Would You Save Jesus From Murder, A Baffling Dilemma.

Written by BGH

I am known around the workplace as “the heathen” (one of a few actually), we also have “the preacher”. I have written about this particular inpidual before and while he is a generally nice man, he does have his annoying qualities. One of which is to periodically approach me with a theological ‘challenge’ as he is convinced that one day I will come into the ‘fold’. I have never really believed in god despite being raised in a catholic home. I claimed I did for most of my childhood and adolescence but there was a never a complete cognitive ‘belief’ time where I can honestly say I was a Christian.

When my colleague approaches me with assertions of my future conversion that he can “see” coming, many times I will reply with the same, saying that one day I see him losing his faith. He doesn’t like this counterpoint when it is used, so periodically a new tactic is endeavored. He attempts to present a particularly ‘good’ apologetic argument he has discovered. Quite often these are rehashed and overused reiterations of the same, already rebutted, apologetics that are prolific all over the world wide web.

On the event of our most recent dialog I was quite busy with a project that was being done as a favor and when presented was already past due. I did not have time for a lengthy discussion that would eventually lead to my preacher co-worker shaking his head and stumbling off humming some comforting hymn in order to reassure his faith, so I decided to “nip it in the bud” as Barney Fife would say. When he approached me he began with a story about a friend of his that found Jesus on the way to jail (a story he has already related to me before), so I cut him off.

I asked him a paraphrased plain and simple query, one I have heard so eloquently postulated on the Non-Prophets and Atheist Experience podcasts. Below is the quote from one of the shows.

“One question I like to ask Christians that makes them wriggle is this: If you could go back in time and successfully rescue Jesus from the crucifixion, would you do it?

I have yet to hear a Christian utter a yes that wasn’t then qualified into a no.

Me, I’d rescue the poor bastard in a heartbeat. Christians have no morals.”

So, here is the paraphrased version I asked the coworker:

“Speaking of Jesus, let me ask you this. You occasionally sing the gospel lyrics, ‘from the earth to the cross my debt to pay from the cross to the grave from the grave to the sky Lord I lift your name on high’. If given the opportunity, being present at the crucifixion and knowing what you know now, would you save this purported ‘saviour’ from murder? If you knew you could succeed and assuming you love him as much as you claim, would you retrieve him from torture and death, or would you watch him suffer and expire in order to win your so-called salvation? Which is essentially a selfish act.”

My coworker’s eyes seemed to expand three times the size of their original state, he said nothing and shook his head as he walked off. This time, he was not humming a reassuring hymn, but it seemed as if he was truly perplexed about what actions he would take.

I was able to return to the project at hand, without further interruption from ‘witnessing’ events.

“Your kindness for weakness I never mistook

I worried you often,yet you understood

That life is so fleeting,these troubles won’t last


52 thoughts on “Would You Save Jesus From Murder, A Baffling Dilemma.

  1. Bujold

    I would usually say something laughing at the inevitable future flame war between believers and atheists, but then I realized that this had, too, become a cliché of Internet arguments. And so has whining about how people should just get along and stop posting inflammatory topics.

    If that’s not a sign that a debate has been around the block a thousand times more than it should have, ladies and gentlemen, then I don’t know what is.

  2. Anil

    And the content of this blog continues to go downhill.

    What a moronic question.

    Any Christian will tell you the same answer:
    No, I would not go back to prevent the murder.
    Anyone that tells you otherwise has a very poor understanding of His death and a very poor understanding of Christianity – and is therefore highly unlikely to be a Christian.

    After yesterday’s pathetic posting,
    I WAS going to give this blog another week.
    It is not worthy to remain on my bookmarks;
    it is officially deleted.

  3. Anal

    Uh oh, you posted something questioning faith! Time for all the cultists to throw their arms up and stamp their feet. This is a no logic zone, pal.

  4. Kitten

    I would rescue him too, in a heartbeat. I am not a christian. I am not religious. I don’t go to church.
    But I am spiritual.

    My take on christianity Vs. Non-christians is to live and let live.

  5. Erik

    Under the conditions “knowing what you know now”, most Christians, I would assume, believe it to be God’s plan for Jesus to be crucified and absolve the sins of man. So, even if it were a selfish act to let it be and receive salvation, that would mean salvation for anyone besides yourself, as well as God’s plans coming to fruition. I’m sure modern Christians wouldn’t want to hinder His plan.

