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Featured Christianity without the Cross

Discussion in 'Theological Concepts' started by Samantha Rinne, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    People can give me stock definitions of Christianity, having very traditional messages about sacrifice and Jesus dying on the cross, etc, etc, etc.

    The thing is, there are products of a time period. That is, the cross would have little or no attachment to Christianity without the Roman officials being a strong state authority, without them trying to crucify Jesus, and without the message of the cross being a symbol that basically weighed on everyone's mind.

    So let's assume Jesus died for everyone's sins long ago. And let's assume because of it, repressive systems like Nazis, North Korea, and so on went the way of the dodo (this is not true as of yet), and governments are at peace and people stay out of each other's way. Let's even assume that everyone works the exact jobs they want to work, because there are few laws to restrict entrepreneurs from setting up businesses and few taxes. So people work the hours they want, keep their earnings, and party the the rest of the time.

    We have heard "whenever two or three are gathered together..." Jesus is in their midst. So let's start here, with most people knowing nothing about crosses and Jesus just being a guest at parties.

    What exactly would be the message or Christianity in this case?
     
  2. leov

    leov Well-Known Member
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    dying on the cross is not real message of Christianity.
    John 17:3, follow example of Christ Jesus to know true God is the message.
     
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  3. Dave Watchman

    Dave Watchman Member

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    I can't ever see that happening.

    I might not understand the question.

    He is the Vine, I am the branch.

    Without Him, I can do nothing.

    “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. - John 15:5

    Thomas couldn't believe in the resurrected Jesus unless he could feel his marks of crucifixion.

    "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." - John 20:25

    I believe without seeing them.

    "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - Jesus​

    I will always know my Savior when I come to Him,
    By the marks where the nails have been.



    Peaceful Sabbath.
     
  4. epronovost

    epronovost Active Member

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    I'm not sure I understand the question. Are asking what would be Christianity's message in a utopian society where everybody was basically as happy as they can be?
     
  5. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    1 Corinthians 15:19 -- "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied."
     
  6. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    World peace only happens in the Bible once the plan laid out by God for humanity is fulfilled.

    So only those who worship God will be alive.

    What would happen is this scenario is laid out in Revelations 21 and 22. The New Jerusalem will dwell on earth and God as well. Everybody will know Jesus because he will have ruled the Kingdom. People would work for themselves and nobody else:

    Isaiah 65:17-25 The Message (MSG)

    "“Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I’ll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people: No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish; No more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don’t enjoy a full lifetime; One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal— anything less will seem like a cheat. They’ll build houses and move in. They’ll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, No more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, For my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won’t work and have nothing come of it, they won’t have children snatched out from under them. For they themselves are plantings blessed by GOD, with their children and grandchildren likewise GOD-blessed. Before they call out, I’ll answer. Before they’ve finished speaking, I’ll have heard. Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow, lion and ox eat straw from the same trough, but snakes—they’ll get a diet of dirt! Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill anywhere on my Holy Mountain,” says GOD."

    So religion wouldn't exist because there will only be truth. So there would no need to be identified as a Christian from my viewpoint. So people would worship the true God and obey him. The message would be what the Bible outlined as morality. But then people would be perfect so there would be no need for a message. They will just do the right thing. They will naturally walk with God.
     
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    It does seem like just an intellectual exercise that otherwise has no meaning.

    But a very simple answer is that the utopian society was created because of Jesus' suffering.
     
  8. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    It's not just an intellectual exercise.

    My opinion is that a very large portion of what we associate with Christianity is based on the idea that because Christ died for us on the cross, we need to be selfless and constantly sacrificing for others. I consider this a false teaching (not that Christ died on the cross but that this is the only thing taught), because it turns potential Christians into martyrs for people who would use and abuse them. Example: I have a sister who right now never visits us, but because my mom wants to see her, winds up spending time and money traveling to the city each week. If "love others as yourself" is the goal, then an awful lot of Christians have missed this message and loved others who will probably never love them back (not loving self). But all of this was based on Jesus being placed in Roman history.

    So I think it's important to realize that Jesus wasn't doing suicide by cop, but rather the Romans of the time sacrificed him, and he was simply willing to sacrifice himself. So removing that image, and fast-forwarding to a time that doesn't have an authoritarian equivalent of Romans, what is Jesus's message when life isn't about suffering and sacrifice?

    I guess the question if you're believing that Christianity brings about this utopian society is what Christ has to say to us when suffering is gone?
     
