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StarMountainKid

What If Jesus Hadn't Been Crucified?

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If Jesus hadn't been crucified and had lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes, how would Christianity be different than it is today?

Jesus could have continued offering his message and performing miracles. After death he could have returned as he did in the Bible. Wasn't Jesus' redemptive death a later addition to or interpretation of the passion?

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The crucifixion is probably credible as Jesus upset the religious mafia of the day, but popping up alive on the third day after his death, just isn't. If Jesus had lived to maturity, he might have toned down some of the statements he uttered as a hot headed younger man!

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Posted (edited)

Given that the only evidence we have for a Jesus who was crucified is an unverifiable story, with no supporting evidence from any independent, contemporary source, then it's likely that Christianity would be no different today if the person in question existed, and was crucified, or did not and so was not.

This is not to argue against the belief in question, but to highlight that it is based not on evidence - but on a story. So long as the story was still written, then Christianity would be the same.

Edited by Leonardo
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He would have had to face all the other prophets around. I believe he was chosen as an example, if he had not died we may never have heard of him and some other prophet who may have got crucified after him would have been chosen.

Funny how death makes some people into legends.

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The crucifixion is probably credible as Jesus upset the religious mafia of the day, but popping up alive on the third day after his death, just isn't. If Jesus had lived to maturity, he might have toned down some of the statements he uttered as a hot headed younger man!

Toned down? Toned down love your neighbor as you love yourself? Toned down do to others as you would have them do to you?

He would have had to face all the other prophets around. I believe he was chosen as an example, if he had not died we may never have heard of him and some other prophet who may have got crucified after him would have been chosen.

Funny how death makes some people into legends.

Freetoroam watched Life of Brian recently.
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Freetoroam watched Life of Brian recently.

Its my bible in video form.

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Posted (edited)

If so, the script to Monty Python`s Life of Brian would be different and a number of brilliant dialoges would not be part

of the movie. (" To the crucifixion? Ok, please go to the left, and only one single cross per person please!")

Edited by toast
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Toned down? Toned down love your neighbor as you love yourself? Toned down do to others as you would have them do to you?

Freetoroam watched Life of Brian recently.

I mean expecting people to leave their responsibilities and follow him, and giving the impression he was some sort of deity which he clearly wasn't, imo

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I mean expecting people to leave their responsibilities and follow him, and giving the impression he was some sort of deity which he clearly wasn't, imo

If that's how you interpret it.

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If so, the script to Monty Python`s Life of Brian would be different and a number of brilliant dialoges would not be part

of the movie. (" To the crucifixion? Ok, please go to the left, and only one single cross per person please!")

toast! please stop this ....I will not have my fwiends widiculed by the common soldiewy. - - Anybody else feel like a little... giggle... when I mention my fwiend.

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Its my bible in video form.

Its far more entertaining and relevant to me than any bible

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Its far more entertaining and relevant to me than any bible

that`s because we always look on the bright side of life. :yes:

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For those of us who sincerely believe in his sacrificial death and the freedom it offers us, this question illustrates a misunderstanding of why he was crucified. He was a man but he was also divine. he had power over death itself and easily could have avoided the cross if that had been his intention. His entire life on earth was in preparation for this act of sacrifice. He taught and performed miracles and proved his innocence and love for his neighbors - all things he expects from his followers btw - (even some miracles in the time of the apostles) and he did those things to establish that he was who he claimed to be. Dying as a sacrifice is what gave power to forgive sin. He was the atonement that was necessary. WHY was it necessary? I won't even try to explain something I admit I don't truly understand myself. But I accept that it was and that it has been done - a free gift to those who believe.

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For those of us who sincerely believe in his sacrificial death and the freedom it offers us, this question illustrates a misunderstanding of why he was crucified. He was a man but he was also divine. he had power over death itself and easily could have avoided the cross if that had been his intention. His entire life on earth was in preparation for this act of sacrifice. He taught and performed miracles and proved his innocence and love for his neighbors - all things he expects from his followers btw - (even some miracles in the time of the apostles) and he did those things to establish that he was who he claimed to be. Dying as a sacrifice is what gave power to forgive sin. He was the atonement that was necessary. WHY was it necessary? I won't even try to explain something I admit I don't truly understand myself. But I accept that it was and that it has been done - a free gift to those who believe.

