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What Is The Point Of A Sacrifice?


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Hi, I'm new here. You could say I'm searching. I was raised in church, went to BIble College, the whole bit and something has been bothering me for a while now that I cannot get a rational answer to.

 

What is the purpose of sacrifice? I asked this question on Facebook to my friends and family and got only two responses, both standard Christian answers I myself might have given a few years ago. Here was how I posed the question:

 

 

"Serious question I've been afraid to ask:

 

What is the point of a sacrifice? If a god, any god is willing to overlook something in exchange for the life of the sacrifice, why could they not by that same choice of substitution choose to just forgive without the sacrifice?"

 

 

 

Here were the responses:

 

"Because it also takes an act of obedience on our part."

 

 

"There is an aspect of justice to it. Of course god could chose to simply forgive the offence. However doing so would devalue the offence in the first place. It would say "this was not truly an offence". There would be no reason for the offender to not repeat the offence.

The offence is perpetuated and the offender never learns to not offend."

 

 

The thing about all this that really bothers me is that if a god really could substitute one punishment for another, then in reality it is all a choice inside the mind of that god. If the sacrifice is required because of some cosmic law that even the god cannot violate, then why are they a god? Does this make any sense at all?

 

And I'm not taking about consequences for bad behaviour in a child. I recently grounded my son from the Wii, his favourite thing ever because he hauled off and hit his sister while playing on it. That seemed reasonable and rational. But I would never require him to go flush his pet fish, kill it, because he hit his sister. The analogy breaks down too much for me. But the Bible verse that pops into my head is "The wages of sin is death" and then another, "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't, sins." (Sorry, I don't know the exact citations.) What this implies to me is any sin, no matter how small, is worthy of death. But who seriously thinks that way, honestly? Okay I have known some people who treat every misbehaviour from their kids exactly the same way, with a spanking, to illustrate this very point. THAT also really bothered me.

 

This is where the huge cosmic/spiritual principle usually comes up. The second answer above makes sense if you are taking about shaping the behaviour of a child, but really doesn't make sense to me when applied to why a man would have to die for other people's sin. In such a case, then the god is choosing to see the death of the one instead of the other. Which means to me that either said god is simply capricious and mean, or else he/she is bound by rules that even they can't change, therefore aren't really a god at all.

 

Am I crazy, or does this all seem like a complicated explanation of barbaric, primitive people trying to explain why things got better after an animal died?

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Welcome to EX-C.

 

Well, contrary to what Christrians realize, a sacrifice is completly unnessasry. For one God made the rules here, he made the rules saying you couldnt get into heaven without going through the buerocracy. God could easily just forgive people without killing himself, i find it interesting Christians never stop to think, if I can forgive soemone without an ultimatium, why cant God?

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"There is an aspect of justice to it. Of course god could chose to simply forgive the offence. However doing so would devalue the offence in the first place. It would say "this was not truly an offence". There would be no reason for the offender to not repeat the offence.

The offence is perpetuated and the offender never learns to not offend."

 

 

Actually it's "Christian Justice" that devalues the offense!

 

 

As for the first answer: it didn't even make sense to me.

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Welcome to Ex-C, Rachelmum.

 

Wanting answers that make sense does not mean you're crazy -- just the opposite, actually!

 

I'm surprised that you didn't get a third answer: "You think too much."

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Am I crazy, or does this all seem like a complicated explanation of barbaric, primitive people trying to explain why things got better after an animal died?

 

You're certainly not crazy. You sound like a thoughtful and humane person asking a good question (in a way that many loving parents might ask it). In that case, welcome, you'll fit in brilliantly here.

 

I don't have a good answer to what a sacrifice is. IMHO, it's exactly what you say in that quote -- and perhaps a bit more (or less) than that. Aside from sacrificing lambs and other four-legged animals, a lot of cultures (including those of the OT and NT) have also required human sacrifice. And one could say (after listinging to the way many modern people talk about war) our gods still do require sacrifices of our own sons and daughters to holy causes.

 

I don't have answers, but I used to have similar questions. Why did god accept Abel's sacrifice of meat but reject Cain's sacrifice of crops? (Only reasonable answer I ever heard was because, in the days when that account was written, the great political goal was to demonize earth-focused fertility religions. Oh, and because the bible was written by people whose economy was based on herding.)

 

And why did god the father set up the blood sacrifice of god the son, when the only purpose was to placate his own wrath? Can anybody explain that?

 

I think you're looking for something that will help make the concept of sacrifice sound rational, or at least reasonable. I don't think you'll find that.

 

But I hope you do find other thoughtful minds.

