CHILD SACRIFICE

2017 11 25 Nativity gif

If you need good luck, why not sacrifice a child to appease the god?

Regarding the practice of child sacrifice in many African countries — doesn’t Christianity promote this false idea that there is a god or spirit that must be appeased with a human sacrifice? According to the Book of Hebrews 7:27, 9:26, etc., Jesus is the one and only sacrifice, a man who offers himself as a human sacrifice to Yahweh.

But the Jews have it right, and also the Muslims, as they know Yahweh did not accept Abraham’s human sacrifice of his child Issac (Genesis 22), and God abhors human sacrifice, and God would never accept a human sacrifice, not even the sacrifice of a Jesus. God has no need for a human sacrifice. A human sacrifice is an abomination.

I suspect that Muslims and Jews are immune to Christianity because they know this fact about human sacrifice — God abhors it.

Islam may be the solution to this problem of child sacrifice in many African countries.  Either that or adequate law enforcement.

Christianity does not permit child sacrifice, but yet retains the ancient Pagan idea that a human sacrifice is/was essential to appease a god.  And Christianity preaches this idea of human sacrifice in Africa where some may be predisposed to act on it.

It would have been better if those who invented Christianity had instead taken the Jewish position that all human sacrifice is abhorrent to God.

It is quite horrific to think that a Virgin Goddess gives birth for the express purpose of having her issue tortured to death with enough blood-letting to fertilize the crops, etc.  That is the old Pagan story.  It should have been ignored by Paul the Apostle as he devised a new religion to supplement his income.  Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness and repentance should not have been tainted with such — sure makes God look like a blood-thirsty demon if God needs to be sated with human blood.

Of course I don’t know how much negative influence Christian ideas of human sacrifice have had on the current situation in Africa.  For sure, those who kill the children don’t realize that Jesus was supposedly the ‘one and only’ human sacrifice.

The real historical Jesus of Nazareth, if he was typical of his times, would not have considered himself a human sacrifice, because Jews of that time knew that Yahweh abhorred human sacrifice.

It might be that Christianity was designed to put a stop to a practice of human sacrifice (then perhaps resurgent in the backwoods of Turkey??) with the idea that a mythical Jesus was the ‘one and only sacrifice,’ and therefore, in theory, no other sacrifices would be necessary.  However regrettably, Christianity carried forward the non-Jewish idea that God is demon-like, demanding human sacrifice, and assumes God is unable to transform the world except by violence and blood.  Not a fit message for those Africans already predisposed to think in such terms.

We can’t even know if there was a Jesus of Nazareth.  But if you subtract all the stuff that is similar to Pagan imagery, such as virgin birth, human sacrifice, anointing, resurrection, drinking blood, bridegroom, etc., then you are left with Jesus’ message of love, forgiveness, repentance, and the  mistaken belief the world was about to end.  Probably most would agree the historical Jesus was some sort of itinerant preacher and healer.

It is important to know something of the mythology and the politics of the times to understand what may be factual in the New Testament.

Jesus’ message of a loving ‘Abba’ does not seem to be compatible with passages that make Jesus into a human sacrifice.

Are there submerged ideas that are carried forward in time in a religion?  Even if a practice of child sacrifice is not part of the Christian religion, if it endorses the sacrifice of a particular child, that is, the baby Jesus destined to be murdered, then it is carrying forward the wrong idea, a submerged idea, that child sacrifice is necessary and effective.

At the center of Christianity is the idea that killing a child is acceptable.  The young Lord Jesus, decreed to be a human sacrifice, is brought into the world for the express purpose of later killing Him, so you can be “saved” by His blood.

This idea of human sacrifice has roots in pre-Christian Pagan mythology.  It is not Jewish.  Jews didn’t do human sacrifice. Jews did not drink blood, not any blood, let alone human blood.  Jews were not cannibals; not even symbolically (as in wine as blood).

