• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

Why does Jesus grieve for Lazarus’s death?

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker
So the story of Lazarus is only told in John. It’s a sign of his miracles.

But Jesus tarries for two days after he hears that he’s sick. Then he says he’s going to wake him as a sign. So he knows that Lazarus has died. So he goes to Lazarus and being informed that Lazarus has been buried for four days, and by this time he stinks. And then he weeps.

Why? In John, Jesus is god. Just bring his soul to heaven. Death makes no difference after John’s Jesus is done. So why does he weep?
 

Tigers!

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
2,832
Location
On the wing waiting for a kick.
Basic Beliefs
Bible believing revelational redemptionist (Baptist)
Death is considered to be an enemy. It was not part of the original creation (getting ready to duck counter barrage).
Jesus is acknowledging death's intrusion and the effect it has on people.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
Death is considered to be an enemy. It was not part of the original creation (getting ready to duck counter barrage).
Jesus is acknowledging death's intrusion and the effect it has on people.
Death may the enemy to someone secular. Followers of the Jesus religion were going to the mansion that was prepared for them, escaping the vicissitudes and pain of their earthly bodies. Paradise and the original creation were history, no more magic garden where everybody was happy all the live long day.

Jesus should rejoice but he wept. Doesn't wash.
 

Tigers!

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
2,832
Location
On the wing waiting for a kick.
Basic Beliefs
Bible believing revelational redemptionist (Baptist)
Death is considered to be an enemy. It was not part of the original creation (getting ready to duck counter barrage).
Jesus is acknowledging death's intrusion and the effect it has on people.
Death may the enemy to someone secular. Followers of the Jesus religion were going to the mansion that was prepared for them, escaping the vicissitudes and pain of their earthly bodies. Paradise and the original creation were history, no more magic garden where everybody was happy all the live long day.

Jesus should rejoice but he wept. Doesn't wash.
Why should Jesus rejoice? Death brings sorrow and loss to those who are left. He had just lost a friend on this earth.

All very true but that does not remove the sense of pain and loss felt by us as we attend a funeral or remember someone who is no longer with us. We acknowledge the separation and the consequent loss of fellowship.
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
So the story of Lazarus is only told in John. It’s a sign of his miracles.

But Jesus tarries for two days after he hears that he’s sick. Then he says he’s going to wake him as a sign. So he knows that Lazarus has died. So he goes to Lazarus and being informed that Lazarus has been buried for four days, and by this time he stinks. And then he weeps.

Why? In John, Jesus is god. Just bring his soul to heaven. Death makes no difference after John’s Jesus is done. So why does he weep?
Because his friend died? Grief is a pretty normal human reaction to death, even for people who believe in an afterlife.

Jesus is not in fact portrayed as being God in the book you're discussing, so that's not relevant to the discussion of that text, though it might be relevant to a critique of that kind of christology.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
Why should Jesus rejoice? Death brings sorrow and loss to those who are left. He had just lost a friend on this earth.

All very true but that does not remove the sense of pain and loss felt by us as we attend a funeral or remember someone who is no longer with us. We acknowledge the separation and the consequent loss of fellowship.
If a person weeps because their friend is gone it proves that their religion is pious fraud because their religion changed nothing. That reaction of course is normal and makes sense and has nothing to do with religion.
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
Why should Jesus rejoice? Death brings sorrow and loss to those who are left. He had just lost a friend on this earth.

All very true but that does not remove the sense of pain and loss felt by us as we attend a funeral or remember someone who is no longer with us. We acknowledge the separation and the consequent loss of fellowship.
If a person weeps because their friend is gone it proves that their religion is pious fraud because their religion changed nothing. That reaction of course is normal and makes sense and has nothing to do with religion.
Why do you believe this is true? I'm not aware of any religious traditions that forbid grieving for the dead. The occasional wacky cult here and there, perhaps, but they are already associated with pious fraud.
 

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker
So the story of Lazarus is only told in John. It’s a sign of his miracles.

But Jesus tarries for two days after he hears that he’s sick. Then he says he’s going to wake him as a sign. So he knows that Lazarus has died. So he goes to Lazarus and being informed that Lazarus has been buried for four days, and by this time he stinks. And then he weeps.

Why? In John, Jesus is god. Just bring his soul to heaven. Death makes no difference after John’s Jesus is done. So why does he weep?
Because his friend died? Grief is a pretty normal human reaction to death, even for people who believe in an afterlife.

Jesus is not in fact portrayed as being God in the book you're discussing, so that's not relevant to the discussion of that text, though it might be relevant to a critique of that kind of christology.
John 10:30 “I and the father are one.” That‘s the same book as the Lazarus story. Again, this is Jesus, who knew he was going to raise him, which regardless is irrelevant since Lazarus dies eventually a second time at some later point not in the story. Since they’re such buds, I presume he goes to heaven. Even if Jesus isn’t declaring himself god, he is undeniably opening heaven for all the believers in him. Which means Lazarus gets to go there and have fun instead of suffering and toiling on earth for many more years. What’s to grieve from Jesus’s perspective?
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
So the story of Lazarus is only told in John. It’s a sign of his miracles.

