sacrifice - human or other?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by mathman, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    What accounts for the fact that many old religions had human or other sacrifice as part of their ritual? Examples: Greek - Iphigenia, to get the Trojan war started: Ancient Israel - Isaac by Abraham, saved in time: Aztecs - war prisoners - remove hearts. I'm sure there are many more.
     
    Dennis Tate likes this.
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, and....................................................?
     
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  5. POVphysics2 Registered Member

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    I don't think it's justifiable to hate religious people because you look back at history with prejudice in your heart.
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I think that it's related to the idea that you have to give something valuable to your god(s) to win his/her/their favour (or to keep them appeased). Since animals were often among the most valuable possessions of ancient peoples, they tended to turn to animal sacrifice to appease the gods. Human life was generally valued even more highly than animal life, so it follows that the most extreme sacrifice would be a human sacrifice. Mostly, people preferred to sacrifice people they didn't care too much about, of course. Slaves and conquered enemies were good fodder.
     
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Who said anything about hating religious people?
     
  9. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Why is killing a person or an animal equivalent to giving something to a god? The Catholic church seems to have found another way: nuns and monks give up a normal life.
     
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Those things are not equivalent.
     
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    No its not: And I don't hate religious people, in fact I am married to a fair dinkum one, not some red neck ratbag/s that this forum has seen.
    The angst that religious people draw, is when they let their fanaticism, over ride their sensibilities and they start running crusades in science forums and on particular science forum subjects like Abiogenesis.
     
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    As far as the historical record can take us
    human sacrifice seems to have originated with agrarian culture
    Not uncommon was the practice of creating a king/god for a year, giving him everything he wanted, while fattening him up, then killing and dismembering the "god" and parceling him out to the farmers who would take their portion, and bury it in their fields.
    If you could fatten up the god to 180 pounds, then 2880 farmers could each get a 1 ounce piece for planting.
     
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Destroying something of value to the supplicant is seen as a quid prop quo for the god's favours. If you kill an animal or a person, there's no way you - as a human - can bring it back. The killing is an irrevocable act.
     
  14. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    What is the benefit to the god? What is the value to the god of a dead being?
     
  15. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Remember how Prometheus tricked Zeus?
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    You have proven your devotion to God by sacrificing something that is important to you. And in many religions devotion to God is seen as critical.
     
  17. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Gods feast on devotion,(and, the occasional burnt offering?)
    when you stop caring about Gods, they just fade away.
     
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    The dead being's value to God is not what is important; what's important is its value to the person seeking the god's favour.

    The value to the god is that the person has shown his or her obediance and willingness to give things up for the god. They are putting the god before their own benefit, the benefit of their family etc.

    Why would an all-powerful, omniscient god, need or demand these signs of devotion from his/her/its followers? That's a problem that religions never really have an answer for, as far as I can tell.
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The very first time, perhaps. But beyond that? Where sacrifice is a cultural expectation, the value of a sacrifice to the person is not indepent from or merely incidental to what was important to God before that person was born. An example I sometimes use is the rite of bitter water, the biblical instruction to poison a woman suspected of infidelity in order to force a miscarriage and harm her health for the sake of jealousy. At the time that was written down in the Bible, it wasn't new, and we can presume, compared to other abortifacients recorded in the record, hardly exclusive to the Hebrews.

    Similarly, a sacrificed animal often represented a family's subsistence, and their outward devotion to deity a symbol of their conformity within a community; remember what Jesus said, that acts of piety performed for public consumption earn their own rewards.

    Insofar as people invent gods, sure, it comes back to what was important to people when the sacrifice was conceived and then adopted as practice.
     
  20. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

    the Eucharist
    Transubstantiation
    and
    perhaps it was metaphor
    ..........................
    grok?
     
  21. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    It all sounds circular. People invented gods to explain things and invented sacrifices to gain favors from these inventions.
     
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    At one time Gods were unseen sky beings to be dreaded for their destructive powers.

    You did not want to anger Zeus or Odin or especially Hades, who controlled the Kraken that required human sacrifice to keep from destroying civilization.

    That's a sacrifice to satisfy the hunger of the unseen enemy, so that he will be appeased and leave you alone.

    A benign creator god came much later when it became clear that sacrifice did not appease the gods, as witnessed by the Incas, who sacrificed ten of thousands of people to no avail.
    https://immortology.org/the-truth-about-worship-and-sacrifice/

    So instead of sacrificing humans we started the practice of "burnt offerings".

    Hebrew Bible
    In the Torah
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnt_offering_(Judaism)
     
  23. Luchito Registered Senior Member

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    More than offerings, the sacrifices in many cultures were to calm the fury of the gods.
     
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