Most people would consider the ability to forgive others without demanding anything in return as virtuous. However, in Christianity, Jesus needed to be sacrificed for humanity’s sins to be forgiven. What does this say about divine mercy and justice as well as how sin is forgiven by God?
As is covered in Jesus’s sacrifice, there are some questions as to whether or not Jesus’s death could really be considered a true sacrifice. Assuming it was, this sacrifice would contradict what is commonly thought of as the basic tenants of fairness and personal responsibility as it is punishing someone for something he had no part in.
Divine fairness and mercy
From a fairness perspective, how could having anyone, let alone your son, tortured to death to forgive the sins of others be moral and just in any way? This is the ultimate in scapegoating. It would be like a father having his son tortured and killed for someone else committing a crime. If any parent in the modern world wanted to do such a thing, they would be considered utterly cruel, mad or both. However, when exactly the same thing was supposedly done by a god, it is considered the act of a perfectly just and moral being by so many people.
In addition, since Christianity says people are flawed by nature and God created them that way, God would be punishing his son for his own mistakes. People certainly could be better, stronger and less susceptible to temptation by nature. For example, a more thoughtful god would have not made the human sex drive as strong as it is (see god and sex) if he really wanted there to be less of what Christianity considers sin. Why make people in a way that you are certain they will sin and then have your son temporarily tortured to death to forgive the very sin you made inevitable?
If some action needs to be taken to right the wrongs people have done, shouldn’t it be making amends? This kind of redemption is not being taught in Christianity though. God could simply forgive people for being flawed as he created them or have them do something in penance for their sins. Why ignore both options and instead have someone die on a cross? This is not setting a very redeeming or good example.
You only need to ask
When people commit crimes against each other, to be forgiven by god, all they need to do is ask. No matter how horrible the crime against another human being may be, it can be forgiven just by the right thoughts and beliefs. This not only allows criminals to absolve themselves of any crime without doing anything for the victims, but it allows them to be forgiven without really doing anything at all. It also denies the victims of any say in the process.
What is not forgiven
While the most horrible cruelties can be forgiven, denying God cannot. This raises another quandary about the nature of sin and forgiveness in Christianity. According to the teachings of Christianity, someone like Hitler could possibly be in heaven now while his victims could be in hell, assuming Hitler had accepted God and asked for forgiveness before he died.
While this is unlikely, there are examples that are not. An interesting case is Jeffery Dahmer. Before he died, he gave many indications that he was a born-again Christian. If this and the Bible are true, and some of his victims were atheists, then they could be in the most sadistic eternal torture right now while Dahmer has been forgiven. As Christianity describes it, those are the rules and that is a definite possibility.
None of this seems very logical, let alone divine, perfect, merciful justice. It is making a mockery of personal responsibility and putting the highest value on forgiving sins for a human sacrifice of an innocent man made thousands of years ago.