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Offline MadBunny

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Sacrifice
« on: August 06, 2009, 10:43:02 AM »
Sacrifice.

If you are to look up the term scapegoat, you'll see that it is rooted in sacrifice.

Quote
The scapegoat was a goat that was driven off into the wilderness as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Judaism during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. The rite is described in Leviticus 16.

Since this goat, carrying the sins of the people placed on it, is sent away to perish [1], the word "scapegoat" has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes, or sufferings of others, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.

The point here is that the goat, or animal is used to absorb whatever various sins and is sent off to die, or just killed.
Blame the goat.


Sacrifice is just a more abreviated version of this.  The animal metaphorically absorbs sins, usually if the animal is more valuable (A bull rather than a goat, a 'perfect' specimen rather than an old or lame one) is would be considered a better sacrifice.  This sacrificing, or scapegoating would be to appease whatever anger the gods, or god had toward a group.  The Christian bible is filled with many examples of sacrifice to please their god.  History, in fact is also full of examples.

What would have more sacrificial value than a human?  A pure human.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice

We see that societies would frequently try to skirt this purity theme by sacrificing alternatives such as captured warriors, or even servants.
When it comes to value though, the virgin is the gold standard.  A pure, beautiful virgin.

Quote
Luakini
In ancient Hawai'i, a luakini temple, or luakini heiau, was a Native Hawaiian sacred place where human and animal blood sacrifices were offered.

In Hawaiian mythology, luakini heiaus were first established by Pa'ao, a legendary priest credited with establishing many of the rites and symbols typical of the stratified high chieftainships of the immediate pre-European-contact period. Modern archaeologists no longer believe in a historic Pa'ao, but many Native Hawaiians still believe that he was a historical figure, and often vilify him for introducing what they now see as the bloody, barbarous rites of the luakini heiau.
or a modern sect
Quote
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantrism#Ritual_practices
Where it is considered illegal by the provincial government, who in a case of staggering irony executes those convicted of human sacrifice. (note:Virtually all state sacrifices are carried out in a ritualistic manner)

What we don't see though, is people eating their sacrifices.
The scapegoats are not cooked and eaten, the bulls are not barbecued and handed out.

The idea here is that the animal has absorbed the sins and transgressions and when they die they take them along.
If you were to eat the scapegoat you'd be just eating the sins and transgressions of the group and thus worse off than before.  You'd be cursed so to speak.

Then along came Jesus.

Jesus represents the perfect metaphorical sacrifice.

Pictured: Metaphor.  Seriously.

Pure and virginal, check.
Valuable (son of god), check.
Human, yep.

So, Jesus, representing the perfect storm of metaphorical value for sins absorbs not just the guilt and sin of those around him but apparently the sin of all mankind and is killed.  When he dies he takes all this sin with him and mankind is forgiven.
pictured: Cracker or wafer of flesh?
Then it gets weird.
Remember the part about not eating the sacrifice because it means also eating the absorbed sin?
Well it turns out that one religion does that regularly, through the ritual magic performed weekly called transsubstantiation.  Whether the believers think that the crackers and wine are literally transformed, or metaphorically transformed, or merely a metaphor what they are doing flies in the face of the entire concept behind sacrifice.

Even today we can see that the basic idea and metaphorical wishful thinking behind the mechanism of sacrifice remains.  What we see though, is an odd throwback via the Catholic church, and in a way Christianity where the supposed benefactors are requred to 're-sorb' the sacrifice.


Pictured above: Resorbing about to occur?
[/i]

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Offline Tealeaf

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 02:26:23 PM »
Except Jesus fails as a "sacrifice" because he is god, to satify god, according to god's plan. It's a tale-chasing, pointless, spaz-fest.

Offline Codswallop

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2009, 02:47:49 PM »
The scapegoat does indeed originate in biblical sacrifice. The weird thing is,  the scapegoat ritual was still practiced annually right along side regular temple sacrifice on Yom Kippur. The goat had to be driven out into the wilderness to be given to "Azazel," whose identity is kind of obscure. The precise mechanism by which the goat was "given" to this mysterious figure involved driving him over a cliff to his death.

