Monday, October 22, 2018

Unicorns Don't Exist, Therefore, God Doesn't Exist?

Image result for picture of unicorn saying "I do exist"

I found a discussion on an artiest sight, or at least a sight with lots of atheists, where a guy seemed to be arguing because he knows there are no unicorns he knows there's no God.

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      You can't prove a negative. I know that unicorns don't exist: I don't need to prove that they don't. It's up to those of the unicorn faith to prove that they do.[1]
    I thought he was  implying that there is a common knowledge that there's no God just as there is a common knowledge there are no unicorns. I brought up certain of my experience God arguments and the fact that 90% world pop believe in some form of God as an argument that there's no "common knowledge" of there being no God He immediately questioned the 90% I will document this  figure then  talk about the exchange.

    According to sociologists Ariela Keysar and Juhem Navarro-Rivera's review of numerous global studies on atheism, there are 450 to 500 million positive atheists and agnostics worldwide (7% of the world's population), with China having the most atheists in the world (200 million convinced atheists...) [2]

    The Famous Phil Zuckerman of the Sweden argument for atheism weighs in:

    According to the latest international survey data, as reported by Ariela Keysar and Juhem Navarro-Rivera in the recently published Oxford Handbook of Atheism, there are approximately 450-500 million non-believers in God worldwide, which amounts to about 7% of the global adult population. And according to the Pew Research Center, of we broaden the category to include all non-religious people in general — those unaffiliated adults who do not identify with any religion — we’re talking 1.1 billion people, which equals about 16.5% of the global adult population. As such, “non-religious” is actually the third largest “religion” in the world, coming only behind Christianity (in first place) and Islam (in second). Thus, there are more secular men and women on planet earth — many of whom are atheists and agnostics — than there are Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Sikhs, Jains, or Jews.[3]

     photo 01_groups_zps9705e0f9.png

    OK so now what do we make of all this? Here is a sample of the discussion on "Word on Fire!"[4]

    Cliff Langdon 

    I think you might mean that 90% of people (if indeed it is that many which I doubt) believe in A god or some various gods.Crucially, most people do NOT believe in not the same god as the one that you believe in, because just 33% of the world's population is the world's largest religion, Christianity (not even taking into account the different branches of christianity which, it could be argued, believe in different gods).

    By your own earlier 'logic' ( that "six billion people testify to belief in God based upon personal experiences and logic, as well as tradition" somehow proves them to be correct), the fact that most people do not believe in your god must suggest that your god is the wrong one (and therefore does NOT exists)
    Notice I did not say it proves then to be correct I said it negates the idea of an atheistic common knowledge,

    it also follows from the same logic, that all gods believed in by humans are similarly in the minority, and are similarly therefore the wrong ones, and therefore also do not exist.
    By that logic no religion could be true,It just seems odd that groups with 33% of humans in them are wrong, and all groups are wrong,except one with 3% in it. Of course I;m still not saying that popular = true I'm still going on the 'common knowledge' assumption. If there is just a common knowledge that there's no God and it;s so basic it doesn't require explain as to how it works,  why is it only knowledge commonly to 3%?
    Unless of course we accept that your logic that 'belief is proof' is a complete fallacy.Which of course, is the case.The fact that many people share a delusion does not make that delusion valid. It only suggests that the brainwashing is very effective.
    I have no doubt that some people derive pleasure and benefit from their beliefs in gods. Many people also suffer real harm and misery because of theirs beliefs (and the beliefs of others). None of which goes anywhere near proving that the subject of those beliefs (gods) is/are real.
    That is disprove by my studies. But he's talking about a different kind of religious experience  he means the experience of being religious,I;m talking about a level of consciousness associated with divine encounter. My comments:

    Joe Hinman to Cliff Langdon

    I never asserted that it's true because more people believe it. You asserted that you just know it's true even though you can't tell me how,I assume you mean because no one is talking about seeming unicorns. That does not lend itself to opposing bleak in God because most people believe and most people beehive because they experience God's reality You base your unbelief in unicorns upon your experience of a world with no unicorns,but I find a world filled with people who experience God.

    Your assertions about the nature of religious experiences are wrong, The studies show RE is very good for people it helps across the board, There are no negative results from mystical

    experience. The negative experiences of religion come from people.

    Joe Hinman to Cliff Langdon

    What do you have against the term "humanity?" Humanity is people, Yes it is 90% that is easily quantified. One artocle say onlys 7% don't believe:

    That believers in God have different notions of what God is about is unimportant. Cultural constructs mark the distinctions between faiths but the one reality lurks behind them all. This is demonstrated by the fact of those religious experience studies I spoke abouit. All the experiences of God from around the world are the same, that indicates they are encountering the same reality.

