imageFor some of us, Christian Piatt’s questions and answers don’t make for comfortable reading. It is not supposed to. If, because of doctrine and dogma or because we have thought about it carefully, we disagree with him or the other thinkers he brings into the conversation, it is nonetheless useful to see what others are thinking:

One of the most pivotal concepts in contemporary Christianity has to do with whether Jesus died for the sins of humanity. For many, this is a central tenet of their Christian faith; for others, the very idea that a God would require the spilling of blood — let alone that of his son — to forgive us seems appalling.

In my "Banned Questions" book series, I’ve tried to pull together some of the most challenging questions about the Christian faith I could find. Then, instead of offering cut-and-dried answers, I pose the questions to a group of theological thinkers and activists to see what they think, with the intent of allowing readers to decide what they believe.

Given the centrality of this particular question, I decided it would make a good opening topic for the newest book in the series, "Banned Questions About Jesus." I posed this to the respondents as follows:

Why would God send Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God, dying for the sins of the world, instead of just destroying sin, or perhaps offering grace and forgiveness to the very ones created by God? Why does an all-powerful being need a mediator anyway?

Does this have anything to do with the Shroud of Turin? Only this: if we think carefully about the shroud and we are not just trying to prove something that we believe or desperately want to believe then we are certainly thinking about meanings. Do read: Christian Piatt: Did Jesus Really Die for Our Sins? BTW, I’m not all that impressed by cafeteria style approaches to answering hard questions.