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The Sacrifice: Religions and the Role of the Scapegoat

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?

Featured Panelists

Previously in the Public Square

The Urgency of Compassion

Tomorrow is indeed today. This history of the past must not only inspire us but inform us.

Side-by-Side Religion Comparison Tool

The Side by Side Lens allows you to create an easy to read comparison chart for up to three differing religious traditions.

World Religions: An Introduction to Five Major Traditions

Introduce your students to basic information about the world's largest religions - their origins, history, beliefs, and practices. Use this guide to Patheos' resources as you plan a learning unit around world religions.

Faithful Democrats

Slamming the Door on the Syrian Stranger

(Reposted with permission from author) “The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.” George W. Bush I understand [Read More...]

Science On Religion

Why the world needs liberals

Cultural liberalism is valuable. More than that: it’s something to feel patriotic towards. I’m lucky to live in a society that lets me criticize any aspect of tradition I want – even as I also value the conservatism that makes tradition possible.

Religion Now

Has Science Made God Irrelevant?

By Thomas M. Doran.   I once read a science fiction story about a galaxy-roving human race that had run its ancient God to ground in a garden on an abandoned planet Earth. Rather than supplanting God in wisdom and power, these men came off as aping the serpent in the ancient story: “We have [Read More...]

Religion Q&A

Is capitalism biblical?

JOHN’S QUESTION: It has always been my understanding from Proverbs (condemning the “sluggard”), and Paul’s instruction that missionaries earn their keep and not be a burden, that the Bible encouraged hard work and a responsibility to give of our blessings to the poor — personal responsibility vs. government responsibility. The trend toward government socialism seems [Read More...]