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Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Would Death be Pleasing to a God in that he Requires a Living Blood Sacrifice, When he is Said to Love “Living” Beings?

This is from a series of twenty questions at the back of the book I am almost finished (editing is taking longer than I thought)  The answers come from a rational as well as a Christian perspective, and are meant to be though provoking, as well as offering better rationalizations.

A-- Christians claim that only by the shedding of blood can their sins be forgiven, and a living thing must die in order for sins to be forgiven--whether it be the innocent animals that were put to death to "please" god (Genesis 8:20-21) before Jesus, or Jesus himself. How bizarre--especially considering an all-powerful god could have found a much more humane method to forgive the sins of humankind. Not only do we find many instances of animal sacrifice in the Bible, there are also references to child sacrifice as well. In Exodus for example, it states:
"Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons."Exodus 13:13
The definition of Redeem is as follows:

1.to buy or pay off; clear by payment: to redeem a mortgage.
2. to buy back, as after a tax sale or a mortgage foreclosure.
3. to recover (something pledged or mortgaged) by payment or other satisfaction: to redeem a pawned watch.
4. to exchange (bonds, trading stamps, etc.) for money or goods.
5. to convert (paper money) into specie.
6. to discharge or fulfill (a pledge, promise, etc.).

The "payoff" in redeeming first born sons this case was with a sacrifice, just as it was in the case of first born animals. The command in Leviticus 18:21 against sacrificing children to Moloch is not a ban on child sacrifice, but a ban on the worship of foreign deities, which confirms the Exodus 13:11-16 account where Yahweh asserts his ownership of all first born males--both human and animal.

To many of the ancients peoples, human sacrifice was seen as something so holy and powerful, that even the sacrifices to other gods was recognized as legitimate when practiced by other groups. In 2 Kings chapter 3 for example, there is a description of a war against Moab. In this war, the Moab king felt defeat was imminent, so he appealed to his god for help by sacrificing his son on the city walls (2 Kings 3:26-27). On seeing this, the Israelites fled in terror as they felt the Moabite god Chemosh would defeat them after receiving such a sacrifice.

Yahweh too, sought to sacrifice the first born of Moses, but Moses' wife Zipporah convinced him to change his mind by touching his genitals with the sacrifice of her son's foreskin instead:
"After Moses married Zipporah, she bore him a son. As they went their way with the herds, at a lodging place Yahweh met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched his genitals with it and said:You are my bridegroom of blood. And he left him alone." Exodus 4:24-26 *
Many translators try to hide this fact by inserting Moses into the passages to make it SEEM as if Zipporah is touching Moses, but she is not, she is touching Yahweh--the proof of this is that Moses is not mentioned in the passages above preceding passages. Not only did Moses' wife touch the genitals of Yahweh, the circumcision is done to replace the human sacrifice of the first born--illustrated in these passages in Micah:
"With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"Micah 6:6-7
The biblical passages, and the following excerpt from "the Octavius" show that early Christians practiced child sacrifice, which illustrates that the god Christians worship cannot be an "all-loving" god, as he derives his satisfaction in death and the sacrifice of living flesh:
"They [Christians] recognized each other by secret marks and signs; hardly have they met when they love each other throughout the world uniting in the practice of a veritable religion of lusts. Indiscriminately they call each other brother and sister, thus turning every ordinary fornication into incest by the intervention of these hallowed names. Such a pride does this foolish, deranged superstition take in its wickedness. Unless there were some underlying truth, such a wide variety of charges, and very serious ones, would not be made about them; they can hardly be repeated n polite company. Rumor is a shrewd informant. I hear, for example, that they do reverence to the head of that most degraded of beasts, an ass; I cannot imagine what absurdity has persuaded them to consecrated it, but it is indeed a cult born of such morals and will suited for them. It is also reported that they worship the genitals of their pontiff and priest, adoring, it appears, the sex of their "father".Perhaps this is incorrect but it certainly is a suspicion that befits their clandestine and nocturnal ceremonies. There are also stories about the objects of the veneration:they are said to be a man who pas punished with death as a criminal and fell wood of his cross, thus providing suitable liturgy for the depraved fiends: they worship what they deserve. To turn to another point. The notoriety of the stories told of the initiation of new recruits is matched by their ghastly horror. A young baby is covered over with flour, the object being to deceive the unwary. It is then served before the person to be admitted into their rites. The recruit is urged to inflict blows onto it--they appear to be harmless because of the covering of flour. Thus the baby is killed with wounds that remain unseen and concealed. It is the blood of this infant--I shudder to mention it--it is this blood that they lick with thirsty lips; these are the limbs they distribute eagerly; this is the victim by which they seal their covenant; it is by complicity in this crime that they are pledged to mutual silence; these are their rites, more foul than all sacrileges combined."**
Apologists and other Christians will claim the atonement for sins is necessary via a “symbolic” act (blood sacrifice) that God acknowledged as a representation of forgiveness between a person and God. God shows his “mercy” through a suffering creature—which is bizarre. Yes, human sins require “payment” or what the ancients viewed as god's “justice”--which in this case means that the perpetrator does not pay for their crime. Instead, an innocent animal suffers and dies instead, or in the case of Jesus, he is said to have died to pay for the sins of others. Christianity therefore, is a religion that absolves its followers from having to take any responsibility for their actions because making an animal suffer and die, or having Jesus suffer and die, is considered by Christians to be “payment” for their sins. It would be like having to go to jail for something your grandfather did—which is immoral and unjust. Real justice means the perpetrators pay for their “sins”--but this is not what Christianity is about. Christianity is about having someone else pay for their sins —allowing Christians to continue to sin, repent, sin, repent, and repeat when necessary.
____________
God and the Gods-Myths of the Bible p. 55-56
**The Octavius of Minucius Felix, Graham Wilber Clarke, p. 64-6