What happens when this idea that the brutal slaughter of the Son is/was necessary, is accepted by millions?  Do these millions then believe that bloody violence is always the answer? Does the world become less peaceful as a result?

Switching from the ancient story of a Goddess weeping over her slain Son to a Father-god ‘willing’ the bloody sacrifice of his Son, is not an improvement. In some versions, she killed her Son. Still not an improvement to switch to Father-god doing killing.

The Hebrew Bible condemned those who practiced child sacrifice (Ezechiel 16:20-21, 16:36, 20:26, 20:31 (DRA)).  But Pagan rituals of human sacrifice were held even in Yahweh’s temple which contained “carcasses of the kings” (Ezechiel 43:7-9 (DRA)).

The “kings” played the role of “bridegroom,” then were sacrificed, mimicking a god who was a bridegroom and who was sacrificed.  I suspect those selected to be kings were teens or otherwise vulnerable.

What happens when retrograde ideas of Bridegroom and sacrifice are deliberately carried forward in time by Paulists in the first century and by today’s Catholics?  What submerged corollary ideas tag along?

Do you ever contemplate this while you are drinking the “Blood” (wine) of the “Bridegroom” Jesus who was a “king”?

The article I am reflecting on at RNS says that many African countries have child sacrifice:  Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Swaziland, Liberia, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Article is at

http://religionnews.com/2017/09/26/witch-doctors-are-sacrificing-children-in-this-drought-stricken-african-country/

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OMNIPOTENCE

Why is Catholicism fading away in Europe?

No one knows? Scandal, lack of democracy, lack of respect for women and gays, etc?  Hardly ‘secularism’ whatever that is.

Perhaps the reason is that theology has drifted so far from the ideals and teachings of Jesus, that there is nothing left that is inviting.

If God is now all-knowing and all-powerful (a relatively recent emphasis), yet permitting evil, can God be good? Many decades ago I asked a European why there is suffering.  He said, “C’est le bon dieu.”  So a “good god” makes us suffer?  He was being sarcastic, but the response came from his heart.  I still remember.

Is God a harsh judge throwing one’s neighbors into a Hell?  Nasty.  Not a gentle Abba as Jesus taught.

Will you go to church to greet this sort of nasty-god?  A sinister god who will not stop the suffering, and who has to restrain his ‘wrath’ to ration out his “mercy”?  The Vatican’s idol, their mascot really, not very likeable.

Especially in recent centuries among the Protestants, God was portrayed as a raging, punishing demon, ready to throw all sinners into Hell.  People liked that to a certain extent, mainly because I suppose they thought they were innocent and only their neighbors were sinners.  But we are all sinners.

Where is ‘Immanuel,’ that is, God-with-us? Where is Mary? Where is community? Easter? Is there any joy?

Sister Elizabeth Johnson says of modern theism in Quest for the Living God (pp 14-17), that the concept of God as all-powerful and all-knowing took a new turn during the “Enlightenment,” and is not fully compatible with Christian ideas of Christ-incarnated, Spirit-indwelling, God transcendent, God closer than close, if I understand correctly.

I was taught in Catholic high school that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present.  It was like a mantra – God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The Vatican had swallowed this new definition whole.

My thought is that if you redefine God to be something other than what It was in the very early centuries, don’t be surprised if people abandon the religion.

Now you have fashioned an idol which is totally responsible for all the suffering in your life.  Now you are its victim.  Now you have an ‘all-powerful’ god (what does that mean anyway?), which begs the question of, “Is god able to make a rock that is too heavy for god to lift?”

Rather than spreading illogic, go back to God as our Good Shepherd, the one who clothes the lilies, who knows what we want before we ask, who searches for us as the woman searches for her coin, who transfigures, inspires, saves, loves, heals, feeds, empowers, restores, resurrects, in whom we live and move and have our being, for whom we are a sacred temple, etc.

I found like 500 Google results for ‘omnipotent’ on the Vatican website, but a quick glance at the results told me that maybe they are backing off from this definition of God, or trying to spin it??

