As atrocities go, ‘The Passion’ was rather tame

One would think the sacrifice to atone for mankind’s sins would have been unique.

During the weekend, millions of Christians visited their churches and got their faith on. Many say Christ existed, though his story is of dubious historicity and resembles the older resurrection stories of savior-gods Osiris, Tammuz, Baal, Attis, Adonis, Hercules and Asclepius. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that Christ’s story is true; he was tortured and killed and spirited away to Disney heaven.

The big question is “why?!” Why did Christians’ man-god have to suffer at the hands of

Pontius Pilate? The answer, according to Erik Tisthammer (“Christ suffered through ‘perfected pain,’ ” Thursday) is “so he could take the ultimate punishment and be worthy of being the sacrifice for mankind.”

Many of us had this pounded into our psyches since before we were old enough to speak or distinguish reality from fantasy. The latter skill, some of us still need some brushing up on.

Was Christ’s punishment really “the ultimate punishment”? “The Passion of the Christ” is a gruesome snuff film, but such torture was typical of the period. Jesus’ fate was hardly unique. Not that I like torture, but if someone’s torture is supposed to atone for the sins of mankind, the wars, the betrayals, the terroristic acts, you would think a little bit more than your sundry Roman torture would be needed.

Victims of many a genocide had a far worse fate than Jesus of Nazareth. Many deaths have taken longer and were more painful. The Christians of Spain would outdo the pagans of Rome during the “Holy” Inquisition.

This answer to “why?!” is ultimately unsatisfying. Why does an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being need to torture his subjects – his prized Creation! – in order to alter the judicial procedures of hell? This practice is reminiscent of a kid in the backyard with a magnifying glass and a colony of ants. Why is Yahweh such a perverse tyrant? If this super-god existed, would we really want to play his sick game, eternal damnation or not?

I hope everyone had a happy Easter, whether you went to a church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or didn’t go to any religious service. If you believe in Jesus, as it says in Romans 6:22, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God.”

Mike Jones is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected].