the point is I reject your use of this as filter to alter what they said and make it mean what you want instead.

Luke 9:60 Jesus said "Let the dead bury their own dead." Thus He makes it clear that there are the physically dead and the spiritually dead and these are two different things.
Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." He contrast the physical and the spiritual to tell us that it is the spiritual which is far more important.
Mark 9:43 Once again Jesus contrast the relative importance of the physical and the spiritual.
John 6 Excited about how Jesus fed them, the people wanted to make him king by force. They wanted a physical salvation, but Jesus made it clear that this is not what He was offering. So he began by talking about spiritual food and quenching the thirst of the spirit until the gave up and went away.
Corinthians 15 Here is a long discussion where Paul directly contrasts the spiritual and the physical. Read it!

kuwano wrote:Which sounds to me like your saying his death is an example and guide for us to live and in following that example we find freedom and salvation - which you've told me is a mischaracterization of your position so I'm none the wiser.

If you are so innocent in this then WHERE do these words "example" and "guide" COME FROM. NOT FROM ME! Look, in my experience, understanding doesn't come without a fight. It seems to be part of how human communication works. It requires uncovering the lack of innocence in all of us, don't you think?

This is not to say that Jesus was not an example and a guide. Of course He was. But this has absolute NO PART in anything I said! Thus to equate what I said to this is nothing less that a complete annihilation and erasure of my words altogether.

kuwano wrote:I think I've already discussed above, but I think the Bible speaks of salvation as past (we've been saved), present (we are being saved) and future (and we will be saved). I think you're focusing on the present and future tenses of salvation - but the Bible also clearly does speak of salvation as something that has been acheived by Christ and that is above offering an example and guidance.

I shall try this one again (acknowledging that I did indeed miss the point the first time).

What was achievED was a resolution of the no-win situation which took God out of our lives. Through Jesus God could once again have a relationship with human beings in which is was possible for the relationship to do more good than harm. No this is not in any way universal. But God's relationship with man never was universal. There were always those chosen for a relationship with Him. And it was through that relationship which God could bring some change for the better to everyone.

kuwano wrote:I agree forgiveness is also about not letting negative feeling hurt us further. But primarily forgiveness is about treating the guilty one beyond what they deserve. If you punch me in the face - the natural thing is to strike you back likewise. Forgiveness is foregoing the option of treating the guilty as they deserve.

You seem to be talking about some mishmash of the concepts of mercy and peace. Peace simply recognizes that tit-tat is a formula for never-ending conflict. And mercy is a modification of the idea of justice. Its rational comes from the fact that pure justice can become an impediment to learning. It is our nature as living things to learn from our mistakes. But that is a little difficult when justice throws away the key, isn't it?

But it seems that even you are having a hard time applying these ideas to an understanding of the atonement.

kuwano wrote:Yes I agree forgiveness requires the guilty person to repent and acknowledge they are wrong. But even if they did do both of these I'm not obliged to forgive them - in fact the natural response is precisely not to do that. Forgiveness is reaching out in reconciliation to those who have repented - I'm sure you've had people harm you and mistreat you at some point in your life. Did you find it straightforward and uncostly to forgive them?

You are asking the wrong person. Forgiveness has always been rather easy for me. I never could hold on to grudges very long. Perhaps this is why I found the image of God as requiring a special song and dance in order to give forgiveness to be so peculiar and unbelievable to me personally.

kuwano wrote:Of course what I've said is a metaphor - the point of a metaphor is that its meant to illustrate a reality. If the metaphor is actually illustrating something actually quite different then its not a very good metaphor.

And my point is that all metaphors have both similarities AND differences. Proper understanding requires seeing BOTH!
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby kuwano » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:44 am

mitchellmckain wrote:Then you are forcing this into one of a set of categories you insist theories of atonement must fit into, because I NEVER used any such words as Jesus being an example or us following him. NEVER! Therein in lies my frustration with your response! Why are you insisting on something I never said? Now it is true that this idea of Jesus being an example and us following is a DIFFERENT example of a non-magical explanation, but it was NOT my explanation. The question is why you insist all non-magical explanations must be this explanation? The obvious conclusion (I don't know if it is the correct one) is that this is part of your repertoire for pushing a magical understanding of the atonement.


