Human sacrifice has been around for thousands of years, and you may be surprised of its strange origins.
Sacrifice is a touchy subject that has a long and controversial history. The existence of human sacrifice in pre-Colombian South America is a hotly debated topic among scholars today. Did it really happen, to what extent? Did the celebrants go willingly, or was it tantamount to socially accepted murder? Indeed, these are difficult questions to ask of a culture that has all but been replaced with modern society.
Many other instances of animal sacrifice exist in western history, most famously in the Old Testament. Goats, lambs, and other animals were often sacrificed to give thanks for a successful harvest, or to pray for the same. Many know the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son, only to let him know at the last minute it was only a test of his faith. Many believe this was a foreshadowing to the Crucifixion of Christ. Often times Christ Himself is referred to as the "Lamb of God," alluding to symbolic sacrificing of Jesus to pay for the sins of mankind.
Even Jesus himself told his disciples that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Today in our modern, information aged society, the Catholic Church still teaches that during the consecration of the Host before communion, the bread is literally transformed into the Flesh of Christ, on a level of substance. The technical term for this is "Transubstantiation" which literally means changing of the substance.
Why is sacrifice, both human and animal, so prevalent in so many societies and cultures through out history? Is there some deep mysterious element that all people share that causes a need for human and animal sacrifice?
Or is the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ the central them of truth in the universe, and all other elements of societies, both primitive and modern, are merely a manifestation of that Eternal Truth?
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Interesting article,George. However, there is a big difference between ripping out the heart of an unwilling person to appease the gods for a good harvest, and one willingly giving up one's life for God in order to save the souls of humanity. One is selfish act of murder, the other a voluntary act that demlonstrates the depth of Godâ€™s love for us.