    #8 Samantha Rinne, Jan 18, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  9. 3rdAngel

    3rdAngel Well-Known Member

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    Hello Samantha, nice to meet you :)

    I am not sure if I understand your OP correctly, but the message of the Gospels and Christianity is more than only the cross in isolation to itself. I believe that JESUS dying for our sins is a very important part of this message but needs to be applied to the context of the rest of the bible. Simply put the bible teaches IMO that, all of us have sinned (broken one or more of God's 10 commandments - 1 JOHN 3:4; EXODUS 20:1-17) and the wages of sin (breaking God's Law) is death *ROMANS 6:23, but God so loved our world (and you personally) that he did not want us to die so instead he sent His only begotten son (JESUS) that who so ever believed and follows him should not perish but have everlasting life *JOHN 3:15-21. The thing is we have a sinful nature that loves to break God's LAW (10 commandments) and sin *ROMANS 7. The good new of the gospels is that God wants to save us from our sin and give us the power to love and walk in newness of life as we believe his Words so we can follow him *HEBREWS 8:10-12; ROMANS 3:31; ROMANS 8:1-4; ROMANS 13;8-10. Salvation is from sin to love God and our fellow man and is a gift from God to all those who believe and follow God's Word and the result is eternal life. We are all free to believe God's Word or not. God is not willing that any of us should perish and be lost and to prove this he gave us his only son to die on our behalf so that we might return to God and be saved from the judgment to come IMO :)

    Thanks for sharing
     
  10. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    Yes, and this is a stock Christian answer, exactly the sort I was talking about. Grew up Christian too.

    But the death on the cross is a product of Roman 1st Century punishment. Assuming Jesus came today, would his message be the same? That is, would he still share the message of dying for our sins, or having died once for all when he came again teach us some new message? For that matter, if we updated this exact message or suffering/death nowadays, it would probably be Jesus choosing to be defamed on social media, since this is today's instrument of condemnation.
     
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  11. Karolina

    Karolina Member

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    I may not be understanding your question's intention either, but I find it intriguing. To me, Jesus's death on the cross was an inevitable side effect of his incredible integrity. He was not willing to stay silent in the face of injustice, knowing the potential penalty. Today, few people imitated his example, and there isn't a correlation between following Jesus's example and calling oneself a Christian. (Meaning lots of Christians call out "Lord, Lord" but do not do the will of God, and lots of people unaffiliated with Christianity follow Jesus quite closely.
    But I digress. If we lived in a utopian society, Eden if you will, Jesus would not need to tell us to repent bc we'd already be doing the right thing. And if a few people stepped out of line and he corrected them, he wouldn't have to worry about suffering repercussions for speaking truth to power bc there'd be a critical mass of people, including in positions of authority, who agreed with his ethics and morality.
    One other thought I have that might relate to what your asking. Catholics focus on Jesus crucified, as evident by the crucifixes they wear and decorate their homes and churches with. They have intense reenactments or at least rememberances of the "Stations of the Cross" during Lent, Holy Week, especially Good Friday. The focus is definitely on Jesus having died on the cross "for love of us".
    Protestants focus instead on the empty cross, remembering not so much that Jesus suffered for us, but that he resurrected and overcame death. Cross jewelry and decorations in homes and churches speak to this focus.
    Orthodox Christians, on the other hand, focus on the eternal Christ/Word of God. They generally don't display crucifixes or crosses, but rather icons of Jesus in a somber teaching position. They still have crosses, but that's not the center of their displays in church.
    Take that for what it's worth. No idea if any of it is helpful. Cheers.
     
  12. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    the symbol won't go away
    I wear a ring of my own making......a signet …..with a cross

    but I do not wear it that I am Christian
    the label is WAY over my head

    I wear this ring to remind me .....Man made law ends with condemnation
    this world will crucify ANYone
    even if you CAN walk on water

    so......I do not hide my light under a bushel basket
    and I do outshine the efforts of people around me

    but I also wear a hood and sunglasses

    I look too much like that portrait by Warner
    people notice

    it's tough to live incognito
     
    #12 Thief, Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  13. Karolina

    Karolina Member

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    "Man made law ends with condemnation
    this world will crucify ANYone
    even if you CAN walk on water"

    Agreed. This is as true today as it was in Jesus's time. Somehow we seem to have learned nothing since then. ::(
     
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  14. Katja

    Katja Member

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    I'm thinking that if you think the only takeaway from Jesus' life, or his only teaching, was about dying on the cross, you've missed a lot of parts where he talks about how we should live and treat other people.
     
  15. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    But are these teachings eternal, or part of the message of the cross?

    As in, some of Jesus's teachings were in historical context (Christian faith being a direct part of Judaism, and Roman authority being a constant fact of life).

    The point of this is, which portions of what Jesus said is something Jesus would always say, which are directly to do with contact with Rome, and which are because he was born a Jew?

    If Jesus is reborn in a Buddhist monastery, is there a "core" of Christianity that doesn't change?
     
  16. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    Why can't a person be a Christian without the cross?

    Because that would be like being:
    • A Christian without a resurrected Jesus,
    • A theist without a god;
    • A Jew without an Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Torah;
    • A Muslim without an Allah, Qur'an, and Mohammad;
    • A Baha'i without a Baha'u'llah;
    • A Buddha without Enlightenment;
    • A Taoist without a Tao;
    • A Latter-Day-Saint without a Joseph Smith, and a Book of Mormon
    • A Jehovah's Witness without a Jehovah;
    • A follower without a leader; etc.
    I suppose each of those is possible, but what's the point? You can still be a nice person, can't you?