But Jesus tarries for two days after he hears that he’s sick. Then he says he’s going to wake him as a sign. So he knows that Lazarus has died. So he goes to Lazarus and being informed that Lazarus has been buried for four days, and by this time he stinks. And then he weeps.

Why? In John, Jesus is god. Just bring his soul to heaven. Death makes no difference after John’s Jesus is done. So why does he weep?
Because his friend died? Grief is a pretty normal human reaction to death, even for people who believe in an afterlife.

Jesus is not in fact portrayed as being God in the book you're discussing, so that's not relevant to the discussion of that text, though it might be relevant to a critique of that kind of christology.
John 10:30 “I and the father are one.” That‘s the same book as the Lazarus story. Again, this is Jesus, who knew he was going to raise him, which regardless is irrelevant since Lazarus dies eventually a second time at some later point not in the story. Since they’re such buds, I presume he goes to heaven. Even if Jesus isn’t declaring himself god, he is undeniably opening heaven for all the believers in him. Which means Lazarus gets to go there and have fun instead of suffering and toiling on earth for many more years. What’s to grieve from Jesus’s perspective?
The fact that his friend died? I don't see why this is such a mystery.

Why do atheists grieve when their friends die? It's not as though they're suffering, they just blinked into the void, right? But you still miss them. And Jesus missed his friend. Whatever else he may have been, he was human.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
The fact that his friend died? I don't see why this is such a mystery.
It isn't a mystery. It's just more wacky religious claims and behaviors. I can appreciate a religious person not recognizing the contradiction. If said person could recognize the contradiction they wouldn't be making the goofy religious claims. It's simple, not mysterious at all, simply persons lacking self awareness with regards to behavior. That's pretty common.

Aside from that no one has magic powers that can make people come back to life. The fact that lots of humans believe these fables literally, believe that they don't actually die but rather go on to live a magical second life, yet grieve over death, is further proof of what I just said.
 
Last edited:

James Brown

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
3,572
Location
Texas
Basic Beliefs
Agnostic Atheist

Why do atheists grieve when their friends die? It's not as though they're suffering, they just blinked into the void, right? But you still miss them. And Jesus missed his friend. Whatever else he may have been, he was human.

But I don't cry when a friend goes to sleep, or when he leaves to go back home, because I'm reasonably sure that I'll see my friend again. Death is forever, unless I know that in my friend's case death is only temporary. I'm human too. Do I miss my friend when he's asleep, be it for an hour's nap or a long sleep of about four days?

Didn't Jesus scold the mourners of Jairus' daughter who had died, saying she wasn't dead but just asleep? And then he raised her from the dead? Why is it acceptable for Jesus to mourn the temporary death of Lazarus but not for Jairus to do so?
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker

Why do atheists grieve when their friends die? It's not as though they're suffering, they just blinked into the void, right? But you still miss them. And Jesus missed his friend. Whatever else he may have been, he was human.

But I don't cry when a friend goes to sleep, or when he leaves to go back home, because I'm reasonably sure that I'll see my friend again. Death is forever, unless I know that in my friend's case death is only temporary. I'm human too. Do I miss my friend when he's asleep, be it for an hour's nap or a long sleep of about four days?

Didn't Jesus scold the mourners of Jairus' daughter who had died, saying she wasn't dead but just asleep? And then he raised her from the dead? Why is it acceptable for Jesus to mourn the temporary death of Lazarus but not for Jairus to do so?
I never read that passage as scolding (doesn't the crowd rather mock Jesus than the other way around, for that pronouncement?), but if it was, perhaps Jesus seems hypocritical in that respect when that book is compared to this one. I still don't think it is unreasonable, or anything other than human, to mourn our dead. Whatever hopes we may have for an eternal future, that doesn't change the fact that they are gone from us. Lazarus is raised in the story, yes, but can Jesus necessarily have known that this would be so? And even if his confidence in Lazarus' return were absolute, his dear friends Mary and Martha were weeping for their dead brother, and I don't think it would be unreasonable for him to weep with them in sympathy even if he knew with certainty that they were weeping needlessly.

It's funny, all these atheists complaining about one of the single most humanizing moments in all the Gospels. Would you really prefer that Jesus were cold and heartless as a stone? Would the world be better off if he had never shown a moment of fear, grief, or anger? A perfect alabaster monolith whose pronouncements are absolute and unquestionable?
 

James Brown

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
3,572
Location
Texas
Basic Beliefs
Agnostic Atheist
Perhaps "scolding" was the wrong term. The NASB has it (Mark 5):

They *came to the house of the synagogue official; and He *saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. 39 And entering in, He *said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” 40 They began laughing at Him.

I still don't think it is unreasonable, or anything other than human, to mourn our dead. Whatever hopes we may have for an eternal future, that doesn't change the fact that they are gone from us.
Completely agree.

Lazarus is raised in the story, yes, but can Jesus necessarily have known that this would be so?
Well, that's one of the questions raised in this thread, isn't it? Would Mr. "I and the Father are one" have necessarily known that he was about to invoke a divine miracle to raise a person from the dead? If he did, then why weep? If he didn't, then what does that say about his claims of divinity?

And even if his confidence in Lazarus' return were absolute, his dear friends Mary and Martha were weeping for their dead brother, and I don't think it would be unreasonable for him to weep with them in sympathy even if he knew with certainty that they were weeping needlessly.
So Jesus is a sympathetic crier? (I am too, by the way.) I raised the issue because we have two identical situations: a dead person that Jesus intends to resurrect. In one scenario, he weeps with the mourners. In the other, he dismisses the mourners' emotions.

