The “New Christianity,” An Interpretation of the Essential Christian Prerequisite for Heavenly Admittance: The Inherent Logical Flaws Present in the Dogmatic Assumption that “Jesus Died for Our Sins”
If you must meet specific qualifications in order to take advantage of an opportunity, who gets the credit? Do you, for meeting the necessary required standards, or is praise and gratitude owed to those who created the opportunity? To help answer this, imagine you are a talented athlete (and if you happen to be a talented athlete, your imagination needn’t stray too far). All your life you’ve strived to attain the greatest award and recognition for your skills, an Olympic gold medal. You vigorously train every day. You eat your Wheaties. And one glorious day, your arduous achievements are rewarded. You place first in the world in your event at the Olympic Games. As you stand high atop your pedestal with your hand on your heart, your country’s anthem filling the air, the “lesser” competitors sneaking in sporadic jealous glances, you are stuck by the enormity of your accomplishment. And you wonder, “Who should get the credit for this gold medal hanging around my neck?” You contemplate whether you are solely responsible for your rigorous training and your stubborn unwillingness to give up on your dream, a feat rendered rare by the self-preserving withdrawal of millions of your fellow citizens who adjusted the desirability of their goals once they realized how difficult attaining desired self-actualization truly is. But then you ask yourself whether the organizers and competitors of the various participating nations, who come together every four years to bring to fruition the massive undertaking known as the Olympic Games, should instead be on the receiving end of your gratitude and reverence? After all, surely all your training would have been rather aimless were it not for the existence of this coordinated international athletic endeavor. And these internal musings lead you to ultimately ask yourself, “Who really earned my gold medal? Was it the Olympic community and committee, without whose efforts my achievement would have lacked a forum for display, or me? Am I alone the arbitrator of my own accomplishments?” Believe it or not, this crucial question is fittingly applicable to modern spirituality, specifically, Christian denominations that espouse an essential qualification is necessary to receive a heavenly afterlife. One must truly accept and believe that Jesus died on the cross for the purpose of absolving the sins of mankind, so that we can spiritually access God’s kingdom. But this idea is riddled with problematic implications and flaws. It’s very existence creates a logical contradiction. And more importantly, the supposed necessity that one must believe in it in order to go to heaven not only undermines the likelihood that Jesus died for our sins, but it renders this proposition an impossibility. In other words, it is impossible for Jesus to have died for our sins so that we may access heaven, if it is also necessary for us to accept this notion in order to enter heaven.
Background Information Regarding Jesus’ Sacrifice on the Cross
The analogy above is meant to represent one of the most fundamental core tenants of Christianity, if not the most crucial demand made on those seeking to one day benefit from their beliefs. According to Christianity, Jesus died on the cross to atone for mankind’s sins. To paraphrase a bit, Jesus’ crucifixion was his gift to “us,” for without it, mortal man would not have access to heaven or eternal life. According to John 14:6, Jesus professed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is from this passage (and perhaps others) that the notion of sacrificial acceptance as a prerequisite for heavenly admittance is derived.
This is because, for most Christians, Jesus’ suffering alone is “not enough” to ensure heavenly admittance. There is yet another precursor, specifically, that one must also truly believe that Jesus sacrificed his life and well-being in order to provide the means for mankind to enter heaven, since our inherited or self-fulfilling sinful nature would otherwise prohibit this from occurring. I’ve heard this concept of spiritual acceptance phrased many ways, the most common of which is that one may only experience heaven upon one’s death by accepting Jesus Christ as one’s “personal savior.” According to the Book of Genesis, God created Adam and Eve in His image, and they were perfect in every way, except for their one act of disobedience, partaking in the forbidden fruit provided by the Tree of Knowledge. “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17). Point of fact, according to the very same book that asserts God’s pre-established punishment for this act of defiance, Adam and Eve did not perish, which may be yet another instance of the Bible contradicting itself, but they were banished from their utopian garden instead. This one, perhaps hunger-and-curiosity-driven mistake supposedly doomed all of future mankind to the infinite acquisition of original sin, as well as a predilection for succumbing to temptation, and the solution for erasing these traits was for God’s only son, Jesus, to tortuously atone for this and die himself. So while Adam and Eve did not suffer an instantaneous deathly reprisal, Jesus surely did die…. only to resurrect three days later and ascend into heaven, according to the tale.
