Today, on the liturgical calendar, is Trinity Sunday:
Here’s a quick little film from Mr Deity in which a prominent atheist mocks religion. It’s funny but as so often happens with popular atheism and its resultant satire, the ‘god’ in question isn’t God- at least not how the Christian tradition has conceived of God.
I guess I should point out that the bearded guy is meant to be God, Jesse = Jesus and Larry, the syncophant, is the Holy Spirit. ‘Lucy’ referred to in the sketch is…Lucifer.
‘Why does Jesus have to die?
What does Jesus accomplish on the Cross?’
I remember going to an evangelical church with a friend when I was boy and singing the hymn ‘There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.’ I recall being completely confused and grossed out by the imagery not to mention the apparent glee everyone in the congregation felt over this bathtub filled with someone named Emmanuel’s blood.
Seriously, if you were to describe a cult, could you find a better illustration than people singing lustfully about buckets-of-blood?
Our historical atonement theories that calmly explain how Christ had to die on the Cross to satisfy the demands of God’s eternal justice and quell the Almighty’s wrath and anger over the sin of the finite, fallible creatures whom God made to be…ahem…finite and fallible don’t seem so self-evident if you’ve not already given your heart to Jesus.
Our tidy, transactional theories that unthinkingly assert that God can’t forgive humanity’s sin until someone pays the ultimate price for it seem just that to the average outsider- too tidy.
Affirming that God shows his ‘love’ for us by making his only begotten son die in his stead doesn’t appear to abide by most people’s notion of love.
Oh, we like to add, it’s okay because that only begotten Son is actually God incarnate. So, don’t worry, it’s not divine child abuse.
My point is that our usual, casual explanations for the central event of the Gospels:
A) don’t appear in the Gospels themselves and
B) only beget more questions, especially for unbelievers:
What do you mean God can’t do something?
Is God a prisoner his own inner logic?
Is love just an attribute among many for God or is it who God fundamentally is in God’s nature?
I’m no saint but does Jesus deserve to be tortured to death because of my small-time narcissistic sins? The punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime.
Why does God sound like someone with multiple personality disorder?
Tracking with this line of critique and skewering the gaping, sinkhole gaps in Penal Substitution Atonement is a great 2 minute film: Mr Deity and the Really Big Favor. In case satire is not your strong suit: The Jay Leno look alike (‘El as in Elohim) is God, the Young Guy (Jesse) is Jesus and Larry is, yes, the Holy Spirit.
As I’ll articulate in my sermon this weekend for our Razing Hell series, the problem with the Medieval understanding of Hell is a moral problem. It’s not proportional: finite sin = infinite punishment. Additionally, how can the blessed in God’s New Creation love God and enjoy him forever if eternal torment is going on downstairs?
Mr Deity skewers this question. And please, get the John the Baptist/Forerunner joke.
FYI: Some missed my ‘this is vulgar’ warning on the Woody Allen video. This has some humor in it too that some may not like.
As I said in my sermon this weekend, what Christians mean by eternal life is our resurrected, restored life when Heaven comes down and God remakes his creation (Revelation 21-22). Eternal life, for Christians, is not simply an ethereal, spiritualized existence. Eternal life is material AND spiritual because what God made in Genesis 1-2 is very good and God, because God is a God who keeps his promises, is determined to set his creation right.
I think sometimes the cliched, spiritualized notion of our souls going off to heaven leaves people with the picture of a rather boring way to spend eternity. The biblical notion of heaven therefore is good news in that the End is a recovery of everything in our present lives that is good, joy-giving and beautiful.
Here’s a great short film from Mr Deity poking at the holes in the cliched take on heaven. It’s unfortunate however that what so many, including unbelieving critics, take to be the Christian understanding of heaven is not in fact Christian.
This weekend we kick-off our January sermon series, Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You’ve Heard about Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and the Second Coming. First up is Heaven, a topic that is second only to Christmas when it comes to Christians and non-Christians
harboring clinging to their sentimental notions that are as anathema to logic as they are to virtually the entire scriptural witness.
Should be a fun sermon to preach…not.
Here’s a fun short film from Mr Deity on the ‘After Party.’