Would you really prefer that Jesus were cold and heartless as a stone? Would the world be better off if he had never shown a moment of fear, grief, or anger?
Well, I would claim that a person not mourning when a friend is only "mostly dead" is not equivalent to "cold and heartless as a stone." More like, "doesn't mourn when there's nothing to mourn about." Why didn't he tell Mary and Martha, "Lazarus isn't dead; he's just talking a very long nap." How hard did he cry over Jairus' daughter? Mark doesn't say, but I get the sense he didn't mourn at all because there was no need to, even in the presence of truly mournful friends and family.

Or perhaps Mark and John fundamentally disagree over the nature of Jesus. That seems like a more likely way to square the circle.
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
Perhaps "scolding" was the wrong term. The NASB has it (Mark 5):

They *came to the house of the synagogue official; and He *saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. 39 And entering in, He *said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” 40 They began laughing at Him.

I still don't think it is unreasonable, or anything other than human, to mourn our dead. Whatever hopes we may have for an eternal future, that doesn't change the fact that they are gone from us.
Completely agree.

Lazarus is raised in the story, yes, but can Jesus necessarily have known that this would be so?
Well, that's one of the questions raised in this thread, isn't it? Would Mr. "I and the Father are one" have necessarily known that he was about to invoke a divine miracle to raise a person from the dead? If he did, then why weep? If he didn't, then what does that say about his claims of divinity?

And even if his confidence in Lazarus' return were absolute, his dear friends Mary and Martha were weeping for their dead brother, and I don't think it would be unreasonable for him to weep with them in sympathy even if he knew with certainty that they were weeping needlessly.
So Jesus is a sympathetic crier? (I am too, by the way.) I raised the issue because we have two identical situations: a dead person that Jesus intends to resurrect. In one scenario, he weeps with the mourners. In the other, he dismisses the mourners' emotions.

Would you really prefer that Jesus were cold and heartless as a stone? Would the world be better off if he had never shown a moment of fear, grief, or anger?
Well, I would claim that a person not mourning when a friend is only "mostly dead" is not equivalent to "cold and heartless as a stone." More like, "doesn't mourn when there's nothing to mourn about." Why didn't he tell Mary and Martha, "Lazarus isn't dead; he's just talking a very long nap." How hard did he cry over Jairus' daughter? Mark doesn't say, but I get the sense he didn't mourn at all because there was no need to, even in the presence of truly mournful friends and family.

Or perhaps Mark and John fundamentally disagree over the nature of Jesus. That seems like a more likely way to square the circle.
Well, I'm not the one who brought the Synoptics into this. Whatever else may be true, it is certain beyond any reasonable doubt that the four gospel writers had different perspectives on Jesus, his personality, and his career. Otherwise, the Gospels would have been synthesized into a single document by the end of the 2nd century.

Whether Jesus is a sympathetic crier or not is beyond our scope of reasonable speculation. We are after all discussing two stories about people being raised from the dead, so treating other parts of the same story as factual windows into an ancient man's pscyhology seems a bit like building a suspension bridge out of toothpicks and Elmer's glue. My point is more that there are a lot of reasons to cry, and inventing this precept that only faithless people would ever cry upon hearing of the death of a friend is an absurd starting point from my point of view.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
his dear friends Mary and Martha were weeping for their dead brother, and I don't think it would be unreasonable for him to weep with them in sympathy even if he knew with certainty that they were weeping needlessly.
This ☝️

That was always my understanding of this passage of scripture. In the NIV, John 11:33 says "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled." Seems pretty clear that his tears were in sympathy with his friends, who he knew were suffering.

Ruth
 

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker

Why do atheists grieve when their friends die? It's not as though they're suffering, they just blinked into the void, right? But you still miss them. And Jesus missed his friend. Whatever else he may have been, he was human.

But I don't cry when a friend goes to sleep, or when he leaves to go back home, because I'm reasonably sure that I'll see my friend again. Death is forever, unless I know that in my friend's case death is only temporary. I'm human too. Do I miss my friend when he's asleep, be it for an hour's nap or a long sleep of about four days?

Didn't Jesus scold the mourners of Jairus' daughter who had died, saying she wasn't dead but just asleep? And then he raised her from the dead? Why is it acceptable for Jesus to mourn the temporary death of Lazarus but not for Jairus to do so?
I never read that passage as scolding (doesn't the crowd rather mock Jesus than the other way around, for that pronouncement?), but if it was, perhaps Jesus seems hypocritical in that respect when that book is compared to this one. I still don't think it is unreasonable, or anything other than human, to mourn our dead. Whatever hopes we may have for an eternal future, that doesn't change the fact that they are gone from us. Lazarus is raised in the story, yes, but can Jesus necessarily have known that this would be so? And even if his confidence in Lazarus' return were absolute, his dear friends Mary and Martha were weeping for their dead brother, and I don't think it would be unreasonable for him to weep with them in sympathy even if he knew with certainty that they were weeping needlessly.