Besides the blatantly obvious physical impossibilities that defy all known laws of nature, such as the parentage of Adam and Eve, which leads one to wonder whether these children of God had belly buttons, as well as why Jesus is considered God’s only son when God supposedly created Adam first, the existence of a perfect garden, a talking snake, and Jesus’ foray into zombiehood, the focus of this particular religious exploration will be on the vast and varied logical fallacies and contradictions present within the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the Christian mandates derived from it.
How can Jesus’ sacrifice be considered a sacrificial act?
If the crucifixion of Jesus is considered to be a an act of sacrifice, this presents quite a few logical problems. If Jesus purposely allowed himself to be sacrificed, in fact, in order for his crucifixion to be considered a sacrifice at all, Jesus would have had to know he’d be sacrificed beforehand. An action cannot be considered sacrificial if the action comes as a surprise or if a third party forces the action upon the victim against his or her will. In other words, acts of sacrifice must be undertaken intentionally and voluntarily. If a man holds me at gunpoint and forces me to give all my savings to the poor, my donation can neither be considered an act of charity or a sacrifice. It is only a sacrificial act if I willfully donate my money to the less fortunate, and then suffer negative hardship because of my purposeful actions, with full knowledge of the likelihood that these actions would cause hardship to begin with. In order for Jesus’ final action on Earth to qualify as a sacrifice, he would have had to possess foreknowledge of his fate, but follow through with it anyway. If this was the case, then Judas should not be perceived as betraying Jesus, since Jesus was intent on being sacrificed anyway, nor did the Romans do anything wrong by killing him. In fact, they did all of mankind a favor. And it is highly unlikely that Jesus’ act would be considered a sacrifice if his fate was already locked in, and if only at that point, he decided to perceive it as an opportune time to wash away the sins of mankind. This scenario can hardly be considered a brave and sacrificial act as much as it should be viewed as putting a clever spin on an unfortunate occurrence. However, if Jesus did not know he would be sacrificed before he was nailed to the cross, then the act cannot be considered a sacrifice either, since he had no other choice but to endure his “punishment.” The only way a sacrifice could have been possible is if Jesus was given the chance to escape his fate, but he chose not to, his mission being too important to ignore.
What does “died for our sins” even mean?
As mentioned above, according to Christian dogma, without Jesus’ death on the cross, human beings would not have been granted “eternal life,” or existence in heaven post-death. The Biblical passage, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” conveys this idea. As is the case with all highly interpretive texts, this passage is far from clear, nor is it definitively decipherable. It is possible that the passage is conveying one of at least three uniquely different points. That either,
1. Through understanding Jesus as a person and by educating ourselves about his actions, we can come closer to understanding the nature of God or perhaps how God prefers we behave. In other words, we ought to act as Jesus did, and that emulating him, we can be assured a place by God’s side. We can know God “through” Jesus. Now surely this does not mean that crucifixion is the only path to heaven, but rather that charity, empathy, forgiveness, compassion, humility, acceptance, righteousness, and doing good deeds are morally meritorious traits that will be rewarded upon the cessation of our physical existence. Act like Jesus, and you will come to God.