The Book of Enoch identifies Azazel as one of the fallen angels. He became a kind of demigod figure who invented metalworking, especially for weaponry.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2009, 03:46:06 PM »
The scapegoat does indeed originate in biblical sacrifice. The weird thing is,  the scapegoat ritual was still practiced annually right along side regular temple sacrifice on Yom Kippur. The goat had to be driven out into the wilderness to be given to "Azazel," whose identity is kind of obscure. The precise mechanism by which the goat was "given" to this mysterious figure involved driving him over a cliff to his death.

The Book of Enoch identifies Azazel as one of the fallen angels. He became a kind of demigod figure who invented metalworking, especially for weaponry.

Really? 
That's facinating.  I knew about the scapegoat stuff, it should be in one of the links from my post for those who haven't read on it.  I had not really looked up the Azazel part.  I'll do that tonight.

What I was thinking about more, was the supposed mechanism of transference of [guilt/sin/blame] to various animals, and the effectiveness of that being determined by the value of the animal.  If you were to think about the Yom Kippur sacrifice, they wouldn't eat it after it was driven off the cliff, not because it was inedibly smashed up but more likely because it contained concentrated sin or something.
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Offline Codswallop

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 04:12:36 PM »

Really? 
That's facinating.  I knew about the scapegoat stuff, it should be in one of the links from my post for those who haven't read on it.  I had not really looked up the Azazel part.  I'll do that tonight.

There's a great book called The Other Bible. The editor is William Barnstone.  If you like this kind of stuff, you can spend days there.

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Offline ReverendZEgNosis

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 07:58:14 PM »
Brilliant OP.

I hadn't properly considered the transfer of sin in sacrifice generally other than in the specific case of the scapegoat. The O.T. tacitly defines the righteous man as one who offers up expensive sacrifice to IHVH. There is no other requirement. This goes right back to Cain and Abel when God was unimpressed with the muesli and salad and demanded beasts.

Again, as I understood this, the "desirable" component of the sacrifice is the subtler stuff that only God could appreciate fully; the aroma, the smoke. The carcass was up for bun-filling by the priest class, at least in later times when the Temple existed.
This is echoed in the mass/communion cannibalism ritual where the Good Stuff has gone to heaven and the mortals can then partake of the cadaver which is cleansed of sin, having undegone the blessing and slaughter.

My understanding has been that sacrifice has nothing to do with sin, except that the act of sacrificing buys you righteousness. You put rather a different spin on this with the formal transferring of sin, pre-sacrifice, which somehow makes a little more "sense" (ahem!) of the crucifixion.
It also demonstrates the NECESSITY of transubstantiation. Without this,  the host is no part of sacrifice and it is the sacrifice which redeems/buys righteousness, not the half-hearted symbolic gesture of waffle-eating.

However I suspect it is all theologic sophistry dreamed up to justify extreme weirdness to the great unwashed.

Now if the Crustaceans would only sacrifice and eat their priests  the world could become a much less sinful place :)........


The word "god" should be abandoned and a set of non-prejudicial alternatives found. An awful lot of arguments would simply disappear when folk realize they've simply been fighting over etymology.
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Offline StrawberryJam

Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 07:02:04 PM »
It's simple. God could have chosen any way to be appeased. He chose blood. And, then christians bristle if you ask why God is so bloodthirsty?
*shrug*

Offline Nick

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 08:00:22 PM »
No wonder the goat represents sacrifice.  Look at it.  It has horns.  It is the devil.  Give it the sins and send it out.  I wonder where it went?  Would the next village take it in as a gift from heaven?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 08:07:40 PM »
No wonder the goat represents sacrifice.  Look at it.  It has horns.  It is the devil.  Give it the sins and send it out.  I wonder where it went?  Would the next village take it in as a gift from heaven?

Cods Wrote:
The goat had to be driven out into the wilderness to be given to "Azazel," whose identity is kind of obscure. The precise mechanism by which the goat was "given" to this mysterious figure involved driving him over a cliff to his death.

