Appendix 7: A Forsaken God?
From 19 Questions for Christians by Edip Yuksel
The last words of Jesus are one of the few words kept untranslated. Jesus calls God Eli, which has the same root as the Arabic Elah or Allah, and he complains about his fate.
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, E'li, E'li, la'ma sa-bach'-tha-ni? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46 , Mark 15:34 )
Obviously, the followers of St. Paul use sensational language to dramatize the scenario of Crucifixion. They are like a plastic surgeon who gouges out the eye while trying to make an eyebrow! This verse is not only at cross purposes with the fabricated doctrine of Christianity, but also reflects the confusion on the part of the authors of the Gospels. (Compare the wavering hero of Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42 to the brave hero of John 12:27 ).
Evangelists are fond of using the Crucifixion of Jesus by Jews as a proof of his deity. One of their "strongest evidences" about the deity of Jesus is based on "the deep understanding capacity of Jews." Evangelists pontificate: "Look, if Jesus did not claim that he was God or literally Son of God, monotheistic Jews would not have stoned him for blasphemy". To support their evidence they feel the obligation to add that "Jews definitely understood his teaching." But, the Bible says the contrary:
"Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say" (John 8:43 and Mark 4:13 ).
Not only the disbeliever Jews, but even his disciples, sometimes had difficulty understanding him. See Mark 9:32 Luke 18:34 ; 9:45 & John 8:27 ; 12:6.
Unfortunately, the evangelists and clergy do not have a better understanding of his teaching than the Jews who stoned him. Josh McDowell, in his "one-million-in-print-book" tries to persuade us of the Jews' deep understanding capacity:
"Jesus is threatened with stoning for 'blasphemy.' The Jews definitely understood his teaching. . ." (More Than a Carpenter, Josh McDowell, Tyndale, Illinois, 1989, p. 17)
E. Calvin Beisner, a professional evangelist, advocates another common logical fallacy related to the fictitious divine sacrifice:
"Think what kind of act gets the highest praise among men: isn't it when someone voluntarily sacrifices his life in order to save the lives or others? Such self-sacrifice is a tremendous good. The greatest such sacrifice was when God sacrificed His life in the Person of Jesus Christ to save the lives of all who believe in Jesus." (Answers for Atheists, p. 10).
Before listing my questions, let me share a brief argument:
I asked an evangelist: "Why should God sacrifice 'His son' in order to show His love and forgive us?" He replied with a counter question, "If you love a girl too much what do you do?" I said, "I'll try to help her." "Wouldn't you die for her?" he suggested. "Why?" I questioned, "To the contrary, I would try to keep myself healthy and handsome. When we feel desperately helpless and not able to find a solution, then we may sacrifice ourselves, in another word, commit suicide. But, God does not run out of solutions, and He is never helpless." The evangelist friend did not have an answer; his attempt to justify his faith by reason had failed. So, it was time to resort back to his first and last, perhaps the only refuge: "faith." He was not yet prepared to get out of the dark and windy tunnel he was inviting me to it with a little candle that could not even stand the shortest breath of reason.
Now, here are my questions:
- Do fanatic religious people kill others only because they claim that they are God? How many prophets were killed by "monotheistic" Jews before Jesus? Should we infer that all those prophets claimed to be God? Why did the "monotheistic" Church condemn Galileo? Did he claim to be God? Why did the "monotheistic" Christians burn Tyndale? Did he also claim to be God?
- According to that verse (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34 ), Jesus was not even a human hero. History (even this author) has witnessed so many brave warriors who did not cry under torture, but they roared their slogans into the ears of their murderers. How can Jesus deserve to be God, while he, according to your record, demonstrates a weakness which is considered shameful for a human warrior? Who is more courageous according to your own record: the first Christian martyr, Stephen (Acts 7:59-60 ), or Jesus (Mat 26:38, 39)?
- What was the main mission of Jesus' birth according to Paul's disciples, that is, the Gospel writers? Wasn't it to sacrifice himself for the salvation of the human race? Then, why did Jesus try to escape from that mission? And why did he start to wail and whimper even before his mission was carried out (Mat 26:38)?
- According to the story of the "crucifiction", did Jesus not accept his divine mission? Did God promise to save him or to let him 'die for the sins of humankind'? Then, how can he accuse God of forsaking him? Isn't this a slander to God? How can God be a betrayer?
- If the purpose of Jesus in this life was to die for our sins, as it is claimed in the Pauline New Testament, would he not have said on the cross: "My God, my God, thank you for fulfilling my mission!"?
- You believe that Jesus, your god, prayed as "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Do you really believe that God prayed to himself and asked help from himself? Does God call himself out as "My God, my God"? Did your god fight against himself to save himself?
- When Jesus was dead for three days, was God also dead? If "yes," then who controlled the universe during those 3 days? If your answer is No, then Jesus is not equal to God.
- "E'li, E'li, la'ma sa-bach'tha-ni" is one of the few Aramaic phrases in the New Testament. Ironically, it is one of the most obvious fabrications in the Bible. Did the authors of the Gospel decide to keep that part in Aramaic especially to make us believe that those words were accurately transmitted?
- How can killing an innocent person be considered the method for salvation? Do we have to kill somebody unjustly to deserve salvation? Is this divine wisdom?
- Is it just and wise to punish your son because of the misbehavior of your neighbors' children?
- What kind of love is it to kill your own innocent son in order to be able to forgive your neighbors' children?
- We can forgive our friends, even our enemies without feeling an obligation to kill our loved ones. Couldn't God forgive us without killing His "own son"?
- According to your dramatized teaching, a "son" is a greater hero than his "father", since he volunteered to sacrifice his life, and his father behaved selfishly.
- Your "divine sacrifice" story does not deserve to be entitled a "sacrifice," since according to your own doctrine, God has sacrificed only one-third of his personalities. When a human sacrifices his life, he sacrifices whatever he has. Doesn't your "divine sacrifice" have less importance than "human sacrifice" in terms of "sacrifice"?
- If "all his disciples forsook him and fled" (Mark 14:50 ), then, who are the eye-witness narrators of the events following Christ's arrest? How can we trust the hearsay that came through his murderers and bystanders?
- Doesn't the contradictory reports of this most important event, even in the carefully selected four Gospels, impeach the narrators? (Mk 15:23 v Mt 27:34; Mk 14:36 & Lk 22:42 v Joh 12:27; Mt 27:11 v Joh 18:33; Mt 27:32 & Lk 23:26 & Mk 15:21 v Joh 19:17; Lk 23:46 v Joh 19:30; Mt 27:50 & Mk 15:37 v Lk 23:45; Mt 27:54 & Mk 15:39 v Lk 23:47; Mt 12:40 v Mk 15:42 & Joh 20:1; Mk 16:1 v Joh 19:39; Mt 28:9 v Joh 20:11; Mk 16:12 v Lk 24:34). Which court of justice would accept the testimony of the witnesses, riddled with so many contradictions?
- Some Christian scholars claim that the Greek word "stauros" means a piece of timber, not cross. If this is correct, then why do you transform the stake into a cross?
- If timber or cross was the murder weapon and torture device, then how can you glorify and worship such a thing?
- If the salvation of humanity could be accomplished only by the Crucifixion, why did God spend thousands of years preparing a chosen people for this task?