Thursday, 27 September 2012
No Sacrifice At All
What can one say about a country that appears to be struggling so much with its identity it forces its citizens to sit down and do nothing for one day each year? As in, properly sit down: try and drive a car and you’ll be stoned; radio stations are off the air, the works.
I’m talking about Israel and what seems to be its eternal struggle for identity. In this struggle this self proclaimed secular state adopts a religious holiday, Yom Kippur, and forces it – emphasis on force – on the whole of its population.
Yet theocracy is not my main concern in this post; there are good reasons for me leaving Israel in my wake. This one is personal.
The other week I was chatting to an Israeli relative over the phone, asking her if she’s getting ready for Yom Kippur. Her reply shocked me: she told me that she used to fast for me, but that because of her deteriorating health she cannot do so anymore. She was quite upset, not at her deteriorating health, but rather at her inability to continue to atone for the sins of this heretic.
I did my best not to personally offend her, but I did let her know exactly what I think of a god who requires one person to atone for the sins of another by taking physical sacrifices which bear no relation to the perceived sin. Needless to say, this is not a line of thinking that is unique to Judaism: the whole “Jesus died so that we can live” is the driving philosophy behind Christianity, yet hardly anyone stops to think that this immediately implies blood lust on behalf of its all conquering god.
To my relative and to all those who think like her across all religions I will say this: if you’re that bored with yourself and your life, go sacrifice a goat or something*.
*In case you intend to take my advice literally, do bear in mind goats are conscious and should be treated as such.