The Price of Salvation

Introduction

    In several conversations I've had with Christian theists legitimate questions I have about the validity of the Bible have been side-stepped by bringing up Jesus's sacrifice. It seems that to some Christians no matter how evil their God is in the Old Testament bringing up the fact that his son died for us is supposed to make all that badness go away. This one act of love, according to Christians erases all sin, apparently that must include the sins of the vile Biblical God Yahweh as well.

    It is often emphasized to me that this gift of Salvation is free. God freely gave his son, they say, offering Salvation to any. But these people are making a big mistake, Salvation may be a free gift but it is one that carries with it a heavy price. It was only free from God's end in that the pain Jesus endured on the cross was only the finite human pain we mortals suffer, to an all powerful deity it wouldn't even register. And three days spent dead? There are people who wake up from coma's far longer than that. So for an infinite God to suffer one day of torture and two days worth of death before coming back is nothing. But to believe it happened and to live your life by the commandments set up by Christ and the Bible is a very hefty price.

His Yoke is Easy?

According to Christ his yoke is easy and his burden is light. This isn't the first time he's metaphorically referenced his followers as farm animals... He's also a shepherd to his flock...
According to Christ his yoke is easy and his burden is light. This isn't the first time he's metaphorically referenced his followers as farm animals... He's also a shepherd to his flock...

Obedience

    While many Christians believe that faith alone is good enough to get into Heaven the Bible says that Faith without works is dead. So faith without action is dead. There are many actions in the Bible through which one can show obedience to God. Even if we cut out the gruesome or draconian laws of the Old Testament we're left with some pretty bizarre commandments from Christ. Does anyone really want to cut off their hand if it causes them to sin? And how exactly does one go about keeping their right hand from knowing what the left is doing? But these are likely metaphorical... right?

    What about your loved ones? Spouse, kids, friends and relatives alike. You should be free to love them right? Well not according to Jesus...

 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."


    It certainly seems like Salvation carries with it a very hefty burden if it requires you to hate your family and take up the cross. Now of course the cross is likely metaphorical, figurative language representing the burden of salvation. Jesus briefly compares his disciples to cattle in another metaphor saying that his "yoke" is easy and his burden light. Compared to what exactly? How many other self proclaimed Messiah's require people to hate their families.

    Jesus also never states that the old commandments are to be done away with. In Matthew 5 he explains that he came not to destroy the Law of the Prophets but to fulfill it and finishes this declaration by telling his disciples that anyone who follows the commandments will be great in the Kingdom. So maybe killing folks for adultery by beating their skulls in with stones isn't required for getting into Heaven but if Jesus is to be believed we will get better seats for it. Of course in one of the most stunning Biblical Contradictions ever Jesus later stops people from stoning a woman who committed adultery and even works on the Sabbath (another deed punishable by death).

    In Second Corinthians the Apostle Paul even claims that people should "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."... This is in stark contrast to Jesus' claim that "who the son shall set free shall be free indeed" ... Yeah, free to do as Christ tells you apparently.

Faith

Faith is something that religious people and small children who believe in the Easter Bunny have in common. You may think the idea of a rabbit laying eggs and then hiding them is absurd but if you also believe that a man born of a virgin who was God and God's son at the same time died and rose again three days later than I really don't think you have a place to talk. Both ideas require the suspension of disbelief (not the sort you undergo while watching a movie mind you) in the absence of evidence known as faith.

    Faith in Christ isn't easy. After all you're expected to believe something absurd, something supernatural and something for which there is no evidence OR ELSE you will burn (forever in most interpretations). The requirement of credulity in the absence of evidence under penalty of torment I find to be a most repugnant and immoral aspect of Christianity.

Even if you remove the threat of torment you are still left will the cost of your intellectual honesty by having to believe in something based solely on ignorance or the religious leanings of your parents. Faith is a requirement, a cost, of earning your "Salvation"...

What a merciful and loving God, to give us a means of not having to burn forever only though having to trick ourselves or our kids into believing unsubstantiated supernatural claims.