2. Jesus is the heavenly gatekeeper of heaven or God, kind of like the bouncer at a nightclub or the bodyguard of a celebrity. In order to gain access to God or heaven itself, one must first “go through Jesus.” Whether this would entail some sort of divine street fight or whether Jesus believed he would first pass judgement upon those attempting to access God, just like a club’s doorman checks IDs before allowing admittance into the club, one cannot be sure. But either way, this is a rather pompous assertion, and a very un-Jesus-like claim for him to make. Jesus was supposed to be humble and possess great humility. He was the “equalizer” of all humanity, passing neither judgement nor punishment upon alleged sinners. His famous and often praised “shtick” included getting down in the muck and trenches with the poor and meek, and not putting himself between man and redemption. In order for the Bible to avoid contradicting its own assertions yet again, the only retort to this critical analysis would be that this passage is merely allegorical, or that it is unsubstantiated hearsay, that Jesus did not actually claim, “No one comes to the Father except through” him. Or it’s possible he did say this but didn’t mean it literally. But allegorical assertions are open to interpretation by definition, and so if this passage is in fact metaphorical or poetically ambiguous, then Biblical scholars and Christian leaders certainly cannot maintain that its existence outlines that the one and only path to heaven and connection to God is through believing Jesus died for our sins. In fact, this passage doesn’t claim that at all. The words “death, sacrifice, acceptance, belief, sins, and cross” are not present in the passage.
3. But if the passage in question merely takes great poetic license in depicting man’s only “highway to heaven,” it is just as likely that the passage means that humans are capable of understanding God by understanding themselves- that the tool God has provided us in order to decipher the difference between pious, heaven-worthy actions and impure actions wholly disconnected from God is the human mind’s logical abilities. Perhaps God and “godly morality” are capable of being understood through logical introspection, as opposed to the virtually impossible-to-achieve, and almost always disastrous consequence-resulting method of spiritual dogma, or the “guesswork” conducted by authority figures, whose estimations of Biblical textual interpretation and God’s nature and desires are actually just as valid as yours and mine. This is because, according to most denominations of Christianity, Jesus is both God’s mortal son and God in human form. Jesus was allegedly as much God’s corporeal representation as he was the son of God. So understanding the directive of “coming to” God through Jesus, can easily be envisioned as meaning that all human beings can “come to God.” After all, if God was a man when he said mankind could “come to God through me,” what he was far more likely asserting was that that all human beings are endowed with the “tools” to understand God and achieve a place in heaven, than he was claiming that man can only come to God through God. (Because how does that work exactly?) In other words, if God was Jesus and Jesus was God, then when Jesus spoke of “coming to God through me,” it was in fact God speaking. And what God was saying was that He, Himself, could be understood and known via the mortal limitations and functions of the human body- that it was possible to know God while we are human. His assertion that “no one comes to to the Father except through me” probably meant that the only biological entities capable of understanding God and meeting Him (or Her) in heaven are those beings who possess logical reasoning and moral understanding, traits unique to modern man (Homo Erectus). God (in his Jesus disguise) was claiming that if He could assume a mortal, somewhat finite human form, then all mortal, finite humans could perhaps one day take spiritual, or “godly” form. If you don’t buy into this idea, so be it. However, given that it will be conclusively demonstrated that both Jesus and/or God could not have possibly meant that “coming to God” can only be achieved by accepting Jesus as the “ultimate sin eraser,” the idea that humans are capable of “knowing and understanding God” not through acceptance of a pre-established mantra, but through the unique human gift of logical deduction and moral enlightenment is, quite frankly, infinitely more likely than the traditional, reflexive, and dogmatic Christian mandate to believe in and “accept” Jesus’ last deed before one’s death or else “down one goes into the fiery abyss.”