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It doesn't make sense when the rules of logic are applied. It also wasn't a sacrifice. If someone donates you a chunk of their liver, they make a sacrifice. If a god-man, who knows full well he can't be killed and knows the future outcome dies a 2 1/2 day human death and then gets a reward for it from himself for what must have been like a pin-prick to an eternal being, then he didn't sacrifice shit.

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Hi, I'm new here. You could say I'm searching. I was raised in church, went to BIble College, the whole bit and something has been bothering me for a while now that I cannot get a rational answer to.

 

What is the purpose of sacrifice? I asked this question on Facebook to my friends and family and got only two responses, both standard Christian answers I myself might have given a few years ago. Here was how I posed the question:

 

 

"Serious question I've been afraid to ask:

 

What is the point of a sacrifice? If a god, any god is willing to overlook something in exchange for the life of the sacrifice, why could they not by that same choice of substitution choose to just forgive without the sacrifice?"

There are also sacrifices which are fellowship offerings, burnt offerings, etc.

The animal sin sacrifice is almost exclusively for the commission of unintentional sins.

The sacrifice of an animal is supposed to give the lawbreaker an opportunity to reflect on their transgression even though it may have been unintentional.

 

Here were the responses:

 

"Because it also takes an act of obedience on our part."

 

 

"There is an aspect of justice to it. Of course god could chose to simply forgive the offence. However doing so would devalue the offence in the first place. It would say "this was not truly an offence". There would be no reason for the offender to not repeat the offence.

The offence is perpetuated and the offender never learns to not offend."

God will forgive sin as shown here:

2 Chron 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

 

God also forgave the city of Ninevah in the Book of Jonah.

 

The thing about all this that really bothers me is that if a god really could substitute one punishment for another, then in reality it is all a choice inside the mind of that god. If the sacrifice is required because of some cosmic law that even the god cannot violate, then why are they a god? Does this make any sense at all?

Animal sin sacrifices are correlated to unintentional sin.

 

Num 15:27-31(NLT)

“If one individual commits an unintentional sin, the guilty person must bring a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering.

The priest will sacrifice it to purify the guilty person before the Lord, and that person will be forgiven.

These same instructions apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.

“But those who brazenly violate the Lord’s will, whether native-born Israelites or foreigners, have blasphemed the Lord, and they must be cut off from the community.

Since they have treated the Lord’s word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his command, they must be completely cut off and suffer the punishment for their guilt.”

 

God can forgive sin at any time even if the sacrificial system isn't functioning.

However, the stipulations of the law concerning sacrifices are to be followed when it is functioning.

 

Am I crazy, or does this all seem like a complicated explanation of barbaric, primitive people trying to explain why things got better after an animal died?

I find the whole idea of killing an animal as part of a symbolic ritual to be rather repulsive.

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It really all comes down to God showing us how much he loves us by sending his Son (himself) on a suicide mission. Which begs the question... Did God commit suicide?

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Hi, I'm new here. You could say I'm searching. I was raised in church, went to BIble College, the whole bit and something has been bothering me for a while now that I cannot get a rational answer to.

 

What is the purpose of sacrifice? I asked this question on Facebook to my friends and family and got only two responses, both standard Christian answers I myself might have given a few years ago. Here was how I posed the question:

 

 

"Serious question I've been afraid to ask:

 

What is the point of a sacrifice? If a god, any god is willing to overlook something in exchange for the life of the sacrifice, why could they not by that same choice of substitution choose to just forgive without the sacrifice?"

Not all sacrifices were blood sacrifices. An example would be a "libation" which was usually wine or water poured over the alter. You could also have simple grain or flour sacrifices. And the purpose of sacrifices were generally just to gain the favor of the god(s) in some way. So if you wanted the god to favor you in some way, either in the now, the future, or for something that has been done, then you would have a sacrifice to try to ensure this. You might just want to effect the weather for battle or you may be making the daily/monthly sacrifice to ensure things operate smoothly in your kingdom. The list is practically endless. The more important and/or abundant the sacrifice the more "weight" it should (hopefully) carry in swaying the god(s) in whatever appeal you're making.

 

mwc

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Christian apologists can offer no good reason for it theologically. The concept of blood sacrifice is a holdover from Christianity's Pagan roots and the barbarians who penned the earliest parts of what is now the Bible.

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Not all sacrifices were blood sacrifices. An example would be a "libation" which was usually wine or water poured over the alter. You could also have simple grain or flour sacrifices. And the purpose of sacrifices were generally just to gain the favor of the god(s) in some way.

 

You indirectly make another good point: it appears the original purpose of sacrificing to gods was to feed the gods. And the reason lambs, virgins, or fresh produce were used was to feed the gods your very freshest and best food.