Not sure if he could have avoided the cross, it seems that he was - tried and sentenced by Pontius Pilate and he did not have much back up from his fellow Jews who he had upset a touch.

But if his followers would like to believe he sacrificed himself, then that`s their right to do so.

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Not sure if he could have avoided the cross, it seems that he was - tried and sentenced by Pontius Pilate and he did not have much back up from his fellow Jews who he had upset a touch.

But if his followers would like to believe he sacrificed himself, then that`s their right to do so.

As I said - his believers accept the fact that he was God in the flesh. If one accepts that Christ was the Creator God then nothing is impossible for him. I realize that it sounds like foolishness to those who don't believe - but for those of faith the cross is a symbol of POWER to those who need salvation.
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Not sure if he could have avoided the cross, it seems that he was - tried and sentenced by Pontus Pilate and he did not have much back up from his fellow Jews who he had upset a touch.

But if his followers would like to believe he sacrificed himself, then that`s their right to do so.

Actually (according to the book) he knew they were coming for him and had he left the area the Romans, who really wanted nothing to do with this would not have pursued him

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If that's how you interpret it.

Yep.

Oh and there was the silly nonsense where he frightened some pigs over a cliff, by pretending to exorcise a mythical demon. There is no mention he compensated the farmer for his loss! He also had a temper tantrum in the Temple and vandalised it.

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I would think that Jesus could have avoided being executed if he had been more cautious. Perhaps he had become too confident in his belief in himself. Also, I've never been able to understand his death as a compensation for our sins. I think that was someone ease's idea postmortem.

The Buddha lived a long life and is revered and even considered a spiritual being by some. If Jesus had lived, maybe Christianity woul have evolved into a gentler religion.

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Posted (edited)

I would think that Jesus could have avoided being executed if he had been more cautious. Perhaps he had become too confident in his belief in himself. Also, I've never been able to understand his death as a compensation for our sins. I think that was someone ease's idea postmortem.

The Buddha lived a long life and is revered and even considered a spiritual being by some. If Jesus had lived, maybe Christianity woul have evolved into a gentler religion.

Why do you think that? Christianity was peaceful for 5 centuries before it was politicised then used as a tool of force. At the same time, Buddhism has had its fair share of extremist groups, militant monks who spread their Temple teachings with a sword rather than a sackcloth.

Except through the meddling of man, how can a religion based on the core teaching of "love God, love your neighbour as yourself" be a violent religion?

Edited by Paranoid Android
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To answer the OP, the entire point of the crucifixion in Christian theology is that Jesus was punished and executed UNJUSTLY. Not only was he innocent for the crimes he was punished for, he was innocent of ALL sins. He did not deserve to die. Yet he was executed all the same. And Jesus did so voluntarily, he didn't want to die, but his love and devotion to the Father and ultimately for us meant that Jesus gave himself willingly for our sake. That message would be non-existent in Christianity if Jesus simply lived and died of old age.

With that said, once Jesus got himself on the wrong side of the Pharisees, it could be argued his fate was sealed. The Pharisees held the political power, and they used it against him.

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To answer the OP, the entire point of the crucifixion in Christian theology is that Jesus was punished and executed UNJUSTLY. Not only was he innocent for the crimes he was punished for, he was innocent of ALL sins. He did not deserve to die. Yet he was executed all the same. And Jesus did so voluntarily, he didn't want to die, but his love and devotion to the Father and ultimately for us meant that Jesus gave himself willingly for our sake. That message would be non-existent in Christianity if Jesus simply lived and died of old age.

With that said, once Jesus got himself on the wrong side of the Pharisees, it could be argued his fate was sealed. The Pharisees held the political power, and they used it against him.

This is the part non believers simply cannot grasp. It goes against human logic and they cannot take the leap of faith to see that all the tradition of blood sacrifice was prelude to our forgiveness through his death. First Corinthians 1:18 - For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

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Posted (edited)

If Jesus hadn't been crucified and had lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes, how would Christianity be different than it is today?