Nice delivery system.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2009, 08:19:26 PM »
Damn, sucks to be a goat.  I guess the wild animals at the bottom of the clif were smiling.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline StrawberryJam

Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2009, 08:42:41 PM »
Now let's not forget how it sucks to be a pig. Remember, Jesus sent the possesed man's "demons" into a herd of pigs and they went hurtling off a cliff.
Let's not ask why there was a pig farm in that area, considering how "unclean" they were to the people.

lol

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2009, 09:53:13 PM »
Now let's not forget how it sucks to be a pig. Remember, Jesus sent the possesed man's "demons" into a herd of pigs and they went hurtling off a cliff.
Let's not ask why there was a pig farm in that area, considering how "unclean" they were to the people.

lol

Clearly they were there to be sacrificed and as a medical insurance.
Duh.
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Offline StrawberryJam

Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2009, 10:57:05 PM »
Now let's not forget how it sucks to be a pig. Remember, Jesus sent the possesed man's "demons" into a herd of pigs and they went hurtling off a cliff.
Let's not ask why there was a pig farm in that area, considering how "unclean" they were to the people.

lol

Clearly they were there to be sacrificed and as a medical insurance.
Duh.

Indeed! ;)

Offline xphobe

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2009, 11:38:15 PM »
But Yahweh sort of inverted the whole idea in the Flood story.  Instead of transferring the sins of all men to a sinless human and then sacrificing the scapegoat, He killed off every single human except for the (relatively) sinless human Noah and his family.

Yahweh doesn't seem very consistent...
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Offline StrawberryJam

Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2009, 12:30:15 AM »
But Yahweh sort of inverted the whole idea in the Flood story.  Instead of transferring the sins of all men to a sinless human and then sacrificing the scapegoat, He killed off every single human except for the (relatively) sinless human Noah and his family.

Yahweh doesn't seem very consistent...

Um. Just an FYI. Jesus, who christians believe was the only perfect sacrifice, was not born as a man in the flesh before the "flood" narrative tale.

So, you may have to re-phrase this a bit. You will be the one accused of non consistantcy if you persue this venue.

Offline xphobe

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2009, 12:39:03 AM »
Sacrificial animals and burnt offerings were popular with Yahweh before the Flood. 

But why would the order matter anyway?  One is not consistent with the other.  What difference does it make which came first?   Besides, according to most Christians I've talked to, God exists outside of our linear time, so our whole concept of causality and order is an illusion caused by our limited perspective.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2009, 12:44:10 AM »
But Yahweh sort of inverted the whole idea in the Flood story.  Instead of transferring the sins of all men to a sinless human and then sacrificing the scapegoat, He killed off every single human except for the (relatively) sinless human Noah and his family.

Yahweh doesn't seem very consistent...


Good point, I hadn't thought about this in the context of sacrifice and transference.
Given the mechanism for sacrifice, this story is inconsistent with other parts of the bible (duh).
God does ask for noah to sacrifice some of his ark animals upon landing. though, so I'm not sure what's up with that.  Why would Noah need to do so?
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Offline StrawberryJam

Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2009, 01:02:22 AM »
Sacrificial animals and burnt offerings were popular with Yahweh before the Flood. 

But why would the order matter anyway?  One is not consistent with the other.  What difference does it make which came first?   Besides, according to most Christians I've talked to, God exists outside of our linear time, so our whole concept of causality and order is an illusion caused by our limited perspective.

No argument on sacrificial Animals being popular with Yahweh before the Flood.

While christians believe God is outside of the natural laws, they still believe Jesus was incarnate in the flesh at a point after the flood, KWIM?

Offline xphobe

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2009, 01:07:05 AM »
God does ask for noah to sacrifice some of his ark animals upon landing. though, so I'm not sure what's up with that.  Why would Noah need to do so?

Yeah that always amused me.  God demands that Noah save all the animals, and then immediately afterwards makes him kill some.  It's like God is just having fun demonstrating that Noah is still his little beyotch.
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2009, 01:11:43 AM »
While christians believe God is outside of the natural laws, they still believe Jesus was incarnate in the flesh at a point after the flood, KWIM?

