Did Jesus Really Die for Our Sins?

Every year around this time I celebrate Jesus’ time on  earth and his conquering death. I learned years ago theology is made up of many fancy tags and the amateur as well as professional theologians love to use them to show their knowledge ( I kind of think it is really to snow the rest of us).  The tag that explains Jesus having to die for our sins is called Substitutionary Atonement. Here are some words from Christian Piatt about that:

2016-03-25_10-48-18.pngIt is worth noting that the notion of Jesus dying for our sins did not gain traction in the Christian imagination until at least a dozen centuries after Christ’s death. This is critical in our understanding of the crucifixion, namely because so many assume today that their present belief in substitutionary atonement has forever been the cornerstone of Christian theology…

“By the sixteenth century, Calvin focused upon punishment,” he says. “Because of the immensity of humankind’s sin, God’s wrath demanded punishment; Jesus became the substitute punishment.”…

Contemporary theologian Walter Wink goes a step further than Abelard, claiming that atonement theology is a corruption of the Gospel, focusing on an act of violence rather than the values of peaceful humility and compassion lived and taught by Christ.

Resolving the debate about the causes of, and purpose behind, Jesus’ death is an impossible task. More important, though is to make clear that such a debate is going on. For too long, Christians and non-Christians have assumed that all who yearn to follow the way of Christ universally believe Christ died for our sins. For millions, this not only defines their faith, but their understanding of the very nature of Good as well. For others, it is the basis for rejecting Christianity, understanding it as an inherently violent religion, centered on a bloodthirsty God that requires death in exchange for mercy.

This is not the God in which I put my faith, and I am not alone.

via Did Jesus Really Die for Our Sins?.

Christian Piatt, who is the author of this Huffington post is not your everyday theologian. He dares to ask questions and study the topic for answers which is something few in that occupation seemingly dare to do.  He is a regular contributor to one of my favorite blogs RedLetterChristians.

The idea of Jesus’ primary goal in coming to this earth was to die for our sins was not really formulated until the 12th century. It was not until then that the majority of Christians celebrated this atonement idea. Yes, conquering death as an early celebration but dying for our sins was not.  Of course since then it has been widely accepted across denominations. But I am just not one of those who believe that God needs a blood offering to satisfy his rathfull nature.

To me Jesus’ primary goal in coming to earth was to teach us how to live our lives as God intended. It was to wash away much of the Jewish traditions/laws that had nothing to do with God that were in place at the time. So many of Jesus’ quotes from the New Testament start with “The law (tradition) says this but I say this…” Even up till then there was just too much wrong headed interpretations of God’s limited words. Can you imagine what God thinks of it now?

So, while my life is geared toward celebrating Christ’s mission to earth I don’t  buy necessarily buy into the man-made concept of “substitutional atonement”.

 

The Lost Americans…

One of the things I like about the folks over at The Week is that they can intelligently talk about difficult subjects and  keep down the blah, blah, blah.  They get right to the point without a lot of unnecessary words crowding the underlying message.  I try to do the same by my self mandated 500 word blog post limit but am often unsuccessful.

The topic below about what to do about the “lost Americans” is at the root of all the turmoil today. Where is the quote:

2016-03-25_18-12-58.pngWhenever I’ve passed through decomposing Rust Belt cities or haunted former factory towns in the South, I could not help but wonder: Why do people stay? Why not move somewhere where there are jobs and a future? This, I know, is a facile, even smug, judgment: People are bound to hometowns by the powerful gravity exerted by families, friends, and community. Starting over in a strange place is a gamble that takes a lot of courage. In a startling essay in National Review, Kevin Williamson argues that those who don’t flee blighted regions have only themselves to blame for their misery, and that the white working class should stop whining and self-medicating, load up the U-Haul, and move to where the new jobs are.

In the high-tech global economy, the new jobs go to “knowledge workers” — highly educated people with specialized skills. If your only qualification is a willingness to work hard, you might land a $20,000 gig at the Hardee’s or the Walmart, instead of an $80,000 job at the plant. So what does our country do about the folks the free market no longer values? So far, the presidential candidates are offering nothing but Band-Aids and bunkum. Tariffs and trade wars will not bring shuttered factories and industries back from the dead, or reclaim the millions of jobs now performed by machines. Heavily taxing the rich and redistributing the income might cushion the fall a bit, but it will not restore the dignity and self-respect that only work brings. Let’s be realistic: Not everyone can go to college and graduate school, or become a programmer or engineer, or pack up the U-Haul and find lucrative work in the big city. We can scorn those who can’t, send them government checks indefinitely, or feed their resentments in a bid for votes. But the lost Americans aren’t going away.

SOURCE: The lost Americans.

It is sad to think that the only solution is to write off so many that are stuck in places without any meaningful jobs. The “Rust Belt cities and haunted former factory towns of the South” are in the hotbed of this presidential election. They are the prime drivers pushing Donald Trump or Ted Cruz toward the Republican nomination and giving Bernie Sanders a good part of his base.

But let’s face it, there is a significant part of our adult population who aren’t, and probably never will be, prepared for the working world of the 21st century. They just don’t have the drive or maybe the will necessary to escape their low paying jobs. They are no longer of value in today free market as all they have to offer has been replaced by repetitive robots.

Being an empath it troubles me deeply that there appears to be no general solution for this group of uneducated workers any longer. As the article says about the only thing we can do is to send them government checks and hope that the next generation understands how to get that well paying job that was lost to their fathers and mothers…

About Me…

Every once in a while I like to make public a little more about me. It helps me more fully understand who I am and what I am doing, and have done, with my life and maybe gives you some understanding of some of my views.   This post is about that general topic and revolves around the word “rote”. I know that is not a word I or anyone else uses much but it totally defines a significant  part of my life.