It's funny, all these atheists complaining about one of the single most humanizing moments in all the Gospels. Would you really prefer that Jesus were cold and heartless as a stone? Would the world be better off if he had never shown a moment of fear, grief, or anger? A perfect alabaster monolith whose pronouncements are absolute and unquestionable?
It is indeed unreasonable to mourn the non-dead. and that's what lazarus was. So also are all who believe in Jesus, they're forever not dead. So why does he weep at all?

I do expect him to weep if death were in fact final as we atheists believe. This isn't a humanizing moment at all. It's another, in a long line, of glitches in the Gospel that make no sense. I'm not the first to raise this question. Enlightenment critics also raised this troublesome passage.

And the world would have been much better off if we didn't turn this man into a god figure and put stupid fantastical stories that don't make any sense about him. If there's a kernel of truth in the story, it was that Lazarus was dead and as a result Jesus wept because he knew he couldn't raise him and didn't in fact raise him. The real story ends with him showing up too late for the funeral. If anything.

It's just another nail in the coffin of Christianity as a bullshit story.
 

Keith&Co.

Contributor
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Messages
22,444
Location
Far Western Mass
Gender
Here.
Basic Beliefs
I'm here...

But I don't cry when a friend goes to sleep, or when he leaves to go back home, because I'm reasonably sure that I'll see my friend again.
What if you just heard a really good joke?
Tom: "Oh, hey! Where's Steve? I just found a Trump-shitting-his-pants meme i gotta show him."
Harry: "He went home to Provo, for Kwanza."
Tom: "FUCK! Now he's gonna see it somewhere else, first. I wanted to be the one to show him...."

And verily Tom's biographer, Dick who to be honeft tends to overdramatize, did record Tom as wailing in grief for the loft opportunity.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
It is indeed unreasonable to mourn the non-dead. and that's what lazarus was. So also are all who believe in Jesus, they're forever not dead. So why does he weep at all?
Really, you are making this much more difficult than it actually is. The statement that Jesus cried has nothing to do with faith at all.

When my son moved into his first home of his own, I cried. Sure, I knew I would see him again – but it still hurt because he wasn’t going to be with me all the time anymore. My sister cried with me – not because it hurt her like it hurt me, but because she empathized with my pain.

That is all that happened here. Jesus empathized with people he loved because he knew they were grieving their loss, be it temporary or not. Just as I grieved the temporary loss of my son's presence.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
So Jesus' weeping has nothing to do with the greater lesson of the Lazarus story? That's an interesting contention.
 

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker
It is indeed unreasonable to mourn the non-dead. and that's what lazarus was. So also are all who believe in Jesus, they're forever not dead. So why does he weep at all?
Really, you are making this much more difficult than it actually is. The statement that Jesus cried has nothing to do with faith at all.

When my son moved into his first home of his own, I cried. Sure, I knew I would see him again – but it still hurt because he wasn’t going to be with me all the time anymore. My sister cried with me – not because it hurt her like it hurt me, but because she empathized with my pain.

That is all that happened here. Jesus empathized with people he loved because he knew they were grieving their loss, be it temporary or not. Just as I grieved the temporary loss of my son's presence.

Ruth
But in John, Jesus is god. John is the source for the doctrine of the trinity. In Mark, Jesus explicitly denies being god. If the story appeared in Mark, I might understand it. But why would any god weep? Immortality and omnipotence would imply no need for such an emotion. Thus Jesus is faking it. He’s basically lying to them instead of cheering them up. Hundreds of millions if not billions had died since Adam was thrown out of Paradise 4000 years prior. Billions more if you are an old earth creationist. Does god weep for them? Were none worth weeping for? Not even the great prophets and kings of Israel? If god weeps for the dead, why did he create death? If there is eternal life in heaven, there‘s no need for a god to weep, and on the contrary, he should rejoice and be happy about it.

If you’re saying that this just shows Jesus’s humanity, I’d be OK with it, but then you are denying one of the major tenets of Christianity, i.e. his divinity. Maybe that‘s a good UU argument against the Trinity. Jesus is just another great prophet like Elijah.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
But in John, Jesus is god. John is the source for the doctrine of the trinity. In Mark, Jesus explicitly denies being god. If the story appeared in Mark, I might understand it. But why would any god weep? Immortality and omnipotence would imply no need for such an emotion. Thus Jesus is faking it. He’s basically lying to them instead of cheering them up. Hundreds of millions if not billions had died since Adam was thrown out of Paradise 4000 years prior. Billions more if you are an old earth creationist. Does god weep for them? Were none worth weeping for? Not even the great prophets and kings of Israel? If god weeps for the dead, why did he create death? If there is eternal life in heaven, there‘s no need for a god to weep, and on the contrary, he should rejoice and be happy about it.

If you’re saying that this just shows Jesus’s humanity, I’d be OK with it, but then you are denying one of the major tenets of Christianity, i.e. his divinity. Maybe that‘s a good UU argument against the Trinity. Jesus is just another great prophet like Elijah.
Okay, I will try one more time to explain what I meant.

Jesus was NOT crying because Lazarus was dead. He was showing empathy for the pain of Martha, Mary and the others. Just like my sister showed her empathy for my pain when my son moved out.

You seem to be trying to focus this story on a single thing, Jesus crying. That was not the intended focus when it was written.

