Logo

Theological Editions - Indepth daily religious news, views, reviews & key theological resources
Features

In-depth religious news, views, reviews, features & resources for the thinking person
 

Resources

Bible
Sermons

Liturgy & Prayer

News & Magazines

Journals

Texts & Resources

Home

The resurrection may have been superfluous
by Graeme J. Davidson,
11 Apri, 2009

.If Jesus’ death brought about the new covenant and a new relationship with God, what was the point of the resurrection?

....Scurrilous rumours surrounded the first Christians. They had love feasts – nudge, nudge, wink, wink. They hugged and called each other “brother” and “sister” – was incest involved? But the most damning and persistent allegation was that this new-fangled religious sect engaged in cannibalism. Christians ate human flesh and drank human blood. Did they commit ritual murder? Maybe they killed children.
....Pliny, the Younger, a Roman governor in Asia Minor, was so concerned about Christians that he interrogated some to learn more. He didn’t believe it when they told him they ate “ordinary innocent food”. So he tortured a couple of female Christian slaves to get a confession and then wrote to Emperor Trajan in 112, “I discovered nothing else but a perverse and extravagant superstition”. Nevertheless, he said Christians deserved punishment for “stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy”. They wouldn’t curse Christ and worship the Roman gods.
....As for the love feasts: they were regular potluck get-togethers for church members. They sometimes attracted those who took advantage of other Christians’ generosity to gorge on the food and get drunk on the wine, which may have led non-believers to speculate that these potlucks were orgies.
Pliny was right about the ordinary innocent food. Yet, those of us who are Christians celebrate Jesus’ death by eating bread and wine that we say is his body and blood. Why?
....At the time of Jesus crucifixion, all religions in the Middle East used animal sacrifices to communicate with their gods. You can read about the Jewish customs in the first five books of the Old Testament. From our modern sanitised perspective the idea of all that ritual slaughter of bulls, goats and sheep, and sloshing their blood around the altar on which the carcases are burned to make a pleasing smell for God, is repugnant.
....Imagine our modern clergy having to pass exams on what animals are suitable for sacrifice, and how to kill, bleed and char-grill them. We’d definitely get a different breed of clergy. Now imagine Karori or Havelock North folk going to church to contact God through animal sacrifice to give thanks and ensure peace as well as make those important sin and guilt offerings to appease God for the many sins they’ve committed.
....It would certainly test the religious tolerance of neighbours who already have strong views about noisy church bells when they’re trying to sleep in on Sunday. They would now fear for the lives of their pets and the value of their properties as they endured the stench and flies from the religious abattoir on their block.
Yet, the ancient ritual barbeques and bloodletting ceremonies are crucial to understanding the significance of Easter.
....Christians saw in Jesus’ death the fulfilment of all Israelite sacrifices. He’s the peace offering, the thanksgiving offering, the sin and guilt offering. Jesus is the Lamb of God, slaughtered at Passover to commemorate how God killed the first-born of each Egyptian family but spared the life of the Israelites, enabling them to escape from Egypt, and he’s the Day of Atonement sacrifice who dies for the sin of all the people.
....But most importantly, Christians believe Jesus’ death is the sacrifice that brings in God’s new covenant, or New Testament, promised by the prophet Jeremiah.
When we sign a contract today, we scrawl our signature at the bottom of the document and initial each page. But a covenant with God, like the one where Moses received the 10 Commandments, is signed by the sacrificial death of an animal whose blood is sprinkled over believers. At his last meal with his disciples, Jesus told them that the bread they ate was his body and the wine they drank was his blood of the “new covenant”.
....If Jesus’ death brought about the new covenant and a new relationship with God, what was the point of the resurrection? It seems superfluous – a bonus to reinforce faith, but beyond requirements. For Christians, Good Friday brought about the new personal relationship with God, not Easter Sunday.