Heaven

    Imagine you've lived your whole life a good Christian and now you're dead. You get up to Heaven only to find that most of your loved ones and closest friends didn't make it in. Instead of going to Heaven for whatever reason, be it lot's of sinning or merely deciding there wasn't enough evidence and de-converting, they went to Hell. So now you have to spend eternity with a bunch of complete strangers while your friends are being char-broiled by God. And what's God doing? He's sitting on a throne in the center of the Heavenly city being worshiped ENDLESSLY while they burn.

    And why? For what? What did your loved ones ever do? Did they drink a little bit too much? Did they curse a few too many times? Did one of them shop-lift a few items from a local store? What sin could possibly deserve eternal punishment and what sort of loving God deserving of worship would damn people at all?

    Suddenly you see your mistake for what it was. You thought eternal life with God was a gift but now that you see him as the sickening tyrant he is you suddenly realize it wasn't worth it. You know have to bow down and worship the guy who's torturing the people you love. I'd rather be tortured than serve and obey one who tortures.

What are you really getting saved from?

I did a whole hub about this question but it kinda bears repeating, what exactly are you getting in return for accepting Salvation? Sure you get the CHANCE of getting into Heaven but as I explained in my hub it isn't as though accepting Jesus automatically gets you in, there's still temptation, back-sliding, logic and the complete absence of evidence standing between you and the pearly gates (not to mention however many years you have left to live).

Jesus doesn't save you from sin, Hell, death, Satan, doesn't improve your credit score, cures cancer and other diseases only at the same rate as chance and plans on damning most people to Hell for even the slightest act of defiance (or any type of pleasure he doesn't condone).

Conclusion

The only conclusion one can reach, even if Jesus really were the son of God and the Bible were true, is that the price of Salvation outweighs the benefits. Any Christian claiming that salvation somehow sets you free or that it itself is offered freely has forgotten to mention the chains it puts upon you and the uncomfortable moral and intellectual position it forces you into.

More by this Author


Comments 12 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I've always wondered why people want to go to "heaven" yet struggle to stay alive for as long as they can. What's the point? If you are "saved", why not pray while your car goes off a steep mountain road because you were distracted.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Many denominations teach that only God can decide your time and suicide is a sin to avoid just such an attempt. I think that many Christians just don't believe it that strongly. But then you've got cults like the Heaven's Gate who definitely believed strongly.


gobangla 5 years ago

Most religious people don't long for death, even though the afterlife is supposedly so much better than this, because we have a powerful instinct for survival. It seems like some serious indoctrination is required to overcome our natural desire to live.

According to biblical scholar Bart Ehrman, the whole he who is without sin adultery story never happened. It was added in much later by biblical scribes.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Hadn't thought of survival instinct, makes perfect sense that even if they believe in an afterlife their instincts conflict with their irrational beliefs.

I remember reading or hearing something about that being an interpolation as well. The Bible has gone through so many changes and edits that we do know about and likely innumerable ones we don't yet some fanatics pretend their 1611 King James might as well have been written by Jesus himself.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

("It seems that to some Christians no matter how evil their God is in the Old Testament bringing up the fact that his son died for us is supposed to make all that badness go away.")

The reason for evil as a follower of Jesus Christ could be considered a "good" thing. Without evil, we would not see our own shortcomings, which is the only way to receiving the grace of Jesus Christ.

To believe in the essence of evil or its existence suggests a basis for something that is not relative; otherwise where does the basis of good come from?

When the Father draws a person to Him, they see the truth through the transformation of the mind through the grace of Jesus Christ. Once the mind is transformed the need for proof is irrelevant as a follower, but only to the skeptic who are still searching or have made up their own minds on their belief. Jesus does not coerce the way religion slaps you in the face with.

If the Father has not drawn you to Jesus Christ, then often the "labelled" religious fanatics have tried instead. Instead of the genuine; superstitious myth, fables and fairy tales feed off weak minds of the children of religion leaving the carnage of tortured souls who were coerced into a delusion. Religion could not fill the hole of purpose in life. The backlash of atheism is often the product of this.