I really don't understand why you need to be so hostile - you didn't explain your position nor the position you are critiquing very clearly and I was trying to clarify. Even when I tell you this you still assume I'm lying and my only intention is to misrepresent you. To be fair you do actually provide a paragraph among all the insults finally explaining your position. Frankly, trying to understand your position (which is actually very simple) is not worth the effort given the constant equivocation, insults and hostility.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:59 am

kuwano wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Then you are forcing this into one of a set of categories you insist theories of atonement must fit into, because I NEVER used any such words as Jesus being an example or us following him. NEVER! Therein in lies my frustration with your response! Why are you insisting on something I never said? Now it is true that this idea of Jesus being an example and us following is a DIFFERENT example of a non-magical explanation, but it was NOT my explanation. The question is why you insist all non-magical explanations must be this explanation? The obvious conclusion (I don't know if it is the correct one) is that this is part of your repertoire for pushing a magical understanding of the atonement.


I really don't understand why you need to be so hostile - you didn't explain your position nor the position you are critiquing very clearly and I was trying to clarify. Even when I tell you this you still assume I'm lying and my only intention is to misrepresent you. To be fair you do actually provide a paragraph among all the insults finally explaining your position. Frankly, trying to understand your position (which is actually very simple) is not worth the effort given the constant equivocation, insults and hostility.


I was not hostile and I did explain. You just don't like my explanation and you apparently have no rational reply to it. I can only take your retreat to mean that my suggestion about what you did was a bullseye and this was indeed simply your canned tactic for pushing a magical explanation. It certainly explains why you see my posts as hostile since I clearly am hostile to the magical approach. But... now we know where each other stands I suppose and we must be happy to leave things there if you want.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby kuwano » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:40 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
kuwano wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Then you are forcing this into one of a set of categories you insist theories of atonement must fit into, because I NEVER used any such words as Jesus being an example or us following him. NEVER! Therein in lies my frustration with your response! Why are you insisting on something I never said? Now it is true that this idea of Jesus being an example and us following is a DIFFERENT example of a non-magical explanation, but it was NOT my explanation. The question is why you insist all non-magical explanations must be this explanation? The obvious conclusion (I don't know if it is the correct one) is that this is part of your repertoire for pushing a magical understanding of the atonement.


I really don't understand why you need to be so hostile - you didn't explain your position nor the position you are critiquing very clearly and I was trying to clarify. Even when I tell you this you still assume I'm lying and my only intention is to misrepresent you. To be fair you do actually provide a paragraph among all the insults finally explaining your position. Frankly, trying to understand your position (which is actually very simple) is not worth the effort given the constant equivocation, insults and hostility.


I was not hostile and I did explain. You just don't like my explanation and you apparently have no rational reply to it. I can only take your retreat to mean that my suggestion about what you did was a bullseye and this was indeed simply your canned tactic for pushing a magical explanation. It certainly explains why you see my posts as hostile since I clearly am hostile to the magical approach. But... now we know where each other stands I suppose and we must be happy to leave things there if you want.


I find it incredibly strange that throughout you've dreamed up all these evil motivations behind my replies to you and continue too. You don't know me, you haven't met me so I'm unsure how you're supposed to have discerned all these wicked motivations from me.

The reason I'm not continuing the discussion is because as I've said repeatedly - I'm not willing to be insulted and my integrity impugned by you. I thought you started this thread because you wanted to discuss your position on the atonement. But when I asked about your position - you seem more interested in stating paranoid theories about my motivations, and hurling insults at me. If you're so touchy about the subject why bring it up as a thread? (this is a rhetorical question - I'm not interested in your answer ).

As I've said three times now - the reason I'm not interested any further in this discussion is because I'm not prepared to have you insult me and make endless series of accusations against me for just trying to clarifying what you think. I understand you enjoy insulting people behind your keyboard and it probably serves a helpful function for you - but its not something I'm interested in enabling with. This is the final clarification I won't be replying or reading your response - so fill your boots with all your paranoid theories, CAPITAL LETTER WORDS, LOLs let it all out.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:17 am

kuwano wrote:I find it incredibly strange that throughout you've dreamed up all these evil motivations behind my replies to you and continue too. You don't know me, you haven't met me so I'm unsure how you're supposed to have discerned all these wicked motivations from me.

Evil and wicked motivations? Those are strong words for very common human habits.

So... are you sinner or not? Do you have bad habits and evil wicked motivations? I know that I do.

I would like to recall one of the things I said before:
Look, in my experience, understanding doesn't come without a fight. It seems to be part of how human communication works. It requires uncovering the lack of innocence in all of us, don't you think?


Should I suggest that the one who is being very touchy here is yourself, because that is the way I see it.

Suppose I responded to
I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience.

By asking how you can condone human sacrifice as a practice in religion. Would you not be a little put off that summarized what you said with words you did not say at all? Might you not try to figure out why I would do such thing?

When I made such speculations, I said that I could be wrong. But perhaps if your really looked at yourself, the sinner, with honest eyes, you might wonder if it is possible that I was right.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby kuwano » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:16 am

mitchellmckain wrote:
Evil and wicked motivations? Those are strong words for very common human habits.