Why have a definition of God that is unworkable and so easy for smug atheists to crumple?  Without a workable definition of God people won’t go to church.

But isn’t God called “Almighty” in the Hebrew Bible?  A blogger named Susan Harrison lets me know that the meaning of the Hebrew term “El Shaddai” is not clear, but it is often translated as “Almighty,” and the root has the meaning of “mountain” or to “violently destroy.”  Very interesting that the root may have meant female breasts in ancient times, as in God provides for us as does a mother nursing her infant.  (http://www.mothergodexperiment.com/el-shaddai-mother-name-god/)

For God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, see also Luke 1:37)

Really? God can do anything?

Can God be malevolent? Can God make 2 + 2 = 5??

I will guess that the biblical authors did not know where the boundaries are, if any, and engaged in hyperbole to make us stretch our minds so that we could perhaps gain some insights.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Wow. If I can do all things, then maybe I am omnipotent too.

God was mighty powerful even before the Enlightenment, but my impression is that with the Enlightenment, there was an undue emphasis put on that power, which had the effect of making God take the blame for everything that went wrong.

If God is the prime mover and all-powerful and all-knowing, and directly or indirectly responsible for all that happens, then what?  Well, “God has a plan.”  That is, somehow the willful negligence and abuse that you have pinned on this god can be justified by this supposed plan.  But you don’t know how it can be justified. Because you don’t know the plan.

In 1870, Pope Pius IX made himself the first infallible pope.  He defined God as both ‘almighty’ and ‘incomprehensible’ in the same sentence in Dei Filius.  Pretty neat trick to have it both ways, even if one is infallible.

God is incomprehensible.  People should refrain from trying to make God into something like all-mighty or ‘all-this’ or ‘all-that.’  Especially when you have no ability to conceive of the extent of “all” and know what that means.  Even defining God as boundless puts God into a box.  You can’t do that.  If God is, It transcends your reality.

I think one can posit a relationship between God and us, that intersection, that closer than close point, where God is Providence and is creating in the midst of us, seeking us, guiding us, and we are the essential, indispensable, and beloved co-creators – we forgive, we make peace, we have goodwill, we build the Kin_dom.  But one should not attempt to define that “all” which heads off into infinitude where words and understanding fail.

God does not seem to have any interest in proving to us that It is good. Nor any interest in explaining the why of suffering.

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NRSV

 

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PARADOXICAL TEACHINGS

 

In Webster’s online dictionary, paradox means “contradictory or opposed to common sense,” among other things.

Basically, paradoxical beliefs in religion are mysteries that cannot be explained and are accepted on faith.  I do wonder what is the point of arranging a religion around a bunch of inexplicable ‘mysteries,’ instead of facts.

Examples of paradoxical teachings

1 – Three equal differentiated persons in one consubstantial God

2 – Jesus, both fully divine and fully human

3 – Mary, both mother and virgin

4 – Consubstantial God as father of self

5 – People of God as both the Bride and the Body of Christ (Bridegroom)

6 – Jesus as human sacrifice to Yahweh who abhors human sacrifice

7 – All-knowing, all-powerful God who is absolute good, but allowing evil

8 – Looks like wine, tastes like wine, but really sacred Blood

9 – Looks like bread, tastes like bread, but really a risen Body

10 – “World without end. Amen.” vs. Judgement Day

11 – Celibate priests are holy; couples using ‘artificial’ birth control are in sin

12 – God said, “Do not kill,” then willed a crucifixion for his own Son

13 – Jesus saved us, but 2,000 years later, the world is still a mess

14 – God is “Father,” limited to maleness by convention, but God is limitless

15 – A ‘loving’ and ‘forgiving’ Father tests his children’s sinfulness, then throws them into a burning Hell, all the while knowing the outcome in advance

For sure, paradoxical teachings can be remembered and last for centuries, and as people puzzle over them and argue over them, the teachings are retained, and foster community and communication.

Rather scary to think there are millions out there, probably most of my neighbors, too, who hold similar paradoxical beliefs in their innermost thoughts. With this kind of thinking, how are they able to analyze who they should vote for? How are they able to make any decisions rationally?  Fortunately, it is considered impolite to discuss religion with casual acquaintances, so likely I will never know what they are thinking on this subject.

I guess most people internalize what they hear in church, then struggle to come up with some rational alternative explanation for what they have heard, so they can continue to ‘believe’ and to be part of a group and setting that is comfortable and familiar to them.

I am recalling that some people lie to their own children and say Santa will come down the chimney on Christmas Eve. The youngest children are not able to analyze this tale and determine:

(1) No one lives at the North Pole, least of all, Santa,

(2) Gifts for all the children of the world will not fit into a single Santa sleigh,

(3) Reindeer cannot fly through the air,

(4) A man of considerable girth such as Santa would not fit into a chimney that is at most, several inches wide,

(5) No reindeer has a brightly lit nose to guide the way,

(6) The gift to Santa of cookies was instead eaten by Mommy and Daddy, and

(7) There is no lump of coal for the children’s transgressions

So the little children are deceived. Interesting that the story seems to be designed with several propositions which are easily dismissed by older children, especially when prompted by their better informed peers.

I personally was not told reindeer could fly and so I did not have to overcome that; however, I was indoctrinated very thoroughly in religion in school.  I really have to wonder what the teachers were thinking as they pounded paradoxical “truths” and all manner of religious trivia into our young brains.  Surely, the teachers themselves did not believe all of it. Surely, they had begun to question. Yet they thought it was OK to mold children’s minds with it?

I just noticed an ad on Biblegateway, “God will wipe away every tear.” Are you really doing a child a favor by telling him/her that as if it were true? (And is this the same God who created the situation that caused the tears in the first place?) Logic, please.

One of my religion teachers, a priest, died at a young age, and I have always wondered if he killed himself in despair, having intelligently discovered something he could not bear to know, like . . . reindeer do not fly or some such thing.

Of what use are paradoxical beliefs? Is there some benefit to society from people having to overcome paradoxical beliefs? Do people gain more awareness by overcoming? Do they gain more ability to analyze?

Unfortunately, most people do not seem to progress quickly in their thinking and analyzing.

 

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WOMEN’S CHOICES

There is a lot more to women’s choosing beyond use of contraceptives and abortion.

Women ultimately decide who are the “alpha males” — those who will be allowed to have a genetic future.

Also, society is in the process of making a huge eugenics experiment.  Those men who are prone to making violent mistakes and who are now in prison have been removed from the gene pool.  Maybe this is what women were trying to accomplish in former times with the “sacrifice of the king.” Young males who were uncontrollable were told they were being singularly honored to be giving their blood for Her and of course for the welfare of the whole city . . . ??

Unfortunately, the genocide of women (killing of supposed witches) by the males in power in Christendom may have resulted in the female survivors tending to be docile and self-effacing women — another experiment in eugenics.

Eph 5:22-23 (NIV): “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands . . .   For the husband is the head of the wife . . .”

Do men tend to choose for mates, those women who are wimpy doormats, thus ensuring the continuance of this trait among women? Do men read in the Bible, “women be submissive to your husbands,” and assume that a submissive lass is what they are entitled to, per the word of God? They would rather have a submissive woman than an actual relationship with a woman?

The culture tells men they should not be wimpy – that would be ‘effeminate’ – so men generally strive to be something other than wimpy.

1 Co 14:34 (NIV): “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission

Fortunately, women’s liberation came along, so we see fewer and fewer women who are culturally conditioned to think they are obligated to maintain silence in public and gaze with a goofy, adoring look upon their husbands, while clinging to his arm as if unable to stand without his aid, and maybe such women cannot stand with ease if in the habit of wearing supposedly “sexy” spike heels.

