𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬: 𝐧𝐨 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐝, 𝐧𝐨 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Christian theology teaches that sin is like a debt that must be repaid; it cannot simply be forgiven by God:
“For the wages of sin is death”[Romans 6:23].
God is portrayed as a Being whose mercy is contingent on the shedding of blood:
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” [Hebrews 9:22].
The Church teaches that this is why Jesus was sent to die on the cross. The theology that underpins the crucifixion is that humanity is inherently sinful, a consequence of Adam eating from the forbidden tree. So, when Adam violated God’s command not to eat from the tree, sin entered into humanity and has remained ever since:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” [Romans 5:12].
The solution, according to the New Testament, is thus: Jesus died on the cross in order to undo Adam’s “original sin”:
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! [Romans 5:17]
So, we can see that the Christian concepts of atonement and divine mercy are diametrically opposed to Islam. In Islam, we are responsible for our own sins and God grants forgiveness to all those who call upon Him and sincerely repent. In Christianity, we have the paradoxical situation of the whole of mankind being held accountable for something we didn’t do –
Adam’s original sin – and forgiven for something someone else did – Jesus’ sacrifice at the crucifixion. When you factor the Trinity into the atonement equation, things get stranger still. If Jesus is God, then the crucifixion effectively amounts to God incarnating Himself into the creation and committing suicide in order to forgive sinners from Himself.
According to Christianity, God can only forgive sin if He punishes Himself first, even though He is the one whom the crime was committed against.How much sense does that make? If Jesus died on the cross for our sins, then we already have our golden ticket to heaven. There’s no need for us to strive, or to repent because Jesus has already done the hard work for us.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐬𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐳𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬?
𝐃𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐬𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐳𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚. 𝐀 𝐧𝐨𝐧-𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 “𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭” 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚 𝐧𝐨𝐧-𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭.
𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 “𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐲 𝐒𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭” 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐬𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐳𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚. 𝐈𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐧-𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐮𝐦𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐫𝐮𝐛𝐛𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐛𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐬𝐦, 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐳𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬.
𝐍𝐨𝐭𝐞: 𝐓𝐨 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐦 𝐛𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐍𝐎𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐧𝐨 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐞 𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐢𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐆𝐨𝐝.
𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐬𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐳𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲, 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐮𝐬𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐞 𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐮𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦.