|Peter denies Jesus. Image source.|
Here's something I've heard many times from atheists: It makes no sense to say "Jesus died for your sins" because (as the story goes) he resurrected a few days later- which is so incredibly different from dying and staying dead that it doesn't even make sense to use the word "die." You should say "Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins."
All right, I'm an ex-evangelical, I have a lot of criticism for the way the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is told in the white American evangelical church. Usually I find myself agreeing with atheists when they point out the parts that don't make sense. But not in this case.
This attempt to frame it as "Jesus had a bad weekend" claims that, in the story, Jesus "died" but then a few days later he was alive again and totally okay. Real death lasts forever, but Jesus' suffering only lasted for one weekend.
In other words, they're claiming that there are no long-term psychological effects from trauma and torture.
Seriously, think about it. Let's say you're arrested under shady circumstances, falsely accused, abandoned by all your friends, violently beaten and tortured- and yet somehow you manage to survive it. Just because you survive, does that mean you're okay and everything's back to normal? All the pain is in the past and you can just go on living your life?
Even though he resurrected, you really think Jesus was "fine"? After what had happened to him? After God and his disciples had all abandoned him? He showed the disciples the scars on his hands. He had physical scars; he had emotional scars too.
Yes, there are things you can criticize about the concept of "Jesus died for your sins." Even though I'm a Christian, I don't believe that- or rather, I don't believe "Jesus died for your sins" in the sense of "Because you sin, you have this big debt that you owe God, and Jesus died to pay that off for you." That's not good news.
But don't say "Jesus just had a bad weekend." If you really think the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is nothing more than "having a bad weekend," then you're saying mental health isn't real and PTSD isn't real. Go ahead and criticize Christianity if you want, but don't throw victims with long-term emotional trauma under the bus.
Related post: The Scars