God Used Nails

5 , Permalink

On a church billboard near my parents’ house in Oregon I saw this sign:

“People use Duct Tape to fix everything. God used nails.”

I guffawed immediately – but then became sober as its many meanings sank in. God used nails? Ok – maybe if we accept that Jesus Christ had to die in sacrifice for the sins of the world… did it have to be so painful? Was morbid, bleeding, ripping-of-flesh suffering required? Was it the exact measure of pain and torture that was needed to compensate for our sins, perhaps one drop of blood for every 10 billion evil deeds? Or was it his death alone that saved us? (Surely, a more human death could have been provided.) Why did God use crucifixion, rather than, say, a swift blow to the back of the head?

This is my answer: God used nails, in Christian theology, because he wanted you to feel very, very bad. Taking your sins away is meaningless, unless it fills you with crushing amounts of both gratitude and guilt. God wants you to feel the pain that Jesus endured on the cross. Guilt and gratitude are a powerful combination, virtually guaranteed to keep you submissive and humble enough to follow his commands. In fact, if I were trying to invent a religion – a way for everybody to act, a way for them to live, I would first have to give them some overwhelming motivation for listening to me and doing what I tell them to. The agonizing death of Jesus Christ and the moral reminder that he died for you, is one of the most psychologically powerful motivators in religious history.

It is much stronger than the original 10 commandments. It is even stronger than merely the punishments of Hell and the rewards of Heaven. The personal debt owed to Jesus Christ whose blood was shed for you, leaves a heavy burden of ethical obligation upon the believer. As such, it is a very useful belief. However, that doesn’t make it historically accurate at all. In addition, the meaningfulness of Christ’s sacrifice disappears swiftly when examined. Christ has existed from the beginning and his suffering lasted for… a day? How much more do cancer patients or molested children suffer, to give just two examples. Not to mention the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, put his suffering behind him, and ascended into heaven. Hardly a life-changing traumatic experience for Jesus, regardless of the amount of pain he felt.

The triviality of Christ’s sacrifice, in comparison to those tortured in Hell forever as a result of his actions, is well portrayed by one of my favorite artists, Normal Bob Smith.

  • elizabeth

    I stumbled upon your blog while looking for something on the internet. I’m not sure what your site is all about- but it’s clear that you do not believe in God- because if you did you would never post such things. I decided to click off of your page and ignore what you said but then I decided to come back and leave a comment. I’m not looking to aruge with you, I just want you to understand what I believe. I believe that Jesus died for me and for my sins, and for you and your sins. His pain is something nobody will ever be able to understand. Comaparing his pain to somone elses undermines their pain- everything happens for reasons that we may never understand why but it’s not up to us to know everything at all times. I believe people do bad things, and I believe quite often the Devil tempts people to do bad things- and if people live their life in sin and are not sorry for their actions, or lack there of, then they should be punished for that if they do not repent. They do not deserve Christ’s Salvation- the devil does not have salvation to give. I pray that you have changed your viewpoints since the time that you wrote this. I will continue to pray for you and your soul that you may find the love of God and experience it’s amazing feeling. May God bless YOU.

  • admin

    Thanks Elizabeth, for your reading and your prayers. I do believe in God – I believe in a God who loves me and forgives me, even my awful writing. I believe in a God who lets me think critically and make rational judgments about things – a god I don’t need to be afraid of, a smart and sensible and caring god with a sense of humor. (If God exists, and he is NOT these things – if the Real God is the God you believe in, that allows a system of eternal punishment for a few years of well-intentioned but sinful living, then I want nothing to do with him. If GOD can’t live up to your expectations, who can?

    That said, I have a huge guilt complex. I feel guilty about everything, and I try always to be the best person I can be. Is my guilt enough to earn God’s sympathy? I’d like to hope so. Must I first accept that Jesus was historically crucified, despite the evidence telling me that his crucifixion was a copy of older, symbolic traditions, and if I can’t suspend my reason and believe in an event that makes no logical sense to me? I sincerely hope not. And if that’s the case, God needs to grow up.

  • sini

    hey Bro,thats an awesome article u have put up here!its absolutely logical and understandable!Butttt…here comes the surprise,even through these strong arguments that U have put up here,God sees the emptiness of you heart.Your family has been goin thru a hard time and God sees that.U talk so much.Do u even know how that body use use against God functions.Can u even fathom the wisdom with which it is made?forget that!u mite be writing this blog to give out those frustrations u have in your heart.U r searchin fer peace in the wrong places in the wrong ways.Come to Jesus!!!When many tell u that ure not good enuf,Jesus says “ure so worthy that I can give my life for u”God will not force these things on you.Its your choice.always.You dont have to live this way in defeat and depression.Jesus paid the price fer your smiles and your victory.God bless u bro!tc..keep writing till u see the light that will show you the darkness that ure in.and remember-satan hates u!

