The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXIV (The Meaning of “Good” Friday)

March 21, 2005 | 37 Comments

A Squad reader wants to know why a day commemorating the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus is called “Good” Friday, when the dictionary defines “good” as “loving, kind, favorable and satisfactory.” I was really excited when I read this question, because I thought “Ha, they’re really cornered now, how could they possibly wriggle out of this one, he has them trapped by virtue of the very meanings of a word, from a dictionary no less.” But, foiled again:

There is . . . one way in which we see the term Good Friday as appropriate.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by disobeying God, all humanity was destined to work out their salvation through the sweat of their brows. God could have abandoned us, but chose not to. Christians believe He sent Jesus to live and die for us, to show us how to live, and to prepare a place for us in heaven. Jesus’ act of dying on the cross was actually a good thing. He gave up his life so we could enjoy eternal life.

Up until now I’ve tended to dismiss the Squad’s explanations as a lot of nonsensical crazy-talk, but this one hit a chord with me. Every word of it is perfectly logical. A pair of naked humans cover up their private parts after eating an apple given to them by a talking snake, and a being of infinite intelligence and compassion decides to punish them for that by making all of their ancestors toil for eternity. But then that same being, who is also perfect and unchanging, decides to change everyone’s destiny (a destiny He previously imposed on them), by the most obvious and direct of methods: killing his own son. That’s a “good” answer!


37 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXIV (The Meaning of “Good” Friday)”

  1. Mijae
    March 21st, 2005 @ 12:34 am

    Back when I was a little Christian kid, I always wondered about the “Good” Friday thing too. I actually used to scratch out “Good Friday” on the calendar and write in “Bad Friday.” I didn’t get why it was good that Jesus was killed. Of course, my more liberal church didn’t get into much of the redeeming-blood-talk. They just left it unsaid, surely because it was easier to not think too hard about it that way. And this way I had learn how to do my own apologetics in my head to try and figure it out! Even better!

    What I came up with back then was that God came down to experience human life as Jesus, but was completely betrayed and condemned and killed. God experienced being rejected by humanity, and yet, God chose to still forgive mankind, so we’re saved! Yay!

    Of course, I didn’t actually read my Bible much when I was a kid, either.

  2. goob
    March 21st, 2005 @ 12:39 am

    Its amazing that people cant see through the drivel and total bullshit of stuff like this. Does it take a lot of focus and energy to make oneself so delusional? If anything, the bible and other such maladaptive memeplexes are manuals in “how to delude yourself”.

  3. June
    March 21st, 2005 @ 1:28 am

    It gets “better”. The dogma is (has to be) that Jesus always existed (he only assumed human shape for 30 years), so he was right there in Genesis, helping Dad create the Cosmos, Earth, Eden, and Snake. JC could have spoken up and said “Hell, no, I won’t go.” But, good for us, he just watched Dad FUBB everything, so he could come and suffer.

  4. Mark D. Fulwiler
    March 21st, 2005 @ 3:37 am

    What’s good about Good Friday for the Jew on the God Squad? Why doesn’t he say the cruci-fiction story is ridiculous Christian nonsense? If he believed it, he’d convert to Christianity.

  5. Just a Passerby
    March 21st, 2005 @ 5:13 am

    In finnish, it’s called pitk

  6. Jeff S.
    March 21st, 2005 @ 7:49 am

    I’ve been fortunate to work with highly skeptical colleagues, but for a company dominated by believers. We routinely get extra vacation around Christian holy days. One of my managers would often say, “What’s good about Good Friday? You don’t have to come to work.”

  7. Sternwallow
    March 21st, 2005 @ 8:08 am

    What’s “good” about it, if the event happened at all, is that humanity rid itself of a horrible and embarrassing blight on its mental health.

  8. GeneralZod
    March 21st, 2005 @ 10:21 am

    Yeah, back when I was in my Catholic grade- and high school (no wonder I’m an antheist), it was “Good” Friday b/c we got the day off. Ever since I graduated, it has been less and less “good.”

  9. Mark D. Fulwiler
    March 21st, 2005 @ 2:40 pm

    Any day off from work is a good day to me! But we don’t get Good Friday off.