Jesus could have continued offering his message and performing miracles. After death he could have returned as he did in the Bible. Wasn't Jesus' redemptive death a later addition to or interpretation of the passion?

StarMountainKid, thank you for asking such a deep question. This makes for a great conversation to be sure. I think this may be the first time I've ever interacted with you directly on the forum; so I also appreciate that opportunity. I have read your blog. I can tell that you are a good writer and I would certainly encourage you to keep pursuing that!

I may break this up into two post because I want to respond to this OP; but also to look at some of the other things that have been said since.

Naturally, I really liked and then's responses; so I echo what he said. But let me add to it just a bit, if I may.

Those of you who have been reading my own blog on here lately know that I've been talking about the resurrection a lot. I agree with and then that it is ultimately about the atonement; but there is more to it than that. To me, the resurrection is about HOPE.

You see, StarMountain Kid; I totally get what you are saying here. Jesus was a great moral teacher. If any one of us; whether you're a skeptic or a believer, lived out the principles of what He taught in something like the Sermon on the Mount; we would all be better people for it. Thus, the Cross doesn't necessarily have to factor into living out some of the things that He taught. In fact, I realize that people are skeptical about the resurrection. It can be a difficult concept to grasp. So if you can't quite call Him Lord; I can respect that. But if you can call Him your Teacher; well then I applaud that. I would even argue that IF you live out the things that He taught, you are a lot more spiritual than you might give yourself credit for.

But for me, as a Christian, the whole paradigm changes if you take away the resurrection; because I say if you take away the resurrection, you take away hope. For the Christian, our whole faith hinges upon the resurrection, that Jesus was MORE than just a great moral teacher; He was God in the flesh and when He died, He was raised from the dead. Because I believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, I believe that I will be raised from the dead. With His resurrection; Jesus becomes the pattern, see? We can have faith that there is a resurrection of the dead at the end of human history because Jesus Himself was raised from the dead. As He was, so shall I be.

This is what I've been talking about in my blogs. In the risen Lord, death doesn't have the final word over us. Death has been defeated. Think of it like this: if the naturalist worldview is correct, it is death that has the final answer. Everything you have ever done, everything you will ever become, StarMountain Kid; will ultimately be leveled in death. In time, it will be as if you never existed at all. Our being is just a momentary blip; a random cause of time and chance. Your true home is actually NON-being. But all of this changes if the resurrection is true.

It shows us that God is personal; it shows us that He loves us enough to become what we are and to die the death that we die. But in our imperfection, see, we will be raised to His perfection! YOU will be raised just as Jesus was raised! This is what it means when the scripture says 'this corruption shall put on incorruption.' The resurrection says that you are a being of infinite worth to God. The resurrection says that though you may die, yet shall you live. So everything you do, everything you are, StarMountain Kid...matters. What the naturalist says is of momentary or no significance, is of eternal significance to God.

So I would challenge you on something. I respect that you doubt the resurrection as a literal and historical event. I get that; I really do. As a former atheist myself, I can say in no uncertain terms that it is not an easy thing to accept. It is fine to have and even to keep those doubts. But even if you have trouble actually accepting the resurrection, I challenge you and others to want it to be true.

I say this because if it is true, death doesn't have the final answer over you and all your loved ones. We will be raised as Christ was raised. If it is true, the material world wasn't just caused by random chance just to simply burn up in the sun. Every living thing around you is intentional and of sacred worth to God. We should strive to make this world a better place because all of it matters!

We talk of Christ the Teacher, but the ultimate thing He teaches us is NOT His words; but His Passion and His resurrection. It is in this lesson that we learn of our own immortality. In the words of Saint Paul,

"12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died[e] in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.[f] 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ." (1 Cor 15:12-22)

Our hope, our faith, hinges upon the resurrection, for through Christ, we inherit the resurrection.

Edited by Marcus Aurelius
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The Buddha lived to a normal old age and then decided it was time to die and called his followers together and, according to the stories, effectively killed himself by entering into deeper and progressively deeper meditative states until his spirit departed.