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have to be grateful to Judaism for undoing the idea of human sacrifice. Yes, perhaps Exodus 13:13 came out of a society where the firstborn were sacrificed, but by commanding "you will redeem your firstborn" (i.e. you have to, you can't sacrifice them) it put an end to that practice.

You say: "The command in Leviticus 18:21 against sacrificing children to Moloch is not a ban on child sacrifice, but a ban on the worship of foreign deities, which confirms the Exodus 13:11-16 account where Yahweh asserts his ownership of all first born males--both human and animal."

But you don't have it quite right. By commanding "you will redeem" it makes redemption the only option. Besides this, there is another passage on the redemption. Furterhmore, you missed a passage.

Numbers 3:12 "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;"

Whether the writer of Exodus had this in mind or not, clearly the idea of the redemption is later related to serving as a priest: instead of serving as priests, you sons are redeemed to be regular people, and the Levites get to be the temple slaves.

You could argue an evolution. That first the firstborn were being sacrifices, then that was banned, it was required to redeem them. Then it was reinterpreted that there never had been any sacrifice and the whole redemption business was about freeing them for secular employment. In any case, if this all hadn't happened, people would still be sacrificing their firstborn.

Now, people, of course, continued to sacrifice animals....Christianity is what put a stop to that, with its claim that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, God came down and sacrificed himself...you don't need to sacrifice anymore. This opened up our livestock to be dedicated soley to food and not wasted on stupid sacrifices. It was a good development. Denying that Jesus is that sacrifice, will have a tendency to bring back animal sacrifice, possibly even human sacrifice, among the illiterate and stupid who are kept from it only by the sacrifice of Jesus. In fact, it has already begun -- its called abortion. And you also have SanterĂ­a now practicing animal sacrifice in the U.S. Abandonment of the idea that Jesus as God offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice simply brings barbarism back into vogue.

Of course the idea that blood is required to forgive some minor offense like a little white lie is absurd -- and of course the idea that a blood sacrifice could even forgive a big offense is all the more offensive as an offense against justice. But somehow, someway, some version of this idea is going to exist among the masses, so why not the one that doesn't involve killing anyone who is alive today?

Anonymous said...

I agree in part with the comment above. But I would like to point out that that the historical account in the post (The Octavius) says itself that it is based off of rumour. Early gentile Christianity was something between Judaism and raw paganism, and indeed very open fornication was common among some in the early church, and who knows what else. But what was discovered was severely rebuked via letter by the surviving Apostles (they might have done more if in person, but there's really only so much you can do from behind bars). Pagan behavior was not supported by the Apostles or other established church leaders; some even wanted new converts to Christianity to convert first to Judaism.

As for atonement and Christ, theologically speaking, the idea is that since "the wages of sin is death", if you sin, you die -- first on this Earth by whatever causes, then eternal dying afterward. Christ takes our place and dies for us, so we skip the eternal dying ("the second death") and have eternal life instead. But what I'd like to point out here is that no human being asked him to do this. It was indeed terrible suffering and the worst way he could have possibly died, but no one demanded it of him. He stepped in willingly. As for what you mentioned as "real justice".. that is indeed the default route, people dying the second death for their sins; the willing Christ dying instead of us is the merciful ticket out of that path, should we choose to take it.

The "sin, repent, sin, repent" cycle is not what is prescribed in Christianity. Advocating this shows a poor understanding of Christianity. Repentance, like "living in sin", is a continual thing, a habitual action, a way of life. If someone thinks to themself, "I can steal now because I can go to my priest later and confess," they're not repenting at all. Someone living a life of repentance will make mistakes, but it's the commitment, the submitting to God, a hatred of sin (not of those who have sinned), and then the trying better in earnest that defines repentance.

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