by Allen C. Dexter
The blood soaked history of religions (all religions) is too little known or recognized in the modern world.
The myth continues that religion is the source of morality, mercy and everything good. Muslims, for example, try to paint themselves as peace loving while commissioning suicide bombers to blow up infidels and other Muslims who happen to follow a different variant of islam their particular sect or group considers heretical. They are not unique in this sanguine, shocking stain on the pages of religious history.
Nothing inflames passions more than religious fervency. This is especially true when those passions get inflamed even more by a mental pathology like extreme narcissism.
Witness Jonestown and what many of us experienced as unthinking adherents to WCG and its dizzying plethora of offshoots. It becomes a psychological addiction that many can never shake.
A detailed summary of just a few of the appalling atrocities religions have perpetrated on the world can be found at this website: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_haught/holy.html.
These facts demonstrate the absurdity of claims of benevolence and moral and ethical superiority for religion and religious belief – even that generally benign faith of Buddhism (see the above article). Most general adherents of all religions, unless and until inflamed, usually go through life with no murderous attitudes toward others. They’re just ordinary people trying to get by, someone with whom you could enjoy a cup of tea.
Interject the power mad narcissist in a position of leadership and/or influence and all bets are off.
But, that is only background for the real subject of this post; something the average Christian has just accepted through mental osmosis – the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Stop and think about it for a moment. Does “Jesus died for my sins” really make sense?
You may reply that it does because Jesus was special. He was God made flesh through a virgin birth. He never committed a sin and was guiltless. Therefore, as God made flesh, he could atone for all my sins by voluntarily sacrificing himself.
This whole idea of a substitutionary sacrifice or atonement makes no sense at all. I’m sure there are loving parents who would gladly suffer execution for a crime one of their children committed. They could protest that they are guiltless and, therefore, suffering the penalty in their offspring’s stead would justify the guilty one going free. There isn’t a court in the entire world that would entertain such a thing.
Besides, if Jesus really was god incarnate, his death would be an illusion in the first place. In effect, he would be sacrificing himself to himself to cancel a rule he set up in the beginning. When they call it a “mystery,” they’re dead right!
Several assumptions are at work here, and they all revolve around accepting one mythological absurdity after another, beginning with Genesis 1. These include the special creation of Adam and Eve, the “fall,” man’s death being an eternal penalty instead of a natural thing that befalls all creatures, etc.
Some will counter with the common self-righteous charge that I’m just “leaning to my own understanding” and they are too reverent to do that.
Everybody, yes EVERYBODY, has no choice but to lean to their own understanding, even if that means accepting somebody else’s understanding, so don’t try to belittle my understanding. Here’s a humorous little parody which illustrates how the average person gets their spiritual and religious “truths”: http://www.jhuger.com/kisshank.php.
Osiris (see:: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa2.htm) and Mithras (see: http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen048.html) supposedly were virgin-born of the gods and died for your sins long before Jesus was ever heard of. There is no evidence that the original Jewish apostles held any such beliefs — either in a virgin birth or a blood atonement. It was all grafted onto the Christianity created at the Council of Nicea and written into what we accept as the Bible after the fourth century (over three hundred years after any individual named “Jesus” walked the streets and roads of Judea). Read the history here: http://www.nexusmagazine.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=70.
The whole idea of a substitutionary sacrifice permeated the ancient world. It took many forms and the concept has never disappeared: “…without shedding of blood is no remission” Heb. 9:22.
We see it at work in the myth of Abraham’s proposed sacrifice of Isaac. We are assured by the scriptures that God told him to do it. Every psychopath who murders his or her children seems to come up with a similar statement. Today, only those with mental derangements claim such personal communication with the deity. This fact should give us pause to wonder about Abraham. Perhaps he had some unfortunate accident similar to Ellen G. White’s that led to partial-complex seizures: http://www.ellenwhiteexposed.com/egw79.htm.
Whatever really happened back there in the misty mythological past, at least an acceptable level of sanity took over before poor Isaac’s throat was slit. Maybe the psychological stress brought on another revelatory seizure. I’m too old and knowledgeable about history and the ways of the world to accept it all as scripturally stated. “Spin” is as old as human awareness, and I’ve had to be corrected from time to time about my recollections and interpretations about my own past. I can only imagine what might have happened if those memories had been passed on orally for hundreds of years, finally written down and then copied, translated, interpreted, etc, over and over for more hundreds of years.
At least, Abraham somehow came to his senses, according to the account we have. Beats what Jesus’ supposed father ended up doing, according to the myth.
We are told that God likes to smell the aroma of a sacrifice. I can relate. I enjoy smelling a barbecue. Anthropomorphizing that liking onto your deity is a stretch, but humans do create their gods in their image.
Most people conclude that only the sacrifice of animals was pleasing to God.
According to the scriptures, he got a few kicks out of the slaughtering and burning of humans as well, at least in the centuries before he was fully evolved.
For years, I read over Leviticus 27:28 and 29 and never noticed what it really said: “…no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of that he hath, both OF MAN and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH.” (Let’s be honest, I skimmed it. We tend as believers to be selective in our reading and our awareness of what we really are reading.)
“Oh, that didn’t really happen,” I can hear people saying.
Oh, but it did! Many Times, I’m sure, but few are recorded.
It took centuries for Israel to totally abandon human sacrifice.
Remember the account of Jephthah’s daughter? That’s another passage of scripture we tend to carelessly read over and dismiss one way or another. When we are people of faith, we tend to develop tunnel vision and selective scriptural amnesia. Here’s the account:
“Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah … and Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to me, when I return in peace … shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering…. And Jephthah came … unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child … he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! … I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back (remember Lev. 27:28-29). … And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains … at the end of two months … she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed.”
The God of Israel (I suspect that it was really the avaricious priests) even considered the firstborn son of every family something that had to be ransomed or redeemed so they would not be sacrificed. See Exodus 13:2. Those offerings for redemption went to the priests. It was quite a mafia-style protection racket! Such practices went by the way over the centuries, thankfully. They were once common to religions.
In Deuteronomy 13:13-19, it was commanded that a whole town, everyone and everything in it, be killed and burned AS A SACRIFICE TO GOD.
I know. God commanded it, so it’s all right.
The child murderer and Muslim cleric say the same thing.
If a real God really gives such commands, why doesn’t he have the “balls” to give the command in person? Or, more reasonably, do the job himself? Couldn’t he, if he really has the power attributed to him, have sent an asteroid to wipe out that city? Why does an all powerful deity have to have puny humans do his dirty work? Takes no courage to send a priestly lackey to in turn send the rank and file “Joe Blow” any more than it takes personal courage for a mafia don to send a hit man, or an imam to send a fanatical young boy or girl wearing a suicide vest.
Surely a few of the attackers were killed or seriously wounded. I guess they were just unfortunate “collateral damage.”
People worship a pusillanimous wimp!
Some power mad, probably wild-eyed and psychologically disturbed individuals in different places at some ancient times manufactured those sorry travesties of humans standing in for their all powerful deities and through fear and intimidation, got everybody to bow down to those sorry excuses of omnipotent gods and do whatever the exalted “holy” representative told them to do in their names.
Far too many people still worship some imaginary god they’re absolutely certain demands blood to be spilled for their sins. They are so grateful to be able to claim the substitutionary blood of somebody called “Jesus.”
What a delusion!