    As such, I wouldn’t wanna piss people off by thwarting their belief. Otherwise, I’d save him, if possible.

  6. Tal

    Would I prevent Jesus’s death if at all possible? First, I don’t know because I don’t know what kind of person I would have been had I lived in 1st century Palestine. Would I be a faithful apostle or an ignorant bystander? Hopefully the former, but I don’t know. But my answer is no, because Jesus wanted to die for us — Jesus in fact could have decided to not die on the cross. In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed to His Father: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39, NIV). “Not as I will, but as you will.”No one forced Jesus to go to the cross, remember what Jesus says to the Pharisees who come to arrest Him: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54, NIV). Jesus willingly went to His death on the Cross out of Love (and obedience) to the Father and out of Love for us. For me to prevent His death would be to prevent His holy will from being done — and His will ought to be the center of Christian life — that is why we pray in the Lord’s prayer “Thy will be done”. It was the will of the blessed Trinity that Christ die so that humanity might be saved and taken up into the Trinitarian life of Heaven. Now there is a difference between lovingly allowing Christ’s will to be done, and cruelly advancing the cause of those who hated Him. Mary had her soul pierced by a sword as she watched her beloved son die on the cross. Nevertheless she was being faithful to her Fiat: “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38, NIV). Contrast this holy abandonment to God’s will with Judas’s cruel and greedy betrayal of Jesus Christ. Also, think about Peter’s reaction to Jesus’s comment that he must die and be raised up in 3 days.

    “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

    23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:22-23, NIV). I would never want to be a stumbling block to the Lord. I think this question while interesting and thought provoking, does not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. What Peter was doing was trying to trivialize and minimize Jesus’s mission — Precisely what Satan was doing in the wilderness. Peter is telling Jesus that he should just be a teacher, a rabbi, a moral man, a leader. Jesus is the Son of God and nothing will get in His way. That is why Jesus’s reaction isn’t harsh, but extremely appropriate. Peter is essentially saying: “don’t fulfill the mission that your Father sent you on.” Jesus, thankfully, rebukes Peter and goes to Jerusalem out of love for us.

  7. Tal

    “My take on christianity Vs. Non-christians is to live and let live.”

    If live and let live means no coercion and aggression, then I agree. If it means no dialogue or debate, then I disagree. Christians can learn a lot from non-Christians and vice versa — we’re all in this together.

  8. Willard H.

    Anil and I agreed yesterday that “Best Article” has degenerated to the “Best at the Bottom of the Garbage Can.” Utter trash. Anil had decided to give this daily post another week — then this post. Zap! I may hold on another day or two….

    In the meantime, let’s ask all those mealy-mouthed atheists this question: If you could go back in time and save the child Adolf Hitler from being killed, would you? Or would you let this future killer of 35 – 46 million people die himself?

    Sources vary on the actual numbers, much higher than the proverbial 6 million Jews we hear of. http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/hitler.html Until recently, Stalin was believed to be responsible for more deaths, but numbers have dwindled since archives became available.

    Some argue that if Hitler or Stalin had never lived to assume power, their governments would exist nonetheless. Other people would have taken control of these governments with such unprecedented power over the lives of the populations.
    PLEASE, “Best” Article!! Shape up! Install an editorial board who votes on the best. Someone lately has been doing an abysmally bad job of recognizing what is good or bad.

  9. tcape

    Extremely well put, Tal. I especially agree with what you said about God’s Will being the center of a Christian life. That gets missed all too often.

  10. Peter (Faith For God)

    When reading this post I was very sad to hear that the man you work with just turned away when you asked him that question. As a christian I feel that it is important to always have an answer to questions of faith. I believe that the question at hand should not have been a difficult one to answer because like Tal explained there were many times where the opportunity to save Jesus from the cross was there but Jesus brushed them aside because it was his mission to die on the cross for our sins. Who are we to stand in the way of God’s will? It is not selfishness to not save Jesus……..It was God’s will and we would have been unable to save him even if we tried. I don’t blame the Jews and I don’t blame Judas for what he did. They are no worse or better than any Christian. We all had our part in Jesus’ death because we are all sinners and that is the precise reason that Jesus died on the cross.

    On a side note……..Thank You Tal for your wonderful comment! It is good to hear that someone is able to stand up for their faith as strongly as I feel you did here!