 

The early gods were not colossal all-powerful mysteries. They were something like superior humans. They walked, talked, had sex, played games. That's even the way the OT god is depicted early on -- walking around in the garden not able to find Adam and Eve, having a meal with Abraham, making a bet with Satan, etc. So of course they ate and drank. And by giving our finest, they'd be happy with us and not hurt us so badly. Maybe even do something nice for us.

 

Sacrifice eventually became ritual, divorced from this original meaning. But our ancestors still had to justify to themselves why they wer doing it. I fear that's the only meaning you're likely to find.

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Hi, I'm new here. You could say I'm searching. I was raised in church, went to BIble College, the whole bit and something has been bothering me for a while now that I cannot get a rational answer to......

 

Just a thought....if you look at it as a plus or minus loss/gain, then if I sin and am in debt 5 somethings let's say, then if God forgave all the five somethings every time, what would I have learned?

 

Edit: And I have yet to meet the person that forgives 5 somethings every time....

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Hi, I'm new here. You could say I'm searching. I was raised in church, went to BIble College, the whole bit and something has been bothering me for a while now that I cannot get a rational answer to......

 

Just a thought....if you look at it as a plus or minus loss/gain, then if I sin and am in debt 5 somethings let's say, then if God forgave all the five somethings every time, what would I have learned?

 

Edit: And I have yet to meet the person that forgives 5 somethings every time....

What does that add to what she has said? I'm not even asking about her point, this answer has no value. It has no point or meaning, does it?

 

As for Rachel, I have to say, there really isn't a point to the sacrifice. They're just justifying what their religion used to be about. Iron age appeasement rites are something I do actually understand and have studied in depth. The scape-goat sacrifice was known not just to Judaism, but also to the Babylonians and presumably the Canaanites. It was based on the assumption that you did wrong, and you needed to do something to be forgiven. That's the internal logic. However, Christianity comes around and says that was never enough, the jews lied! They give retarded nonsensical answers as to why there was sacrifices offered for their sins, and say that the only way to forgiveness is salvation (Belief in Jesus and this branchoff of Judaism).

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Hi, I'm new here. You could say I'm searching. I was raised in church, went to BIble College, the whole bit and something has been bothering me for a while now that I cannot get a rational answer to......

 

Just a thought....if you look at it as a plus or minus loss/gain, then if I sin and am in debt 5 somethings let's say, then if God forgave all the five somethings every time, what would I have learned?

 

Edit: And I have yet to meet the person that forgives 5 somethings every time....

What does that add to what she has said? I'm not even asking about her point, this answer has no value. It has no point or meaning, does it?

 

Oh good. I thought it was just me that wasn't getting what end said here. Sometimes I wonder if I'm taking crazy pills when someone posts something that completely seems to miss making any connection with my brain.

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Just a thought....if you look at it as a plus or minus loss/gain, then if I sin and am in debt 5 somethings let's say, then if God forgave all the five somethings every time, what would I have learned?

 

And what do you learn when god supposedly forbives all "somethings" when all you do is pray to Jesus? You're making no sacrifice at all. If you're talking about learning experiences, wouldn't doing penance or just paying the natural consequences of a bad act teach you more than burning a lamb or saying, "Hey, I accept what some other guy did 2,000 years ago"?

 

Edit: And I have yet to meet the person that forgives 5 somethings every time....

 

But isn't god supposed to be more merciful, more understanding, more everything good than any mere "person"?

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If God is bound by this rule that there HAS to be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, WHO MADE THAT RULE? it must have been a being above God.

 

If God isn't bound by the rule, but chooses to require a sacrifice for forgiveness, needs DEATH to cover a less-heinous-than-death sin, that's ass backwards and completely illogical.

 

Pick your poison.

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Besides, if you want to believe the bible, Jeremiah said that sacrifices WERE NOT NECESSARY to gain forgiveness from god.

 

So there.

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What does that add to what she has said? I'm not even asking about her point, this answer has no value. It has no point or meaning, does it?

Sure it has value. One, your assumption is that you know the greater plan of God.....that you know what your purpose is here. Truthfully BD, and this is the only part of my statement that I would wish you to respond to: What would humanities purpose be and how do you know? And I think R talked about some cosmic absolute if I recall......morality you think?

 

As for Rachel, I have to say, there really isn't a point to the sacrifice. They're just justifying what their religion used to be about. Iron age appeasement rites are something I do actually understand and have studied in depth. The scape-goat sacrifice was known not just to Judaism, but also to the Babylonians and presumably the Canaanites. It was based on the assumption that you did wrong, and you needed to do something to be forgiven. That's the internal logic. However, Christianity comes around and says that was never enough, the jews lied! They give retarded nonsensical answers as to why there was sacrifices offered for their sins, and say that the only way to forgiveness is salvation (Belief in Jesus and this branchoff of Judaism).

