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Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Mysterio448
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Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 25th, 2013, 8:40 am

The idea that Jesus died for our sins is at the core of the Christian faith. However, it seems that many people don't think much about what the phrase really means. In the Bible, Jesus is sometimes referred to as "the Lamb," referring to the Old Testament practice of sacrificing a lamb for the atonement of sin. The idea is that Jesus himself was essentially the ultimate sacrifice, whose suffering and death atoned for the sins of all mankind. For anyone remotely familiar with Christian theology, this idea is so familiar that we fail to acknowledge one very simple implication of it: the significance of Jesus' crucifixion emanates from the presupposition of the validity of sacrifice. In other words, in order to be a true Christian you must believe in the idea that the destruction of one being can directly precipitate good fortune upon another being. Therefore, if you are a Christian, when you hear about how the ancient Phoenicians would have their children burnt alive to appease the god Moloch or how the Aztecs would carve out the hearts of living victims so that the sun could rise, while being disgusted at these acts and their inherent cruelty, you must still at least be able to sympathize with the fundamental logic of them.

My question is this: if you are a Christian, do you agree with the basic logic of sacrifice? The way I understand it, the very core of the Christian faith rests on this logic. If you do not agree with the logic of sacrifice, then how do you reconcile that with your Christian faith?

Londoner
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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Londoner » October 25th, 2013, 8:59 am

Mysterio448 wrote: The idea is that Jesus himself was essentially the ultimate sacrifice, whose suffering and death atoned for the sins of all mankind.....In other words, in order to be a true Christian you must believe in the idea that the destruction of one being can directly precipitate good fortune upon another being.
'Atonement' is not another word for 'good fortune'

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Mysterio448
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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 25th, 2013, 9:36 am

Londoner wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


'Atonement' is not another word for 'good fortune'

Can you explain to me how atonement of sins does not qualify as a fortunate event? And furthermore, I think you are kind of missing the point of my post.

Londoner
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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Londoner » October 25th, 2013, 11:01 am

Can you explain to me how atonement of sins does not qualify as a fortunate event?
If you look up the meaning of 'atonement'. you will see something like: 'Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation' or in the religious context 'Atonement: Christianity: The reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus.'

By contrast, fortunate means: Bringing something good and unforeseen; auspicious...lucky

You might say that the arrival of God's son on earth was 'fortunate' for mankind, but his crucifixion was not the equivalent of mankind finding a winning lottery ticket.
And furthermore, I think you are kind of missing the point of my post.
I'm saying that your point rests on a misrepresentation of the Christian (and Jewish) idea of atonement. Ask yourself; is it likely that they agree with your view of sacrifice but just don't realise it? If I found myself interpreting somebody else's belief in a way that makes them look mad or monstrous, I would at least consider the possibility that I had misunderstood it.

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 25th, 2013, 11:31 am

Londoner wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


If you look up the meaning of 'atonement'. you will see something like: 'Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation' or in the religious context 'Atonement: Christianity: The reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus.'

By contrast, fortunate means: Bringing something good and unforeseen; auspicious...lucky

You might say that the arrival of God's son on earth was 'fortunate' for mankind, but his crucifixion was not the equivalent of mankind finding a winning lottery ticket.


(Nested quote removed.)


I'm saying that your point rests on a misrepresentation of the Christian (and Jewish) idea of atonement. Ask yourself; is it likely that they agree with your view of sacrifice but just don't realise it? If I found myself interpreting somebody else's belief in a way that makes them look mad or monstrous, I would at least consider the possibility that I had misunderstood it.
You still don't seem to understand the point of my post. I'm not saying that Christians are mad or monstrous. I'm simply asking Christians to reflect on their beliefs and ask themselves whether, at least on a technical level, there is some hypocrisy in denouncing human or animal sacrifice as being absurd, while still believing in the power of being washed in the blood of Jesus.

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Londoner » October 25th, 2013, 1:07 pm

Jesus was not sacrificed by Christians to appease God.

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 25th, 2013, 1:53 pm

Londoner wrote:Jesus was not sacrificed by Christians to appease God.
You're still missing the point. I don't care who was sacrificed or who did the sacrificing. The point is: a sacrifice occurred. Does it make sense to think that sacrifice could accomplish anything positive? If it does makes sense then why would Christians consider the rituals of the Phoenicians and Aztecs to be absurd?

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Londoner » October 25th, 2013, 4:41 pm

A sacrifice is where a group of believers kill, burn or otherwise destroy something because they think it will please their God.

Jesus was not killed by the disciples, nor was there the expectation that killing Jesus would please God.

This difference seems obvious to me; I don't think I have anything further to say on the subject.

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by enegue » October 25th, 2013, 5:59 pm

Mysterio448 wrote:My question is this: if you are a Christian, do you agree with the basic logic of sacrifice? The way I understand it, the very core of the Christian faith rests on this logic. If you do not agree with the logic of sacrifice, then how do you reconcile that with your Christian faith?
Do you understand that the sacrificial system in Israel was the principle means by which the lives of the priests and all of their families, was sustained? If the people didn't bring the sacrifices then the priests would have to leave their duties to provide sustenance for the families, which would mean the whole system would fall in a heap.

Are you suggesting other systems of sacrifice operated in this way?

Cheers,
enegue

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 25th, 2013, 8:15 pm

Londoner wrote:A sacrifice is where a group of believers kill, burn or otherwise destroy something because they think it will please their God.

Jesus was not killed by the disciples, nor was there the expectation that killing Jesus would please God.

This difference seems obvious to me; I don't think I have anything further to say on the subject.


The two kinds of sacrifice are qualitatively identical in that they are both sacrifices. This is the point of parallel between Christianity and the other religions. This thread is not concerned with which sacrifice is theologically superior to the other; it's not about who was sacrificed or who did the sacrificing. It's about the very fact that Christians believe in sacrifice.

enegue
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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by enegue » October 25th, 2013, 10:18 pm

Mysterio448 wrote:The two kinds of sacrifice are qualitatively identical in that they are both sacrifices. This is the point of parallel between Christianity and the other religions. This thread is not concerned with which sacrifice is theologically superior to the other; it's not about who was sacrificed or who did the sacrificing. It's about the very fact that Christians believe in sacrifice.
Ok, so you are telling us that YOU can't see any difference between children and animals.

Are you a vegan?

Cheers,
enegue

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 27th, 2013, 10:32 am

enegue wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

Ok, so you are telling us that YOU can't see any difference between children and animals.

Are you a vegan?

Cheers,
enegue

Say I lend you a large sum of money. When it comes time for you to pay me back, you say you can't manage to come up with the money. I say to you, "I am willing to forgive the debt, but first you must take a goat or lamb without blemish, you must put the animal on an altar, you must slit its throat and dip your finger in the stream of gushing bload and smear blood on the horns of the altar, then you must pour out the rest of the animal's blood at the bottom of the altar, then you must burn the animal upon the altar. After this, you won't owe me anything. We'll be square." Would you think me insane? Or would you think I just understand the fundamental principle of the Christian faith?

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by enegue » October 27th, 2013, 3:54 pm

Mysterio448 wrote:Say I lend you a large sum of money. When it comes time for you to pay me back, you say you can't manage to come up with the money. I say to you, "I am willing to forgive the debt, but first you must take a goat or lamb without blemish, you must put the animal on an altar, you must slit its throat and dip your finger in the stream of gushing bload and smear blood on the horns of the altar, then you must pour out the rest of the animal's blood at the bottom of the altar, then you must burn the animal upon the altar. After this, you won't owe me anything. We'll be square." Would you think me insane? Or would you think I just understand the fundamental principle of the Christian faith?
The sacrifice of animals is not a fundamental principle of the Christian faith. Where did you get such and idea? If you are somehow trying to draw a connection to the sacrifice of Jesus', can you tell me who slit Jesus' throat, who cut his body in pieces, who burned those pieces and who sprinkled his blood on the horns of the altar in Jerusalem?

Because you have no idea what you are talking about, your examples will never be anything but ridiculous.

Cheers, enegue

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by Mysterio448 » October 27th, 2013, 5:00 pm

enegue wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

The sacrifice of animals is not a fundamental principle of the Christian faith. Where did you get such and idea? If you are somehow trying to draw a connection to the sacrifice of Jesus', can you tell me who slit Jesus' throat, who cut his body in pieces, who burned those pieces and who sprinkled his blood on the horns of the altar in Jerusalem?

Because you have no idea what you are talking about, your examples will never be anything but ridiculous.

Cheers, enegue

Jesus is the "Lamb of God," the sacrifice without blemish. Animal sacrifice is a fundamental principle of Mosaic law, and Christianity is understood to be the consummation of Mosaic law. The theological significance of Jesus' death on the cross is predicated on the logic of sacrifice as mandated in Mosaic law.

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Re: Christianity and the logic of sacrifice

Post by enegue » October 28th, 2013, 4:38 am

Mysterio448 wrote:Jesus is the "Lamb of God," the sacrifice without blemish. Animal sacrifice is a fundamental principle of Mosaic law, and Christianity is understood to be the consummation of Mosaic law. The theological significance of Jesus' death on the cross is predicated on the logic of sacrifice as mandated in Mosaic law.
You said earlier, "The two kinds of sacrifice are qualitatively identical in that they are both sacrifices", but now you have shown that they are "theologically identical".

I agree with your current position because it allows for a discussion of the importance of sacrifice as the means of sustaining the priesthood, and hence sustaining the nation.

Cheers,
enegue

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