As for your statement that I am denying a major tenet of Christianity – not so. I am a Baptist. Part of our basic faith and practice states Jesus was “fully human and fully divine”. Ergo, showing grief or any other emotion is perfectly natural for the incarnate Jesus.

Ruth
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
So Jesus' weeping has nothing to do with the greater lesson of the Lazarus story? That's an interesting contention.
You have lost me here; why would my reasoning for Jesus crying be an "interesting contention"? It is a fairly widely held viewpoint in Christianity.

Ruth
 

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker
But in John, Jesus is god. John is the source for the doctrine of the trinity. In Mark, Jesus explicitly denies being god. If the story appeared in Mark, I might understand it. But why would any god weep? Immortality and omnipotence would imply no need for such an emotion. Thus Jesus is faking it. He’s basically lying to them instead of cheering them up. Hundreds of millions if not billions had died since Adam was thrown out of Paradise 4000 years prior. Billions more if you are an old earth creationist. Does god weep for them? Were none worth weeping for? Not even the great prophets and kings of Israel? If god weeps for the dead, why did he create death? If there is eternal life in heaven, there‘s no need for a god to weep, and on the contrary, he should rejoice and be happy about it.

If you’re saying that this just shows Jesus’s humanity, I’d be OK with it, but then you are denying one of the major tenets of Christianity, i.e. his divinity. Maybe that‘s a good UU argument against the Trinity. Jesus is just another great prophet like Elijah.
Okay, I will try one more time to explain what I meant.

Jesus was NOT crying because Lazarus was dead. He was showing empathy for the pain of Martha, Mary and the others. Just like my sister showed her empathy for my pain when my son moved out.

You seem to be trying to focus this story on a single thing, Jesus crying. That was not the intended focus when it was written.

As for your statement that I am denying a major tenet of Christianity – not so. I am a Baptist. Part of our basic faith and practice states Jesus was “fully human and fully divine”. Ergo, showing grief or any other emotion is perfectly natural for the incarnate Jesus.

Ruth
If Jesus was crying, he is not a god. That's the point. Empathetic crying is not appropriate for a god either. He's confirming their grief and making them suffer. He knows he's going to raise him from the dead (something that also contradicts the very foundations of Christianity, but that's a whole 'nother problem) so he should've said to them. Relax, I'm here. I'm the doctor and I'm going to save him. Or something like that. Cheer them up.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
If Jesus was crying, he is not a god. That's the point. Empathetic crying is not appropriate for a god either. He's confirming their grief and making them suffer. He knows he's going to raise him from the dead (something that also contradicts the very foundations of Christianity, but that's a whole 'nother problem) so he should've said to them. Relax, I'm here. I'm the doctor and I'm going to save him. Or something like that. Cheer them up.
Which is why christians insist that the gospel protagonist is both fully man and fully god. He's frail and human like us but perfect unlike us. I guess it makes him folksy and likeable. You get to rap with Jesus and worship him too. He is all things to all people apparently. Strange, no?

But not all christians believe the same thing so that isn't intended to speak for Ruth Harris, but I hope it answered her "interesting contention" question.

Why didn't Jesus just fix the problem? Why the melodrama? Maybe Ruth has some thoughts.
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
But in John, Jesus is god. John is the source for the doctrine of the trinity. In Mark, Jesus explicitly denies being god. If the story appeared in Mark, I might understand it. But why would any god weep? Immortality and omnipotence would imply no need for such an emotion. Thus Jesus is faking it. He’s basically lying to them instead of cheering them up. Hundreds of millions if not billions had died since Adam was thrown out of Paradise 4000 years prior. Billions more if you are an old earth creationist. Does god weep for them? Were none worth weeping for? Not even the great prophets and kings of Israel? If god weeps for the dead, why did he create death? If there is eternal life in heaven, there‘s no need for a god to weep, and on the contrary, he should rejoice and be happy about it.

If you’re saying that this just shows Jesus’s humanity, I’d be OK with it, but then you are denying one of the major tenets of Christianity, i.e. his divinity. Maybe that‘s a good UU argument against the Trinity. Jesus is just another great prophet like Elijah.
Okay, I will try one more time to explain what I meant.

Jesus was NOT crying because Lazarus was dead. He was showing empathy for the pain of Martha, Mary and the others. Just like my sister showed her empathy for my pain when my son moved out.

You seem to be trying to focus this story on a single thing, Jesus crying. That was not the intended focus when it was written.

As for your statement that I am denying a major tenet of Christianity – not so. I am a Baptist. Part of our basic faith and practice states Jesus was “fully human and fully divine”. Ergo, showing grief or any other emotion is perfectly natural for the incarnate Jesus.

Ruth
If Jesus was crying, he is not a god. That's the point. Empathetic crying is not appropriate for a god either. He's confirming their grief and making them suffer. He knows he's going to raise him from the dead (something that also contradicts the very foundations of Christianity, but that's a whole 'nother problem) so he should've said to them. Relax, I'm here. I'm the doctor and I'm going to save him. Or something like that. Cheer them up.
Well, you're certainly making me feel grateful that you aren't a deity! What an anti-human perspective.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
This is my final attempt to explain. Let me make it clear; I have no intention to debate whether Jesus is God or not so I won’t be addressing any “not a real god” statements. SLD, I do find it amusing that you think your definition of how a god should act is the only possible viewpoint.