  • Melissa L

    Well, I hate to say it, but a lot of people think along the same lines as your blog. A lot of people take for granted the fact that we as humans go through pain as a part of original sin. (Yeah, I think it’s safe to say we can blame Adam and Eve for the world we live in). As a matter of fact, I have a cousin who lost faith in God because his dog died, and was seemingly suffering (and I ask that you please don’t think that I feel my cousin is not suffering for his loss, that dog was like a child to him). He questioned it. “Why would God make innocent creatures suffer? My dog isn’t a sinner!” Being the formidable guy that he is, it’s kind of hard to talk to him about “religious” things. I am a Christian, and my walk with God is not a straight narrow path. I come across road blocks, chasms, and thorns. Some of these are of my own doing (based on decisions I’ve made), others are consequences of the actions and decisions of others, but I digress. The only answer I could tell him was “I don’t know, I don’t understand it myself”, but it doesn’t mean that I believe or love God any less because I know animals suffer like humans do. Unfortunately (and I wish I told my cousin), we’re all subject to the consequences of the actions of ourselves and others, past and present. Based on that fact, the faults of Adam and Eve fall on those alive today and the ones that came before us: humans and animals alike. There are things that we humans do today that have a troublesome effect on ourselves and the environment around us, which affects the creatures put on this earth with us. Take the oil spill in the Gulf for example.

    Anyways, just to sum up my point (which would’ve cut this a lot shorter), we all fall short of the glory of God (and no one alive really understands what God’s glory is). We are all sinners, and living in sin because of Adam and Eve’s CHOICE to not listen to God.The only reason God gave us choice was because he didn’t want to be loved by force.(As a mother I understand this because if your child/ren grow up and they TELL you they hate you, and all you want is there love, how can you get them to love you without force?) Although I would almost think that’s what the angels are for, but they have choice as well; just take a look at Lucifer, the bright and morning star. Most beloved by God,he fell from heaven because he didn’t want to be merely loved by God, but wanted to BE or be like God Himself.

    Now, I don’t know about other Christians, but I believe that sickness, cancer, AIDS, COPD, TB, etc is the result of sin. We’re all subject to receive some kind of sickness in our life, whether it is major (i.e. cancer) or minor (i.e. acne). Having these diseases will affect the decisions we make in our lives. All of us will go through some form of longsuffering, and part of it is as a means of God trying to get our attention. He doesn’t directly do it to us, but allows it to happen.

    Once again we’re finally left with choice. We either choose to love God and respect the fact that he truely does have our backs (thus an inheritance of a really phat pad in heaven) or we turn our backs to him and tell him to eat dingleberries (and get an eternal flamelick on our booties for it). God IS loving, He is just, but he’s also JEALOUS. A lot of peeps either focus on His lovingkindness or His wrath. Ever been jealous over someone? It hurts, it makes you angry, it makes you want to take action to make your jealousy end. So I think (and it’s unfortunate for us) that God “kills off” his jealousy by casting those who reject Him into a fiery pit that separates us from him, and it’ll be like he’s forgotten about us. Non-believers seem to think that is just fire and brimstone that awaits anyone who says no to God. But the reality of it is, it gives those who ARE in hell something to take away from the agony of the separation of God. On earth as living breathing humans, we’re not completely separated from God because He’s still got an eye on us whether we adore Him or turn our backs to Him, In hell, he turns His back on us.

    If you want to talk about this further, find me. God be with you, His loving arms around you, and I’ll pray you never turn your back to Him and walk away from Him. Because then you’ll find out what real suffering is.

    • admin

      Thanks for your response and the thinly veiled threat at the end of your post “then you’ll find out what real suffering is”. So to sum up – God is loving but also jealous and angry; kind of like my crazy ex-girlfriend, who would fly off on a rampage and break dishes when she was moody. Can’t you think of a better God than that? The reason I don’t believe in Hell is not because I don’t believe in God; I DO! I just don’t believe in your God. My God is a better person than I could ever be or even think of. Your God is an emotionally stunted coward, that I’m already more mature than.

      God punishes humans and animals because of what Adam and Eve did. OK – granted this is true and we are stained with original sin; granted that God loves us and wants to fix the problem. What does he do? He offers us Jesus. In some mysterious, oblique, illdefined magical process we can believe in Jesus and eat some sacred snacks and say some sacred words and we are saved – but it has to be OUR choice to open the door to him. That’s great. What an easy solution and opportunity. So – does God make this opportunity known to each person (and animal?!? How are they going to get saved?!) around the world, during every age? Absolutely not. He gives it to a handful of Jews, who give it to Europe. 1000 years later it spreads – accidentally, through plague and genocide – to the Americas. 2000 years later it has still only reached around 1/3 (I think? maybe less?) of the world’s population. But God is sitting back, relaxing – it is up to the Christians, the body of Christ, who admittedly often lead ruinous lives of sin and misconduct – to save everybody else. Well? What are you waiting for?