So... are you sinner or not? Do you have bad habits and evil wicked motivations? I know that I do.


Yes of course I am a sinner - and yes of course I have bad habits and evil wicked motivations. But because I am a sinner and have bad habits and evil wicked motivations - does that therefore mean every word I say is meaningless and you're free to attribute whatever twisted motivations that suits you?

I've now said this 4 times - I'm genuinely not trying to misrepresent you or manipulate you I just wanted to clarify your view. That you continue to maintain this accusation is very tiresome and arrogant. Its also an example of the genetic fallacy where you're attempting to dismiss my disagreement with your view by attributing it to twisted motivations. My motivations are irrelevant to whether your view is correct or not.

Unfortunately I see this too often in your discussions with others - people that disagree with aren't just wrong or mistaken they're wrong because they're malevolent. Once you've come to those conclusions of their malevolence then you think its OK to mock and insult people.


mitchellmckain wrote:I would like to recall one of the things I said before:
Look, in my experience, understanding doesn't come without a fight. It seems to be part of how human communication works. It requires uncovering the lack of innocence in all of us, don't you think?


Should I suggest that the one who is being very touchy here is yourself, because that is the way I see it.


You're misunderstanding me yet again, of course discussion and understanding involves disagreement. Of course, if you point out to me something I have done wrong other than misunderstand your position then that's helpful. But inventing motivations about people you don't know is a sign of ignorance rather than insight.

Mocking people and insulting people doesn't increase understanding. The problem I think is that you're so used to insulting people on this forum and going off on rants that it becomes a new normal. Anyone that complains about your insults, accusations, capital letters 'shouts', and mocking is just being touchy. You think its a normal part of understanding to insult, mock and shout at people? Even when I point this out you just ignore it and carry on with more insults and more hostility.

I have very little free time so if I engage in a discussion I want to engage the topic. Its a waste of time to deal with people who react to differences of opinion with hysterical rants and insults. It doesn't promote understanding - it promotes discord. Its possible to have a different opinion on a matter than you and not be stupid, or manipulative or a fundie or a believer in magic, or a Pharisee or a piece of shit etc. When you engaging in these insults the only lack of innocence you're exposing is your own arrogance and dogmatism.


mitchellmckain wrote: Suppose I responded to
I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience.

By asking how you can condone human sacrifice as a practice in religion. Would you not be a little put off that summarized what you said with words you did not say at all? Might you not try to figure out why I would do such thing?

When I made such speculations, I said that I could be wrong. But perhaps if your really looked at yourself, the sinner, with honest eyes, you might wonder if it is possible that I was right.


I would see it as my responsibility to clarify my position and respond to your critique. I would point out the misunderstanding and respond from there - particularly if that person repeatedly was asking for clarification. What I wouldn't do is say the reason you are mistaken is 'because you believe in irrational magic whereas I'm perfectly rational. Not only is your position irrational its also immoral as you're trying to use tactics to misrepresent me so you can promote your magic'. Do you honestly think that promotes understanding?

Anyway, I've wasted enough time explaining what should be obvious. I don't engage in conversations with someone who demands the write to insult, shout, mock me, and call me names. I also don't engage in conversations with people who attribute motivations to me that they have no way of knowing is true and then refuse to listen when I clarify that's not my motivation. If that person knew me well or had good evidence I would be very grateful to them and listen. But when that person is regularly acting that way with others in the forum and refuses to repent then they're not worth discussing with.

Yes, stupidly I continue to respond because you genuinely are misrepresenting me and I want to clarify. Whether that is deliberate goading or not - I have no idea. But its clearly a waste of my time and you don't appear to have an interest in listening to such clarifications.
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Re: The metaphors for the atonement

Postby mitchellmckain » Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:13 pm

kuwano wrote:Yes of course I am a sinner - and yes of course I have bad habits and evil wicked motivations. But because I am a sinner and have bad habits and evil wicked motivations - does that therefore mean every word I say is meaningless and you're free to attribute whatever twisted motivations that suits you?

No it means you shouldn't be so outraged and touchy about the slightest implication that you might not have been the purest saint in the discussion you are having.

kuwano wrote:I've now said this 4 times - I'm genuinely not trying to misrepresent you or manipulate you I just wanted to clarify your view.

And I never said that you were TRYING to misrepresent me or that you were manipulating me. Nevertheless, the fact is that you WERE misrepresenting me and it was difficult for me to understand why, since the words you used did not even come from me.

kuwano wrote: Its also an example of the genetic fallacy where you're attempting to dismiss my disagreement with your view by attributing it to twisted motivations. My motivations are irrelevant to whether your view is correct or not.