    Cliff Langdon 
    No. You are attempting that use the (dubious) statistic that 90% of 'humanity' believes in some concept of god as 'evidence' for the existence of gods in general. You therefore have to accept that.....the correlating statistic is that most of humanity actively does not believe in any particular god or gods and that this is likewise evidence that all of those gods do not exist. (neither argument stacks up, btw. I'm just pointing out that if you can use your claim, I can use mine).
    The stuff at the first proves the 90%is good figure, notice it;s  from atheist sources.
    Cliff Langdon 
    For example most people do not believe in the Christian God; most people to not believe in Allah, most people do not believe in Ganesh the elephant god & remover of obstacles; and most people do not believe in Cardea the Roman goddess of door hinges; nor Hathor the cow goddess, nor Tawaret, the Hippo goddess of childbirth; Phanes, the god of procreation is similarly shunned by the majority, as is Ananke, the goddess of inevitability, and Brigit the Celtic goddess of fire & poetry; likewise, Anoia, the Goddess of things that get stuck in drawers, and not forgetting of course The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Blessed be His Noodly Appendage) is not as popular as he should be.
    A person's faith in a god does not mean that that god exists. Sorry, but it simply doesn't. By all means argue that this is practically a definition of Faith: to be Faithful is to believe without proof, and I would agree.But it isn't proof.
    Ah youth where did you leave me? I made that very argument in high school when I first started calling myself an  atheist, to impress a girl who was in debate. She was the reason I got in to debate, I found she had boy friend who was national  debate champion so I was  no competition for  him. But he had good dope. 

    my  answer to Langdon on the net

    Joe Hinman

    you are not paying attention. I did not say 90% is evidence I said  it's equivolant to your methodology about the unicorn, we might call that epistemic justification,This is false on two counts. first you have not demonstrated why they must believe in "a particular God" nor have you proven they don't. what you really mean is they don't believe in the same identity for God, That is also wrong since most people believe in a creative being with mind who has will and volition, there is no logic or empirical evidence to say it's not the same one, Just because people have different ideas of what he wants doesn't prove it's not the same one,

    Cliff Langdon 
    and finally, no: not "All the experiences of God from around the world are the same". What a ridiculous claim.
    That is just the fact that he knows  nothing about the studies about which I wrote about in my book the trace of God.[5]

    Here is an article you can read about those studies.[6]

    Post Script

    Of course there is no coloration between the number of people who believe in something and the truth of it. Yet it seem to me that Landon is arguing that while you can;t prove God exists just because the  majority believe in some form of God, it's proof that he doesn't that there is no unified overwhelming consciousness. I think that is just a study in trying to have it both ways. I may have created a straw man kn response but I actually think that,  ironically. my straw man is a better argument than his was. He basically said I know there are no unicorns because there aren't any.

    I wouldn't put much stock in the common  knowledge argument,  a lot of crap has been justified under that rue-brick. I used to make a religious instinct argument this would be useful there., The problem is if the situation was reversed (90% did not believe in God) I would still believe based upon other things. That's partly why i don't make that instinct argument anymore. But  Ii think the 90% statistic is a good refutation of the kind of argument I  saw brewing with Langdon, 


    [1] Cliff Langdon, comments,in Matt Nelson,  "How To Prove That God Doesn't Exist" Word on Fire (July 12,2016)

    the comments are quite recent within a few days,

    [2] Ariela Keysar and Juhem Navarro-Rivera in Phil Zuckerman, "How Many Atheists Are There?" Psychology Today (Oct 20,2015) ;

    Original publication Keysar, Ariela; Navarro-Rivera, Juhem (2017). "36. A World of Atheism: Global Demographics". In Bullivant, Stephen; Ruse, Michael. The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199644659.

    [3] Phil Zuckerman, op cit

    [4] Langdon, comments op cit
    [5] Joseph hinman, The Trace of God Rational Warrant for Belief. Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct. 2014. no page indicated.

    [5] Joseph Hinman, "The Empirical Study of  Mystical Experience." (2016) Religious A priori
    part 2

    Friday, October 19, 2018

    Trump Balance Sheet: What Trump costs us in Lives

    factually quantifiable harms already accrued as result of Trump's attack on civilization

    *13 million lose health care due to Tax scam

    Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.
    The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.
    “The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health,” said lead author Andrew Wilper, M.D., who currently teaches at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease — but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.”

    * 13 thousand /year die from air pollution due to roll back of regs on coal fired plants
    (Trump's war on breathing: Resistance is not Futile)

    *50,000 lives / year lost due to roll back auto emission stadards
    (Ibid, see also "Trump  has started the roll back" the Guardian)

    * Roll backs on regs that protect drinking water for 117 million
    ("Trump wrecks nation's clean water," Resistance...)

    *cut food and formula for nearly 390,000 participating women, children and infants.()
    1. Proposed slashing the WIC program. President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the WIC program puts basic food security at risk for thousands of families. At an annual food cost of about $513 per person, the $200 million cut could help pay for a year’s worth of food and formula for nearly 390,000 participating women, children and infants. (100 ways 100 days; center for American Progress)

    * 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.
    After more than four decades of development, this rule would protect construction and manufacturing workers from inhaling silica, which can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. It was projected to save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.

    *Tried to cut his own taxes by millions of dollars while taking health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. Based on President Trump’s leaked 2005 Tax Return Form 1040, repealing the ACA could give Trump a personal tax cut of more than $2 million. At the same time, the House legislation to repeal the ACA would have taken health insurance from 24 million Americans.

