Q: I believe in God, but where does Jesus fit into the picture? Why do I have to believe in Him, in addition to believing in God? — C.L.
A: There are many problems with the Jesus story as told in the Christian bible. In addition to the large number of internal inconsistencies there are more fundamental questions about it that cannot be answered rationally. I will just address two of these.
- The god of the bible sends his son, Jesus (who is really part of the god), to Earth as a man so that he can be sacrificed by crucifixion to forgive the sins of humans against the god. In other words, the god sacrifices itself to itself so that he can forgive the sins of humans against itself. Also, an individual’s sins are only forgiven if they believe this fantastical story to be true. According to Jesus in the bible, the god does this because it loves humans. Here’s the problem: Why could the god just not have forgiven the sins of humans without going through the Jesus process of virgin birth, performing miracles, crucifixion, etc? If this god exists, that should have been well within its power. Some Christians may say that the god chose this method so that we could be tested. However, it should also be within this god’s power to know beforehand whether an individual would pass this test.
- The discussion above brings up another problem: the presence of evil. Why did the god allow evil to be created? According to the bible, this evil led to the sins of humans which then required the birth and death of Jesus. If the god created the universe and loves us humans like the bible says, why did it create evil?
For a humorous look at the issue of “the god making itself human and sacrificing itself to itself”, watch Mr. Deity and the Identity Crisis.
Update: The BEattitide blog addressed this same issue today.
Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.