The Christians I know all accept the “fully human and fully divine” description for Jesus. I am not personally aware of any major Christian faith that does not believe this. I do exclude Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses from the “Christian” classification since they have many beliefs incompatible with mainstream Christianity (such as the Mormon belief in Joseph Smith’s revelations, and their belief that we become gods after dying; the Jehovah Witness beliefs that Jesus is not God but a created being, and rejection of the trinity). UU does not consider itself a Christian denomination; there are some Christian UU congregations but they are few and far between.

SLD, you put it this way: “I’m the doctor and I’m going to save him”. So think back to your last visit to a doctor; did he just barge in and say “Okay, I’m the doctor and I’m going to fix you”? Or did he offer some sympathy and small talk before telling you what he was going to do? Most doctors start with that, unless the issue is serious and time critical. There are very few doctors who don’t at least offer pleasantries upon seeing a patient, and those that don’t are usually not in general practice.

Lazarus was dead and buried – and a little time for sympathy was not going to make him any deader or more buried, so to speak. Once again, Jesus was NOT grieving the death of Lazarus. He was showing sympathy to those who grieved him. I don’t consider empathizing with friends “melodrama”. You seem to expect Jesus to act like a magician – show up and do the trick! Don’t pay any attention to people who are distracted! To me, that would be just about the most uncaring thing Jesus could have done in these particular circumstances.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
Sympathy does not require weeping. We're to believe that sympathetic doctors that do not weep are inhuman. Okay then. Every doctor I've ever known is inhuman. Good stuff.

But thanks for the responses. :)
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
Sympathy does not require weeping. We're to believe that sympathetic doctors that do not weep are inhuman. Okay then. Every doctor I've ever known is inhuman. Good stuff.
You know better than that; I was not equating the doctor's visit with a patient to Jesus' visit with friends. I was simply answering SLD's equating the two.

This is very simple! Jesus as a human being was empathizing with friends who were in grief. Nothing more, nothing less. Why are you trying to make it so difficult?

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
You know better than that; I was not equating the doctor's visit with a patient to Jesus' visit with friends. I was simply answering SLD's equating the two.

This is very simple! Jesus as a human being was empathizing with friends who were in grief. Nothing more, nothing less. Why are you trying to make it so difficult?

Ruth
The story is what is difficult to reconcile, not my discussion of it. We have a god/man/demigod weeping out of sympathy and then bringing the dead person back to life so that they can die later. Did the soul come back from heaven too? What else had to happen? What about the smell? Did Lazarus head for the river? How literally do people take such fables?

The story is clearly metaphorical and meant to teach, like when jesus said to let the dead bury their dead. It only makes sense if you interpret it non-literally.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
I was not discussing the overall story. The only thing I was addressing was the contention that if Jesus was actually God, he would not have wept but instead just waved his hands and raised Lazarus from the dead with no other actions relating to the mourners.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
I was not discussing the overall story. The only thing I was addressing was the contention that if Jesus was actually God, he would not have wept but instead just waved his hands and raised Lazarus from the dead with no other actions relating to the mourners.

Ruth
Now, now, now. Jesus certainly possessed other options. He could certainly have been most sympathetic, understanding and convincing and still not wept, just like every doctor that has ever treated me. He didn't have to go full Jimmy Swaggart.
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
Sympathy does not require weeping. We're to believe that sympathetic doctors that do not weep are inhuman. Okay then. Every doctor I've ever known is inhuman. Good stuff.

But thanks for the responses. :)
What you are saying here is that if a doctor does cry when they learn of a close friend's severe illness, it proves that they don't believe in the power of medicine and must therefore be a fraud.
 

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker
Sympathy does not require weeping. We're to believe that sympathetic doctors that do not weep are inhuman. Okay then. Every doctor I've ever known is inhuman. Good stuff.

But thanks for the responses. :)
What you are saying here is that if a doctor does cry when they learn of a close friend's severe illness, it proves that they don't believe in the power of medicine and must therefore be a fraud.
It would depend on the illness. Doctors know the limits of medicine. But there are no limits to the power of a god. And thus nothing to weep about.
 

Politesse

Lux Aeterna
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
8,157
Location
Chochenyo Territory, US
Gender
any
Basic Beliefs
Jedi Wayseeker
Sympathy does not require weeping. We're to believe that sympathetic doctors that do not weep are inhuman. Okay then. Every doctor I've ever known is inhuman. Good stuff.

But thanks for the responses. :)
What you are saying here is that if a doctor does cry when they learn of a close friend's severe illness, it proves that they don't believe in the power of medicine and must therefore be a fraud.
It would depend on the illness. Doctors know the limits of medicine. But there are no limits to the power of a god. And thus nothing to weep about.
Are you promoting a particular theology of God, here?

And it seems irrelevant to me, in any case. I think the claim that crying with someone makes you a fraud is absurd whether or not you have any personal knowledge about their situation.
 

SLD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2001
Messages
3,685
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Basic Beliefs
Freethinker
This is my final attempt to explain. Let me make it clear; I have no intention to debate whether Jesus is God or not so I won’t be addressing any “not a real god” statements. SLD, I do find it amusing that you think your definition of how a god should act is the only possible viewpoint.