    * ended Amnesty for 800,000 immigrants ("dreamers") who have been in country since childhood will lead to mass deportations (NBC News)

    sets precedent for destruction of civil rights
    After barely eight months in office, President Trump has secured his legacy: If left unchecked, he will undermine civil rights progress in this country more than any president in modern history.
    This week has shown previews of this dangerous agenda. And not for the reasons you’re thinking.
    While Trump’s back and forth on whether he would condemn the white supremacist groups behind the deadly tragedy in Charlottesville lent the weight of the United States presidency to a racist worldview, we must also focus on the series of actions that prove those remarks are already being translated into an equally oppressive policy agenda.Since beginning his campaign, Trump has fanned the flames of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia – from calling Mexicans rapists, making a border wall one of his central campaign promises, implementing a Muslim travel ban, and using dog-whistle politics to talk in veiled terms about black communities. (The Hill)
    * Potential loss of all life on Earthy due to global warming since Trup callsit ahoax and took us outof Paris accords, (see my research on Metacorck's blog)

    see the full list of the Center for American progress, 100 ways in 100 days Trump has hurt America,

    * Trump DOJ (Sessions) return ti debeter's prisions,Itps illegal to be poor! (

    There are debter's prisons. Deters prsions! that;s eighth century! Trump DOJ supports it1 It's acrime to be poor)
    Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions retracted an Obama-era guidanceto state courts that was meant to end debtors’ prisons, where people who are too poor to pay fines are sent. This practice is blatantly unconstitutional, and the guidance had helped jump-start reform around the country. Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the federal government is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us....Ferguson [Mo.] used its criminal justice system as a for-profit enterprise, extracting millions from its poorest citizens. Internal emails revealed the head of finance directing policing strategy to maximize revenue rather than ensure public safety. Officers told us they were pressured to issue as many tickets as possible.Even the local judge was in on it, imposing penalties of $302 for jaywalking and $531 for allowing weeds to grow in one’s yard. He issued arrest warrants for residents who fell behind on payments — including a 67-year-old woman who had been fined for a trash-removal violation — without inquiring whether they even had the ability to pay the exorbitant amounts. The arrests resulted in new charges, more fees and the suspension of driver’s licenses. These burdens fell disproportionately on African-Americans.
    *12-15000 yr die  from asbestos and Trump's EPA will can restrictions
    Sokolove law

    Trump must have a Republican Congress to back him. The only way to stop this is to take the Republicans out of power, vote Democrat in the  election on Nov 6,

    Wednesday, October 17, 2018

    Christians Wake Up!

    Washington's Farewell

    I have not read this book.[1] I just saw the author, John Avlon,  on Late Night, with Stephen Colbert. If the guy writes like he talks he should be engaging. The point is Washington saw a coming evil that threatens us today and he warned against it in his fair well speech. That evil is partisanship or tribalism, a greater loyalty to the party than to the nation. Washington never joined a political party he feared that as people gave  their allegiance to parties a demagogue would rise up and claim power, through the allegiance to a party name. Truth, honor, and ideals would all be superseded by party loyalty. Now I have not read the book so I will depart from the book but that is my premise, I see this happening in the modern age,

    Roy Moore has been exposed as a child molester, yet the Evangelical Christians of Alabama support him all the more
    [2] It wasn't that long ago that just the accusation would take him out of the race. Since they've already accept the principle of men with no principles being men of God, with Trump, why make an exception now? The supporters reject the allegations partly because they are not party aligned news sources.[3]

    Now we find that education has no power to communicate truth, That;right we find now education just mean sophisticated excuses,

    A new study shows that the more education conservatives gain the more omitted they are to denying climate change. Directly contradicting Trump administration propaganda on climate "13 federal agencies an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says human are the dominate cause of global temperature rise that have created the warmest period in the history of civilization. [4] This is the Climate Science Special Report [5]

    Rather than changing republican' minds,however, this knowledge only serves to make them more committed  to denial. [6]

    But there is little reason to think that yet another scientific report will fundamentally shift attitudes on global warming — either among policymakers or the public at large. Researchers have found again and again that attitudes about climate change are shaped far more profoundly by political ideology or by comfort with proposed solutions to global warming than they are by the science itself. The latest climate report, written by scientists in 13 federal agencies as part of a congressional National Climate Assessment, says little that hasn’t been said in countless reports over the past decade. Its major conclusions are virtually identical to those of a federal assessment published in 2014: Global warming is real, caused by humans and its impacts are being felt across the United States, from increased heat waves to greater flooding risks along the coasts.[7]

    Washington 's theory needs tweaking. Party allegiance is declining.[8] People are replacing party with ideology. Core Trump supporters were willing to destroy the party for the spread of the ideology. But the party faithful have associated the party with God for so long they just support it at all cost even going down with the ship. 

