Monday, 5 December 2011

Christianity unravelled

Hoodie Jesus
If we are to accept Jesus as our lord and saviour, we should be careful to examine the reasons for our doing so. To ignore, or to gloss over, the facts as they are presented is nothing short of wilful ignorance, and any factual basis for such a belief is unwarranted and unfounded.

Aside from the dearth of credible evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, I have no real problem accepting that such a person did, in fact, exist; just that divinity claims have yet to be established. Personally, I think it likely that there was such a person, but what we understand of him today has been consumed by a plethora of loose ascriptions that may well have been better attributed to some other historical character. In other words, I find it more likely that when considering Jesus the man, we are talking about a conglomeration of different people's characters and urban myths. For the purposes of this argument, though, I will accept that Jesus did exist, but that the New Testament is a loose and inaccurate account of how we understand him - and by extension, Christianity - to mean today.

In Christian theology the atonement refers to the forgiving or pardoning of sin through the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion.
- Wikipedia 

Atonment forms the basis of Christianity, inasmuch as the purpose of his coming was so that he might die for our sins, purging us of the scourge of 'original sin' inherited from Adam and Eve. There is no mention of the descent of guilt for that sin, just that we inherit a 'nature of sin' directly from Adam and Eve. Jesus' suffering on the crucifix is the atonement - or absolution - for that sin.

So far, so good. All we have to do now is establish the existence of Adam and Eve as our ancestors, and Christianity is looking like being an acceptable - if not fantastic (see definition 1) - explanation of real events.

Fortunately, for the purposes of clarity, geneticists have named our earliest ancestors according to that we would expect if we accept Genesis. This makes for a simple comparison between scriptural texts and the sometimes confusing language of genetic science. Accordingly, our first male and female ancestors are named Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve.

These two people, whilst theoretical in nature, were very real in practice. We simply wouldn't exist without either one of them having existed themselves. They are the necessary progenitors of humanity. This, though, presents Christianity with a problem;

In human geneticsY-chromosomal Adam ( Y-MRCA) is the theoretical most recent common ancestor (MRCA) from whom all living people are descended patrilineally (tracing back only along the paternal lines of their family tree). Many studies report that Y-chromosomal Adam lived as early as around 142,000 years ago [1] and possibly as recently as 60,000 years ago. [2]All living humans are also descended matrilineally from Mitochondrial Eve who is thought to have lived earlier about 190,000 - 200,000 years ago. Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve need not have lived at the same time.

- Wikipedia 

Not only does it appear that our earliest possible ancestors need not have lived at the same time, but the best approximations modern science can discern show that there was at least a staggering 48,000 years between the two - an age for Eve that even Methuselah would have baulked at. 

And this is just our 'most recent common ancestors'. Both Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve would have had a very real human father and mother, respectively, yet these parents did not create an unbroken male/female line to the present day.

Again, the evidence points towards an African 'genesis', not a south-west Asian one as the book of Genesis clearly describes.

With descent from our most recent common ancestors delineating the male and female lines across dozens of millennia, and the same genetics indicating a geographical delineation across different continents, it is fair to say that the real 'Adam and Eve' didn't exist. Certainly not as they are portrayed in the Book of Genesis, anyway.

With these facts established, we have no reason to suggest that the Genesis account of their existence happened at all, and it is here that we begin to unravel Christianity as false. For if Adam and Eve - as they are presented in Genesis - never existed, then there cannot have been any 'Fall'
 nor any 'original sin' for Jesus to have been sent to save and redeem us from. His existence - whether real or imagined - was utterly futile.

Further to this, the existence of 'sin' must be brought into question. If Adam and Eve simply did not exist in the sense that we are lead to believe, and that there was no 'original' sin, what does it mean to say that sin exists at all? For if an 'original' sin did not happen, there can be no subsequent sin.

But there is more! If sin does not serve a useful function any longer, what is the meaning of 'evil' in such a sinless world? We would revert back to the more satisfying and more easily reconciled antonym of 'good' being 'bad'. 'Bad' is not loaded with the same sinful baggage that its theologically etymological synonym bears, but still serves a useful function within a set of moral principles that govern our behaviour in a society.

With the very foundation of Christianity in shreds, its falsification is complete and total. This says nothing for or against the existence of what people believe with regard to the existence of a god, but it does go far enough to utterly dismiss the concept of the Christian God. There is simply no such thing as Christianity remaining with which to define such an agent, either theologically or in reality.


  1. I do not think many chrisitians really believe Adam and Eve were two historical persons. So i think you didn't really kick any but here.

    Disobedience as original virtue.
    So true. A sign of maturity.
    And plainly in the open in the first Genesis chapters poetry.
    Albeit not understood in that way by the majority of readers ;( Because they fail to see the humor and resemblance of their own life in it.

    1) Listening to your parents (Adam is just a creation of god without any contours as a real person )
    2) being seduced (eve and the Apple)
    3) disobedience (eating it)
    4) Knowledge (knowledge of good and evil. But forver disspelled from some harmonious trouble free paradise.)
    This is what life, growing up and maturity is.
    So to the fundamentalist bible readers: Grow up!

    The theology of atonement to me is problematic and on a lot of other reasons. One of them is because it can have a devestating effect on people when this metaphor is stretched to illustrate things that were not meant. It is potentially very dangerous, when lifted out of it's context.
    The theology of atonement in a modern world with people who want to read it as an exact account it brings more moral problems than that it can ever try to enlight.

  2. I am aware of the fact that many Christians do not believe in the actual existence of Adam and Eve, but this presents problems of its own.

    If one is to state that they were not, in fact, real people, then there is even less need for a saviour. Such a person's actions with regard to the Fall, or the Atonement, would be devoid of any meaning whatsoever.

  3. Tris is correct. One cannot disconnect from Adam and Eve without disconnecting from the Christ mythos. It is generally held in much of Christianity (although not necessarily stated, explicitly)that the first biblical prophecy foretelling the coming of Christ appears in Genesis 3:15, where God, speaking directly to the serpent (Satan) regarding his misleading Eve:

    "...and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel..."

    Scholarly biblical commentaries bear this out:

    Clark's Commentary on the Bible States:

    in consequence of this purpose of God that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin; this, and this alone, is what is implied in the promise of the seed of the woman bruising the head of the serpent. Jesus Christ died to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and to destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. Thus he bruises his head - destroys his power and lordship over mankind, turning them from the power of Satan unto God; And Satan bruises his heel - God so ordered it, that the salvation of man could only be brought about by the death of Christ..."

    Wesley's Notes states:

    "...Notice is here given them of three things concerning Christ.
    (1.) His incarnation, that he should be the seed of the woman.
    (2.) His sufferings and death, pointed at in Satan's bruising his heel, that is, his human nature.
    (3.) His victory over Satan thereby. Satan had now trampled upon the woman, and insulted over her; but the seed of the woman should be raised up in the fulness of time to avenge her quarrel, and to trample upon him...

    If contemporary Christians who accept Christ as Lord and Savior do not accept that Adam and Eve literally existed, then they do so only out of ignorance of their bibles, ergo,one thing hinges upon another. You cannot have redemption of original sin if there was no specific, original sin.


Only Google Accounts accepted for comments.