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Raelians and Human Sacrifice—What Went Wrong with Religion (Part 2)

December 7, 2010

Three members of the Raelian sect starved themselves to death recently in Florida.[1] Many thinking people turn their backs on religion altogether when they hear of religions that demand human sacrifice.

Just as Johann Heinrich Ferdinand Olivier portrayed Abraham and Isaac moving toward their critical moment of faith, mankind has often focused on the role of human actions in pleasing God.

Abraham heard Jehovah God say, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Genesis 22:2). This happened when tribes around Abraham all required human sacrifice; Abraham probably thought, “Jehovah God is no different from all the other deities; I have tied my fate to a deity that demands human sacrifice.” But it was not so; unexpectedly, the Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham, and behold, there was a ram caught in the thicket; Abraham sacrificed the ram and returned to his servants with his son, just as Abraham had predicted when he said, “We will worship and then we will come back to you” Genesis 22:5).  

Suicide is forbidden in Islam, but human sacrifice is evidently praised, and encouraged, for the sake of jihad.[2] Daily we hear of suicide bombers in Pakistan, where the victims are Muslims praying in the mosques.[3] People who hate their enemies can justify such things. It is not true that Muslims remain silent in the face of such atrocities; leading Muslims have issued many fatwas (religious rulings) objecting to violence in general.

What is true is that these fatwas have been ineffective in stopping Muslim-on-Muslim violence. Had Abraham sacrificed his son, Isaac, then the Jewish religion and the Christian religion would be religions of human sacrifice. Instead, it may be that the Judeo-Christian religion is the only religion in the world that forbids human sacrifice. I say everyone should have faith in the God of Abraham in the manner of the Jews and the Christians. He is not pleased with human sacrifice. Jesus Christ said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven’” (Matthew 5:43-45).

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