 

We practice personal sacrifice every day.....whether you are cognizant of it or not.

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McDaddy has a point. I'll say, the Bible makes about as much sense as End Does, perhaps there's a reason for that? I don't think End is crazy, I think he's just trying really really hard to believe crazy things, to the point that nothing he says makes any sense.

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Just a thought....if you look at it as a plus or minus loss/gain, then if I sin and am in debt 5 somethings let's say, then if God forgave all the five somethings every time, what would I have learned?

 

And what do you learn when god supposedly forbives all "somethings" when all you do is pray to Jesus? You're making no sacrifice at all. If you're talking about learning experiences, wouldn't doing penance or just paying the natural consequences of a bad act teach you more than burning a lamb or saying, "Hey, I accept what some other guy did 2,000 years ago"?

 

Edit: And I have yet to meet the person that forgives 5 somethings every time....

 

But isn't god supposed to be more merciful, more understanding, more everything good than any mere "person"?

 

I gather the purpose of humanity is that we know God by knowing Christ. There are a myriad of answers. Personally, I think sacrifice is involved in the manifestation of God in that when we learn to sacrifice our time, our bodies, our knowledge, our pride, then we manifest God in others lives by them seeing and knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. Moderately simple.

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If God is bound by this rule that there HAS to be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, WHO MADE THAT RULE? it must have been a being above God.

 

If God isn't bound by the rule, but chooses to require a sacrifice for forgiveness, needs DEATH to cover a less-heinous-than-death sin, that's ass backwards and completely illogical.

 

Pick your poison.

 

You lost me....what rule are you proposing God being bound to?

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McDaddy has a point. I'll say, the Bible makes about as much sense as End Does, perhaps there's a reason for that? I don't think End is crazy, I think he's just trying really really hard to believe crazy things, to the point that nothing he says makes any sense.

 

I'm only moderately crazy BD....please answer my question.....what is humanities purpose and how do you know?

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Sure it has value. One, your assumption is that you know the greater plan of God.....that you know what your purpose is here. Truthfully BD, and

Truthfully, BD has no purpose on Ex-C (unless you meant somewhere else, I was never in your house). Or are you just being vague, and using hyperinflated, grandiose, narcissistic statements made by some teacher/preacher who made them before you? None of this makes any sense. But you're in luck, the mere fact that I was a christian once, means that I at least am able to know what you mean, because I once used your arguements.

 

In fact, I'm sure that if you stated half the shit you do here to one of the piraha of the amazon, they'd look at you like you have 10 heads, because they wouldn't understand a thing you just said.

 

There is no grand plan, the Bible never mentions such. As for that grandplan, Rachel and McDaddy and others already hammered it out of the water, God made it. And restating it doesn't change the fact that it has little to do with anything, and doesn't justify the sacrifices. That being said, I'll continue:

 

this is the only part of my statement that I would wish you to respond to: What would humanities purpose be and how do you know? And I think R talked about some cosmic absolute if I recall......morality you think?

Well ain't that a little too bad. I'll respond to all of it, I'm not you, I'm an honest debater. I'm getting annoyed that you respond with vagueries. Why does it rain? Because it rains and the ground becomes wet. Sorry, but that's exactly what you sound like.

 

What do the humanities have to do with the price of rice in China? They have whatever point and purpose you want them to have. For me, they're a means of selfexpression, and simply a way to waste time having fun instead of being bored. For some, its a way of life, and or a means of making money. God has nothing to do with it unless you wanted him in there.

 

As for morality, your dancing around this.

 

We practice personal sacrifice every day.....whether you are cognizant of it or not.

You are vague and render the meaning meaningless. And that isn't the sacrifice she was talking about. As for me, I don't sacrifice goats. I sacrifice my time to make money to support myself, I make lots of sacrifices, but lets stay on topic. We're talking animal sacrifice here. Stop trying to lead us away on your tangents and vagueries and answer her questions like I did. She is talking specifically about animal sacrifice and the sacrifice of Jesus used as payment of our sins, one belief having arisen from the other. That death is the payment of sins, even very small ones, like a person who didn't know better eating of fruit they were forbidden from eating, and so God went all crazy and punished not just the naive person, but every last one of their descendants for that small act of disobedience.

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Actually I don't undstand why this is so difficult. Even without a symbolic Christ, it really appears that non-believers have faith in morality. Christianity is just picking a story that fits IMO just as picking science or some other story.

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