So recently the subject of sacrifice came up in a pocket of the Polytheist world, and as is often this case, this brought with it some level of controversy. Inevitably when this came up somebody had to spit out the accusatory, “would you kill a human if your gods asked you to?” This is a thing that happens nearly every time: the suggestion that if a person is willing to kill a goat or a rooster for their gods, because it is asked for or demanded, that they must be so weak-willed and unstable that they would obviously also kill their neighbors or friends or strangers, “because the voices told them to”.There are ways to discuss this very important topic, and indeed those conversations need to take places. But those are not the general prompts I am presently responding to, nor unfortunately are they the norm. (Though, they should be.) However, vague and passive-aggressive disdainful linking of legitimate living-and-lived religious relationships to death, as in the case of animal sacrifice, to things like mental illness and instability as a casual gestural thing is disgusting and debased. This tactic is offensive, ignorant, and meant only to derail and discourage discussion, and it frames the opposition to this human-centric “fauxgressive” voice of “reason” as being savage, sadistic, and unhinged.
Well fuck that. “Progress” isn’t drone-warfare and a drug-addled prescription “paradise” generation deprived of free expression as penalty for being outside of a statically conformist mold. “Progress” isn’t the hypocrisy of our modern meat industry, or the corporations who govern global economics for profit on the backs and souls of workers and children. “Progress” isn’t blind. You, who spit this venom, apparently are.
Anyway, I chime in a bit, on the subject of human sacrifice, which I feel uniquely qualified to do, as I was in fact myself a human sacrifice.
For the TL;DR folks:
Nobody is suggesting that the gods have asked for human sacrifice in the way that you mean it, and it is in fact most likely that we are not as a species even worthy of such as that. Not because we have “progressed” (we haven’t, we’re just better liars today), but because we’re literally so removed from the idea of death — good death or bad — that we can’t possibly do those things cleanly. And this is not “progress”.
I am not advocating for human sacrifice. None of us is. But stop rubbing the stink of your ignorance of what “death” is all over the carpets of actual enlightened religious practice. Nobody is suggesting that all must adhere to practices that require sacrifice, but to suggest in turn that those of us involved in traditions for whom the ethical treatment of death — which is literally the only sacred universal quality of life shared at every level — are the equivalent of horror-movie tropes is offensive, stupid, and out-of-bounds.
EDITS: Edited opening text to clarify that I am not against discussing this in mature and level fashion, and in fact encourage these. I am wanting to be clear that I am critically responding to those who use the suggestion of human sacrifice, especially as an extension of animal sacrifice, to derail a subject and defame those speaking counter to their views.