    Ultimately, since the 1960s, American conservatism has increasingly exhibited the traits of religious fundamentalism. When politics is treated as a type of religion, and then combined with the rituals of worship and scripture in the form of evangelical Christianity, a type of hallucinatory ideology is created. This has become a form of political cultism; its power and hold over those caught in its ecstasy and passion cannot be easily broken.[8]

    Remember the lost? the guys we were supposed to seek and save? They became the enemy then they became those we hate and seek to kill. To the world the evangelical movement just makes the cross and the Gospel look like a hypocritical fantasy that was doomed to failure. We live in an age in which people dig into ideological positions and truth be damned.


    [1] John Avlon, Washington's Farewell The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations.New York: Simon Schuster, 2017, no page mdicated.
    (accesssed 11/10/17)

    [2] News Desk, "Roy Moore's Supporters Stand by Their Candidate." The New Yorker, (Nov 9, 2017)

    (accesssed 11/10/17)
    [3] Johna Goldberg,"Roy  Moore's Supporter Don't Want the Allegations to Be True So They Don't Beleive Them," The Los Angels Times, (Nov 13,2017).
    (accesssed 11/10/17)

    [4] Lisa Friedman and  Glen Thrush, "U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change,Contradictin Top Trump Contradicting Top Trump Officials" (Nov 3,2017)
    (accesssed 11/10/17)

    [5] Climate Science Special: Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA 4) vol. I
    (accesssed 11/10/17)

    [6] Kevin Quealy, The More Education Republicans Have The Less then tend To Believe in Climate Change, (Nov 14, 2017)
    (accesssed 11/10/17)

    [7] Brad Plumer, "A Climate Science Report That Change Minds? Do 't Bet on It" The New York Times, (No 4,2017)
    (accesssed 11/10/17)
    [8] Chauncy Devega, "The Toxic Ideology at the heart of Evangelical's Alliance With Republican Party" Alternete (August 10, 2017)
    (accesssed 11/10/17)

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018

    Christ's Atonement, Resurrection, and Progress in History

    Arnold J. Toynbee

    Arnold J. Toynbee,* the history of ideas man, wrote an essay on Jesus Christ and history in which he argued that Christianity was responsible for the idea of progress in history.("Christainty and the problem of history" in God, History and Historians, modern Christian views of History edt C.T. McIntire) Pagan mythology had the eternal return. The eternal return mirrored the cycles of the four seasons and featured the gods always doing the same things over and over in cycles. We see Baldar killed by Loki stays dead half the year and this marks the coming of winter. The old style of pagan myth explication which understood myth as explainations for nature (pre Joseph Campbell) understood this explanation of the cycles of winter and spring. There is a Greek cycle too with Prosepheny (daughter of Demeiter) eating the seeds and having to stay in the under world half the years. Both of these clearly mirror the seasons. In fact Procephanies mother was Demeiter, her Roman name was Series). She was the goddess of wheat and the harvest. So this is all tied in with the spring/winter cycles.

    The Joseph Campbell way of looking at myth (circa 1940s) brought in with it the understanding that myth is the circular telling of stories that relate to one's journey in life (see The Hero With a Thousand Faces). It's the journey of the hero. The hero goes out into he world and searches for something and does heroic deeds, then comes back home and settles down and goes about the business of re creating the warrior so the the cycle can be repeated again. In the older school of interpretation (I think of it as connected to Bullfinch) the point is to explain the cycles. In Campbell's method it's not an explanation but a road map or a guide for the individual to understand his/her own growth in life as an individual.
    In either case the point is the recurrence of the cycle. In the method where the individual is being guided in life it's the recurrence of the same things for each new generation. In the case of the older method its the repetition of seasons, but in either case the world does the same things over and over again and history is going nowhere.

    The concept of re creating the worrier implies a commitment to a fix set of life experiences, although the experiences themselves may be very different, the pattern is fixed. Not only so but they are committed to a fixed pattern as an ideal they believed in, since the warrior understood that his job as a warrior was to reproduce himself. Toynbee points out that with Jesus we have a breaking of the cycle. Jesus atonement is once and for all, it is not a repetitive thing. In Pauline theology the atonement puts an end to the repetition. It ends the cycle of yearly sacrifice in the temple where the scape goat was sacrificed for the sins of the people. Though foretold by the prophet of old, the hope of the resurrection guaranteeing the end to cycle, since no new sacrifices will be needed becuase the resurrection changes the rules. The sacrifice gets up and lives again, and those who recon themselves dead in the death of the sacrifice also share in the hope of a future provided by the new life of the risen savior (Romans 6).

    This is true eschatology disruption. Eschatology doesn't just mean end times scenarios it means it means "the last things." Death and resurrection, death and after life, going to heaven these are actually as much a part of formal eschatology as are the anti-Christ and the rapture. So this new eschatology gives the individual believer a share in the future and the hope the resurrection life of Christ, where as the old goat sacrifice only gave the tribe collectively a pardon for one year until the cycle repeated again. The Hebrews had their own mythological eternal return, and the sacrificial system and the temple system reiterated it. The tribe moved toward the promised land, and their journeying was doubled due to their own sins. They could have continued to journey forever, repeating the pattern always. But the disruption of eschatology was built into the system with the concept of arriving the promised land. Then the journey become temporal not spatial. But it is still goal oriented. The temporal aspect is the land days, the end times, the teolos of history, and the goal is the coming of the Messiah. Now they journey is done through time not through he desert. Each believer has his own end goal of the journey. These observations are the work of Jurgen Moltmann in his Theology of Hope.

    The pattern makes the individual more important than the tribe. As Jeremiah said in chapter 31 of his book "No longer will a man say to his neighbor 'knew the Lord' for you shall all know me, from the least to the greatest." The New covenant would be written on the heart of the individual, so that changes things from a collective relationship with the tribe as a whole to each and every believer on a one on one basis with God. This means a disrupting of the pattern. Something new can happen. The salvation of the individual is based upon the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new once and for all order, so history can proceed into the future and find new patterns. The old mythological way was about building the tribe. Individuals were not important in themselves, they were members of the tribe, and functioned as building blocks that made the tribe. That's why the same pattern had to be repeated year after year, the tribe must continue at the expense of the individual. The new child must become his father, or the girl her mother, because the tribe had to go on as it was. But the way of Christ was the individual with God and the chruch rather than the tribe, which is a collection of the individuals not a tribe to sacrifice the individual for its own good.

    Alfred North Whitehead said that Christianity contributed to the development of modern science because it gave us the notion that God created the world as a reasonable system that worked by rules, and gave us minds which mirror divine reason and thus we can study the rules of nature and understand them as an ordered system. Since Whitehead said this historians have found many ways in which Christianity developed modern science,or at least contributed in a positive way to it's development. This was especially so in the English enlightenment. See Margaret Jacob The Newtonian's for a sense of how the latitudinarians (English churchmen and minsters) spread Newtonian physics as a political balm at a time when Newton was unknown and ignored. The notion of progress in history was a major aspect of enlightenment thinking and it started in the English influence upon French thought which came largely from the latitudinarians and their group. The idea of this disruption of the cycles of eternal return made the concept of progress in history possible.

    In the Post Modern era the notion of progression history has been eschewed.  It is certainly the case that progress was taken for granted by moderns as any change especially scientifically backed change. So global warming is the fruit of what was once thought of as "progress in history." Progress in history was identified by moderns as a secular goal. Certainly fundamentalist see it as the antithesis to the end times which is the teleology of their historical goal. But I see a dialectic. We have ruined the planet with false pretense of "progress" which really meant wealth and power for the elites of secular society, but there is also a green movement, if it's not too little too late, and greater attention to human rights, racism has been identified as total evil, for the firs time in human history women are at least on the radar as candidates for a level playing field (we have a female speaker of the house, a female made a made a major attempt at winning the nomination of the democratic party and lost to the guy who became the first black President). I think we can see notions of progress in all areas our society would think of as humanistic in a positive sense and progressive. I can show that Christian values stand behind each one of these ideas. Christians stocked the civil rights movement and ran it, and they were very major force in the woman's suffrage movement that led to the feminist movement a century latter.

    Sunday, October 14, 2018

    Social Justice is a value mandated by the Gospel

     photo TheologyLiberation_zps7e7e7172.jpg

    Summary part 1
    I.The Atonement: God's Solidarity With Humanity.

    ........A. The inadequacy of Financial Transactions

    Many ministers, and therefore, many Christians speak of and think of Jesus' death on the cross as analogous to a financial transaction. Usually this idea goes something like this: we are in hock to the devil because we sinned. God pays the debt we owe by sending Jesus to die for us, and that pays off the devil. The problem with this view is the Bible never says we owe the devil anything. We owe God. The financial transaction model is inadequate. Matters of the soul are much more important than any monetary arrangement and business transactions and banking do not do justice to the import of the issue. Moreover, there is a more sophisticated model; that of the sacrament for sin. In this model Jesus is like a sacrificial lamb who is murdered in our place. This model is also inadequate because it is based on a primitive notion of sacrifice. The one making the sacrifice pays over something valuable to him to appease an angry God. In this case God is paying himself. This view is also called the "propitiation view" becuase it is based upon propitiation, which means to turn away wrath. The more meaningful notion is that of Solidarity. The Solidarity or "participatory" view says that Jesus entered human history to participate in our lot as finiate humans, and he dide as a means of identifying with us. We are under the law of sin and death, we are under curse of the law (we sin, we die, we are not capable in our own human strength of being good enough to merit salvation). IN taking on the penalty of sin (while remaining sinless) Jesus died in our stead; not in the manner of a premature animal sacrafice (that is just a metaphor) but as one of us, so that through identification with us, we might identify with him and therefore, partake of his newness of life.

