Can We Talk about The Atonement?

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Roy
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by Roy » 13 Aug 2019, 10:02

I really like that Arrakeen. Thank you for adding the perspective.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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nibbler
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by nibbler » 13 Aug 2019, 14:19

There's so much that can be said. What I'm about to say is only a few facets on a diamond, perhaps not looking at it from the best angles, but it's an angle.

Many elements of the Atonement doctrines only make sense if you buy into the Fall doctrines. If you don't believe the Fall is literal, it will be difficult to reconcile a literal Atonement.

An extremely cold way of looking at it is that the atonement is the key to the prison we built up around ourselves. The Fall is the prison; the Atonement is the key that unlocks the prison. Mental constructs.

I believe Curt Sunshine has pointed this out before, but one inspiring thing (of many) about the Atonement is that it tells a story of a god that sacrifices for us for our benefit as opposed to alternative stories where we are expected to sacrifice ourselves to appease god.

I like the concept of god made flesh. It makes god more relatable, god would better understand our trials by walking a mile in our shoes, but on the subject of relatability...

I also find power in the atonement in the scenario where Jesus is just some regular guy like you and me (born of two earthly parents) that made a special spiritual connection and awoke to the idea that he was the son of god (recognizing the divinity within), and that this ordinary person chose to carry out an atonement. It's was an atonement that is less cosmic/ethereal/mystic but an atonement that was still centered on taking upon himself other people's burdens.

I say this because I often hear in our theology that Jesus was in a unique position to carry out an atonement. He was half human, half god, perfect, without blemish, the only one that could have atoned... but in a way I feel that sets up a very hands-off approach to the atonement. While I love the imagery of the condescension of god I wonder how things would look if we recognized the role we play in this thing that we call an atonement. An atonement that isn't this passive thing that is mostly limited to calming fears but an atonement that is participatory.

Collectively we have all suffered all there is to suffer, we can understand one another's pains. Collectively we can atone (choose to make another's burden our own), there is strength in numbers. Jesus recognized the divine spark within, he also taught that we all have this spark. You don't have to be half god, perfect, or without blemish to carry out an atonement, only willing to love and help others.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
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Cadence
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by Cadence » 13 Aug 2019, 14:35

All seems a little complex to me. I tend to think there is a lot of human thought and behaviors that modeled this plan.

I hope God is less legalistic and more welcoming.


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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Aug 2019, 19:57

My summary of the Atonement is quite simple:

God loves each and every person. All God expects is that we do our best, even if that is seen by others as bad. God will bless all of us to the maximum degree possible. Jesus, whether actually or symbolically, showed that even the "least of these" matters - that each and every person can become "at one" with their Heavenly Parents. The greatest principle is love, and we are loved completely, fully, and unconditionally. Life is about becoming that loving. That love is the whole point. Nothing else matters.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 14 Aug 2019, 08:59

Curt: So let me counter / ask you a follow up question. What is someone's best? If a parent is abusive, but it's a cycle of shame and abuse that happened over their own lifetime and they do a lot to keep it in check, but they still abuse, is that their best? Some people seem incapable of loving others, only able to control others out of fear. Is that their best?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Aug 2019, 09:01

Curt Sunshine wrote:
13 Aug 2019, 19:57
My summary of the Atonement is quite simple:

God loves each and every person. All God expects is that we do our best, even if that is seen by others as bad. God will bless all of us to the maximum degree possible. Jesus, whether actually or symbolically, showed that even the "least of these" matters - that each and every person can become "at one" with their Heavenly Parents. The greatest principle is love, and we are loved completely, fully, and unconditionally. Life is about becoming that loving. That love is the whole point. Nothing else matters.
:thumbup: This is what the most orthodox of my multiple personalities believes. The dominant personality isn't quite sure about it, but we all hope it's true.

Related to this, at least in a way, is baptism for the remission of sins. I see baptism as an outward act signifying belief but part of me also believes the idea of "baptism for the remission of sins" (which is doctrinal). I have spent some time studying and pondering that concept and I've noticed this: while we generally assume that means our past sins were remitted at baptism, it's not necessarily clear that it's only those sins. That is, baptism for the remission of sins could be all sins always - including those we commit after baptism through the rest of our lives. Scripture is just not the explicit or specific about it. Thoughts?
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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nibbler
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by nibbler » 14 Aug 2019, 09:48

DarkJedi wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 09:01
... while we generally assume that means our past sins were remitted at baptism, it's not necessarily clear that it's only those sins. That is, baptism for the remission of sins could be all sins always - including those we commit after baptism through the rest of our lives. Scripture is just not the explicit or specific about it. Thoughts?
Putting on my orthodox hat, I'd say this is where partaking of the sacrament regularly comes into play. The ordinances of baptism and the sacrament mostly look back on past sins, looking forward has more to do with promising not to repeat the sin. That's one of the explanations for the need to take the sacrament again and again.

