A personal relationship with Jesus

I watched this video today, and it got me thinking a bit more about this really strange idea of a personal relationship with Jesus, which seems to have come from the Baptists or something similar.

Isn’t this such a daft idea? For a start, ‘relationship’ normally implies a 2-way street and Jesus doesn’t seem to be holding up his end of the bargain, which I suppose is a good thing. If you want to talk to God that’s fine, but if he starts talking back, we’ve got a name for that and it’s schizophrenia. And some people take this ‘relationship’ to a whole different, sexual level. Obviously most Christians don’t say they literally hear God speaking to them, it’s more like a feeling inside, or you just know what the right thing to do is, as it says in Romans 2. But isn’t it strange that God seems to be telling different people different things, and surprisingly enough, God seems to agree with what each of them think. On the other hand, there are instances where “God” is just clearly wrong, like the recent videos by creationist NephilimFree where he claims God is spreading the word through him and yet he’s making claims that we know aren’t true. God is clearly just in these people’s minds.

But there are other ways of looking at the personal relationship with Jesus. It’s completely unsolicited. Imagine if you got a letter from someone who said he loved you, but you’d never heard of him, and he also said that if you didn’t love him back, then he’d torture you. Is this a desirable relationship to have? It’s like having a stalker!

Other times, when I hear people talking about God, they sound like an abused wife or something. Especially if they’re talking about the problem of evil, and they say “well we turned away from God, we did something wrong” or they’ll say that we all deserve to go to hell but it’s only this relationship with God that’s stopping it happening for them, they sound like a beaten housewife making excuses for her husband! Some will even go so far as to say that God created us, so God has the right to do what he wants with us or that God is so powerful that he has the right to do what he wants, what kind of a relationship is that?! Never mind that’s it’s a broken and immoral system, never mind that God’s making people suffer with natural disasters, never mind that God fucking around with our lives is about as dickish as me abusing a small animal.

Who the hell would want a relationship with God? Especially if the Bible is anything to go by, he’s inconsistent, he supports slavery and human sacrifice, he’s jealous, he’s homophobic, he’s petty, he has impossible standards to live up to… the list goes on. Even if I could see God, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with him.

Bit of a ramble.


17 Responses to A personal relationship with Jesus

  1. Obviously the man in the clip is mocking the idea of a “relationship” with Jesus, sometimes referred to as a “personal relationship”. The idea of a relationship with Jesus, personal relationship, or asking Jesus into your heart or other variations of the sort are not found in the Bible. It is emotional language Christianity has adopted in order to soften and in many cases eliminate the exclusive claims of Christianity. I have been thinking of writing about this idea my self.

    I am a Christian theist btw, and Christians such as these do not portray what the early Christians taught and believed.

    • grammarking says:

      Wow, that was quick.

      I don’t really know whether the idea of a personal relationship with Jesus is present in the Bible (and I don’t particularly think it’s relevant when talking about what’s true, but that’s a digression) – when I read the Bible I was a confused Catholic looking for something else, and ultimately came to the conclusion that it was inconsistent, at times self-contradictory and therefore untrue. I found that the Bible didn’t really support the idea of one man being God’s representative, or through achieving salvation through the Church.

      You refer to yourself as a Christian theist rather than a Catholic so I presume you’d agree with that. But if you don’t agree with the idea of a personal relationship, then how do people gain salvation/enter the kingdom of God, according to your theology?

      • Well, there are many official Roman Catholic doctrines which are in direct contradiction to biblical teaching. And you are absolutely right, something which is truly self-contradictory cannot be true. Your particular blog post here is not the venue for that discussion however, I don’t like to derail topics. So I can see why some contradictions were glaring to you, no, there is not one man, or organization which is Christ’s representative.

        Salvation comes through a trust that Jesus, as God incarnate lived a sinless life and was an atoning sacrifice, and that He was raised from the dead, for the sins of those who believe on His Holiness alone. God demands punishment for sin, Jesus took that punishment. Salvation is not earned by doing good things, or by having your good things out number your bad things.

        There are a good many Christians who confuse sanctification with justification (becoming a better more person vs. being declared righteous in God’s eyes)

      • grammarking says:

        Well don’t you think that’s a profoundly immoral system on which to base someone’s fate? If God needs a sacrifice, fair enough (although I don’t see why, and that kind of vicarious redemption is in itself immoral, though again that’s a digression), but why does he decide who’s saved and who’s not based on whether they believe the whole story or not? Seems inefficient at best and hideously immoral at worst to me.

      • Heres the thing, it is not that God needs a sacrifice, its a justice issue. When we sin it is an offense to God (not like name calling or some trivial offense) So the offense requires a punishment. Surely you and I do as well. How would you feel if a judge would simply “forgive” every criminal who walked in. We would rightly see that as incredibly unjust.

        So Jesus as it were, was punished in our stead. “paid the fine” so to speak for anyone who is willing to truly trust that it has been paid, and understand it is an act of mercy.