Oh definitely I know.  I spent years as a Christian thinking about free will, God's plan, the outcome of the battle between good and evil, the fate of those who had died before Jesus appeared, all that stuff.  At one point I had it all figured out.  Reading Edwin Abbott's little book Flatland helped too.
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Offline StrawberryJam

Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2009, 07:21:43 PM »
While christians believe God is outside of the natural laws, they still believe Jesus was incarnate in the flesh at a point after the flood, KWIM?

Oh definitely I know.  I spent years as a Christian thinking about free will, God's plan, the outcome of the battle between good and evil, the fate of those who had died before Jesus appeared, all that stuff.  At one point I had it all figured out.  Reading Edwin Abbott's little book Flatland helped too.

I'm requesting my local library to get this book, thank you!

Offline Ace42

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2009, 07:56:38 PM »
If you are to look up the term scapegoat, you'll see that it is rooted in sacrifice.

I thought this was common knowledge?

Quote
The animal metaphorically absorbs sins, usually if the animal is more valuable (A bull rather than a goat, a 'perfect' specimen rather than an old or lame one) is would be considered a better sacrifice.

The new testament has Jesus actually describe the "value" system at work in the theology:
“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”
Mark 12:43

There is more to the bible's portrayal of sacrifice than just a ritualistic superstition.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2009, 11:41:11 PM »
If you are to look up the term scapegoat, you'll see that it is rooted in sacrifice.

I thought this was common knowledge?


It is for some, rather than assuming, I suggested looking it up.
Even knowing the roots of it, I was unfamiliar with the parts about Azazel for example.  

Most people I know of would define scapegoat as the unfair blaming of an innocent party, unaware of the origins and the mechanisms for transferrence of guilt that the tradition originated with.  The fact that we still use variations of this today says a lot about humanity I think.


Quote
Quote
The animal metaphorically absorbs sins, usually if the animal is more valuable (A bull rather than a goat, a 'perfect' specimen rather than an old or lame one) is would be considered a better sacrifice.

The new testament has Jesus actually describe the "value" system at work in the theology:
“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”
Mark 12:43

There is more to the bible's portrayal of sacrifice than just a ritualistic superstition.

Is there now?
Please explain.



** fixed quote box.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 12:31:15 AM by MadBunny »
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2009, 11:56:04 PM »
I'm requesting my local library to get this book, thank you!

Oh.. hope I haven't set an unreal expectation.  The book won't turn you into a devout catholic overnight, or anything like that, athough I believe Abbott was in fact a minister.  The point of the book is an exercise in visualizing geometry and mathematical dimensionality in an entertaining way.  It was written in the late 1800s.  It's just fun and gives your brain something to nom nom on.  It's a classic in nerd circles :)
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Offline alihaymeg

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2009, 12:02:59 AM »
BM

Offline Codswallop

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2009, 08:38:48 AM »
Now let's not forget how it sucks to be a pig. Remember, Jesus sent the possesed man's "demons" into a herd of pigs and they went hurtling off a cliff.
Let's not ask why there was a pig farm in that area, considering how "unclean" they were to the people.

lol

Not so surprising. There were plenty of non-Jews in 1st century Palestine (remember, it was an outpost of the Roman Empire). And it is disingenuous to imagine that Jews in "olden times" were more religiously observant than their modern counterparts. Then as now, Kosher laws had no civil force, so it would have been perfectly OK to own, slaughter and eat pigs, even for a Jew.
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Offline Ace42

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2009, 02:27:27 PM »
Please explain.

Well, it is hard for me to do so without sermonising; and to be blunt I am not particularly interested in providing an essay on the changing attitudes towards sacrifice throughout the different regions, ages, traditions and schools of Christian theology.

Some interesting examples of ritualistic christian self-sacrifice would be the Stylites and Flagellants; but if you look closely at these ritualised practices, you can see that they are crude attempts at achieving more philosophical goals.

Now, these principles can be marginalised as superstition (If I hurt myself, God will see I'm sorry and remove the black death); an oversimplification that motivated me to make my initial post; or they can be seen as a practical form of mental schooling and training.

