Ancient Ritual Sacrifice

הגנב לבן HaGa’nav Le’van

So here we go… a first post to add “some gayness to offset our ridiculous savagery” as it was put to me. I’ve been thinking about executions a lot lately, well because personally it’s an interesting topic. I’ve come up with the following conclusion: modern day executions are the equivalent to archaic ritual sacrifice.

Here’s why so follow along hahtrahdim.

Let’s look at the situation of ritual sacrifices and what the sacrificers were trying to accomplish. This is a world filled with chaos, uncertainty, and doubt. This is a world where death is always around the corner, where security doesn’t exist, for the most part. So what do most humans do when they are presented with the unforeseeable, with the uncontrollable, they try and control something and in this case it’s death. Let’s think about it, for ancient civilizations as well as for modern day society what is the one remaining mystery in life? Death. How do we control something no one has control over, we ritualize it.

What ritual sacrifice accomplishes:

1. Ritual sacrifice attempts to perfect an activity, to some how kill perfectly. By having a specified time, a specified place, and specified method of killing, all of these things lead to a controlled environment. Basically, these humans are trying to control death by knowing every single detail and controlling every single detail. This allows for the second point for ritual sacrifice to come about.

2. By trying to gain control, humans are also attempting to become G-d like…. huh? Yeah… humans controlling death allows the feeling of omnipotence because if they can control this one uncontrollable thing, death, then humans must be able to forge their own destinies the way they see fit.

3. By committing ritual sacrifice, the government or in this case, the ancient rulers try to provide safeguard for the community. This works by allowing the community to see that their leaders can control an inherently dangerous action.

How this relates to modern day executions:

1. Everything about a modern execution is controlled, just as it was during an ancient ritual sacrifice. During the last two weeks of a prisoner’s life, every minute is accounted for, why? They don’t want the inmate to commit suicide and therefore rob them of their ability to control how and when this person dies.

2. The victim in both instances is a marginal or liminal figure in society. Whether it be a virgin sacrifice or Timothy McVeigh both people were always marginalized. Society forces itself to think that the person being executed or “ritually sacrificed” is both a part of society and at the same time outside of society. Furthermore, we both humanize and dehumanize the figures we set out to execute. We call them a dog, a monster, an inhuman element all of these in order to distance ourselves from the person being executed. However, if one were to look at Kant, we could say we are restoring the person’s humanity by killing them. Everyone is valuable and respectable and everyone has the ability to make rational free choices. Even the murderer is worthy of this respect and value. We show him this respect by treating him like we would treat all people, as a rational free being that is capable of making free choices. Therefore, we execute the offender to remind him of his humanity.

As a society we must ask ourselves two basic questions. First, if executions are like sacrifices(able to control everything) and we make mistakes (i.e. killing the wrong person), does this mean we shouldn’t execute people? Second, if rituals are meant to purify society and bring society back together and we know that a large sement of society is against execution, does that mean we should stop executions?

Well that’s about it for right now, hope you enjoyed my diatribe.




4 Responses to “Ancient Ritual Sacrifice”

  1. 1 colon farell March 14, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    wow. did you go to college?

  2. 2 colon farell March 14, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    as an aside, timothy mcveigh was marginalized by the same society that he violently attacked and hated…..are you a communist?

  3. 3 haganav March 14, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Timothy McVeigh is an example, it has nothing to do with the crime he committed, but rather what he becomes when he gives up his rights by committing a crime.

  4. 4 Roughty March 15, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    You know this argument reminds me of how much I love peanut butter. Does anyone here like peanut butter too?

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