Monday, August 17, 2009

Sacrifice !

I understand sacrifice. I know a parent will sacrifice almost anything so a child will be happy and healthy. I know a lover will sacrifice things so their mate can gain something. I am familiar with the concept.

I do not, however understand the sacrifice that was Jesus' Crucifixion.

If I am christian, I must believe Jesus death was necessary for my salvation, that he had to die so my sins would be forgiven. I hear this enough to know the general idea.

What I do not understand is, why is such sacrifice needed? According to the holy books, God made man in his own image.

IF we are in God's image, what is the problem?

I hear Jesus' blood cleansed us all. Why the need for blood? Why would a loving god require blood sacrifice? Do we really want to worship such a nasty entity, requiring blood seems sadistic?

It makes no sense.
God needs us to sacrifice blood, because we are inherently bad. God has a son, Jesus. God sends his son, who he loves very much, in place of our blood sacrifice. Because said son was sacrificed, we no longer need to make blood atonement.

If this God had a son, why would he not just send him here to tell us how to be better, perhaps even show us? Couldn't God come up with a better way to accept our penance?

If I can see the silliness involved with this plan, how does it slip past a SUPREME BEING ?


Michael Lockridge said...

I tarried here quite some time. I did not want to throw out a flippant answer, and to be very honest I don't understand Jesus sacrifice. I am not sure that it can really be understood.

You are trying to grasp a concept that is part of another culture from another time. Or, are you trying? If you are simply pointing out that this sacrifice appears silly and pointless from your own cultural perspective, that is fine.

Within the context of Judeo-Christian culture it does make sense to those who have accepted the gift of life within that sacrifice.

Can it be explained in just a few words? I cannot do it, and find it difficult to believe that it can be done. Unless that sacrifice calls out to a need that exists within you, it will remain foolishness to your mind and heart.

If it does not call out to you, what is the point of even contemplating that sacrifice? If it does, will you let something as small as your own understanding get in the way of partaking?

Perhaps some things we cannot comprehend are still things we can apprehend.


Harvey said...


You have here touched upon something crucial to understanding the presence or absence of belief in human beings. If one accepts the findings of anthropologists who have studied the sources of religion in human cultures, we "create" God to 1) explain the harsh and often frightening realities of existance and 2) to try to give us some modicum of "control" over these realities (i.e. prayer, sacrifice)
The strongest evidence I have ever been able to find in a nearly 70 year study of the possibility that any God exists is that every culture we know about has seen fit to create one (or several).
Therefore, I applaud your ecognition (singularly rare among believers, I might add) that "Unless that sacrifice calls out to a need that exists within you, it will remain foolishness to your mind and heart." I think this explains the inability of most proselytizers to understand the resistance or indifference (at least in my case) of non-believers to heed their "warnings" of eternal damnation. We just don't "see the need" that you do.

Anonymous said...

Mac, pretty clear way of pointing out the illogic. It was this type of paradox that made me heart sick enough to step away from literalism.


Mike, I think that's exploiting the ambiguity in 'understood.' You don't understand Jesus' sacrifice in the literal sense, not just metaphorically. Everything Mac pointed out has to do with blatant contradictions.

The bible, if taken as a whole, makes excuses for the deity. It's a series of assertions and their subsequent qualifications.

Taken book by book it it makes more sense culturally. There are individual threads that start and stop with different authorship.

mac said...

I'm not sure it's understandable either.

Were I to understand, I'd have to think God a sadist.

Stacy S. said...

The only need that believers have is the need to believe that there is life after death. It's denial that there is an "end". Everything is built upon that need.

A need to feel special - not just another animal that doesn't have a soul.

Plus, we're imaginative.

Stephanie Faris said...

All things I've wondered throughout the years. Oh heck, if I could have answers to all the questions I have while I'm sitting in church, I'd be overwhelmed by it all, probably!

The Lion said...

Ah, Mac but He *did* send His son here to show us how to live better. And what did we do? We killed him. We called him a heretic and we nailed him to a cross next to two thieves (one of whom brings forth one of the simplest and yet touching stories of forgiveness in the Bible).

A big part of Christianity is accepting that there are things we don't understand. Were we made in God's image? That is what we are told. But we are also told that, because we sin, we fall short of the image of God. And we therefore must atone for our wrongdoings. In the OT, that was via sacrifice of an animal. We had to give up something valuable of ours. Remember that many sacrifices were ox and oxen were incredibly valuable then. In addition, the best sacrifice was the youngest male - even more valuable.

But, along with many things in the OT (stoning sinners and forcing rape victims to marry their attackers) that fell out for a myriad of reasons. The final sacrifice was one of such great value that no others would ever be needed - the sacrifice of the Son sent to save us.

So I guess that is a very long way of saying that sacrifice is required (or rather, was required) as a way to feel a physical loss for our sins. Much as how a parent might take away a toy when a child disobeys. But on a much larger scale.

mac said...

Still makes no sense Lion.

Giving up one's first-born? No fucking way ! Any parent who would give any child for a god needs sterilized and jailed! If your god required I give up my son, he'd have a major fight on his hands.

But in reality, it's all just a bronze age explanation for the evil of the day - "God said it, that's why". It's a myth just like all the others.

There is no way I could believe a god that requires blood sacrifice is a good entity. If the Bible is God's word, God is a sadist, not worthy of adulation and worship !

The Lion said...

My God does not require you to give you your child. Are you thinking of Isaac? Do remember that was a test and there was never any intention for the sacrifice of a child to take place. If you are thinking of Christ you should know that he was brought into this world with the very intent that he would be sacrificed. God knew it, he knew it, Mary knew it. Surely it was not easy for Mary, but it was merely meant to be.

What else could people have given to atone for their sins, Mac?

mac said...

Ah, Lion. You assume that sins must be atoned for with your magical friend.

I have no such friend, therefore I needn't atone.
It's OK. Many people feel as you do. I do not. I do not believe, for one second, that a god that loved everyone would feel it necessary to have blood sacrifice. Such a loving deity would forgive out of the kindness inherent in himself.

As to bringing Jesus into the world to be sacrificed, I suppose that conflicts with the earlier assrtion that WE killed him. He was brought forth to die by his own Father. Humans were just doing what God had planned....if we are to believe that Jesus' death was predestined.

It's all circular. there is no rhyme nor reason to anything in the Christian myth. Had no one been indctrinated into this religion, we'd see it as BS as clearly as we see the polytheism of the Greeks and Romans or Vikings or........ (pick one?). It's all BS. We were just raised in a society that has chosen that dellusion as our favorite.

rita said...

Of course there are reasons for all the myths in all the religions. They satisfy some psychological need in the believer to assuage their own feeling of guilt & unworthiness. My biggest problem with Christianity is that it perpetrates & preys on that guilt as constantly putting down humankind as being incapable of anything good on it's own.
For instance the Christian idea that God still loves us, although we don't deserve it, horrible sinners that we are, fit for hell without redemption.
I personally find that concept despicable & demoralizing.
Of course in that same line of thought, the Christian God had to kill his own son for us, because he loves us so much (we don't deserve it of course)... & HE is so big that he forgives us & we should thank him & worship him for it.
IMO Christianity,with it's outmoded dehumanizing precepts & twisted logic has become a cancerous growth impeding real human progress.

That's my secular humanist position. :)

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