Monday, March 22, 2010

Human Sacrifice! Brilliant!

I got a curious search request hit yesterday that had me thinking about the topic of human sacrifice. The search phrase "abraham and isaac on mount moriah activity sheets" had me reminiscing about all the fun activities we used to do in Sabbath school. I'm afraid they probably didn't find what they were looking for when they landed on my post on Abraham's Test so I thought I'd lend them a hand (that's if they decide to return which I highly doubt). You can find Abraham coloring pages here and here, and the activity sheets on Isaac's sacrifice here. If you click on the activity sheet link and scroll down to page 6 you can read the key points of the story.
  1. Abraham’s heart was set to be obedient to whatever God had called him to do.
  2. Even to the point of sacrificing his own son.
  3. Abraham believed the promises of God, and his covenant would come true.
  4. He trusted God no matter what.
A couple things come to mind after looking over the activity sheet: 1) human sacrifice didn't bother me as a child and 2) it probably didn't bother me because I thought I was invulnerable (God would protect me) and I was too busy working on the crossword puzzle. I honestly have no memory of flinching or having any fearful thoughts throughout the countless retelling of Biblical stories. I didn't make the connection because to me (as a child) bad things only happen to bad people. The death, destruction, and horrendous genocide did not phase me one bit because it didn't feel real. Those events happened to really bad people a long time ago, so who cares let me finish coloring my picture.

But now it makes me sick to my stomach that I silently sat there week after week instead of screaming out against the injustices done to countless of people all in the name of God. If I knew then what I know now I would feel like an accomplice, or a yes man cheering God on.

"Human Sacrifice! Brilliant!"

(You've got to love British comedy.)

This is the mindless, uncaring, and unquestioning faith that no longer appeals to me. The Yes Man (or Yes God) Faith does not leave any room to question the Master Plan (or if you're cynical, the emotional ravings) of the Old Testament God. Because to question God's morality is to question any constant ground we may have in a constantly shifting, chaotic world. Yet how can we break the cycle of injustice committed in the world (this includes acts committed by Christians) if we are constantly being reminded what is right or wrong as if we were children? Yes, the Divine stopped Abraham in the end from sacrificing his son, and children, for the most part, understand the moral lesson: obey God faithfully and everything will be hunky dory. Yet Abraham fully intended to sacrifice his son, Period. We would fail as parents if we 1) continued to construct a false sense of Divine security and 2) did not instill a strong sense of independent thought and morality. We will not always be there, and nor will God, to stop the bad people from driving a knife into their chest or counsel them on the suffering caused by adultery. We are to prepare them for all of life's suffering and inspire them to discover all of life's joys.


Don said...

"The death, destruction, and horrendous genocide did not phase me one bit because it didn't feel real."

I think you are right. Isn't it a shame that it takes us so long to look at the genocide stories in the Bible and say, "wait a miniute! Something's wrong here!"

Sad, very sad that traditional Christianity seems to not even blink at those stories or simple sweep them under the rug.

Doug Robertson said...

Early childhood indoctrination into any belief system seems to preclude questioning later on, people just take certain things for granted. I agree w/Don "sad that traditional Christianity seems to not even blink" at certain things. Wonder if they'd be so willing to overlook some kook binding up his kid ready for slaughter on the news today, so long as God told him to do it.

Chris Ledgerwood said...

I agree with your post completely. In light of this where does that put Jesus' death? Christianity is based on Human sacrifice!

Unknown said...

In light of this where does that put Jesus' death?

Chris, I believe that depends on a couple things. First, is it just a story (as many post-modern Christians would see it), and if so how does that story speak to you? Or is it the event a necessary factor to your worldview (i.e. is it necessary for salvation)?

Second, we would have to consider what Jesus' intentions were during the event? Did he actually envision himself as THE perfect sacrifice and did he envision himself participating in some master plan of his Father? Or was he just screwed over by the ruling powers? Of course, I'm probably preaching to the crowd these are just questions meant to provoke thought and contemplation among the other readers. (And I do love asking questions!)

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