Human Sacrifice

June 7, 2006

Don’t you think that religions today are really missing something when they pass on human sacrifice?

The culture of life is all well and good, but the culture of obligation, discipline & sacrifice has something important to be said for it too.  If the culture of life is just the culture of flabby, then does it really defend life or does it just defend comfort.

If you are a kid and you see your friend choose to die for his beliefs, see his family be proud of that choice, see the community value him for his contribution, well, I bet it makes you see your responsibility in a whole new way.  It’s so much different than figuring out who to blame for deaths, for crying and sobbing about how the death of others is about you, because you were discomforted by it.  Gosh, being discomforted can be a profound experience, reminding you that your expectations are just illusions, and life is a gift that doesn’t last forever, that life is a gift you can put on the line for what you believe.

Could human sacrifice get out of hand?  Sure it could.  It could become a tool of the status quo to force out troublemakers and undesirables.  That would be bad, and is a good argument against easy human sacrifice.

Every human culture has needed some people to risk or give their lives for the benefit of the group.   We may think some of those reasons are primitive — we don’t sacrifice to Gods much anymore- but there continue to be new reasons to sacrifice, as those who cleaned up Chernobyl sacrificed for the group.

It’s a good idea to minimize human sacrifice, I agree, but is it a good idea to also acknowledge and honor it when it comes, chosen as service by an individual.

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On this Thanksgiving day, a symbolic year after I started writing this blog, I come back to this post, one that has been in my “edit queue” for the longest time.

Why was I so fascinated by the idea of human sacrifice, of the one giving their life for the many?

I’m guessing that it’s because it feels like what society told me to do.  The message at the heart of Roman Christianity: whatever sacrifice you suffer here, it’s less than Jesus, so shut up and wait to be reborn.

The argument against euthanasia is that people will feel it’s their obligation to die, and that’s too dangerous.

I understand that now.  If you feel the pressure, it’s easy to start to believe that it’s your own choice to die.

When you manage someone by intimidation,
you pay the price for that.
You beat them down.
You beat their passion down.
 Phillip McGraw, 21 November 2006

I know that I don’t have any objective view on human sacrifice.  I can’t have an objective view.

I was selected to die, and intimidated into it.


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