The idea behind the passage, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” is that no one can understand God through using any method other than physical, human-body-attached functions. In other words, God isn’t a “feeling.” There is no such thing as a random, spiritual realization, disconnected from reason, that some people experience and others do not. God provided mankind with the universally accessible ability to come to know God himself or herself as a finite being (meaning, as Jesus… or Horus or Krishna, since they were both described as virtually identical to Jesus hundreds of years before Jesus was born) as well as the capability to comprehend and even experience everlasting life beyond physical boundaries, and therefore know God as an infinite being. God provided man with the tools necessary for divine connection, and he explained this “gift” by demonstrating its intended and possible applications through the essentially connected nature of God the Perfect Entity and God in human form. This connection belies an inherent need to understand ourselves first and foremost before we can know God, as well as the truth in contemplating an everlasting spiritual existence that needn’t, or even shouldn’t, be explored spiritually, but logically. To put it poetically, “the light and the way” to heaven, or to be close to God, isn’t just right in front of us, waiting for us to simply reach out and grab it. It is within us. And perhaps God was demonstrating this by not just merely speaking “through” Jesus, but by speaking as Jesus. He meant that it was possible to “come to God” through “this” body, meaning the mortal body he possessed at the time when he spoke the words.
If understanding God and following the God-approved path to heavenly reward only comes to fruition through Jesus, if Jesus is “the way,” so to speak, and Jesus was a mortal man (albeit, one who refused to stay dead), then it simply makes sense that “the way” Jesus utilized to access divine enlightenment is also the way we should use to do the same. So if Jesus was a man, and man is endowed with logic as the sole means for interpreting and understanding the occurrences present in the world around him, then understanding God the Father though Jesus is the same as stating God can be understood by mortal man…. And in the same way we understand everything else. And so, if believing or accepting that Jesus died for or sins as the crucial state of mind needed to go to heaven is rendered impossible through logic, then God is completely on board with the idea that there is no need to accept this proposition in order to meet Him or Her.
As previously referenced, the passage even quotes Jesus as being “the light,” which is a poetically apropos signifier for illustrating that when it comes to “accessing God,” humans are a lot like children stumbling around in the dark, even though “the way and the light” is right within our grasp. This light is not difficult to locate. And we certainly don’t need spiritual guides or leaders of the church to help us find it. It is within our own minds. I repeat- God’s qualities, or at the very least, the ability to ascertain which qualities God doesn’t possess, can be understood logically. And what’s more, since being a good person, possessing a tried and true moral compass, seems to be a rather integral quality for attaining heavenly access, since morality itself or ethical codes of conduct can be understood logically as well, it simply makes good sense that applying logical deduction to God, even as a theoretical being or concept is not only feasible but is the only way we should discuss, debate, and think about God. (Attempting to prove that God has qualities “x, y, z,” from a standpoint of faith however, is another matter. And this is why God should be discussed as theoretical or hypothetical as in, “If God exists, and God supposedly said “x,” then according to logic, we can assert “x” to be possible or impossibly contradictory.” This is because faith, by definition, is belief in the absence of proof. So once a person who merely has faith that God exists or that the Bible is true and was “written” by God, say, tries to prove that homosexuality is immoral on this basis, he or she has stepped beyond the boundaries of faith and is attempting to assert an unsubstantiated belief by utilizing what he or she believes to be proof. And this isn’t faith, since faith operates with an absence of proof- it exists in a “proof vacuum,” if you will.)
A light, by its own necessary virtue, clarifies what is dark or hidden. But both the Genesis myth and Jesus’ sacrificial crucifixion are hidden in the shadows, in a place beyond reasonableness, where the illuminating and clarifying effects of the light of comprehension cannot reach. The logical obscurity and circular reasoning present in these spiritual accounts is staggering. It’s no wonder why the devoutly faithful masses throw their hands up in frustration, after attempting to make sense of the nonsensical, and choose to listen to religious leaders who claim to have all the answers, despite their failure to demystify the core tenants of their faith. If the Bible can be truly and clearly understood, in other words, if religious leaders didn’t purposely make it inaccessible, then these same religious leaders would lose their power and authority. They are out of a job. “I am the way and the light.” If Jesus said this, and if Jesus is God in human form, what Jesus/God said is that humans must come to God through themselves, through their own understanding, by using the only tools God gave us to reach any and all other understanding. And that tool is logic. God can be understood. We can access God and heaven sans a “spiritual bouncer” telling us we’re wrong every Sunday. It isn’t as difficult an endeavor as accepting the given proposition that “Jesus died for our sins” makes it out to be. For if we are required to accept the truth of this claim, we are also expected to swallow a logical impossibility. And the contradiction we have both created and must supposedly accept will be explained shortly, that is, if you haven’t gathered it already.
