Here’s a great comment from Marc Malone over on the conclusion of my Afrolantica series at Tatler. Marc is responding to a secularist critic of ethical monotheism who smears the Judeo-Christian tradition, claiming the God of the Bible to be “In modern vernacular, he is a psychopath.” Malone takes him down and reminds us of the rise of the West as the true evidence for the superiority of the invisible, faceless God:
Nonsense. From the beginning, God reviled blood sacrifice. See Cain and Abel. God accepted Abel the Farmer’s burnt offerings, but rejected Cain’s animal sacrifice.Were some the Christian themes understandings of the day? Mayhap. How else are you going to explain things to an illiterate people? Jesus gave them the ceremony of the Eucharist. It offers a symbolic veneration, rather than actual blood sacrifice, and it certainly does not venerate an actual blood sacrifice. (Of course, fools who insist that actual transformation into real blood and flesh simply miss the metaphor.)
Certainly, if you want to find it all in a bad light, and if you want to connect it to the same bad practices of preceding religions, you certainly will get the results you desire. However in your desire to find sameness, you miss the vast differences, differences which create vastly different results.
All those blood sacrifice cultures have been swept aside by Christianity. The ancient gods of the West of olden times are no more, crushed by Christianity. The Dark Ages were a period of Enlightenment, the liberation from cruel primitive beliefs. And so, the West rose to dominance over the whole world. (As we lose this faith, however, we also lose our dominance.)
The only reason Islam gained its original foothold, was by lying and claiming to be an Ibrahimic faith like Judaism and Christianity. ‘Twas foulest blasphemy. And it is a claim long since abrogated by Islamic “scholars”. it was merely a way for the old faiths of sacrifice to be reborn. The vile Moon god of Ur and the Morning Star. The Moon and Star. Islam, the Adversary. Jihad, the blood sacrifice to Him. The Devil howls His glee.
In short, ‘similar’ and ‘same’ are similar, not the same. Only fools can believe otherwise.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday. You don’t have to call yourself a Jew or a Christian to appreciate the wonderful invention of the Sabbath. No wonder the instruction to keep it holy made it onto a top
15 10 list of instructions on how to live a happy life…
Update: Good comment below from Ephraim noting Marc’s garbled theology (hardly a crime when writing off the top of your head in an internet comment box) and offering his own Jewish perspective on Christianity:
That’s a nice comment, but, unfortunately, Mr. Malone gets it completely backwards. Cain was the farmer and Abel was the sheperd. G-d turned to Abel’s offering from the flock (a blood sacrifice) and spurned Abel’s offering of produce from the ground. The reason is not clearly stated, but it can perhaps be inferred from the wording of the passage: “Cain brought an offering to G-d of the fruits of the ground, and as for Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and from their choicest”. That is, Abel gave the best of what he had to G-d, while the same is not said of Cain.
Also, I assume that Mr. Malone must be a Protestant. I am not a Christian, but it is my understanding that Catholics believe in Transubstantiation, the doctrine that the wine and wafer are transformed into the actual, not metaphorical, blood and flesh of Jesus, and that by eating it they are saved from sin. Indeed, the death of Jesus is the ultimate blood sacrifice; a real one, most decideldly NOT a metaphor. The whole point of Christianity, as I understand it, anayway, is precisely the fact that G-d sacrificed himself and shed his blood so that those who believe such a thing are saved through it. As a Jew, this makes no sense to me at all, but it is what I have been led to believe by reading things about Christian theology. I think the point was that by having one ultimate blood sacrifice good for all time it obviated the need for any others. But Christianity is based on a blood sacrifice nonetheless. Inedeed, it makes little or no theological sense without it, so far as I can tell as an outsider.