Human Sacrifice

Topics: Sacrifice, Human sacrifice, Korban Pages: 10 (3800 words) Published: December 3, 2011
Almost everything a man does is based on his belief and what he chooses to believe in. Religion, of course, is the primary foundation of all this belief. Little may we notice it and we may not seem to want to accept it, but religion dictates to us the way we live our lives. It tells us what good and bad is—also, which are good and which are bad. It reasons in our hearts though we never question it and that’s probably why we tend to be faithful to it. But disproportionate faithfulness to our beliefs can sometimes bring forth our own destruction. In every religion, there are sacrifices. The very basic question that one has to answer primarily is what a sacrifice is. Sacrifice came from the Latin word sacrificium: sacer, which means, sacred and facere, which means, to make. [1] Well, according to an abridged Webster’s Vest Pocket dictionary, the first meaning of the word sacrifice written, is ‘the offering of something precious to a deity or the thing offered’. The second gist, according still to this dictionary, is ‘loss or deprivation’. [2] Now, let’s focus first on the primary denotation: offering of something precious to a deity or the thing offered. Another word for an offering is sacrifice while a deity is a supernatural force that is present in all religion. Since these deities’ prowesses are way beyond human limits, people found the need to appease these forces in order for them to have a good and stable life. Herein is where sacrifices came into the picture. Sacrifices are perhaps the most primordial means of honoring divine beings. But how do you honor a being that you believe is by far greater than you are?? Simple… [1] Pohle, J. (1912). Sacrifice. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 24, 2008 from New Advent: [2] Merriam-Webster. (1989). Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster. Let us now put our concentration on the second meaning given by the dictionary: loss or deprivation. To be at peace with a god, one must give up something that is precious and valuable. One cannot offer something that is of unimportance because, as what they believe tells them, it might upset or even anger the gods. If we think of what possible gifts or sacrifice a person or even a community can offer to a god, we come up with some theories. The original theory was ‘everyone needs to eat’. Yes, everyone, including the so-called ancestor-gods. In the early times, particularly in Egypt and Mesopotamia, priests would dutifully leave food on altars for the gods to eat. But of course, these beings would never actually even touch the offerings. It was awkward to have all those untouched food sitting around, so in the long run, priests started to do the cutting, burning or bleeding of the sacrifices. They thought it was a lot better than leaving the victuals to become rancid without having any use. Later on, this original theory of feeding the gods was forgotten and the practice became then a ritual, which was done by the participants just for the sake of offering to their belief-gods. The most primitive sacrifices consisted of crops and meat—basically; these are the subsistence products of the early people. Since these goods are needed for every man’s survival, they are then considered valuables that are worthy to be offered to the gods. But then, humans always have this tendency to be unsatisfied with what they are giving especially when they know that what they offer would surely be given back to them, if not a hundred, maybe a thousand folds better. These simple sacrifices, then, slowly shifted to animal sacrifice and from there to blood sacrifice. A problem then comes in when people have shifted pass the scheme that they were actually ‘feeding the gods’. The animal hierarchy kicks in, so as to say that a ram is a better sacrifice than a bird, and a cow is a better...
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