Sacrifice (was Re: [asa] Re: (religious memes?))

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Wed Sep 02 2009 - 17:43:22 EDT

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> Murray Hogg said:
> "I reckon that sacrifice (or more broadly, offerings to the gods) is one of those intrinsically religious things that humans do - like prayer, worship, fasting, etc."
> Just because it is our nature doesn't make it right. It is also our nature to be superstitious, and science has rid us of a lot of superstition. Can we really know God's will be reading omens? They did that in the OT and NT, but we don't do it now (actually, some still do, like those who propose "putting out a fleece" OT style, but in a figurative way, not literal, though still using it as an omen).

Hi Bernie,

You're quite right that something being in our nature doesn't make it right. But I wasn't addressing whether sacrifice and related practices are right or wrong, only offering an opinion as to why they are such pervasive human practices.

But as the question of "rightness" has come up, I see no reason why the OT/NT instructions on such matters should be seen as anything other than God teaching his people a more appropriate way to express their innate dispositions.

So, for instance, when the disciples ask Jesus "teach us to pray" - it doesn't suggest anything other than that they have sensed some lack in their manner of prayer and are asking for guidance.

Or, to draw on a mundane analogy, when a parent tells a child that a dog is called a "dog" not a "bow wow" it's an instance of correcting something which the child is already doing - albeit imperfectly.

A bit of a tangential matter on the question of superstitions: It's true that science plays a role here, but personally I know of more cases in which Christian faith has delivered people from superstition than has science. In particular, I know of many educated Chinese - even scientifically educated Chinese - who overcame their fear of spirits through coming to understand the power of God in Christ.


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Received on Wed Sep 2 17:44:22 2009

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