    .......B. Christ the Perfect Revelation of God to Humanity

    In the book of Hebrews it says "in former times God spoke in many and various ways through the prophets, but in these latter times he has spoken more perfectly through his son." Jesus is the perfect revelation of God to humanity. The prophets were speaking for God, but their words were limited in how much they could tell us about God. Jesus was God in the flesh and as such, we can see clearly by his character, his actions, and his teachings what God wants of us and how much God cares about us. God is for humanity, God is on our side! The greatest sign of God's support of our cause as needy humans is Jesus death on the cross, a death in solidarity with us as victims of our own sinful hearts and societies. Thus we can see the lengths God is will to go to to point us toward himself. There are many verses in the Bible that seem to contradict this view. These are the verses which seem to say that Atonement is propitiatory.

    .......C. Death in Solidarity with Victims.............. 
    ..............1) Support from Modern Theologians

    Three Major Modern Theologians support the solidarity notion of atonement: Jurgen Moltmann (The Crucified God), Matthew L. Lamb (Solidarity With Victims), and D.E.H. Whiteley (The Theology of St. Paul).In the 1980s Moltmann (German Calvinist) was called the greatest living protestant theologian, and made his name in laying the groundwork for what became liberation theology. Lamb (Catholic Priest) was big name in political theology, and Whiteley (scholar at Oxford) was a major Pauline scholar in the 1960s.In his work The Crucified God Moltmann interprits the cry of Jesus on the cross, "my God my God why have you forsaken me" as a statement of solidarity, placing him in identification with all who feel abandoned by God.Whiteley: "If St. Paul can be said to hold a theory of the modus operandi [of the atonement] it is best described as one of salvation through participation [the 'solidarity' view]: Christ shared all of our experience, sin alone excepted, including death in order that we, by virtue of our solidarity with him, might share his life...Paul does not hold a theory of substitution..." (The Theology of St. Paul, 130)An example of one of the great classical theologians of the early chruch who held to a similar view is St. Irenaeus (according to Whiteley, 133).

    ..............2) Scrtiptural

    ...all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were Baptized into his death.? We were therefore burried with him in baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death we will certanly be united with him in his resurrection.For we know that the old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.Now if we have died with Christ we believe that we will also live with him, for we know that since Christ was raised from the dead he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him; the death he died to sin he died once for all; but the life he lives he lives to God. In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Chrsit Jesus.(Romans 6:1-5)

    .......In Short, if we have united ourselves to Christ, entered his death and been raised to life, we participate in his death and resurrection through our act of solidarity, united with Christ in his death, than it stands tto reason that his death is an act of solidarity with us, that he expresses his solidarity with humanity in his death.

    .......This is why Jesus cries out on the cross "why have you forsaken me?" According to Moltmann this is an expression of Solidarity with all who feel abandoned by God.Jesus death in solidarity creates the grounds for forgiveness, since it is through his death that we express our solidarity, and through that, share in his life in union with Christ. Many verses seem to suggest a propitiatory view. But these are actually speaking of the affects of the solidarity. "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if when we were considered God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! What appears to be saying that the shedding of blood is what creates forgiveness is actually saying that the death in solidarity creates the grounds for reconciliation. IT says we were enemies then we were reconciled to him through the death, his expression of solidarity changes the ground, when we express our solidarity and enter into the death we are giving up to God, we move from enemy to friend, and in that sense the shedding of blood, the death in solidarity, creates the conditions through which we can be and are forgiven. He goes on to talk about sharing in his life, which is participation, solidarity, unity.

    .......D. Meaning of Solidarity and Salvation.

    .......Jurgen Moltmann's notion of Solidarity (see The Crucified God) is based upon the notion of Political solidarity. Christ died in Solidarity with victims. He took upon himself a political death by purposely angering the powers of the day. Thus in his death he identifies with victims of oppression. But we are all victims of oppression. Sin has a social dimension, the injustice we experience as the hands of society and social and governmental institutions is primarily and at a very basic level the result of the social aspects of sin. Power, and political machinations begin in the sinful heart, the ego, the desire for power, and they manifest themselves through institutions built by the will to power over the other. But in a more fundamental sense we are all victims of our own sinful natures. We scheme against others on some level to build ourselves up and secure our conditions in life. IN this sense we cannot help but do injustice to others. In return injustice is done to us.Jesus died in solidarity with us, he underwent the ultimate consequences of living in a sinful world, in order to demonstrate the depths of God's love and God's desire to save us. Take an analogy from political organizing. IN Central America governments often send "death squads" to murder labor unionists and political dissenter. IN Guatemala there were some American organizations which organized for college students to go to Guatemala and escort the leaders of dissenting groups so that they would not be murdered.

    .......The logic was that the death squads wouldn't hurt an American Student because it would bring bad press and shut off U.S. government funds to their military. As disturbing as these political implications are, let's stay focused on the Gospel. Jesus is like those students, and like some of them, he was actually killed. But unlike them he went out of his way to be killed, to be victimized by the the rage of the sinful and power seeking so that he could illustrate to us the desire of God; that God is on our side, God is on the side of the poor, the victimized, the marginalized, and the lost. Jesus said "a physician is not sent to the well but to the sick."The key to salvation is to accept God's statement of solidarity, to express our solidarity with God by placing ourselves into the death of Christ (by identification with it, by trust in it's efficacy for our salvation).

    part 2

    Social Justice is a value mandated by the Gospel.

