Many religious traditions have a story of sacrifice at the heart of their cultic practice. These articles explore the meaning of sacrifice seen through the words of the Bible and the Quran, through literature and pilgrimage and testimony. They reflect on key stories and practices, such as Abraham's offering of his son, the Leviticus rites of sacrifice and purity, the Hajj, and the death of Christ. Can a substitute be offered for punishment? What happens when an innocent victim — a scapegoat — takes on the suffering of another? Redemption or injustice? Or both?
We maintain faith in Allah's promise that sacrifice in this life elevates us in the next, and our sacrifices don't have to be grand gestures.
For Tolkien, Williams, and Lewis, all of life is meant to reflect the nature of its Creator, a divine dance of co-inherence and self-giving love.
Throughout history, people have made sense of the atonement in ways appropriate to their context. Here are some of those theories.
We must not teach people to become victims of their acts of sacrifice, but rather to join our very humanity (which is also Christ's humanity) with God's divinity.
We might ask if, lacking the ritualized violence of religion, humans will simply act out our violent tendencies elsewhere.
Ancient stories of sacrifice serve as instructive archetypes of what it means to assume a posture of nonattachment and of the internal work one must be willing to undertake to arrive at that posture.
Rabbi Steven Moskowitz
You can only truly grow to care for another when you give up a piece of the self. Empathy demands the sacrifice of the "I."
Abraham's journey and the story of sacrifice have become immortalized in the experience of the pilgrim's journey during hajj.
Jesus' entire existence was lived as a sacrifice for others. He lived in order to reveal to others the way toward abundant life.
This month’s Patheos Public Square topic is “The Sacrifice: Religions and the Role of the Scapegoat.” As best I can tell, all the entries are from Christians, Muslims, or Jews. That’s probably for the best – there are no scapegoats in Paganism.
We Pagans like to think we don't have scapegoats in our religion, because we don't have a concept of "sin" or divine guilt. And yet, we do have scapegoats. Speaking for myself, Christianity has been my scapegoat for a long time -- and I think it's one that a lot of Pagans have.
Many atheists argue that religion is a massive problem in our world. Since religion is the cause of major conflicts and violence, we would be much better off if we expelled religion from our midst. As a Christian, it may surprise you that I think there’s a lot of merit to this atheist critique of [Read More...]
Benjamin L. Corey
I grew up on the Three Stooges. Saturday mornings on the farm my grandfather would take a rare break from work and often sit down to watch them with me, in what has become a fond memory of my grandfather. I’m sure by the time I hit puberty I had seen probably every stooges episode [Read More...]
Benjamin L. Corey
Continuing my series on theology of the atonement, we continue discussion of the issue of a blood sacrifice. The other day I noted that if God had demanded the blood sacrifice of a perfect, sinless human, he would not be all that different from Pagan deities who demanded blood to appease them. Many, of course, find [Read More...]
Patheos Public Square is featuring essays on “The Sacrifice: Religions and the Role of the Scapegoat.” In the history of religions, I don’t think there has ever been any greater focus on sacrifice and scapegoat than what the nation of Israel did during antiquity on its most important religious holiday of the year–Yom Kippur, which [Read More...]