Blood sacrifice in spring 5

Easter in our day disguises with its bunnies, prancing lambs, and chocolate eggs, an ancient savage ritual of religious superstition, when the fertility gods were propitiated by the sacrificial spilling of blood, so that the earth would yield crops to sustain human life. The living beings sacrificed were variously animals, children, priests who represented divinities in human form. The Christian idea of a god-man sacrifice in the Easter season is far from unique.

In 1875, Kersey Graves, a teacher and farmer born of a Pennsylvanian Quaker family, published a book titled The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors. He rejected Christianity but did not become an atheist. The book is not a scholarly work, but a literary curiosity.

Among his “sixteen crucified saviors”, the one whose legend bears most resemblance to that of Jesus Christ is Krishna – which he chooses to spell “Chrishna” in order to make it look more like “Christ”. He lists hundreds of similarities between the stories of Chrishna and Christ, among them these:

  • Each is miraculously born of a virgin (Mary, Maia)
  • Both have an adopted earthly father, in each case a carpenter
  • Each new-born child is visited by shepherds and wise men, directed by a star
  • In each story a tyrant orders all first-born sons to be put to death (Herod, Cansa)
  • In each story mother, child, and adopted father escape by fleeing out of the tyrant’s reach
  • Both in early youth dispute with learned men and win the argument
  • Both when grown retire to a wilderness
  • Both are baptized in a river
  • They preach similar sermons about love, forgiveness, and humility
  • Each has a favorite among his followers (John, Arjoon)
  • Each heals a leper and many others
  • Both cast out devils
  • Both bring the dead back to life
  • Each performs miracles including enabling his disciples to net a harvest of fish
  • Both denounce wealth
  • Both have a “last supper”
  • Both are put to death by crucifixion as an atoning sacrifice (nailed to a cross, nailed to a tree)
  • Both are crucified between two thieves
  • In both legends the earth is darkened when they “die”
  • Both resurrect and ascend to heaven
  • Each is the cult figure of a new religion and declared to be a savior of mankind
  • Both are believed by their followers to be God incarnate

One of the amusing parts of the book, and suitable for today – this being “Good Friday” – is his chapter on The Atonement, in which he writes:

No innocent person has a right to suffer for the guilty, and the courts have no right to accept the offer or admit the substitute. An illustration will show this. If Jefferson Davis had been convicted of the crime of treason, and sentenced to be hung, and Abraham Lincoln had come forward and offered to be stretched upon the gallows in his place, is there a court in the civilized world which would have accepted the substitute, hung Lincoln and liberated Davis? To ask the question is but to answer it. It is an insult to reason, law and justice to entertain this proposition.

In addition – we say – to its being a really nasty thing to do: to make others feel guilty by inflicting agonizing punishment on yourself when it is they whom you accuse of doing wrong.

Kersey Graves goes on:

The doctrine of the atonement also involves the infinite absurdity of God punishing himself to appease his own wrath. For if “the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ bodily” (as taught in Col.ii.9), then his death was the death of God – that is, a divine suicide, prompted and committed by a feeling of anger and revenge, which terminated the life of the Infinite Ruler – a doctrine utterly devoid of reason, science or sense. We are sometimes told man owes a debt to his Maker, and the atonement pays that debt. To be sure! And to whom is the debt owing, and who pays it? Why, the debt is owing to God, and God (in the person of Jesus Christ) pays it – pays it to himself. We will illustrate. A man approaches his neighbor, and says, “Sir, I owe you a thousand dollars, but can never pay it.” “Very well, it makes no difference,” replies the claimant, “I will pay it myself”; and forthwith thrusts his hand into his right pocket and extracts the money, transfers it to his left pocket and exclaims – “There, the debt is paid!” A curious way of paying debts, and one utterly devoid of sense. And yet the orthodox world have adopted it for their God. We find, however, that they carefully avoid practicing this principle themselves in their dealings with each other. …

But we find, upon further investigation, that the assumed debt is not paid – after all.

When a debt is paid, it is canceled, and dismissed from memory, and nothing more said about it. But in this case the sinner is told he must still suffer the penalty for every sin he commits, notwithstanding Christ died to atone for and cancel that sin.

Where then is the virtue of the atonement? Like other doctrines of the orthodox creed, it is at war with reason and common sense, and every principle of sound morality, and will be marked by coming ages as a relic of barbarism.

We hope so. But let’s keep on with the chocolate.

  • liz

    Really interesting! I knew there were many parallels between the Christ and Krishna stories, but had no idea there were THAT many.
    Amazing that this information has been available for so long, yet is still so little known among Christians. Those who profit off of them keep it hidden, and because Christians are trained not to question what they are taught, it works.

  • Peter pen

    Its not that simple as it looks… see history wikipedia and other neutral sources … inhumanity has no religion… barbarism is common in almost all religions… hindoos r the most barbaric humans see 1947 devide of india hindoos slaughtered thousands of muslim men women and childewns… the above pictures of children r of a muslim family not hindo family… there is a long history of slaughter of muslims christians by hindo extrimists… go to wiki pedia search for riots in india against muslims and christians by hindos… do not distort facts… truth always comes out…

    • We know about what happened when India was divided.

      There is no relevance of that history to this post.

      But we thank you for your contribution.

    • liz

      Hindus are the most barbaric? I’d have to say they can’t hold a candle to Muslims. The latest count of deadly terror attacks by the “Religion of Peace” since 9/11 is 29,429. (Check the tally kept in the margin of this page.)

  • NoCountryForYoungMen

    Religion is naturally absurd as it has no basis in logical thought – but only fear. What you mention here is correct and in quite plain view (or perhaps it [Faith, Church, Religion] is nothing at all but somewhat comforting smoke and mirrors for the weak and lazy). But this does not seem to be a problem for so many religious people… Faith is the operative word here – and also one of the most deceptive false positives in existence. Faith has a positive connotation – but it is actually the word symbolizing suppression of the intellect, and of curiosity; The blurring of reality and fiction. The far left (much more popular than the far right) also suffers from similar issues.