What is original sin and why didn’t Jesus’ sacrifice include its forgiveness?
The consumption of the Tree’s fruit was supposedly the first sin committed by man, according to devout Bible believers. As a result of this disobedience, all mankind is subject to physical death and, at least pre-Jesus’ sacrifice, the infinite cessation of consciousness by virtue of the denial of an afterlife as well. This eternal reprisal is thought to be inherited from Adam and Eve, our original ancestors, if the myth of Genesis is to be believed. In fact, man didn’t just inherit our divine parents’ punishment. We also inherited their sinful nature. However, the gift of free will presupposes a sinful nature, so the idea that this predilection towards sin is a result of plucking some fruit makes little sense, even if the story is actually true!
Possessing a sinful nature simply means that one is capable of committing sin, that “doing the wrong thing” is tempting, at least some of the time and to some degree. Thus, truly having free will would necessarily entail an ability to act upon the wrong choice or make the wrong decision. Without this ability, one doesn’t really have free will at all. If one is incapable of being tempted or succumbing to that temptation, if sinful thoughts and a gravitational pull on the soul toward immoral actions is not a part of one’s nature, if it is so outside the realm of possibility that one is incapable of choosing the “wrong” option, then one either hasn’t much need for free will or one truly doesn’t possess it. Choices are only optional if they are possible.
So for me, and anyone else who isn’t Superman, the choice between driving to work or launching myself off the ground and flying to work “faster than a speeding bullet” is not an option, because I am incapable of doing the latter. Hence, it is not a choice, so when it comes to traveling to work, my free will doesn’t get a workout and is rather impotent. The same goes for moral choices. A bedridden quadriplegic person should not be given moral praise for “choosing” not to rob a gas station cashier of his register money. This is because he is simply incapable of getting out of bed to do so. He isn’t exercising his free will by choosing not to become a roadside bandit, because this daredevil career choice isn’t an option for him. When it comes to moral decisions, same is true for those who are never, ever tempted to do wrong. They are just as incapable of choosing to commit immoral actions as a man who is physically incapable of doing so. So while these predictably “pious” individuals may exercise their free will via amoral choices (like which toothpaste to buy), without temptation, in other words, without the considered possibility or ability to picture oneself committing either an immoral infraction or abhorrent atrocity, one’s free will lies dormant. As it pertains to moral choices, for the untempted, free will doesn’t exist. The lack of mental or moral temptation is equivalent to a lack of physical ability.
What this means then is that God himself or herself gave Adam and Eve temptation when he or she bestowed free will upon them. God gifted them their sinful natures, and “Satan” merely exploited God’s gift. It wasn’t the act of defying God that brought Adam and Eve’s sinful natures to fruition. Their sinful natures were instilled the moment they received free will. The temptation to be sinful is a requirement for the possession of free will. This means that man inherited his natural disposition to sin from God’s gift and not from Adam and Eve acquiring their natures from their actions. So if mankind currently suffers any punishment or “needs to be saved” from their sinful inheritance, just as Adam and Eve did in “The Beginning,” blame can only rest at the feet of the judge, punisher, and gift-giver Himself…. and only one entity assumes all three of these roles. If there is any truth to Genesis, that entity is God.
At this point, please attempt to process the inane enormity of this logical quagmire by envisioning a mother who sneaks into her daughter’s room and bleaches her hair while she sleeps. Then, in the morning, this mother punishes her daughter for being blond and judges her as immoral and predisposed toward harlotry, because the daughter catches sight of herself in the mirror and likes what she sees. Doesn’t make much sense does it?
Why must I accept Jesus as my savior to gain access to heaven?
Ah, the “money” question. The passage goes, “…without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness….” (Hebrews 9:22). “So that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22). The lack of logic present here is staggering, that is, if it were logically possible for the lack of something to be present! What this means, both in its textual interpretation and in how it is implied as a divine mandate, is that Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross so that God would forgive the free-will-driven sins of man, even though God gave man free will, a trait which necessarily requires a “sinful nature” to utilize for freely made moral decisions. Jesus’ sacrifice was supposedly necessary in order to provide man, upon death, with the ability to reside along side God in heaven. But the qualification one must meet in order to take advantage of this opportunity provided by Jesus is belief in the notion that Jesus provided this opportunity. In other words, Jesus died to absolve mankind of their sins…. except neither original sin nor the “sin” of choosing not to believe that Jesus’ crucifixion absolved all human sins (except two) was included is this “sin absolving” act. The sin of electing not to believe in Jesus as one’s “personal savior” is not covered under this “blanket of forgiveness,” or perhaps I should call it the “shroud of forgiveness,” provided by the sacrificial act.
So one must first believe that Jesus died for one’s sins in order to benefit from the supposed fact that Jesus died for one’s sins! (It helps to read that sentence twice.) This means that heavenly admittance and God’s acceptance and forgiveness of his gift of sinful natures relies upon our belief in Jesus’ sacrifice and not the sacrifice itself. And this in turn means that Jesus’ cross-mounted actions did not create a human pathway to heaven. Only our belief that Jesus died for our sins creates this path. And it’s logically, pragmatically impossible to believe in the legitimacy of a belief-dependent truism…. Mostly because there is no such thing as concepts, objects, or truths that only exist because we believe they do. A thing either exists or it doesn’t. And even if one believes in the existence of an unprovable thing, that belief is not what grants the “believed-in object” or concept the attribute of existence. Thus, Jesus’ sacrifice serves no beneficial purpose, because its efficacy is dependent upon individualized acceptance (belief), and this automatically and undoubtably disqualifies it as a sacrifice. And if it wasn’t a sacrifice in and of itself, why should we believe or accept that it was?
So how does this pertain to the Olympics?
To come full circle, and explain what the metaphor in the first paragraph has to do with the crucifixion tale, consider the following quote: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God… [And it is not through your actions nor good works that you have been saved] so no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In a change of pace, this Biblical passage is attempting to clearly illustrate the parties responsible for human salvation- that it is God and God’s grace alone that saves us, and it is our faith that makes His grace possible. However, this clarity is fated to be as short-lived as it is ambiguous and wholly implausible. The quoted Biblical assertion above maintains that we are not saved by our own actions, but by the grace of God who saves us…. based on our actions, specifically, our act of believing.
Having faith is an active mental state. It is a “state of being” and a conscious choice. The act of having faith in the truth of a particular concept, such as accepting Jesus as one’s personal savior and salvation, is deemed by many to most Christians as a perquisite for being saved and earning salvation. And yet, at the same time, it’s God’s grace, and not acts of faith, that ultimately “saves us” in the end…. even though our faith in the legitimacy of Jesus’ actions is minimally and essentially necessary to receive God’s grace. (I don’t know about you, but my brain hurts. Circular contradictions can do that to a brain used to processing concepts that make sense. I think it feels like “logical withdrawal” symptoms. I need a hit of rationality in order to maintain intellectual homeostasis.)