The Christians I know all accept the “fully human and fully divine” description for Jesus. I am not personally aware of any major Christian faith that does not believe this. I do exclude Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses from the “Christian” classification since they have many beliefs incompatible with mainstream Christianity (such as the Mormon belief in Joseph Smith’s revelations, and their belief that we become gods after dying; the Jehovah Witness beliefs that Jesus is not God but a created being, and rejection of the trinity). UU does not consider itself a Christian denomination; there are some Christian UU congregations but they are few and far between.

SLD, you put it this way: “I’m the doctor and I’m going to save him”. So think back to your last visit to a doctor; did he just barge in and say “Okay, I’m the doctor and I’m going to fix you”? Or did he offer some sympathy and small talk before telling you what he was going to do? Most doctors start with that, unless the issue is serious and time critical. There are very few doctors who don’t at least offer pleasantries upon seeing a patient, and those that don’t are usually not in general practice.

Lazarus was dead and buried – and a little time for sympathy was not going to make him any deader or more buried, so to speak. Once again, Jesus was NOT grieving the death of Lazarus. He was showing sympathy to those who grieved him. I don’t consider empathizing with friends “melodrama”. You seem to expect Jesus to act like a magician – show up and do the trick! Don’t pay any attention to people who are distracted! To me, that would be just about the most uncaring thing Jesus could have done in these particular circumstances.

Ruth
Sympathy is fine. But that’s not the same thing as weeping. A doctor is a good analogy, but this doctor is omnipotent. The death of Lazarus is nothing to him. It’s as if you went to the doctor with a routine cut requiring stitches. You wouldn’t expect the doctor to weep, even if they were also your best friend. He’d smile, and sew your cut up, give you some antibiotics and send you home. Indeed, weeping would give you the very much the opposite perspective. You’re gonna die! It’s frickin’ serious. You’ve got MRSA and not likely to survive Or something. That’s what Jesus did. He weeps. Like it’s too late. But he’s both omnipotent and omniscient, he can easily solve this problem. He should’ve just smiled at them, told them everything is going to be OK, and then go raise Lazarus. Furthermore, the gospel doesn’t say why Jesus wept. You have an interpretation, but it’s only made in reaction to my objection. It might be plausible, but it’s not necessarily true. The gospels,could’ve explained that. But they didn’t.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
You are perfectly welcome to make your own interpretation of this, BUT
You have an interpretation, but it’s only made in reaction to my objection.
Wrong. My understanding of this occurrence is a long standing belief of mine, and also happens to be a common belief among the Christian community. I didn't change anything to react to your statements. Please don't assign a motive to me when you don't know me or what I believed previously.

I hardly think that my interpretations are going to change because of something said by a random atheist on a message board when I have no problem disagreeing with pastors I know very well in real life. Not on this particular interpretation, but on others where I don't necessarily follow the mainstream point of view. I am not trying to be hateful towards you, just honest.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
So, I am instructed to believe that in this story Jesus is at least two things, an everyday human being like you and me, and also an alien of fantastic reputation and infinite power. Do you think that was the original author's intent?
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
I personally do believe that Jesus was “fully human and fully divine”. I have no way of knowing the original author’s intent – but this story as it currently exists would appear to promote that view.

Before you say I am trying to weasel out of something, I should tell you that I am not convinced that this occurrence actually happened as it is written here. My primary objection to it is the fact that Jesus was supposed to be the first person raised from the dead according to 1 Corinthians 15. Modern biblical scholars claim that Jesus’ resurrection was different because he returned in a “new body”. I find that less than believable too since that “new body” bore the physical marks of the crucifixion, and the “new body” is supposed to be perfect according to those same scholars.

I think that this is quite possibly one of those stories blown into mythological status by a scribe/rabbi for the purposes of keeping their students interest while teaching a principle. That principle would be the divinity of Jesus, since the students would have considered the Messiah to have been just a man according to Jewish tradition.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
Thanks, Ruth.

You don't think we're just reading about another super hero, all of whom seem to possess those same qualities we possess as humans but also possess superpowers? Our superhero friends weep and cry and feel pain and empathize with us and are regularly tested by the great forces of evil that allegedly infest all our lives. But then our favorite fantastic superhero uses his or her super powers to saves us from that. He or she endures our pain and triumphs in the end. Of course it all happens in pretend, not in reality.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
Well, I can understand how a non-believer could see it that way. But for me the stumbling block is that superheroes are not divine beings plus, of course, they are fictional characters. I do accept the reality and divinity of Jesus so that would not be a position I could support.

Neither of us is willing to change our stance on the nature of Jesus and I refuse to beat someone over the head with the Bible to make my point, so I am not sure there is any reason to continue a conversation on this particular issue unless you have something in mind that is different in focus. I do appreciate your courteous attitude about what I believe even though you don’t share it.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
Superheroes are heroes with divine powers. Not my definition. Jesus sounds like a superhero. You claim Jesus is real but other superheroes are not. Is that because Jesus is a religious superhero?

I respect you too.
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
Superheroes are heroes with divine powers. Not my definition. Jesus sounds like a superhero. You claim Jesus is real but other superheroes are not. Is that because Jesus is a religious superhero?