We like to think we are all reasonable people, with the gift of intellect, and a moral consciousness that allows us to navigate thorny paths of "right and wrong".  But, we also know we are all, essentially, rutting self-motivated animals behind the thin veneer of civilised culture, and the developed fore-brain that hides some of our darker impulses.  Even if you ignore superstitions, or even philosophical conceits, about "a soul/spirit free of material wants and needs" - it still can be seen as a practical (if incredibly difficult) goal to rid oneself of baser animalistic instincts and motivations in favour of a purely rational / intellectual state of being.

Ancient Christian scholars (particularly Thomas Aquinas) didn't always define between the "science" of philosophy / ethics / philosophy and "the natural" sciences - at the time the schools were all fairly closely linked; and so trying to shrug off or self-condition out one's vices through punishment is considered to be a religious / spiritual matter as much as a sociological one.

I might not be expressing myself too well (I did say I didn't want to write an essay on it); but can you see the dichotomy between:

Sacrifice as a ritualistic superstition
and
Sacrifice as a practical vehicle with which to temper your flaws?

This covers self-sacrifice as the Christian virtue of Chastity (self-denial).

Self-sacrifice can also be seen as a virtue of charity:
Although superstitious, the flagellants believed they were taking the sins of the world upon their shoulders and paying penitence for the sins of the world.  This is an act of charity for the world at large.  Arguably, they were very much mistaken, and quite stupid.  However, that doesn't mean that sacrificing your own comfort / well-being for the sake of the community or society at large is necessarily a stupid thing.

Whether it is the pilot who dies in a plane-crash because, rather than bail out safely, he wanted to make sure the plane impacted in empty ground rather than a built up area; or the soldier who throws himself on a hand-grenade; self-sacrifice (altruism, whether evolutionary or otherwise) is a fundamental factor in social well-being.  This kinda relates to the socialised medical care thread in the politics child-forum.

Whether literal or metaphorical, having your religious figurehead die for a principle automatically makes that principle one of the most, if not the most, important in the religious cannon.  Saying "Jesus dying on the cross is merely a superstitious relic from ancient ritualism" is to ignore the underlying social message; one that Jesus himself reiterates throughout the gospels:  It is better to give than to receive.

Thus this self-sacrifice (and it is self-sacrifice, it is clear from the gospels that Jesus knows what is coming, and that he could walk away from the fate if he wanted to) is both metaphorically and literally the greatest act of charity imaginable; IE saving the world from its sin with his own life.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 02:33:24 PM by Ace42 »
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2009, 03:07:27 PM »
Please explain.

Well, it is hard for me to do so without sermonising; and to be blunt I am not particularly interested in providing an essay on the changing attitudes towards sacrifice throughout the different regions, ages, traditions and schools of Christian theology.


I'm not overly concerned about sermonizing.  Ideally if your post has merit it can be explained simply though, I do try to keep my posts functional without overly involving moralizing.  On a topic like this, it is almost inevitable that things like scripture and morality come into play.


I think you're confusing sacrifice and altruism.
They are not the same. 

You mentioned Asceticism, but that isn't actually sacrifice.  It is merely a form of self control, a denial of sorts.  You are not giving anything up, so much as refusing to use what you have.  Various religions around the world have used Asceticism as a form of training (including some sects of christianity). 

If we look at the start of the entry on that topic:
Quote
Asceticism (from the Greek: ???????, ásk?sis, "exercise" or "training" in the sense of athletic training) describes a life-style characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures (especially sexual activity and consumption of alcohol) often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals. Indian religions (including yoga) teach that salvation and liberation involve a process of mind-body transformation effected by exercising restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of these religions (e.g. Buddhism, Jainism) lived extremely austere lifestyles refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life but a recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence.
You can see that it is not directly related to the idea of removing sin, so much as regulating it's intake.  There is no method by which an Ascetic can 'remove' existing sin.  Simply stoping does not in and of itself to anything whatsoever toward the mechanism of salvation.

If a person, lets use an extreme example, if a person was a serial killer of little boys who molested them and ate their feet or something before killing them chose to become an ascetic (afterward) that stain would be on him forever according to christianity.  He's burning in hell when he dies.