The term "Christian" means nothing because it is a religious tag for identification from the pinners of that certain religion.

Atheism loves to attack religion because it is so fallible and exposes all of their holes.

I believe God does everything apart from our own free will to draw us to Him. Once He draws us and we accept His free gift of grace it gives a new purpose for life.

It goes from self to Himself. It only makes sense though the transformation of the old self to the new. To the skeptic, this is irrational and I can understand that.

To truly understand the manipulation of Scripture is how Satan used it to tempt Jesus. If Satan quoted Scripture, then it is deception even if it is word for word from the Bible itself. Religion does the same thing because it tries to something only God can do.

The answers are not in the Bible, but it is a testament of the "answer". The Bible is foolishness and irrational until the "answer" who is Jesus Christ is accepted. From there the mind moves from a dualistic nature into the nature of Christ.

Contrary to religion, the Bible says that we need to count the cost of being a follower. It by all means is not easy and does not mean we are excluded from suffering in this life, but the assurance of salvation gives purpose, meaning to life, and why we were created.

Religion cannot provide this because it is confined to man, it is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we receive a peace that surpasses our own understanding.

Although as ludicrous a you think this sounds, I understand that. That is why the term "miracle" can only be understood or comprehended by the one who receives His grace in the context of salvation.

If you have made up your mind, the only thing that can change that is the choice to search beyond the confines of objective matter to the essence of being.

If what is that cannot be proven or dis-proven, then the only resolve would be an internal or external defiance of the carnal nature of the mind. That is a humble state.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"otherwise where does the basis of good come from?"

From empathy. An evil act is typically one that does harm to an individual or group with little or no benefit to anyone. Being able to perceive the well-being of other members of our species is crucial to the survival of a social species like human beings. A God related moral system would fall prey to the Euthyphro dilemma.

"Once He draws us and we accept His free gift of grace it gives a new purpose for life."

What is the purpose? I've been curious about this idea because many theists say that without God life has no meaning but how exactly does a God automatically give life meaning? Even in most Christian interpretations you end up in Heaven worship ping God and having a good time for all eternity, that's hardly a real PURPOSE.

"The Bible is foolishness and irrational until the "answer" who is Jesus Christ is accepted. From there the mind moves from a dualistic nature into the nature of Christ."

Actually it wasn't until after I became a Christian that I realized the foolishness of the Bible. I'd accepted Jesus Christ dozens of times by the time I began questioning. In no way does accepting Christ change who you are, instead it is you who change yourself. The reason I had a hard time getting Jesus to change my heart and make me a better person as a teenager was not because of a failure of God and not even necessarily a product of the non-existence of God but was due to the fact I was relying on the supernatural without actually changing my thoughts and behavior.

"but the assurance of salvation gives purpose, meaning to life, and why we were created."

How? First of all what are you being saved FROM? And second of all how does it give life meaning? I understand it's supposed to get you into Heaven but how does it give your life, right now, meaning? And in what way were we created? My parents created me, there's a long line of biological ancestors down to the first single celled organisms and there's no evidence any supernatural force was involved.

"it is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we receive a peace that surpasses our own understanding."

But it is impossible to have a relationship with someone you've never met or spoken to. I can pretend I have a relationship with a super-model from a foreign country and tell you that I sense her love for me in my heart and it's just as valid an experience as a Christian saying he's felt the love of Christ (see my hub: Externalization of the Internal God). The mind makes it real.

"That is why the term "miracle" can only be understood or comprehended by the one who receives His grace in the context of salvation."

Why? What is different about your life than anyone else's? What makes you think you have this "salvation" and what are you being saved from? And by the way I was both saved and spoke in tongues but there is nothing miraculous about any aspect of pretending you have a celestial best-friend.

"beyond the confines of objective matter to the essence of being."

I'm not a quantum physicist. I'm also not a new-ager which is exactly what this sentence sounds like. I did plenty of searching for things "beyond the confines" and in many ways my study of religion and other pseudoscientific subjects has only intensified though now I'm on the skeptic side of the fence.

"That is a humble state."