Tying that back into hawkgrrrl 's post... in general I think we look at forgiveness as happening on a per-incident basis. We mess up, we seek forgiveness for the incident. But what of cases where people are just wired a certain way, their undesirable behaviors only a byproduct of their environment and ability? Like the abuser that continues the cycle of abuse because it is a product of nature and nurture. It's all they know or their brain chemistry leads the charge.

That got me thinking about forgiving someone for a specific incident that happened vs. forgiving someone for an aspect of their personality that just isn't going to change. That doesn't necessarily mean that we're okay with the undesired behavior but it might mean that we're more understanding and maybe let go of some of our demands for justice.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
― Joel Osteen

Roy
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by Roy » 14 Aug 2019, 10:53

nibbler wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 09:48
Putting on my orthodox hat, I'd say this is where partaking of the sacrament regularly comes into play. The ordinances of baptism and the sacrament mostly look back on past sins, looking forward has more to do with promising not to repeat the sin. That's one of the explanations for the need to take the sacrament again and again.
I agree that this is the traditional thought among church members. Looking closely at the last supper recorded in the gospels, I am not sure that it was intended to be an ordinance at all. Perhaps more of a memorial.
Even looking at the LDS sacrament prayers there is nothing about remission of sins. We remember Christ, we take His name upon us, and we commit to keeping the commandments in order to keep His spirit with us. It is very positive and forward looking. As if to say, "Step forward as a son or daughter of Christ, bearing his name, and armed with His Spirit. May you live forever as his disciple. Amen." I cannot think of anything that doctrinally states that sacrament forgives or blots out sins.
I understand that historically in LDS tradition the sacrament came to represent a sort of rebaptism at a time when literal rebaptisms were being done away. For a long time individuals could be rebaptized whenever they felt the need (and I assume some felt the need more often than others).
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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DarkJedi
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Aug 2019, 16:07

nibbler wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 09:48
DarkJedi wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 09:01
... while we generally assume that means our past sins were remitted at baptism, it's not necessarily clear that it's only those sins. That is, baptism for the remission of sins could be all sins always - including those we commit after baptism through the rest of our lives. Scripture is just not the explicit or specific about it. Thoughts?
Putting on my orthodox hat, I'd say this is where partaking of the sacrament regularly comes into play. The ordinances of baptism and the sacrament mostly look back on past sins, looking forward has more to do with promising not to repeat the sin. That's one of the explanations for the need to take the sacrament again and again.

Tying that back into hawkgrrrl 's post... in general I think we look at forgiveness as happening on a per-incident basis. We mess up, we seek forgiveness for the incident. But what of cases where people are just wired a certain way, their undesirable behaviors only a byproduct of their environment and ability? Like the abuser that continues the cycle of abuse because it is a product of nature and nurture. It's all they know or their brain chemistry leads the charge.

That got me thinking about forgiving someone for a specific incident that happened vs. forgiving someone for an aspect of their personality that just isn't going to change. That doesn't necessarily mean that we're okay with the undesired behavior but it might mean that we're more understanding and maybe let go of some of our demands for justice.
I do have some belief in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and find even more meaning in the rituals associated with it in some other churches. But, like Roy said, I'm not sure it was meant to be an ordinance in the way we see. I do believe it was meant to help disciples remember the Savior (also wearing my orthodox hat, but something I would really like to totally believe). Also, nowhere does scripture say anything about "renewing baptismal covenants" and I don't believe that part. I don't recall off hand which Q15 it was that recently kind of walked that idea back and bit and said maybe that shouldn't be the emphasis when we talk about it (and I don't have time to look at the moment, it may have been Cook). I've spent A LOT of time pondering the prayers - I don't think we make any covenants during the sacrament. I think the prayers are promises, and not only that, but promises to everybody who partakes of it (no "worthiness" necessary).

And, I'm not sure sins are forgiven one by one or that we need to (or can) repent of them one by one. Just my warped two cents.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Can We Talk about The Atonement?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Aug 2019, 16:47

hawkgrrrl wrote:
14 Aug 2019, 08:59
Curt: So let me counter / ask you a follow up question. What is someone's best? If a parent is abusive, but it's a cycle of shame and abuse that happened over their own lifetime and they do a lot to keep it in check, but they still abuse, is that their best? Some people seem incapable of loving others, only able to control others out of fear. Is that their best?
Great question, Hawk.

I have no idea what anyone's best is - not even my own. That is why I like the principle of leaving the judgment to a loving, merciful God and just loving people. It also is why I love the combined idea of eternal progression and long-suffering charity as an aspect of godliness.

Leaving judgment to God is much harder to do - which I think also is an important reason to have that standard.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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