Furthermore, if “good works” mean little to nothing in acquiring God’s grace, why is it that the “ultimate good work,” Jesus’ sacrifice, atoned for the sins of mankind? Wasn’t his sacrifice a “good work?” To illustrate, say I promise my daughter that if she earns straight As on her report card, I’ll buy her a car. She does this and is proud, but then I tell her that it was not her actions of studying that got her the car, but my own generosity. I explain that she didn’t earn the car through her actions. Then she asks me if I would have bought her the car if she’d made Bs and C’s, and I tell her no. So she says, “Doesn’t that mean that your generosity was dependent upon my actions?” As you can gather, her “works” did matter after all, since my generosity was dependent upon them. And it was, perhaps, the combination of her works and my “grace” that ultimately got her the car. But my gift was contingent upon her actions, but not the other way around. For her, it would be possible to make high grades without my promise of reward. It’s also possible that even with the motivation I provided, she still could have received poor grades. But my action of giving her a car was entirely dependent upon our agreement and her fulfillment of it. Without her attained actions, the car would not be purchased.
Likewise, you as the “hypothetical Olympian” from the first paragraph must ask whether your actions earned you the gold medal, or whether your acquisition of it depended on the good graces of the Olympic committees, judges, and international interest. You earned your medal. The others simply provided you with the opportunity. But purely by virtue of the Olympic Games existing, the opportunity to earn the medal was yours to earn. And cannot the same be said of God and heaven? It isn’t God’s grace that provides access to eternal life after death, nor can it possibly be Jesus’ crucifixion, for reasons demonstrated above. Heavenly admittance is contingent upon your own morality and ethical actions…. or maybe even belief in the often touted sacrifice of Jesus, if the Bible is to be taken seriously. And you will either meet these standards or you won’t. But whether the standards exist at all can never be logically dependent upon whether or not you meet them.
Furthermore, why should belief in an unprovable concept matter to achieve a place in heaven, and that your good deeds should not? Why are good works irrelevant when compared to belief in the motivations and end result of a two thousand year-old occurrence? One’s belief in Jesus’ sacrifice may be contingent upon a selfish desire for heavenly admittance, whereas charity, loyalty, humor, sympathy, equality, kindness, and generosity almost always stem from selflessness. What motivates one to act is arguably just as important as the actions themselves. A positive action conducted out of evil intentions deserves little or no moral recognition or merit. But even an unfortunately disastrous action deserves praise if it was enacted to benefit others. Plus, Christians consider the works of Jesus as an essential reason to to praise and worship him. It’s not just his faith in God that Believers admire. And if we are supposed to emulate Jesus, why should our works be considered irrelevant when seeking to rise into heaven? If boasting is truly the issue of concern, why wouldn’t God simply convey the following: “Do good works, but don’t be boastful?”
Summation: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
As has been repeatedly presupposed as a given for the purpose of this essay, Jesus died on the cross so that man could gain admittance into heaven. But according to this foundational Christian belief’s own doctrine, without which would disastrously disrupt the current paradigm relied upon as an essential component of the personal identities of a vast majority of Americans, it is not Jesus’ actions that give one heavenly access, but one’s belief that Jesus died for the sins of man that gains one a place along side God in heaven. And this is a direct result of the divine, but likely misinterpreted (unless we are willing to suppose that Jesus’ disciples and contemporary Christian scholars alike didn’t consider the consequences of blatant misinterpretation), belief that a heavenly afterlife can be denied if one does not adopt the belief that Jesus is “thine personal savior.” But this spiritually required mandate logically means that Jesus did not buy you your ticket into heaven. If you end up in heaven, chatting it up with God or what have you, then you alone accomplished this feat by virtue of believing Jesus bought you your ticket. But unfortunately for those who hold these traditional Christian conceptions dear, and as entailed by the logical arguments illustrated below, you pay for your ticket into heaven by holding a belief doomed to be false by its own contingent nature. Plus, your action of believing in Jesus’ sacrifice did not really “buy” the ticket, according to the Bible. God bought it for you through his grace, an illogical contention if there ever was one, since his grace is only provided if you believe in the legitimacy of his son’s sacrifice, which is a belief rendered false because of its demand to be believed. If you believe that Jesus sacrificed himself for you to go to heaven, and if this belief is necessary to get you into heaven, then it isn’t Jesus’ sacrifice that gets you into heaven, it’s your belief that Jesus’ sacrifice got you into heaven that gets you into heaven. (Whew!) As you can see, if your brain didn’t just explode, the requirement for believing in the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice falsifies Jesus’ sacrifice. In other words, the recruitment of Christians kills Christianity. If a core tenant of the Christian faith is Jesus’ sacrifice, and if in order to be Christian you must believe in its legitimacy for heavenly admittance, then the belief that makes you a Christian destroys the central doctrine of the faith.