    LOL! No wonder you're not a Christian anymore.
     
  17. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    At it's bare bones, jesus taught 1. his father 2. brothers and sisters 3. himself as an intermediary between his creator and the people who choose to be god's (not christ) brothers and sisters. Sacrifice is not a cross thing-that's all Roman and definitely not Jewish.

    So, community, brother and sister, and most the highest definition-obedience and devotion to the creator.

    Obedience, faith, and community.

    Anyone can "follow christ" words but not everyone is obedient to his creator in order for christ's words to be more than one's individual faith but make christ present in one full community.

    I feel the cross is very barbaric in both protestant and catholic view alike. Worshiping christ at and/or on the cross in "washed by his blood" is quite different than worshiping the creator through christ through "his life".
     
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  18. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    Plus, if you're struggling with depression or grief, hearing about your Savior also dying feels out of sync because you're not able to imagine living on, when he sacrificed himself.
     
  19. Good-Ole-Rebel

    Good-Ole-Rebel Well-Known Member

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    Even in the utopian society you describe, the story, the message, would not change. I'm not sure I understand your question, but even in your utopian society you simply change mans outward circumstances. You did not change man. Thus the need always for the Cross and Resurrection.

    Take it farther in time....where time is no more...eternity. Where the Christian has been with Christ and God in Heaven for, let's say, some five million years. I know that is a mark of time but we have nothing else to measure eternity. Think of all the sinless and glorious fellowship the believer will experience with God and Christ and and other believers. Think of all the good works the believer will have done in those five million years of bliss with Christ in Heaven.

    None of that sinlessness, fellowship, good works, in Heaven, for five million years will add one particle of dust weight as to why we can, not only be there, but remain there. The only reason we can be there and stay there is because we, in a point of time on sin infected earth, accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We will always be the blood bought people. The story is eternal. We will forever be identified by the Cross and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection.

    Good-Ole-Rebel
     
  20. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    But... why would the message never change? I mean, after end times, when we're talking about eternity, there are no brutal thugs like the Romans, Al Qaeda, Communist-era Soviets, etc. In short, nobody is dying on a cross anymore.

    See the thing is, I can tell this message seems timeless, but I'm not sure I agree with that. I think Jesus is eternal, but his message is to give us what we need in this life. We have all these types that tell us that Paul somehow "corrupted" Jesus's message. But I'm not sure if that is actually it. I'm not sure Jesus is in fact a stickler for dogma, but rather the relationship is important. Paul was told that it's "hard to kick against the goads." And he was basically a hardcore Jew, as a very firm part of his identity, so he tended to see Christianity through the lens of Judaism. Peter on the other hand, has this dream where he's pretty firmly told upon meeting this guy that things he thought previously were un-kosher like food or mixing with Gentiles is now okay. I imagine these two had a very different approach, and were probably constantly arguing but somehow worked together to make a church. Constantine became a convert when there was an actual Christianity, and he was a Roman through and through, but after a vision of a sun in background with ⳩ in the foreground. He put it on his shield, and after winning a battle with it, began to support Christianity as a religion. His approach resulted in churches and formal hierarchy being set up (what became Catholicism), which was also in contrast to the Early Christianity, which was largely a nomadic missionary movement. And Martin Luther was in contrast to what Catholicism was over the whole faith/works thing.

    I was watching a film last night, called something like the It was set in a sort of future 4th Vatican (in the 1970s or so around the time of the 2nd Vatican, and alot of sweeping changes). Because there was virtually nothing futuristic about this, but it showed this remote island where monks were still chanting in Latin and basically being told they now had to all say prayers in English, and had to be ecumenical, and recognize that these rituals had no real meaning. Basically, a bunch of wide sweeping changes were forced down their throats and they couldn't even quit. I don't think God or Jesus has every been in favor of lockstep dogma or practices.

    And I was listening to a sermon today, where she was talking about two major common themes even in the early church were the Baptism and the Eucharist. As in, some future form of Christianity would probably retain at least that much, even if they had no teaching about the cross.

    My understanding of Christianity puts only a bit of weight on the Cross, and much more on the Grace that resulted from the sacrifice of the cross. I also tend to think of our encounter with Jesus to be about a Personal Relationship. In fact, the Bible uses the word Marriage. They talk about brides and bridegrooms very often, especially in apocalyptic literature. Likewise, sin is depicted as a sort of divorce. And then we have this passage.

    1 Corinthians 13

    Imagine you've met someone by reputation. A family friend. The uncle or whoever knows him personally keeps telling this one story that made an impression on him. You know, "What I remember most was the time when he..." Obviously, when you meet him personally, that would make for a boring get together, if he said the exact same thing to you. There would be other things to talk about.
     
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