Atheist meme — Sacrifice
“Jesus died for our sins. Except he didn’t actually stay dead. So what did he sacrifice? His weekend? Jesus gave up his weekend for your sins.”
The above is a meme going around on facebook, and of course my atheist friends feel obliged to post it multiple times.
I responded: “I think if you tried being nailed to a cross and hanging in the desert heat for a weekend, you might understand a tiny bit more of the significance of this.”
And then I got this back:
I think that is what might happen to you, when you have a cruel dad!
We all have a cruel dad … that is the point.
The choice we have is suffering or non-existence… or well it isn’t really a choice.
The idea of sacrifice is that you sacrifice some short-term loss for the sake of some longer-term benefit.
Eg. you sacrifice some current gratification for the sake of long-term health.
Or in a more spiritual domain, you sacrifice something temporal for the sake of something eternal.
Eg. you sacrifice a short-term financial benefit for the sake of maintaining your long-term integrity.
For this reason it is a mistake to think of “eternal life” as “lasting forever”, or being after you have died.
A better understanding of eternal is “outside of time” i.e. eternal life stands outside of time. It stands just as much before you were born as after you are dead, but not really either of these — because both of these are in some sense still held within the constraints of time — within the flow of time — within the stream of time.
The idea is that eternal life is something (really some non-thing) you can have if you are willing to give up temporal life … or really temporal anything… give up temporality period.
Buddhism, as I understand it (don’t quote me), proposes a similar kind of choice as being available to us.