I respect you too.
Interesting. I have never heard a definition of a superhero as having "divine powers". Special or extraordinary powers, yes. Where did you get that definition?

No, my claim is not that Jesus is a "religious superhero". I am saying he is not a superhero at all as that is a fictional character by the definition I know. He is the incarnation of God come to earth, fully human and also fully divine. I suspect we are talking past each other since we seem to have different definitions for superheroes.

Ruth
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,101
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Superheroes are heroes with divine powers. Not my definition. Jesus sounds like a superhero. You claim Jesus is real but other superheroes are not. Is that because Jesus is a religious superhero?

I respect you too.
Interesting. I have never heard a definition of a superhero as having "divine powers". Special or extraordinary powers, yes. Where did you get that definition?

No, my claim is not that Jesus is a "religious superhero". I am saying he is not a superhero at all as that is a fictional character by the definition I know. He is the incarnation of God come to earth, fully human and also fully divine. I suspect we are talking past each other since we seem to have different definitions for superheroes.

Ruth
You defining superheroes as "fictitious" makes them no more so than Emily defining Wizards fictitious makes me any less of what I am.

I could point to any number of super hero (and otherwise) media wherein the main character is divine in the origin of their powers.

Of course, "divine" is not necessary, merely sufficient in the section I bolded. The correct treatment is "heroes with divine powers are superheroes; superheroes are heroes with powers, which MAY come from divine origin."

After all, batman is a superhero, and his superpower is just having a butt load of money and a technology company he can redirect towards his own ends.

As this relates to your 2000 year old comic books, I've met plenty of 20-somethings who believed in Slenderman until they didn't.

All it takes is a play wherein the players claim fact rather than fiction.

I will repeat TGG's gripe: what basis do you have to claim other mighty morphin power rangers are not real, but that yours is, in fact, a power ranger?
 

Ruth Harris

Token Christian
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
433
Location
Missouri
Basic Beliefs
Christian
Jarhyn (and possibly T.G.G. Moogly although I didn't take his question that way):
Let me make it clear; I have no intention to debate whether Jesus is God or not so I won’t be addressing any “not a real god” statements.

Ruth
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,765
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
Superheroes are heroes with divine powers. Not my definition. Jesus sounds like a superhero. You claim Jesus is real but other superheroes are not. Is that because Jesus is a religious superhero?

I respect you too.
Interesting. I have never heard a definition of a superhero as having "divine powers". Special or extraordinary powers, yes. Where did you get that definition?

No, my claim is not that Jesus is a "religious superhero". I am saying he is not a superhero at all as that is a fictional character by the definition I know. He is the incarnation of God come to earth, fully human and also fully divine. I suspect we are talking past each other since we seem to have different definitions for superheroes.

Ruth
I just googled up the definition of divine and it said "of, from or like God or a god." Then it gave an example of using it in a sentence and said "heroes with divine powers."

heroes with divine powers

But I understand where you are coming from. To someone secular like myself Jesus is in fact a superhero. He's this normal guy with super powers. But he's your god so he's not fictional to you. I get it. I would call that a distinction without a difference. But it's all good.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,101
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Jarhyn (and possibly T.G.G. Moogly although I didn't take his question that way):
Let me make it clear; I have no intention to debate whether Jesus is God or not so I won’t be addressing any “not a real god” statements.

Ruth
Well, I'm just saying, this is, in fact the internet infidels forum, not the internet "bible believing christians" forum.

The subject is doubt of the allegory. If you will not accept discussion involving doubt of the allegory, then...

There are threads to discuss what gods may be and what may be a god, but this is to discuss what may disqualify an entity of being a god.
 

atrib

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
1,897
Location
Columbia, SC
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
It makes no sense to me that an infinitely powerful and sophisticated god, or its meat-puppet clone (which is 100% supernatural and 100% human, how does that compute?), would be willing to engage itself in the lives of simple humans, or feel any emotion about the happenings on a tiny speck of dust in a universe filled with trillions of trillions of such specks, many of which presumably have life on them. Its not like humans go around crying when they use soap to kill millions of bacteria every day as they clean their hands. And the relative gap between humans and bacteria is far, far, far smaller than the gap between humans and their alleged creator.
 

Rhea

Cyborg with a Tiara
Staff member
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
Messages
13,134
Location
Recluse
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
. I still don't think it is unreasonable, or anything other than human, to mourn our dead.
I feel that it is only “human” to the extent that humans doubt an afterlife. I really don’t understand at all mourning something that you truly believe, I mean deeply and unequivocally, to be temporary.

I do not understand this. It does not compute for me. It never has.

Especially when “temporary” means less than 1 millionth of one percent of total awareness time.

Does not compute.


It's funny, all these atheists complaining about one of the single most humanizing moments in all the Gospels. Would you really prefer that Jesus were cold and heartless as a stone?

I did not cry when my kids went to college. I was excited for them. I don’t get to be there, but they are doing something fun and important to them.

Does this make me cold and heartless as a stone to be happy for their happiness?

This is my final attempt to explain. Let me make it clear; I have no intention to debate whether Jesus is God or not so I won’t be addressing any “not a real god” statements. SLD, I do find it amusing that you think your definition of how a god should act is the only possible viewpoint.
“Only possible viewpoint” after saying your “final attempt to explain” made me chuckle.
 
Top Bottom