However if he participates in the sacrifice of Jesus, even vicariously via baptism or through confession and sacrament (the eating of Jesus' flesh) he can remove that sin from him and attain salvation in the eyes of the lord.  That's why priests talk to death row inmates to 'save their soul' it is because if simply being an ascetic was all it took, then living in solitary confinement and meditating would solve that problem on it's own.


Using this example we can see that self denial is not a valid mechanism for removing sin from a person. 
Neither courage, bravery, or denial are valid ways to 'remove' sin.  Only the approved sacrifice is.  The more valuable the sacrifce the better off you are in the eys of the lord.  So far the most valuable sacrifice in the eyes of the church is still participating (vicariously) in the slaughter of the son of god.
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Offline Ace42

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Re: Sacrifice
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2009, 03:41:46 PM »
I think you're confusing sacrifice and altruism.
They are not the same.

Not so much "confusing" as linking the two concepts.  In a significant body of Christian theology, altruism (charity) and self-sacrifice are intrinsically linked:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind;

- Corinthians 13

Although there is a distinction between the two (as Paul points out there), they are closely related in Scripture and in many schools of Christian theology.

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You mentioned Asceticism, but that isn't actually sacrifice.  It is merely a form of self control, a denial of sorts.  You are not giving anything up, so much as refusing to use what you have.

Yes and no.  Negative reinforcement is often confused with punishment, when it is actually "the taking away" of an unpleasant condition.  Similarly, I'd say that although the exact nature of Asceticism varies depending on the proponents and their goals; the examples I gave involved a great deal of sacrifice:  Giving up one's home, food, comfort, prospects of a family, etc are all sacrifices made.  Are they directly equivalent with sacrificing one's life?  Well, yes and no.  Jesus was resurrected, so even in his case sacrificing his life wasn't exactly permanent or typical in that sort of sense.

Also, I think it is a little perjuring to define the wider issue of sacrifice in Christian theology to solely include what we know of ancient ritualistic practices.  If we choose to define sacrifice in such narrow terms, naturally it will appeal shallow and superficial.  That is leaving aside the fact that there is a tendency to ascribe simplistic motivations to practices we know little about.  Do we put up Christmas trees because we want to protect the Summer?  Do we hang them with baubles to protect us from witches?  No, and yet within the context of this thread we'd say "oh, look at these ritualistic superstitions" - when really they are merely occasions which it pleases us (well, my family at least) to mark out.

Similarly, whatever the ancient roots and superstitions that may (or may not) be associated with animal sacrifices, and the ritualisation therewith, it is a mistake to assume there isn't greater significance, meaning, symbolism, etc at work, irrespective of inherited traditions behind it.


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You can see that it is not directly related to the idea of removing sin, so much as regulating it's intake.  There is no method by which an Ascetic can 'remove' existing sin.  Simply stoping does not in and of itself to anything whatsoever toward the mechanism of salvation.

An interesting point.  A lot of the acts that come to mind when you think of sacrifice in Christian theology tend to be acts of penitence, rather than actually "removing" sin.  I'm going to have to consider this one some more, as I am not sure how easy it is to draw a line between absolution / the removal of sin and between forgiveness by God through an act of penitence.  I'm not sure how many schools of though, historically, have equated acts of "devotion" (IE penitence, sacrifice, ritual self-denial, whatever) with merely "avoiding future sin" rather than atoning for past ones.

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before killing them chose to become an ascetic (afterward) that stain would be on him forever according to christianity.  He's burning in hell when he dies.

There is a degree of dissension between then Christian sects as to what does or doesn't allow an individual to be atoned.  The confessional is one example, obviously; and the Catholics did label flagellants as heretics; but you might argue that is as much down to politics as it is to theological authority on the subject.

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However if he participates in the sacrifice of Jesus, even vicariously via baptism or through confession and sacrament (the eating of Jesus' flesh) he can remove that sin from him and attain salvation in the eyes of the lord.

A lot of Christian sects subscribe to that, but I'd suggest a significant part of that is down to them holding a monopoly on salvation being beneficial to their power structures.
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