So what we are left with is that when it comes to experiencing heaven, one’s acceptance of Jesus as one’s personal savior both matters and doesn’t matter, and is simultaneously the cause of one going to heaven and isn’t. This is humorously circular reasoning, but it does teach a valuable lesson that I’d like to convey in the form of an unfunny joke. When organizing ducks so that they can get to heaven, first make sure they are all in a row.
“Logical Argument A”
P1. If Jesus died via sacrifice, then he did this to make heaven accessible (so that certain beings could enter the kingdom).
P2. If Heaven is accessible, then it is only accessible to human beings.
P3. You are a human being.
P4. Jesus died.
C: Therefore, you will go to heaven.
“Represented Symbolic Logical Argument A”
J = Jesus’ death
H = Heaven is accessible (going to heaven)
M = Human Beings (mankind)
Y = You
“The Symbolic Argument”
J -> H
H -> M
M = Y
Therefore, Y -> H
“Logical Argument A” is a valid argument, only given that the first, second, and fourth premises are in fact true, of course. But “Symbolic Logical Argument A” is truly sound and valid on its face. The reason why “Logical Argument A” works is because it doesn’t require any additional premises regarding a belief in the legitimacy, or truth, of Jesus’ sacrifice, why it was important, or what it represents. But watch what happens to this same argument when the monkey wrench of contingent belief is thrown into the mix. Our once simple and beautiful argument is rendered illogical and yields a contradictory conclusion. This definitively demonstrates it is impossible to require people to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice as a prerequisite for spending one’s afterlife in heaven, or to “come to the Father,” as Jesus supposedly phrased it, and at the same time assert that Jesus’ death is what made this possible.
P1. If Jesus died via sacrifice, then he did this to make heaven accessible (so certain beings could enter the kingdom).
P2. If Heaven is accessible, then it is only accessible to human beings.
P3. You are a human being.
P4. Jesus died.
P5. If you believe and accept P1 is true, then you go to heaven.
P6. If you don’t believe and accept P1 is true, then you won’t go to heaven.
C: Jesus didn’t die so that all men could go to heaven. And Jesus did die so men could go to heaven.
(This is because you are human and yet, you aren’t included in P1 or P2, so you don’t go to heaven thanks to Jesus. This is the additional qualifier- belief.)
“Represented Argument B”
J = Jesus’ death
H = Heaven is accessible (going to heaven)
M = Human Beings (mankind)
Y = You
B = Belief in Jesus’ sacrifice
~ = “Not” (or a negation of the premise or proposition)
“The Symbolic Argument”
J -> H
H -> M
M = Y
(B -> H)
((Y -> H) & (Y -> ~H)) or (M & ~M)
As you can see, even though Premise 1 is pre-established, it is negated in the conclusion that yields both “H” and “not H,” meaning that based on your belief, it is possible for you to either go to heaven or not. But the first four premises already established that you will go to heaven. Therefore, the second possibility to account for the conclusion “not H” is that you are not a human being, and thus not included in Jesus’ sacrifice, even though premise three states that you are. In this case, the introduction of “belief” as a contingent variable, causes the argument to a produce contradictory conclusion which invalidates the argument as a whole and the possibility that Jesus could have died for our sins and that we must accept this as true in order to ascend into heaven upon our deaths.
Feel free to leave a reply using the form below!