    In my essay "Atonement: Solidarity and The Basis of Social Justice,"[1] I demonstrated that the most efficacious model for understanding atonement of Christ on the cross for our sins is that of a statement of solidarity between God and humanity,When we accept that statement of God's solidarity with us we are expressing our solidarity with God thus putting ourselves in a relationship of solidarity, aka "covenant,"  that creates the grounds upon  which sin is forgiven. The title implies that there is a further implication of social justice, but I did not spell it out, I will do so here: there is a social dimension of the gospel mandates social justice as priority value and legitimizes the Christian mission for work for social justice.

    This is related to the solidarity aspect, which is another way of speaking about covenant. Paul clearly implies that there is a social dimension of the Gospel. In the book of Galatians Paul lays out the way of Grace and it;s implications in relation to law. He proclaims the Gospel of grace as the true Gospel and pronounces a curse on anyone who teaches another gospel, (Gal 1:8), In chapter 2:14-15 Paul confronts Peter for what he sees as hypocrisy. His withdrawing from the gentiles when the representatives of James came, out of fear of their anti-gentile prejudice.

    14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
    15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

    After a long section in chapter two where he justifies the concept of salvation by grace through faith, and sets that forth as the essence of the Gospel, this is what it's all about, he goes on in chapter 3 to lay out the implications and he puts on it a class a analysis: (3;26) "so in Christ you are all children of God Through Faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, Neither sla e nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise.."

    I have seen conservative Christians relegate this concept to the back burner several times, none more infuriating than a time when I lived in New Mexico (long time ago) .  At a house discussion group connected with my church we had been discussing "male/female roles in the church," They agreed all comers welcome in discussion, They were going to listen to my presentation of my my view blah lblah all fair sure right on. I laid it all out it meant nothing to them. I kept harping on Galatians 3:26-29 the main leader of the "conservatives" says "that;s just before the Lord." What he meant was this sounds good Chrisianitistically but in "real life:" where people live it is means nothing.  This guy was a great man of faith. But he could not deal with they fact that in the concrete world where Paul lived Peter was acting hypocritically to perpetuate the social distinction grounded in the law between Jews and gentiles. It is a real world concrete implication of the Gospel. Paul lays it bare; it's a matter of "the truth of the Gospel: and of "belonging to Christ." Gal 2:14 and 3:29.This does mean if you are trying to justify racism by the gospel you are preaching another gospel you do not belong to Christ and you are under a curse. It probably also mean we can't make distinctions about rank in the church based upon gender, There are no second class christians and if you believe in Jesus there is a social application to the gospel.

    Since this is grounded in the basic principles of the Gospel dealing with grace and freedom (Gal. 5:1 states it as a positive primary value "It is for freedom you have been set free") then it must be grounded in the concept of solidarity, It only makes sense, how could one be in solidarity with God, who is in solidarity with humanity  and not be in solidarity with humanity as well? Jesus shows a preference for the poor in identifying with the bottom rung of society in the way he lived and the way he died, crucified between two thieves, Not only was his death reserved for criminals but also for rebels against Rome, He was traded for the revolutionary Barabbas who was freed in his place, That has obvious literary meaning. Jesus was the more dangerous to the powers of the day, The Elder John put's it in his own way, how can you love God who you have not seen  (1 john 4:20)

    Solidarity is about identifying with the other. Jesus identified with humanity and with the bottom of the social ladder. In the most basic statements of the Gospel in the early days of it's proclamation reflect this aspect; Luke is best about reflecting that aspect, In Luke 4:16-21 Jesus stands to read from Isaiah in the synagogue he is essentially introducing himself (even though it;s his home town) and unavailing his true mission,He quotes from Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1,2 (see Septuagint); Isaiah 58:6):
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
    to set the oppressed free, to proclaim
    the year of the Lord's favor

    James Tabor Links these two aspects the resurrection of the dead and preaching of good news to the poor thus marking both as central features of identification for the messiah: Jesus might as well have said:hey I'm the messiah,"

    when we turn to the Q Source, which Luke and Matthew quote, regarding the "signs of the Messiah," we find the two phrases linked: "the dead are raised up, the poor have the glad tidings preached to them," precisely as we have in our Qumran text. Luke makes more than passing use of this notion of the "resurrection of the dead" as a sign of the age of the Messiah. In the two places he quotes Isaiah 61:1 he also mentions specific cases of resurrection of the dead: as Elijah once raised the son of the widow, Jesus now raises the son of the widow from Nain (Luke 4:26; 7:11-17). This is hardly accidental, as the close juxtaposition of the texts makes clear."[2]

    He is basing this upon the use of the Isaiah phrases in the Qumran literature, for details more of the context and analysis see my article on Doxa [3] Walter Pilgrim Understood a social implication to these passages.[4] An SIM* task force om Social justice makes a finding on this passage:

    No doubt, this text is one of the clearest statements of Jesus’ mission and the goals of his ministry. It is also one of the most misunderstood. In popular explanations, Luke 4 underscores that Jesus’ mission focused on the materially destitute and the downtrodden. In this interpretation, Jesus is Messiah and social liberator. He came to bring the year of jubilee to the oppressed. He came to transform social structures and bring God’s creation back to shalom. Therefore, our mission, in keeping with Christ’s mission, is, to quote one well-respected book “to extend the kingdom by infiltrating all segments of society, with preference given to the poor, and allowing no dichotomy between evangelism and social transformation (Luke 4:18-19).” Above all else, Luke 4, it is argued, shows that Jesus’ mission was to serve the poor. Shouldn’t that be our mission too?[5]*

    That is the popular misunderstanding, What is misunderstood? The idea that"poor" is limited to financial poor. The finding of the Task force is that the Greek word ptochos carries a broader connotation. We could attach the term "marginalized" but that's still too limited, They are more like down-heated, depressed, defeated, vanquished, the victims of Roman conquest. I don't think its reading too much into it to applying it to our own context and understand it as all those who are dejected by the way life has treated the, The political connotation still part of it.

    Social injustice is a social dynamic stemming from sin, Social injustice is a from of sin a is any other transgression such as adultery or stealing. The social dynamic makes it easier to rationalize. Reinhold Niebuhr apples class analysis and finds that the class dimension  to the social dynamic creates personal identification with class interest and thus an easy rationalization as the interest of the larger group becomes confused with one's personal interest, This is the meaning of his title, Moral Man and Immoral Society. [6] The individual is capable of being fairly moral although one  always struggles with temptation, Yet with the social and class dimensions the rationalization factor sucks one into teh mob mentality It then becomes the Christian's duty to soul search and part for conviction to realize the out of the morass. Actually that part is my interpretation. Niebuhr just sort of assumed that being aware was enough.

    We need to go one step further, however, and not content ourselves with merely being aware of our identification and rationalization of social sin. That's the leftist complaint about the liberal; it's all about our personal feeling good. We need to work for social justice. After all what good does it do to just be aware if we are aren't really working to change things we are not really sorry about our contribution to the problem. The major brunt of social sin comes down on the poor who are the primary victims. That is exacerbated times whatever other marginalization factors obtain, In other words "the poor" are having it bad. But a poor person who is being oppressed for being gay is having it even worse. Poverty is connected both as cause and implication  to all forms of social ill Poverty is decisive in many way for life chances. [7] [8]

    Poverty is the symbol for all social sin and deserves our highest effort to fight it, Politicians who flagrantly disregard on a par with murderers. Those who rationalize the system are not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel. Fighting for social justice is as much our Christian duty as spreading the gospel,

    NoteL the value  is mandated not the politics, politics's an inadequate human constrict expressing ideas and attitudes not a perfect expression of anything, Any political formation can be wrong even if it;s values are right.


    [1] Joseph Hnman, "Atonement, Solidaroty, and Social Justice, part 1" Metacrock's blog

     MARCH 05, 2017, URL:
    (accessed 3/12/17)

    [2] James D. Tabor, Archaeology and The Dead Sea Scrolls"The Signs of the Messiah: 4Q521"
    The Jewish Roman World of Jesus (website) (accessed 3/12/17)

    [3] Joseph Hinman, "refutting the 'No body' Theroy," Resurrection pages,Doxa:Christian Thouht in the 21st Centiry website URL: (accessed 3/12/17)

    [4]Walter Pilgrim, Good News to the Poor: Wealth and Poverty in Luke-Acts, Eugene Oregan:Wipf and Stock publishers, 1981, 15,  65-66.

    prof of theology pacific Lutheran University

    [5] Kevin De Young, "Seven Passages on Social Justice," The Gospel Coalition, (July 20,2010)
    on line resource, URL:

    Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, 
    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. 

    from the parent document:
    NOTE: This is an abbreviated version of a much larger work originally undertaken by a task force appointed by the Board of Governors of SIM* to investigate issues of social injustice in the context of Christian mission. The paper produced is not a final statement on justice or an SIM position paper, and does not reflect the beliefs and opinions held by all SIM members. The convictions presented represent the interplay between the various authors’ biblical understanding, cultural worldview, and personal perspectives. This has been a very helpful process for SIM to work through. Malcolm McGregor, SIM International Director  following URL link to PDF of Task force report:

    *SIM = Soudan Interior Mission, a mission society began in 1893. It's still going. It produces sophisticated scholarly literature, it has 4000 workers in 70 country, it's members represent as many nationalities.

    [6] Reinhold Neibuhr,  Moral Man and Immoral SocietyWestminster John Knox Press; 2nd ed. edition (January 18, 2013)
    [7] Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Greg J. Duncan, "The Effects of Poverty on Children,"  The Future of Children (Summer Fall 1997), 55-71. on line version URL: (accessed3/12/17)
    Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., is Virginia and Leonard Marx professor of child development and education, and is director of the Center for Young Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University. Greg J. Duncan, Ph.D., is a professor of education and social policy, and is a faculty associate at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
    [8] ,"Poverty Compounded," The Atlanic (APR 16, 2016)