Coercion and punishment are an essential part of Christian theology because without these the church can't explain what Jesus came to save us from. There had to be an external threat, in their understanding, in order to explain what salvation is all about. Satan and God, in combination, supposedly provide that threat, one here and now and one in the hereafter.
Certainly the ministry and message of Jesus had a purpose. That purpose is described in a multitude of different ways and terminologies within the Bible. Salvation is one such term, but salvation from what? The contention that Jesus saves mankind from God or Satan makes no sense on countless levels. Why would we need such a rescue from our Creator, and how could the God-man contend with God to accomplish that? The church has no logically compelling answer to either of these questions. Yet. they insist that Jesus came to save us from an external threat which results from the very nature of the ones who threaten mankind. Everyone of us is threatened and in need of saving because of the very character of God and Satan.
Instead of looking elsewhere for the threat or the enemy, we need to heed the old aphorism: we have met the enemy and it is us. The thing we need to be saved from is not God but rather our own misconceptions and misguided behaviors. Coercion will
Men cannot be compelled to live well by threats of punishment. That was the motivation under the old law which Jesus came to fulfill and then supersede. As long as we cling to that old concept of behavioral modification by exacting pain as punishment, all we do is reinforce the very behaviors we are likely trying to overcome and suppress. That thought was the very
Since man's standard mode of operation in relationship to promoting ethical living has not changed one iota since Jesus, Christian Orthodoxy's message has clearly missed the point of Jesus. Jesus' words "Ye have heard but I say unto you" in the Sermon on the Mount came in one ear and went right out the other.