Jesus died for your sins

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"Jesus died for your sins" (or "Jesus paid for your sins") is a common appeal to emotion used by Christians when attempting to offer a reason to why one should accept Jesus Christ as their saviour.

This statement is based upon the Christian doctrine that Jesus was sent to Earth by God to take away the sins of the world, and was crucified, died, resurrected three days later and rose to heaven to be with God, his father (who is also himself).

Counter-apologetics

  • The way the story of Adam and Eve is written, God apparently created people knowing that they were likely to sin, and then engineered the circumstances in which they would commit sin. Is it reasonable to blame people for acting in the way that God created them?
  • Why a sacrifice at all? Surely if an omnipotent being did not want to eternally punish people, he would simply not eternally punish them. How exactly does God sacrificing himself to himself change the situation?
  • A common appeal to emotion is that all human suffering pales in comparison to what Jesus went through for us. Yet was any of his suffering related to what he wanted to accomplish? If the suffering was in some way efficacious for his ends, why didn't God make Jesus suffer a little more, thereby increasing the quality of his sacrifice? We can only conclude by the average amount of suffering Jesus underwent that it was all auxiliary to his main goal, which was simply to die; and then the question is why God didn't just behead Jesus (like Abraham was going to do to Isaac) or kill him in a way that was a little less painful.
  • For an eternal being, dying for three days is not much of a sacrifice. Jesus was crucified by people who didn't agree with his contemporary blasphemy, knowing that he was a god, was taken off the cross just a few hours later, supposedly died, rose from the dead and is now in heaven. Plenty of people have suffered worse tortures throughout history, and have not gotten to become God in the bargain. Plenty of other mythological figures have also suffered much worse than Jesus supposedly did, e.g. Prometheus, who was chained to a rock and whose liver was picked out by a bird every day, then regrew every night just to get picked out again the next day. Prometheus was immortal, so he suffered in this way for quite a long time, much longer than Jesus' measly three days. Perhaps if Jesus had truly died and was suffering in hell right now and for the rest of eternity, that would be a real sacrifice for us.
  • Why wait so long? If Jesus truly is the only path to salvation, then people lived and died for thousands of years with no chance to escape hell.

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