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Even though I am in my seventh decade of life in some ways I  still seem to be a little kid who just never grew up. I have always needed constant stimulation to keep from getting bored with my circumstances.   If things stay the same for too long they become rote.

2016-03-25_11-08-32.pngEven though I worked for the same company for thirty years I didn’t do the same thing for more than five years or so and then it was time for a basic change. Once I got good at something it then bored me and I was ready for change. I couldn’t, and really still can’t, understand how a person can do the same thing year after year.

2016-03-25_11-09-01.pngWhen I left the corporate world and started up a furniture/cabinet business. I had been doing woodworking projects for myself for years but rarely sold any of my creations. During the six year that this business was active I became very good at creating and fabricating furniture.  While the one-man shop was somewhat successful it just became boring to me. Once I had conquered the skills to do the work it was not of much interest to me anymore. In retrospect I can look back at my life and discover that this was by no means the only occurrence.

2016-03-25_11-09-24.pngI think I was about 12 or 13 when I read my first biography on Albert Einstein. It was a big  book, about three inches thick) for such a small person that I was. I was fascinated by his life and I think I then became addicted to learning and my “question everything” approach to life. Being a farm boy with a relatively low self-esteem I never even dreamed of being like him an any regard but some of those words evidently rubbed off on me. I love his quote in the graphic to the right.

It seems that my challenge in life has always been  to learn something new. Once that is accomplished it is time to move on to other things.  Learning seems to be my passion in life. I’m sure that I am not alone with these thoughts….

Why working-class whites can’t propel Donald Trump to ultimate victory

It is a well known fact that the Trump phenomenon is the result of a mostly white working-class population.  He is doing very well in that category and absolutely terrible everywhere else. Will that following be enough to propel him into the White House?

If there’s one thing we know for sure about Donald Trump, it’s that he’s a candidate for white people….

Trump’s success in attracting white, working-class voters is raising the prospect that the Republican Party, in an electoral gamble, could attempt to take an unexpected path to the White House that would run through the largely white and slow-to-diversify upper Midwest.”

SOURCE:  Why working-class whites can’t propel Donald Trump to ultimate victory.

2016-03-24_16-19-15.pngIf you had asked me a year ago whether Trump would be where he is today I would have been extremely skeptical. The last time something like this happened was with George Wallace in 1964. He was then the Governor of Alabama. He proclaimed that segregation will always be the norm if he were elected President.  His most famous quote from that presidential run was:

In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever..

Much like today his following was almost exclusively white working-class who were fearful of the coming changes due to the Civil Rights movement occurring around them. They feared that their way of life was ending. Wallace ran in 1964 as a Democrat, in 1968 as a Republican, and finally in 1972 and 1978 as an independent. Each time of course was the same message of extremism and hate that stoked the fires of racism across the country.  Here are a couple of selected quotes from my friends at Wikipedia about this:

Many found Wallace an entertaining campaigner. To “hippies” who called him a fascist, he replied, “I was killing fascists when you punks were in diapers.” Another quote: “They’re building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia…

Wallace was known for stirring crowds with his oratory. The Huntsville Times interviewed Bill Jones, Wallace’s first press secretary, who recounted a particularly fiery speech in Cincinnati in 1964 that scared even Wallace.” “Wallace angrily shouted to a crowd of 1000 that ‘little pinkos’ were ‘running around outside’ protesting his visit, and continued, after thunderous applause,saying, “When you and I start marching and demonstrating and carrying signs, we will close every highway in the country.”

SOURCE: Wikipedia.

Although he managed to carry States like Michigan and Maryland outside the South he never was a serious threat. These words remind those of us who were around then of what is happening now.  We can only hope that like Wallace, Trump’s following is not enough to gain him the Oval Office. It may be true that Trump has a larger following then Wallace but  I absolutely refuse to believe that the majority of citizens in this country are so paranoid as to actually elect an “entertaining campaigner” to the highest office in the world. If I am wrong then so help us God…

When Robots Make Cars….

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I know that robots have taken over many of the repetitive tasks from us humans. Many see that as stripping jobs away from those who don’t care to otherwise be ready for today’s workforce.  The mind-numbing jobs are being taken over my mindless robots and that is as it should be. Let’s take auto manufacturing as an example:

  • Robots don’t make mistakes... They do the same thing over and over again because that is all they are programmed to do.
  • Robots don’t know Monday from Friday…. They don’t take their eye off the task at hand because they are still remembering the weekend or are anticipating the coming one.
  • Robots can do the same thing over and over with the same accuracy…. Not only do they not make mistakes but they do what they are programmed to do with extreme accuracy. They simply don’t have other distractions on their minds.

Let’s face it, compared to today’s cars, the cars of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s were junk. The fit and finish were terrible and the lemons made because of absent minded defects were very troublesome to those who were unfortunate enough to get them. Humans just never did a good job of making cars.

So where does that leave us humans? For those unprepared for anything else but mindless  assembly line work it leaves them with flipping hamburgers or other low skilled work  that were once meant as entry type jobs. But for those willing to put in the effort to equip themselves with the necessary skills it leaves them with opportunity. Many young people today are taking that opportunity but many are not. Some think they are not smart enough to learn, some just can’t afford it. The later needs our help but then again so does the former.

We need to make higher education more affordable, if not free, for anyone who wants to improve themselves.  Free high school education has been the norm now for many decades and now its time to kick that up a notch to at least two years of free trade school or college.

For those who don’t think they are smart enough we need to do a better job of encouraging them. We need to make learning as important to them as high school sports are now.  Part of that is a teacher thing but the biggest share belongs to the parents.