I have to admit that I have no idea what you're talking about in the sentence before this. To me a humble state is admitting we just don't know and I do that an awful lot. Is there a God? I don't know. I've certainly seen nothing convincing and when an extraordinary claim fails to meet its burden of proof the default position is to reject the claim until further evidence is found.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him"

John 6:44

One cannot know their "purpose" until the Father draws them through His grace. Through this "humble state", knowing that we are all fallible and separated from God, we ask for His forgiveness of our sinful nature that separates us from Him. By grace through Jesus Christ we see the evidence spiritually and also in the natural.

Most people are coerced into this and often does not lead to a conversion. It was more of a forced action than a genuine act of faith.

Again, "Christian" is just a label from the pinners of religion. A follower of Jesus Christ would be more accurate description. Without having a spiritual relationship with Him, it will be hard to understand "purpose" in this context.

This all may seem "pretend" to the skeptic because the Father has not drawn Him yet. I agree, if you don't know Him, you don't know Him.

("I had a hard time getting Jesus to change my heart and make me a better person")

Only Jesus Christ has the power to change your heart, no man can do this. It has nothing to do with our own strength or actions nor mans.

Following Jesus is not a self help program as religion portrays so well, but a relationship with Him and allowing Him to change you through His grace.

("I've certainly seen nothing convincing and when an extraordinary claim fails to meet its burden of proof the default position is to reject the claim until further evidence is found.")

It is not up to me to convince you, I can't, only God can do that. Until that happens, I can epathize with your position. Again, I believe God does everything apart from our own free will to prove Himself to us. There will be those that accept and those that reject, but I believe most of the time the rejection stems from the barrier we put up in ourselves because of the damage religion or life experiences have done to us.

Religion is man made and fallible. Religion tries to give answers only God can do; therefore, it cannot fill the hole of doubt in peoples lives.If man and his religion are not perfect as history attests, then the only thing to draw from is that which is infallible. This only happens when the infallible (God) draws that person. The skeptics and the followers of Christ do not have the power to transform the mind into the nature of Jesus Christ, only He can do that.

If one could see Jesus Christ as someone you have a spiritual relationship with vs. a forced man made religion, a truer picture of who He genuinely is will be portrayed to the world.


gobangla 5 years ago

Planks,

Isn't God part of religion? We know God through religion. By definition, religion is belief in the supernatural. If religion is man-made, then God as part of religious belief is man-made too.

It seems to me that what you really want to say is that most religious doctrine is wrong. But if you accept that much of what religion teaches is wrong, why accept God or Jesus or anything else? How do you personally decide which aspects of a particular faith system are true and false? How do you personally decide which to accept and reject? Because it is a case of picking and choosing what you want to believe and not believe.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

Your right, the definition of religion can be seen in that light, but the institutionalized doctrinal part of it is fallible.

Following Jesus Christ has nothing to do with any aspect of any particular institutionalized faith system, but it is about having a spiritual relationship. If you become a friend with someone in a natural sense, do you decide what aspects and characteristics of the person are true or false? By building a relationship, the essence of the person becomes more clear and true. Do you personally decide what to accept or reject? Yes, you can pick and choose out of your own free will.

Faith isn't any good unless the God you follow, commit to, and worship is real; otherwise, what's the reason?

Again, I can't prove or convince you. All I can do is say that once one is persuaded spiritually and shown the evidence by the Father,then it is a choice on how one deals with that in life. It is a conscious choice whether to let Jesus Christ into your life or not.

The kingdom of God is not of this fallen world, but of a new one with Him. The faith of following Jesus Christ is reaching out to the world with truth about Him. The fallible institutionalized doctrine of politics distorts Jesus' image and gives a bad taste to the people who have come out of that bondage leaving prejudice and skepticism to anything spiritual.

It is not by force, coercion, or compelling, but out of the love Jesus Christ has for all that draws us to Him; in our humility we respond to Him the same.

It is a decision decided by each individual person whether Jesus Christ is genuinely real or not. The supermarket of religion supplies many different gods, but the real God is too big for all the counterfeit ones out there and leaves no room anything else.

