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This is interesting, as a religion that had no contact with evolving religions in the Middle East, Europe, or far east.  In a sense, the development of sophisticated religions in unconnected, disparate cultures suggests that there is something basic in the human psyche, that demands religion, or something in the human psyche that religion readily parasitizes

 

The text covers 14 years in the life of a Maya priest who lived in the eighth century A.D. It includes references to blood sacrifices and acts of penance preceding the spring solstice...Maya priests used manta ray stingers to pierce their earlobes, tongue, forehead, penis and other parts of the anatomy, in painful, bloodletting sacrifices to induce a hallucinogenic state in which they believed they could talk to their gods"

 

Somewhere in the human mind, there must be a common thread that connects the idea that blood sacrifices were practiced in the Middle East, and Europe, and ancient Mexico. . The Mayan dynasties were between 426 and 820 AD.  By comparison to a religious timeline, in the West the Roman empire started to decline in about 410AD, and 570 - 632  was the life-time of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh, the founder of Islam. (Wikipedia, Religious time line).  Is this the same symbolism that leads modern religious leaders, and communities, to want the sacrifice of hated individuals or groups?

Tags: Maya, human sacarifice, religion, sacrificial sheep, scapegoat

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Replies to This Discussion

I always thought a "sacrifice" meant giving up something you loved. Therefore, what kind of sacrifice is it to kill someone hated?
i guess it depends on your definition of sacrifice. It's certainly a sacrifice to the person who has their heart cut out without anesthesia while still beating, held down by priests. Or being burned to death on a pile of wood. Wikipedia on sacrifice: Sacrifice (from a Middle English verb meaning "to make sacred", from Old French, from Latin sacrificium: sacr, "sacred" + facere, "to make") is commonly known as the practice of offering food, objects (typically valuables), or the lives of animals or people to the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.

Of course, church elders who ordered burnings at the stake, and public hangings and decapitations, for 'punishment' did not regard these as "being on the sacrificial altar", but it seems they had the same intended effect, and were a type of "offering" to "god".

Lynchings are a small step from this type of sacrifice as well. It's scapegoating.
There's a fantastic book out that I've shamelessly plugged many times on this site: When They Severed Earth From Sky: How The Human Mind Shapes Myth.

It's an easy read and quite fascinating; how our natural psyche leads into mythological and religious beliefs. And why we see similar themes and practices spring up independently throughout the globe.

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