        What most skeptics do not understand is we are not condemned because we dont believe in Christ, but rather because of sin. In the same way that people die from a disease, not from lack of a doctor. The death certificate has the cause of death, the illness; accident what have you. It does not list the cause of death as ‘lack of doctor/medicine’

      • grammarking says:

        Ok but still, as I say, there are 2 problems with that.

        1) How is it moral or just for Jesus to pay our fine for us? If I was sentenced to 10 years in prison and someone else came and did it for me, would society consider that just? Of course not. God cannot be both just and merciful.

        2) “for anyone who is willing to truly trust that it has been paid, and understand it is an act of mercy.” Why? Wouldn’t it be such a better and more efficient system for God to forgive people who wanted to live a good life, or forgive people who regret the bad things they’ve done and try to make amends for them? Why bother with the whole Jesus story, why base salvation on what someone believes, particularly when it’s a belief without all that much evidence to back it up? Like I’ve said, this is inefficient at best, and immoral at worst. It hardly belongs on the resume of a supreme being.

  2. kundabuffer says:

    Most religious beliefs, assumptions, convictions derive from the dream/sleep state we habitually walk around in – a state we ironically refer to as being “awake”. Course skeptics, humanists etc weigh in from the intellectual center along skeptical lines even though their spin is also more half-baked sleep induced rubbish a lot of the time. We’re mainly liars and self-deceivers whether we imagine we’re having a relationship with JC or the blond next door. Rather than fantasize and pour-from-the-empty-into-the-void with half assed ideas – it would be a lot more profitable to self-observe and become acquainted with the fucked up condition of our malfunctioning machines, observe the way we lie to ourselves and how we abuse our energies and cock up the right functioning of our centers. Work along those lines might result in 1% per cent or so actually having a shot at waking up and becoming unified beings. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

  3. These are all very valid questions, but not ones that you can ask in church. Liberal Christians try to just follow the ethical teachings of Jesus and igmore the other stuff.

    A lot of it is about selling religion by relationship, whether its a relationship with Jesus or with church members. On a related note there is a LOT of sublimated sexuality in charismatic churches. Some women have orgasms during worship. Seriously.

  4. Gottard says:

    Just look his face, this poor guy is plainly stoned; it would need some help I would say. Unless – next possibility – he’s pretending to mock us all.

  5. Marc says:

    Gordon writes “These are all very valid questions, but not ones that you can ask in church. ”

    I do not know where you get that idea from. In our church we encourage questions!

  6. Marc says:

    Grammarking writes “Ok but still, as I say, there are 2 problems with that.”

    Both of these are essentially straw men. We have been over this ground before. You appear to not understand the gospel of grace. Which is not about works but about a free gift of salvation. God’s does not give us what we deserve He offers us mercy and grace.

    • grammarking says:

      But it’s not free! You have to set aside rational thought to believe the Jesus myth!

      Put yourself in the shoes of God, you’re creating a system whereby some people are saved, and some people are tortured forever. On what basis would you decide? On a belief? On a set of beliefs that are difficult to believe, to put it mildly? On something that depends fundamentally on the ability of others to persuade? Would you then reveal this idea to be believed to a bunch of illiterates in the Middle East, 2000 years ago? Of course not!

  7. redeemingheart says:

    Grammarking says:

    “Put yourself in the shoes of God, you’re creating a system whereby some people are saved, and some people are tortured forever.”

    Go back and take a look at Genesis. God created a perfect system. We screwed it up.

    “Wouldn’t it be such a better and more efficient system for God to forgive people who wanted to live a good life”

    Define a “good” life. What is good? If your definition of a good life is doing good things, then how many good things must you do to get into heaven? Does each good thing you do cancel out a bad thing you’ve done? How do you rank the good things you do? Is it based on a point system? For example, is giving a homeless person money worth more points than holding a door open for someone? What if you do a good thing and inadvertently cause something bad to happen for someone? Who decides what is good and bad?

    • grammarking says:

      “Go back and take a look at Genesis. God created a perfect system. We screwed it up.”

      Well for a second let’s leave aside the fact that Genesis isn’t true. The system is far from perfect. God creates the universe giving Adam and Eve free will and then punishes them for using it, even though he knew it would lead to that, and since Eve hasn’t eaten the fruit of the tree yet, she doesn’t know that what she’s doing is wrong. He then punishes everyone for a ‘defect’ that he himself put in place. Then he proceeds on this comedy of errors to try and fix the broken system he created, and his final solution is this absurd way of using gullibility as a proxy for deservingness.

      “Define a “good” life. […]”
      Well there are various ways of defining that, but fortunately God has his own law (and he should know), so if he was going to make his system better, he could use his own version of what makes a good life. Surely you, or God, don’t think that what makes a good life is merely believing that Jesus died for your sins? That is nothing like a moral system.

  8. Kathryn says:

    What about jesus’ relationship with us???
    I totally can agree with the author
    Where in the bible is this concept in there – literally?

  9. Kathryn says:

    “we screwed it up”
    No we did not
    We are not Adam or eve
    They screwed it up
    Then again in order for Jesus to come those idiots had to come
    Geez what if they obeyed
    Did god have plan b?

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