 

 

 

See also
Should we intervene to prevent suicide? >> more
Divorce risk indicator >> more
When you feel like you're sharing a bed with a stranger >> more
Surving the breakup >> more
Suicide terrorism as a desperate weapon of liberation >> more
Ned Flanders — popular face of Christianity >> more
Seven common myths about religion >> more
Moral divide between church leaders and laity >> more
Unholy silence over MPs hypocrisy and greed >> more
Anglican schism over gay clergy inevitable >> more
My agonising path to enlightenment >> more
More than ever, it's a time for generosity >> more
National's ethics smell of political expediency >> more
Pope's trip to Holy Land fraught with potholes >> more
The resurrection may have been superfluous >> more
Rasputin — from sinner and seducer to saint? >> more
Religious delusions and the Jerusalem syndrome >> more
Protest mild compared with Jesus' vandalism >> more
What Castro and Obama have in common >> more
Holidays can revive romance or widen cracks between couples >> more
Dubious scholarship reinterprets Jesus to fit secular creed >> more
Furore over gay marriage echoes the conflict over slavery >> more
If only politics were as certain as dear old granny >> more
You've got to have faith to win the White House >> more
The problem of evil >> more
TV Programmers let lose Roman circus >> more
Prostitutes welcome in the kingdom of God but not in Dannevirke >> more
Church too busy navel-gazing to take lead over crime >> more
Will the Anglican Church split over gay clergy and same-sex unions? >> more
Faith in secular western society >> more
The Vatican's pelvic theology >> more
Abuse and the Beijing Olympics >> more
Would the real Jesus stand up? >> more
Hypersensitivity perverts ethics >> more
God and presidential hopefuls >> more
A three-ghetto church based on politics >> more
Good and bad intentions >> more
Deliver us from exorcists who harm >> more
How effective is prayer? >> more
Masters of non-violence, resistance and kung fu >> more
Was Mother Teresa living a lie? >> more
Double standards over child sex abuse >> more
Soppy inspirational and pseudo-spiritual emails >> more
Caring organisations and pyschopathic bosses >> more
The new anti-religious evangelists >> more
Call for religious education could backfire >> more
Blessing creatures great & small — but what about blowflies? >> more
Does God exist only in the brain? >> more
The Prudes who crucify >> more
tomb raiders and the bones of Jesus and his family? >> more
Jesus loves Osama >> more
Is God more like a matchbox or a number? >> more
Confessions of a failed axe murderer >> more
Bacchanalian festivals and sentimentality >> more
Manners: insignificant social customs? >> more
The 109 fighting boys >> more
Trying to exhume the historical Jesus >> more
Is global violence really on the increase? >> more
Polygamy, circumcision, atheist journalists and religious diversity >> more
The Christian Right stands by Israel out of a misguided theology  >> more 
What a rat taught me >> more
The Church is becoming a retirement hobby for granny clergy >> more 
Is there an anti-Christian conspiracy in Hollywood? >> more
Have church schools sold out on Christianity? >> more
How good a Christian is President George W Bush? >> more

Hitler, Lawyers, Politicians SUV owners and life after death >> more

Were the Christian hostages really idiots for peace? >> more
Infidelity: in hot pursuit of a better organsm or better intimacy? >> more
Skulduggery and controversy over discovery of religious texts >> more
The cartoons aren't about secular freedoms versus intolerance >> more

Christian Zionists hinder justice and peace in the Middle East >> more

Should making more money be your New Year's resolution? >> more
My early life as a black sheep in a nativity scene >> more
Different types of suicide bomber: what makes them tick >> more
Cheating a short cut to sucess in winner-take-all society >> more
Life after death: Is it logically possible? >> more
Is it Anglican to practise apartheid? >> more
Da Vinci Code unlocks controversy>> more
Bishops' statement: pompous, pious, out of touch and verging on the heretical >> more 
Church leaders unconvincing over prostitution law reform >> more
Divorce risk factors >> more
How global are we?  A Christian's view of globalisation >> more
Victims of dirty tricks & friendly fire: Machiavellian tactics in the Church militant >> more
A redundant resurrection >> more
War, violence, ethics, religion and hypocrisy >> more
If St Peter was interviewed for ordination today >> more
13 ways to empty a church without really trying >> more
How tolerant is the Museum of Tolerance? >> more
A church comes out and reconciliation divides >> more
Micah's dream — too much to ask? >> more
Has the revised Anglican Church in New Zealand instigated a benign form of religious apartheid? >> more
The case for St Judas Iscariot >> more
Exorcism: the ministry of deliverance >> more

Top