  11. Common Sense

    Im sorry to tell you, but where is your answer for your question of faith? Faith is always unanswered, thats the definition of the word itself.

    If you believe in something that cant be proven and youre alone, then it is called insanity. Find something that a lot of people can believe in and it is called religion and all others are called nonbelievers. Im obviously a “non believer” and i feel good with it.
    But please spare me with the words “Gods will was this and this and this”. You are a faithful believer, good for you. This 2 words already imply that you dont have any proof about what you believe, thats why its called faith after all.
    For Gods sake (what a nice phrase to use btw.) we are talking about a person (Jesus) that we know very less about, theres still not full proof that he even existed. If it did we dont know what is real about it and what not. If you call the bible proof then im of course out of argument. And i would feel sorry for you. I mean i like the bible(s). Nice stories, nice thoughts, mostly. I also like the Gilgamesh Epos and greek mythology. See behind the lines and you may understand its real potential.
    So we have a question here about a hypothetical person that did hypothetical things.
    So hypothetically: What would i do? I would save him to save many others that would follow him. But why bother? Hes not hurting anyone. If there is a guy standing on the top of a bridge and he wants to throw his kid down because God told him. What would i do? Would i think hes delusional? No, of course not, because he has faith in God and God told him so. So why bother. Im happy for the kid because it fulfills Gods will after all. So hypothetically, where is the border? And there we go, this “border” that tells you what to take serious and what not is called common sense, and it doesnt come out of any religious feeling or thoughts. Its something all people of all races of all belief systems have in common. This is the base to build on for better existance between all of us.
    Common Sense, love and understanding is all you need to make this world a better place.

  12. Jason

    preposterous post. I’m not even going to give it credence by answering the question.

    But, before posting something like this- you should really do a little research in biblical theology.

    If ANY “Christian” is stumped or made uncomfortable by this line of questioning, then they’re pretty uneducated about their own faith.

    It’s not smart or clever. Your not “pulling one over” on anyone.

  13. Adriel

    Eh…while I think it IS an interesting question, I don’t think it is of the perplexing, faith shattering variety.

    Why can’t someone like me, a person of Catholic faith, indulge in a little hypothetical thinking without seeing it as an attack on my faith?

    My answer is this: while the question is flawed and inherently stupid (seriously, knowing I would be automatically successful at saving him?) I think a better question is “would you try?”

    Here’s a simple answer: most likely. Because even knowing so much more about what was transpiring than anyone who actually witnessed it, NOBODY could just sit there while an innocent man gets tortured and humiliated, much less the savior and cornerstone of the religion.

    But knowing that this event was foretold and prophesied and it was SUPPOSED to happen, there’s no real way anyone could stop it.

  14. chubbyruckus

    Willard H,
    How does your Hitler example compare to the Jesus question? I mean in regards to the information you mention after posing it. You suggest that killing Hitler would likely result in another “Hitler” taking up the mantle but are you saying the same of Jesus? Do you mean that saving Jesus from crucifixion would result in another messiah stepping in to do the deed eventually? I thought I got where you were going with it until you took that turn toward the end. If killing little Hitler meant saving millions and millions of innocent people from ghastly torture and murder, we have a solid decision to make. I would do it in a minute. Or maybe I’d kidnap him, who knows? The point is, when you say that the atrocities would likely be carried out eventually by someone else, there’s a lot less consequence involved in the decision. Do you see what I’m saying? Am I just misunderstanding you?

  15. Mr. S

    statements in comments I agree with: you need an editor, it could have been a third the size, you don’t understand anything about Christianity.

    I’m unsubscribing.

  16. Lurker

    You know what I wish? I wish that we COULD just let each other go on with life. To an Athiest, Christians are naive idiots who tote around a load of self-righteousness and blind trust. To a Christian, an Athiest is a stubborn individual that needs to be educated. Neither of those viewpoints are right. Every person is different. I, as a Christian, find it incredibly hard to talk to non-Christians about my beliefs because they ALWAYS get shot down. “That’s stupid……But how do you KNOW?….Yeah, okay, whatever…..Remember, God’s watching you!” It’s treated like a joke.