Mocking people and insulting people doesn't increase understanding.

If you were up front about your views and your disagreement with me then the minefield you are laying about you might at least be visible and avoidable. I don't HOW I could be committing such a fallacy when you haven't even made significant effort to explain WHAT your position is on the topic. You leave me to make guesses and then get upset when I make any guesses.

Mocking a way of thinking you believe to be wrong is NOT the same as mocking and insulting people when they haven't even made their position clear on the issue.

kuwano wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Should I suggest that the one who is being very touchy here is yourself, because that is the way I see it.

You're misunderstanding me yet again, of course discussion and understanding involves disagreement. Of course, if you point out to me something I have done wrong other than misunderstand your position then that's helpful. But inventing motivations about people you don't know is a sign of ignorance rather than insight.

My perception that you are being touchy is not "inventing motivations" but an observation of your responses.

kuwano wrote:Its a waste of time to deal with people who react to differences of opinion with hysterical rants and insults. It doesn't promote understanding - it promotes discord. Its possible to have a different opinion on a matter than you and not be stupid, or manipulative or a fundie or a believer in magic, or a Pharisee or a piece of shit etc. When you engaging in these insults the only lack of innocence you're exposing is your own arrogance and dogmatism.

Agreed.

It is also a rather convenient tactic of rhetoric to simply accuse someone of rants and insults, when the truth is the only one ranting and insulting people is yourself.

kuwano wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote: Suppose I responded to
I'll focus on 1 as this is also your focus. I agree with Bonhoeffer who argued that all forgiveness is really about the innocent bearing the sins of the guilty - so I don't think its such an alien concept that contradicts our experience.

By asking how you can condone human sacrifice as a practice in religion. Would you not be a little put off that summarized what you said with words you did not say at all? Might you not try to figure out why I would do such thing?

When I made such speculations, I said that I could be wrong. But perhaps if your really looked at yourself, the sinner, with honest eyes, you might wonder if it is possible that I was right.


I would see it as my responsibility to clarify my position and respond to your critique. I would point out the misunderstanding and respond from there - particularly if that person repeatedly was asking for clarification. What I wouldn't do is say the reason you are mistaken is 'because you believe in irrational magic whereas I'm perfectly rational. Not only is your position irrational its also immoral as you're trying to use tactics to misrepresent me so you can promote your magic'. Do you honestly think that promotes understanding?

But I never once said you believe in irrational magic. Once again we have another example of you replacing my words with something completely out of your own imagination.
I asked why you misrepresented what I said and made a suggestion as to a possible reason why you did so, saying I could be wrong. When you responded by simply getting more angry and refusing to explain anything then I had every reason to suppose my suggestion was accurate.

Look --- here is a couple of reasonable responses.
1. I do believe grace is a work of unexplainable divine power and I don't appreciate your ridicule of that way of thinking.
---> My response would be to simply say, OK, and end the discussion on that issue.
2. I mistook what you said for something I heard before, but now I can see you didn't say that. But I guess I don't really understand your explanation. I don't see how grace can be anything but an unexplainable divine power.
---> My response would probably try to explain my position again without disparaging the contrasting view.

kuwano wrote: I don't engage in conversations with someone who demands the write to insult, shout, mock me, and call me names.

So now you are accusing me of insulting, shouting, mocking and calling you names. Is that in preparation to justify insulting, shouting, mocking and calling me names? That is a frequent pattern I see. For example, you might say the other person has made accusations so you can feel justified in making accusations of your own.

kuwano wrote:Yes, stupidly I continue to respond because you genuinely are misrepresenting me and I want to clarify. Whether that is deliberate goading or not - I have no idea. But its clearly a waste of my time and you don't appear to have an interest in listening to such clarifications.

The best response to misrepresentation is clarification. Explain both what is right and what is wrong.
For example you have made a suggestion above that I am deliberately goading you, but I will not follow your example and call this an accusation equivalent to insult, mocking and calling me names. Instead I will make such a clarification...
1. Deliberate goading is not a correct assessment of what I was doing.
2. What I was doing is letting you know, in case you even cared, what impression of you were leaving me with if you continued to refuse any explanation.
Although you seem to be getting angrier and angrier and making no straight forward clarificaion of your position, your reactions are giving me more clues on which to speculate. Clarification would definitely better, but I only get what you freely offer.


P.S. Another tactic which I feel contempt for is the rather arrogant presumption that you know the proper way of discussing things with people and that if the other person doesn't know these things then they are obviously not worth speaking to. The truth I believe is that this is something we are all learning constantly and it is delusional to think there is some universal overarching standard. It is an art we are always perfecting and there are many different standards in many different cultures.
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