Did Jesus Really Have to Die?

Is God an angry Judge? Or a loving Father?

Mitch Teemley


“Jesus died to save people from a blood-thirsty God!”

That, says my friend Mac, an influential atheist “evangelist,” is the message of Christianity. “Then, in our place,” he continues, “God sadistically tortured his own Son to death. If God really wants to forgive people, why can’t he just forgive them?”

Funny thing is, a few years back, this same Mac was an influential Christian evangelist with pretty much the same message: “Jesus died to save us from God!” Only now he preaches against it.

Here’s why he was wrong. Then and  now: God isn’t an angry Judge anxious to punish the human race, but a loving Father anxious to rescue it. And Jesus didn’t die to save us from God.

He died to save us from us! (Matthew 1:21) So why can’t God simply forgive us and leave it at that? Look around: Is a world of forgiven-but-unchanged al-Quaedas and…

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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15 Responses to Did Jesus Really Have to Die?

  1. Very good question, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John S says:

    Mitch one of the things I have learn from Cat & Dog Theology, check that out sometime, was that the main reason Jesus died on the Cross was not for my Sin. Yes that is one reason but not the primary reason. The primary reason was to Glorify the Father.

    Jazzed to get your notes and always jazzed to have you as a FRIEND. John

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so very true. Heartbreakingly real. Soul lifting reality! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. firefly1958 says:

    Mitch, what happened to make your friend fall away from his faith, belief? I have struggled with mine greatly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      I can’t answer that definitively, of course (only God can), but I sense that his original faith was built on the sands of legalism. I suspect his picture of God was faulty to begin with, and when he began to realize that he threw out the baby (the real God) with the bathwater (bogus concept of God).

      As to your own struggles, I understand; I’ve been there. I have no quick-fix answers for you. For the moment I’ll only say that I believe true faith must fix upon the character of God himself, not upon this doctrine or that teaching. Our understanding of an infinite, invisible Being can never be more than fuzzy in this life; His goodness and love, as revealed in Christ, are our true north. Praying for you on your journey. A few more thoughts: https://mitchteemley.com/2015/08/24/why-i-believe-c-s-lewis-and-me-part-one/

      Liked by 1 person

      • firefly1958 says:

        Thank-you Mitch, for taking the time to answer. I just think the people who fall away also deal with many tough issues and I think that churches have added greatly to these fall aways mixing politischticks with religion and faith and science(not that science stops belief, we do that on our own) plays its part too. But I am open minded still. I have been downfallen and trodden and also persecuted for my non-belief moments and struggles. Heard comments like that maybe I needed an exorcism. I think I was angry with God and placed blame. And again that question, how you can you be angry with an entity/deity you say you don’t believe in. I am coming around again and not slamming those that believe or do not believe. There is such a struggle on both sides for trying to make the other side look more ignorant. But faith, and a walk with Jesus from my own life were missing and I missed it. Faith, visions have made themselves available to me again. Reading my New Testament has as well. I also read near death experiences. I don’t agree that people are hallucinating. I have friends that even believe that Jesus wasn’t real either and I historically do not believe that way either. I was so alone, faith gave me something. Love, unconditional, acceptance. Thanks for caring enought to answer. I just wish both sides would embrace one another instead of feuding or thinking one way is by far superior to another’s way of thinking, believing or not-believing. I too, got caught up in that ego kind of thinking. peace, love & light—ginger

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I would really like someone to explain to me how anyone can believe that the Christian god is benevolent. To my understanding, someone who demands unyielding obedience with the threat of punishment is the very epitome of a tyrant – to say nothing about the fact that I can’t, personally, understand the concept of a purportedly omniscient, omnipotent alien who does nothing to protect children from abuse and neglect yet inexplicably communicates through food with believers and supposedly bestows favors of no intrinsic value on arbitrary people. Is there a reason why god supposedly blesses the bountiful table of some while providing no resources for others? Also – can you maybe explain to me at what point either god or Jesus condoned the selfish amassing of fortunes so prevalent with televangelists and prominent Christian leaders? Because last I checked, Jesus didn’t live in a mansion and ask people for money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      The phrase “someone who demands unyielding obedience with the threat of punishment” does not accurately represent the God I’ve attempted to describe in my blog post. So, no, I can’t explain to you how anyone could believe in that being–I certainly don’t. Theologically speaking, hell is self-imposed separation from God; it is the destiny we choose for ourselves when we choose to be our own god.

      Your questions about why God allows suffering or unfairness demand more attention than I can give in a simple reply. For now, I’ll just say that the biblical response includes (among other things) human free will and a timeline which extends infinitely beyond our this-life-is-all-there-is perspective.

      No, I can’t explain to you “at what point either god or Jesus condoned the selfish amassing of fortunes,” because He doesn’t. I will say, however, that, having spoken at hundreds of churches all over North America, I’ve rarely witnessed anything like the “amassed fortunes” you speak of. I did meet Jim and Tammy Faye Baker once, and knew instantly that I was in the presence of wolves in the flock.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. It’s something I personally struggle with because, generally speaking, I’m a proponent of “live and let live” – meaning that I don’t take issue with other people’s faith on principle. I found your response both interesting and refreshing – given that, alas, I often encounter people who are so adamantly self-righteous about their faith as to refuse any questions whatsoever. Unfortunately the sad truth is that people are, in fact, often duped because their faith allows them to believe in something they cannot see with their own eyes. Thank you for giving me some food for thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Rich Reder says:


    This is one of the very best explanations of the Atonement that I have ever read!

    Thanks & Blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tony says:

    Having found this other posting of “Did Jesus Really Have to Die,” I just wanted to add a few things.
    First of all, I am impressed with the way you reply to people. Whether you agree with them or not, you remain kind and loving while sticking to your point. If they push their point, you let them. You don’t demand having your own way, nor the last word every time. You do so even if they believe differently, as in a different religion, a different take on God, atheism, or even if they are just a bit “out there.” And when they rant or use CAPS, as I am embarrassed to find that I did in my previous post, you are still kind.
    Thank you. I hope that I, too, can be this Christ-like in my dealings with others.

    Liked by 1 person

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