This has spared the world of the creation of another god. "The Buddha is dead" and "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him," are common sayings (not that one should actually do such a thing but that the Buddha is in bliss and so sending him back would be the only decent thing to do if somehow he were to be removed from it).

Of course people still pray to the Buddha and even worship him (if anyone really knows what "worship" means) but the fact that he is not in our realm and does not do anything here beyond his legacy makes things and perspectives very different, and the prayers are not at all the same sort of thing. The world must now wait for another Buddha to manifest, not a return of the former one.

The image of Jesus on the Cross is bloody and disturbing and the idea of a human sacrifice is crude and primitive. That said, Jesus too is dead. Also, according to the stories, he too in effect killed himself, as his behavior was planned in advance.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Marcus.

I really enjoyed your explanation of the resurrection. There's nothing I could add, so I'm not going to try. However (yes, there's always a however), the way I read Star Mountain's question, I got the impression that he was asking more about the death than the manner of Jesus' return. The impression I got was the matter of living a full and normal life, dying of old age, and then resurrecting after that death just as he did as alleged in scripture (I use the word "alleged" to cover those who don't believe the Bible, but can appreciate that it is alleged to have happened therein).

I'm curious if you'd find a difference in a resurrection when Jesus was old and died in his sleep compared to the resurrection portrayed in scripture? Or more accurately to the thread question, how different would Christianity be today, do you think? Thanks in advance for your comments :tu:

Edited by Paranoid Android

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The Buddha lived a long life and is revered and even considered a spiritual being by some. If Jesus had lived, maybe Christianity woul have evolved into a gentler religion.

As you may know, I am very fond of Buddhism. But while Jesus and the Buddha have many similarities, which I myself have even highlighted on here; there are many differences too. In this case, I have to focus on those differences. For Buddha, his emphasis was always the teaching, the Dhamma. He convicts us of the 4 Noble Truths and then exhorts us to live out the Noble Eighfold Path; both of which I support and encourage others to check out if they are unfamiliar with it. But Christ did not do that. Yes, He had sound moral teachings like the Buddha, and yes it is good to live those out also. But His emphasis was on Himself. He taught as though HE were the authority, not the teaching. This is a stark contrast when you compare Him to other religious figures. Even Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, who is supposed to be an incarnation of God...taught Arjuna more from the perspective of the path. But Jesus says He IS the path; 'take up the Cross daily and follow ME.'

So while the Buddha may have been a spiritual being, as some Buddhist Schools certainly do suggest; His emphasis was never on that. He actually rebuked his followers for trying to worship him when he was alive. You find this in numerous Suttas. Everyone wanted to make a god out of him, but he would always shift it back to the path, to the Dhamma. So for Christianity, the path is just different. Our actions are important, just like in Buddhism; but our spiritual life begins with our belief. It begins with how we answer the question Jesus asked "Who do you say that I am?" The Buddha, by contrast, would have deemed that question irrelevant to himself. He would have never asked that.

So I think this is why you see a lot of the differences between these two wonderful faiths.

At the same time, Buddhism has had its fair share of extremist groups, militant monks who spread their Temple teachings with a sword rather than a sackcloth.

I actually disagree with this statement. PA, I would want to see some very hard evidence to support this claim. There may have been some fringe groups (?) as there is with just about any religion; but in my extensive studies of Buddhist history, I cannot think of one example of any of the major Buddhist schools using violence. Sure, some of them learned martial arts to defend their monasteries from robbers; but even this was non-lethal combat. I just don't see where this claim is true from any of the major Buddhist Schools. I don't see it with the Theravada, the Mahayana or Tibetan. In fact, with the cultural genocide and atrocities that are taking place in Tibet as we speak; the monks there have not resorted to any violence against other human beings. Instead, sadly, they are self-immolating and taking THEIR OWN lives as a form of protest. They feel it is all they can do and they would rather harm themselves than someone else.

Buddhism has always been about non-violence. Most Buddhists feel that it is wrong to even squash a bug; let alone pick up a sword.

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