Without the shedding of blood is no remission...
I do not understand how there could have been a time in my life when that statement did not seem absurd to me. Now that the fog has been lifted, I see the absolute ridiculousness of the concept of blood atonement for the forgiveness of the sin of being a human being. I simply cannot understand how the concept of a god that required...even craved blood could in any way make sense.
I attended graduate school for my doctorate in psychology at a Quaker university. This brand of Quakers were pacifist, feminist, and committed to social justice and equality. As a part of my education, I was required to study Literature of the Old and New Testament, as well as several theology classes, "integration" classes, and a class on something called "Spiritual Formation." The professors for that portion of my training were kind, teddy-bear like men (no women...) that mostly had fairly bushy beards and spoke with wit, intelligence, and grace. They pontificated on different portions of scripture and spoke of details that none of us really cared about. They seemed harmless, kind, and passionately committed to justice. In 1999, at the beginning of my graduate training, I was already nearly to the finish line of deconversion. I only held on because I loved the moments of heightened sensation from "spiritual connection", better known as groupthink. I genuinely loved the warm fuzzies.
In my final year of grad school I had two theology courses, I believe they were historical theology and systematic theology, or something like that. I will never forget a vivid and lively class discussion stemming from a discussion of "atonement." Somehow, for some reason, our human nature (which was assumably how we were created) was so very offensive and damaging to god that he had to have blood sacrifice. In fact, he created some pretty intense sibling rivalry with Cain and Abel over whether or not it was "okay" to give a vegetarian sacrifice. Nope, only blood sacrifice would do. I sat and listened to the concept for what must have been the ten thousandth time (for I was raised in the church), and somehow my eyes were opened for the first time to the utter absurdity. The absolute and complete absurdity that an omnipotent god (who had the power to just let it go), and an omniscient god (who knew what was going to happen) would require blood sacrifice. The very notion is disgusting and absurd.
But wait, there's more! Not only does the omnipotent, omniscient god require blood, but he needs it repeatedly. Apparently it only gives a "temporary high." And it couldn't be just any animal. It needed to be a baby, and as perfect as possible. So he needed to up the ante to human sacrifice. He decided to tease Abraham a bit by asking him to sacrifice his own son...and said, "just kidding" right in the nick of time!
But wait, there's even more! This couldn't just be any human sacrifice...it needed to be an extra tasty, delicious sip of blood. So it best be a "perfect human."
The notion was so absolutely absurd that I could no longer make any sense of it. So I asked good old Irv, my professor, how he dealt with the "violent atonement." I can't remember what he said. It obviously couldn't and didn't make sense of why a loving being would actively choose to bathe in the blood of slaughtered innocents. It reminds me of an escalating serial killer.
"I'll start with pulling wings off of flies, then move on to torturing animals, and then head straight into humans."
My husband and I often sit in absolute amazement at how very smart people can just ignore absurdity duet o the longing to believe a lie. We have discussed our longing to discover where the weak spot is in the bubble.
For me, I believe that I could truly see the disgusting nature of this dogma after I was separated enough to have started to gain back my internal morality. I am embarrassed to think that it took me that long to realize that slaughtering one's child for a vain and attention seeking being, is immoral. At least I was able to get there.