  10. Radi
    March 21st, 2005 @ 7:41 pm

    Not a religion (or anti-religion) related comment… just something that popped right out at me, grammatically and semantically speaking… Being an avowed atheist, I’ve mostly tended to agree with posts and comments on this blog, and haven’t bothered to write in because someone else has already said what I have say :D

    “… a being of infinite intelligence and compassion decides to punish them for that by making all of their ancestors toil for eternity…”

    Shouldn’t that be descendants, rather than ancestors? I was brought up Hindu, and so am not extremely familiar with the Old/New Testament, but I got the distinct impression that the passage said something to the effect of “All of Adam and Eve’s children…”.

    Comic aside:
    For the longest time, I believed that the New Testament was called New because it had only been printed sometime in the 20th century *grin* – I studied in a school run by VERY evangelistic Protestant Christians, from grades 4 through 12… Took me until the 10th grade before I realized Old Testament = before Jesus, New Testament = Jesus and after.

  11. simbol
    March 21st, 2005 @ 10:04 pm

    I was surprised when I heard “Good Friday” here in the states (I’m an alien livig here).

    Good for whom? I wondered. Maybe for those who get the day off.

    In catholic countries that Friday is a solemn and sad day. Is called Saint Friday or Holy Friday.

    The Squad are in dire straits explaining that nonsense.

    Anyway I ‘m curious about how and where this paradoxical name appeared.

  12. June
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 12:59 am

    According to the Wikipedia, “In Early Modern English, good had a meaning of ‘holy’. ”

  13. glenstonecottage
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 7:51 am

    C’mon guys, is rightwing morality really so hard to understand?

    Crucifying Jesus: GOOD!

    Allowing woman in 15-year coma to die: BAD!

    Lethal injections for black southerners, whether or not they are actually guilty of any crime: GOOD!

    Aborting foetuses: BAD!

    Nuking Fallujah: GOOD!

    Use of RU-486 to destroy one-day-old embryo: BAD!

    Allowing millions of homosexuals to die of AIDS: GOOD!

    etc. etc.

  14. ocmpoma
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 8:02 am

    I subscribe to the idea that ‘Good’ derived from ‘God':

    God’s Friday —> Good Friday
    Godspeed —> good speed

  15. GeneralZod
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 8:51 am

    Yes, it should be descendants.

    And maybe we need a NEW New Testament? “The New and Improved Testament! Now with 50% more holy spirit than the leading brand!”

  16. hermesten
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 10:47 am

    Glenstorne, I think we can reduce your list to a rather simple logical test: any action or policy that promotes hierarchical control over the body politic -GOOD; any behavior, belief, or system that undermines hierarchical control and allows individual autonomy -BAD. So:

    The crucifiction is GOOD because it symbolizes the dogma that human beings are inherently bad, deserving of punishment, and must practice a life of atonement. It’s how you get a dog or a child to behave –by calling them a bad dog or bad boy or bad girl– using your authority to instill guilt and self-doubt as a means of control.

    Allowing a woman in a 15-year coma to die is BAD because it asserts the principle of individual autonomy –that the individual (I’m simplifying here as there are obviously other arguments such as how one determines what such an individual actually desires) is the sole arbiter of the fundamental question about how she shall live or die.

    Now, “lethal injections for black southerners” regardless of whether or not they are guilty of a crime

  17. hermesten
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 10:50 am

    In case anyone is wondering, I typed “s e x” in the last paragraph because when I tried to post my comments I got an error message that said I could not post because s e x is an “inappropriate comment.” What the fuck is that? All the language used on here and you can’t say “unauthorized s e x is bad” bla bla bla?

  18. Rob
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 11:01 am

    herm, I assume thats to get rid of those bots that occasionally troll the comments here with unwanted advertising.

  19. hermesten
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

    Rob, that’s a plausible explanation, but it’s strange that it didn’t flag any other use of the word “sex,” like “homosexual sex.”

  20. MBains
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 12:27 pm

    Homosexual sex isn’t really sex because there is no possibility of sexual reproduction. That sux… or not.

  21. Viole
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

    “Also, let

  22. EricJP
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 3:08 pm

    Christianity is, by nature and by its history, a violent religion. Why shouldn’t the execution of its leader by good, when their followers have killed millions of innocent indiscrimnately in his name for years?

    The violence of this religion is blatant. It is one of the things I fear most about the current religious fevor in America.

    Throughout history, religious groups scapegoat an individual or group. The person or persons who are being scapegoated are given the distinct honor of being responsible for all society’s ills. The public and vicious death of the scapegoat brings peace to the society, until the people grow restless and need a new scapegoat.

    In the past, human sacrifice was the ‘civilized’ way to do this. Later, you would have the Crusades, the Salem witch trials, the KKK. Nowadays you can’t get away with outright murder (usually), so you would have Joe McCarthy, Pat Robertson and our modern religious fanatics’executing’ people on the gallows of public opinion.

    Anyway, the violence of the religious dogma keeps that fervor alive in people, and allows religious and religiously political leaders to tap it when they need that violence and anger. Like when they are facing raw facts (evolution…aw hell, any science), personal freedoms (abortion, right to die).

    Look at our last election. Having the gay marriage bill on the ballot brought out millions who would not have voted otherwise, and those who voted against it, more often than not, would pull the Bush/Cheney lever while they were at it. Since these people could not voice their hatred of gays in the street, they did it at the polls.

    Basically, all this violent preaching serves a purpose for those that want control.

  23. KB
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 6:38 pm

    Are you kidding me with this? Exactly what bee got in your collective bonnets that would make you so completely oblivious and ignorant? It is called Good Friday because the deed of sacrifice was a Good thing. You can rail about “how can it be good” using your amazingly ignorant views of the Christian religion but until you bother to understand (NOT necessary to believe, just understand) the viewpoint you are just making noise. Most of the comments and the original post are just delusional attempts to validate a group philistinism in a joint-masturbation of ego. To clarify a few points that would be obvious to anyone even remotely educated in this particular religion, the sin wasn’t covering up or anything like that. It was disobedience and turning away from God. They were given the gift of a intelligence and compassion without this pesky freewill which seperates us from God. They chose to be seperate from God and mortal, inferior, etc. instead of appreciating the gift originally given. There WAS NO punishment. In fact, what they were given was the gift they asked for: freewill. The ability to act independantly from God. We asked for it, we got it. That’s what doomed us to mortality and along with it our capacity for evil. So in your ignorance you claim our destiny was imposed on us and then changed. I’ve shown how it was our choice to reject a gift which doomed us to mortality. The “change” as you put it was also not imposed, simply offered to those who would rather have an eternal life than die over and over alone (what you might recognize as hell). This hopefully clarifies most of your butchered and infantile view of this particular holy day. There are many other apparent errors in your post, most likely arising from your inability to research even minutely the subjects on which you blather.

  24. ocmpoma
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 7:09 pm

    “They were given the gift of a intelligence and compassion without this pesky freewill which seperates us from God. They chose to be seperate from God…”

    Ah. So they didn’t have any free will, and then they chose to be separate… I get it – religion doesn’t have to make sense!

  25. glenstonecottage
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 8:59 pm

    It is called Good Friday because the deed of sacrifice was a Good thing.

    Sacrifice is indeed a Good Thing, so I’m going to clebrate the holiday by going out and killing a few puppies and kittens.

    Hey, they asked for it, they got it.

  26. Spurius Furius
    March 22nd, 2005 @ 9:38 pm

    Hey KB:
    How about doing a “good thing” by breaking your rant into paragraphs next time. It won’t make you any less of an idiot, but it will make it easier for others to read and refute. You must not have been in line when the “gift of a intelligence” was being handed out.

  27. leon
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 6:01 am

    All this time I thought it was called ‘Good Friday’ because I got a chocolate bunny on Sunday

  28. hermesten
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 9:48 am

    KB, since we’re all “completely oblivious and ignorant” we can reasonably assume that you’re not posting here to have an intellectual exchange with equals. So, shall we also assume that the purpose of your postings is to “educate” us? You’re just another humble Christian, here to drag us off the wrong path and put us on the right one? Ah, I do love those “Christian values.”

    But thanks, anyway, for making my point about hierarchical control with “the sin was disobedience and turning away from God.” And thanks also for your unintentionally ironic, and comically stereotypical, smug-self-righteous-Christian rant. It’s a welcome smack in the face to be reminded that there are about ten frothing-at-the-mouth crazies like you out there for every rational and decent Christian like Frank. Now, if you just loved Jesus about half as much as you love yourself –but then you wouldn’t be so fucking funny.

    As far as your “are you kidding me…” question goes: you must wonder about that a lot.

  29. simbol
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

    If granny dies and in her will she leaves me with a million bucks, courtesy and gratitude, no to mention love, obliges me to call sad the day of her death. even when a million bucks is a million bucks. An much more so if granny decides to die as the best way for giving me the million bucks. It’s merely a matter of good manners.

  30. simbol
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

    On the other hand, we must call this day sad, as a mean to show god we are no happy with his sloppy work. If he is omnipotent, he could do the thing in a less gory way.

  31. AK
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

    I wish KB would make an attempt at replying to those wonderful refutations/rebuttals to his little rant. Mostly because his rant proved the points of all the complaints he was replying to. LOL!

    Maybe I could pray for him to return? ? ? ? ;-)

  32. simbol
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 1:25 pm

    So, my conclusion is this: we cannot condone such behavior from a father. God has to be put on trial and condemned to eternal punishment for this crime. Obviously this is going to cause many changes in christian practices. But this changes will be for good.
    One of those changes wil be to scrutinize meticulously the behaviour of Abraham and some other patriarchs whose demeanor would look different under these new policies.

  33. simbol
    March 23rd, 2005 @ 2:10 pm

    Another important change will be to change government in heaven and put Christ on power. After all, Christ is a full fledged god according to the sameness of the father, the son and the holy ghost. This way we will be really christians because we will belong to the Christ’s party. No one can tell that christ’s government won’tbe better than the father’s. Read the bible and compre the records of father and son. While father is in jail for ever, christ will check some things that have run amok. For example, christ has to revise the bible to straigthen a lot of nonsense that undermines the credibility of that book. A revised version is urgent. With a change of government we will resolve forever the problem of theodicea that has plagued the consistency of theology. In this fashion we can say loudly, that all mistakes (cancer, poverty, wars) were caused by the prior incompetent government.

  34. Nate
    March 25th, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

    Hi all,

    There is no mention of the term “Good Friday” anywhere in the Bible. In fact, all over the world, different countries have different names for the Friday before the Sunday Jesus resurrected Himself from death (i.e. Long Friday, Sad Friday, Holy Friday, Dark Friday, etc). All have legimate reasons as to why they refer to it by those names. I personally believe that this can be seen as a “Good” Friday because of the meaning behind the death of Jesus on the cross.

    This was the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known.

    The Son of God, coming down to earth in human form because He wanted to go through what we, as humans, go through during our lives. The same temptations, the same struggles, the same joys, etc. And more importantly, to bridge the gap between humanity and God by dying for the sins of the world. His death on the cross created an opportunity for all who believe to have everlasting life.

    Every single person that has lived on this earth is guilty of going to hell. God saw this and wanted to give people a choice between going to heaven and going to hell because of His love for his creation. You can choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came down to die for you and for your sins or you can simply say, I do not.

    I can only tell you what I believe and the relationship I have with my God. I’m not trying to force my beliefs on any of you, but rather share the same love that I’ve experienced from my savior, Jesus with you.

    I wish you all the best.

    God Bless.

  35. tgtg
    March 25th, 2005 @ 4:23 pm

    Is there an ‘Errata’ page online somewhere for this “bible” which I keep hearing is full of errors? Who’s the publisher? Thanks

  36. DamnRight
    March 29th, 2005 @ 1:19 pm

    According to Nate, “This was the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known.”

    Hardly… took couple of bad of beatings (many have taken worse)… fairly quick death (compared to others who lived for days after crucifixion)… shorten due to the Sabbath… only dead for a little over a day…

    … can’t say it’s very impressive… especially compared to the pain & suffering inflicted upon so many by his Daddy…

  37. Nate
    March 31st, 2005 @ 3:23 am

    I realize the possiblity and probablity that there are people who had to suffer on a cross a lot longer than Jesus. However, Jesus was an innocent man who was condemned to die a criminals death. He didn’t have to die on a cross and He didn’t have to die at all. He did this so we could have eternal life. He did this so our sins wouldn’t condemn us for eternity, but if we believe in Him and seek forgiveness then we are saved.

    The sacrifice was Jesus taking our place on that cross.

    As for His “Daddy”, the pain and suffering that the world sees today is not because God is inflicting it. We inflict it on one another and have no one to blame but ourselves.

    God Bless.

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