    God is very real. Just because he’s never popped in for tea and light refreshments doesn’t mean he’s an ancient deity that’s long since gone into retirement. Please—anyone who reads this—try to think outside the box. I don’t care if you’ve given up on the Christian faith long ago or you’re bringing hamburger casserole to the after-service fellowship tomorrow morning. Jesus died for our sins. Sometimes Christians lose sight of that, and sometimes non-Christians don’t realize that that’s the truth of Christianity. We’ve all been saved, regardless of the stupid things we do. God loves us. Does that sound childish and simplistic? Depends on who you ask.

    Please. Take down your walls for just one minute.

  17. Reader

    Let’s say that everyone in the world was dying of a disease, and it was discovered that the only cure was found in the blood of one individual. The only problem is, in order to save the world, this individual would have to give not just some of his blood, but instead give all of it. Which would be more selfish? To let mankind die so that this one man might live? Or to allow this man to voluntarily give up his life in order to save the world?

    To have stopped Jesus from voluntarily dying on the cross, we would have stopped mankind’s only way to be saved. So while it pains me to know exactly what Christ endured for me, I rejoice because He loved me enough to save me from that which is killing mankind, sin.

  18. Feller

    Perhaps I’m the only one considering it, but Jesus didn’t spread Christianity: Peter and Paul did. So, from the atheist point of view, by saving Jesus, not only am I being moral, but Christianity doesn’t become a major religion and the thousands of people who died for their religion would instead have lived until the nature end of their lives.

    I can’t recall the last time Christianity saved someone’s life.

  19. Craig

    Yawn . . . speaking as one Christian, this is not at all baffling.

    My simple answer is, I would never go back in time and rewrite history. To do so would itself be immoral and presuming take the pen from the author of history and rewriting it to my own liking (as if I could do better). Claiming such sovereignty would be claiming my own deity . . . which is, of course, the core temptation in the Eden scenario.

    I’m curious why the author of this cute little hypothetical would focus solely upon the injustice of Jesus’ crucifixion? Why would he be any less culpable for selectively rescuing “the poor b*stard in a heartbeat” while ignoring the millions of other injustices occuring throughout human history? Would it be moral to go throughout time and just start patching up every unjust occurence you deem worthy?

    A man dives into an icy river to rescue several people in an airplane accident, and sacrificially dies in the process. Maybe you could do a better job than the availed forces around to rescue him? Or maybe you could prevent him from going in in the first place, since he is such a noble soul.

    I have no qualms to morally insisting, “No.” And it’s a shame his opponents don’t seem to see the logical reasoning. This is far from a difficult problem, not to mention a hypothetical fallacy on the order of God creating a rock too big for him to lift.

    Sorry . . . unimpressed.

  20. Carlo O.

    I would save jesus if ever possible…for the world will never again doubt his existence…but then again, all we knew about him was being pounded in that cross. but then again, he wouldn’t live longer, the average life span at that time was about 40. so I guess it was well planned and for the better for him to just do what he wanted to do, and that is to be executed and save us all from the stupidity and awfulness that we had done. I guess its always been in the master plan :D. but yeah, I will save him, or atleast tell him “Thank you, and I’m sorry”. before he gets it.

  21. rick

    I am the first Christian who will tell you that I would do anything in my power to stop them from killing Christ. Jesus, did not die for my sins and is my savor because he stood up against a corrupt government and new he would probably die for it.

  22. Ariel

    I am a Christian and I’d like to think this will be a thought provoking answer:

    If I had the opportunity to save Jesus from the cross, I would hope that I’d have the courage to do so. It’s only human to want to.

    That said, Peter (one of the disciples if you didn’t know already) also said that he would defend Jesus to the bitter end. When faced with the opportunity to defend him, he was not only stopped by Jesus (at Gethsemane when He was arrested) but he also fled in fear (when Peter was confronted as a follower of Jesus). Peter was the most faithful and bold of the twelve that followed Jesus and even he couldn’t and wasn’t able to stop Jesus from being crucified. What was his punishment for not doing so? He became the example of faith that Jesus set forth (Jesus called him “Petrous” which means “pebble or small rock” in Greek, as in “a chip off the old block” – the rock upon which Jesus would build His church). Not bad for a guy who ran away from his mentor and best friend and watched Him die.

    I think it’s rather naive as a Christian to say that they wouldn’t try to save Jesus from the cross, especially with over 2000 years of hindsight. I think it’s those same Christians that say they also would have tried to walk on water like Peter did. Unfortunately, I don’t exercise that kind of faith – albeit I am trying very hard to.

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