1 Tim 2:12-13 (NIV): “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

Oh silly me (giggling and smiling sweetly – I’d be twirling my long tresses if I had any) — of course I have no idea if traits such as being wimpy or violent are the result of conditioning or can be passed along genetically, and I’ll just wait submissively for some expert – a man of course – to tell me if I am permitted to have any opinions.

After all, ‘Adam was formed first.’ Seems like a good argument to me.

 

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OF LIMITS AND LACK

What is this idiotic idea that everything must be divided up according to gender, that the female must be an accessory (complementary) to the male?

The term complementary reminds me of complementary angles in geometry.  The angles must sum to 90 degrees and each angle completes what the other ‘lacks” to make 90 degrees.  Each angle also limits the other.  Is this the way human relationships are?  Limiting?

Or are we supposed to love, support, empower, and to offer mutuality to each other.  Not limiting the other.  Recognizing wholeness (holiness), not finding lack.  Each made in God’s image.

My gender does not limit me.  Rather it empowers me.  It informs who I am becoming.

I don’t have a need to try to limit other people.  Yes, there is the key in lock.  Doesn’t mean you should extrapolate from that biology to place arbitrary cultural restrictions on all human interactions everywhere according to gender.  Yes, only women can breast feed. Doesn’t mean they can’t be astronauts. . . . or priests.

I’m not stuck in the 1950’s. I would leave it up to each couple to decide how to live their marriage. They can decide:

Who does the dishes

Who feeds the cat

Who burps the baby

Who chops the wood

Who lights the barbecue

Who brings home the bacon

It is sobering to realize that some will not allow a woman to speak or read.

  • In the Roman Catholic Church, a woman is not allowed to give a sermon or read aloud from the Gospel, as if women’s voices were profane, and as if women’s intellects were hampered by “feminine genius.”
  • The Taliban will not let girls or women learn how to read.

How do these chauvinist organizations get away with it?

Women allow it.

 

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STILL SERVING COMPLEMENTARIAN PIE

2016-10-12-0710-7-point-star-protractor-arcs-of-51-4-degrees-7x51-4360

With regard to Pope’s naming of new cardinals:  Still no female cardinal.

Wouldn’t it be so refreshing if even one of the men being honored by being elevated to cardinal refused the honor saying, “I will not accept such an honor until a woman is made cardinal.”

The Pope and his minions have cast their lot with the women who are satisfied to be treated like doormats and who are as yet not fully aware of the misogyny in the Church. Not a good bet because these women may wake up any day now and not ever be inclined to return to the Church once they have left in disgust.

Telling women they have to be self-limiting, self-undervaluing, unfulfilled, and satisfied with a small slice of the “complementarian” pie, is not an indoctrination that most women will find appealing over the long term, I’ll bet.

Jesus is dishonored by this religion that has degenerated into discrimination and exclusion, instead of being a “priesthood of all believers,” and “neither male nor female.”

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THE KEYS ARE ON THE FLAG

zz Vatican flag design

Have you ever noticed how the Papal flag with its triple crown, draped stole, and crossed keys, is the same basic design as the Jolly Roger flag with its skull, mandible, and crossed bones? Historically, which flag copied which flag? The Papal flag is a unique design among today’s national flags.

The keys are on the Vatican flag, but the idea that earth binds heaven may be a mistranslation.

In the ‘Our Father,’ it is ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ (the reverse).

The NIV footnote has for Matthew 16:19, “Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven.” So heaven affects earth, not earth binding heaven. Similar footnote for Matthew 18:18.

So the Vatican may need to redesign its flag.

Possibly “heaven” meaning expanse, is inner consciousness, and that sets the stage for how we view “earth,” the material world we inhabit?? So the “key” is that your inner consciousness is very important.

Jesus obviously knew nothing of a pope or a Vatican flag.

 

 

 

 

 

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