This requires the testing of truth honestly without willful prejudice.

If God doesn't exist, then one will runs his/her own life their own way.

If God does exist, then through His grace our lives are transformed and our perspectives, belief, purpose, credence, and faith are solely for Him because He is our Creator.

Until that time our society holds to these phrases below...

You can believe anything as long as you don't claim it is true philosophically.

You can practice anything as long as you don't claim it is a better way morally.

You can hold on to anything as long as you don't mention Jesus Christ religiously.


AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago

Titen-Sxull,

I promise to read more of your stuff. Just discovered you, so too soon to have a coherent opinion. I do like the fact that 'I don't know' exists in your world view and I like how you write so I do want to see more.

Only one point to PlanksandNails

When I want a relationship with someone, I do my best to let them know I exist. I generally succeed. I expect a god/saviour/diety to be at least as capable as I am.

If jesus wants a relationship with me, surely he could have done better than the collection of works known as the bible.

I don't start relationships with people who I want to save by writing them a book 2000 years before they become aware and hope they read it, understand it and follow it, and give them no other clues, which is what you are asking me to believe if the bible is the only authority.

Now, if you throw it open to any and all discourse, you have a better chance.

However, if you just knock on my door, wouldn't that be even better? (if what you want is a relationship, that is.)

I think the mystery is more important, and more useful to the human development, frankly. I think if there is a creator, it was intended that we work it out ourselves.

Which is sort of what we're doing, no?

cheers


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

AntonOfTheNorth,

If you are working it out yourself, then you must be exploring other options.

Atheism positions itself as affirming the negation of God. If there is a non-existence of God, the atheist affirms God’s non-existence. The atheist presupposes infinite knowledge by denying. The agnostic on the other hand doesn't know; therefore, honestly should be open to evidence.

I guess position that you are in could be open to the possibilities. To honestly search for truth, one must study to see if the claims of Jesus Christ are true as opposed to other claims.

Is your search goal a stultification of Jesus Christ? If so, you do not need to read any further.

Jesus Christ reveals the heart of man and the human condition. Atheism is bankrupt to this view.

You can agree that some things exist? If some things do exist, then some things do not to exist. What does not exist can be caused to exist by someone else. This leads to an uncaused cause which I believe is God. If I believe in God then He exists as it is written in Scripture. If God is written in Scripture, then He exists outside of Scripture in the followers of Jesus Christ. The Uncaused drew me to Him by faith and proved to me that He indeed is God and does exist, and I exist because of Him.

If something does exist, then all the preconditions of that which exists have already happened. That which causes something to exist must have a state of being to do so, which is uncaused or self-existent.

Is this one's own self reality? Well, the only reason for something to come into existence would be from un-cause to cause. Something cannot come from nothing because there is nothing observed that has come from nothing.

Something beyond our own physical reality is needed to explain the creation of the universe. Are we created from order or created from disorder? You see, if nothing can create something, then a non-physical reality must exist, even to the atheist, although he won’t admit it.

Throughout history and humanity there is evidence of a transcendent or spiritual reality. I believe that God, who is a deity, is the intelligent cause and creator of our universe who manifested as Jesus Christ as a man and died for our sinful nature.

Although we cannot absolutely prove God's existence, He absolutely proves Himself to us apart from our own free will.

To truly understand a relationship with Jesus Christ can only be obtained through faith. By honestly accepting His grace we allow Him through His power to transform our minds which gives an assurance, purpose and reason for existence.


AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago

No, my goal is not the stultification of Jesus Christ.

Since you stated following Christ is a spritual relationship but that your side of it is based on faith, my response was that, when I seek to establish positive relationships, I do more than that. I don't require my relationships to trust that I exist. I demonstrate it whenever possible.

That the only way to know Jesus is to have faith in his existence and intentions causes me pause.

Anytime only one party does the work in a relationship we usually define that as flawed.

My belief system is not attached to the christian bible. I try to engage in everyone's version of reality. Some I accept, some I reject. Often I change my mind.

cheers

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working