Saturday, February 13, 2010

Isn't the claim that Jesus suffered a little bit empty?

Let's see. Jesus was brutally tortured for a few hours, then died. Some say that he then spent three days burning in literal agony. Others disagree. Still, all Christians want to hit me over the head with this idea that Jesus suffered for me.

I have to say that Jesus' suffering is just a bit empty when I put it into context. First, Jesus was a grown man. He had the emotional tools to cope with suffering; he understood what it meant and especially--especially--knew that it would end in a relatively short time. Second, Jesus knew that his suffering was serving an incredibly valuable purpose. He knew that he was saving mankind, which, because of his love for mankind, was an outstanding motivator to accept the suffering and stay with it. Third, sure, Jesus complained to Yahweh when the going got really rough, but in the end it was Jesus' own choice to suffer. He knew that he didn't have to! Having the right to choose one's own suffering is of inestimable value in accepting the suffering.

Now, contrast that with my life. I was tortured and sexually molested for years by my parents when I was a child. First, I was a child and had no emotional tools whatsoever to put my suffering into context. I didn't know what it meant, and I didn't know that there was such a thing as an end: it was just the way things are. Second, my suffering served no purpose, and even if it had, as a child I could not see it. Third, I had absolutely no choice in the matter. If I ever complained, I got an even worse beating.

No, it's not just a rant. My question is this: how can Christians be so blind as to throw "Jesus suffered for your sins" at me as an enticement to love him? How can you guys think that I'm going to be moved by Jesus' suffering? I'm not impressed at all.

After I received a few answers, I couldn’t help but respond:

As usual, I'm underwhelmed by this display of compassion. You guys really make Jesus proud. You who think that three days in hell is the worst: I promise you I'd trade places with Jesus in a heartbeat.

A bit later…

Thanks to you atheists who posted answers even when I asked you not to; you made me see something huge: Jesus is Yahweh! Knowing this, and having this in his mind while he was suffering, absolutely nullifies any suffering whatsoever. Thanks, friends.

A bit later again…

Thanks again, atheists: many, many people have suffered far worse than Jesus ever did. You know, there might just be hope for me after all. I might just be able to free myself from this ghastly religion once and for all. Thanks again, friends. Your compassion and understanding is worth a billion times more than the petty slaps in the face I get repeatedly from Christians.

Finally, just before I got tired…

You can't tell me that Jesus didn't have some internal, emotional, and intellectual (not to mention divine!) tools to help him cope with his suffering. I am an adult now and I have many, many times *chosen* to suffer for various good causes. It absolutely *does* make a difference when one can easily choose not to suffer.

Best answer, posted by "bollyqueen08", who had contacted me privately and exchanged some hopeful emails in which I had made myself vulnerable, sharing private details about suicidal feelings and my daughter:

you know what? just stop. you are wallowing, you are griping and throwing your pain into the world's face. either deal and move on or give up and die, but STOP throwing Christians beliefs in our faces, that is not ok!
and moreover, you know what? people who say that to you, are just trying to help, so get off your little pity party! at this point it is your choice to suffer. put down the phone to the help line and go hug your daughter.

My response:

Thanks again for showing Christian compassion by publicly airing my private details, which I shared in confidence with you under the false hope of getting some unexpected wisdom in return. I take it back; I did get something: tonight I can feel my chains breaking. Thanks!

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