a bloody mess


The illustrious Tradition of the Church, which includes the likes of Augustine, Aquinas, and Teresa of Avila ….

In my current little corner of the world there are a few odd religions taking hold.  Beliefs that are a delightful blend of Catholicism, various other religions carried to Brazil from Africa and any other superstitious belief that occurs to the flock. I’m kept awake some nights by the drumming from the local church and listen to the odd ceremonial chimes with a shudder in my spine, wondering what warm-blooded animal they may be slicing into. Another nice feature of these religions is the trays of chicken heads and other assorted horrors that can be left in public places where someone has done a ‘curse’.  It all seems terribly superstitious and primitive, not like the sensible and civilised, blood-free religion of my youth.

Although, now that I think about it, one of the many things about Christianity that surprisingly didn’t strike me as particularly odd, was that the god God likes animals to be killed in order to pay a supernatural debt owed for bad human behaviour.  It strikes me as odd now.  Why would such an almighty deity want chickens and lambs to be ripped open in an act of apologetic worship?  What would a divine being get from such an unpleasant exercise?  Why would a nice deity want animals to suffer?  And to the extent of being so fussy as to say that “anything with its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to the Lord”.  How could an intelligent, benevolent, all-seeing god be reconciled with all that petty, weird nonsense?  After all, morality is timeless.

The last lamb to the slaughter in the Christian story is Jesus. A nice man-god who didn’t do bad things, so didn’t have to personally kill animals. In fact, when he died, the animal kingdom breathed a sigh of relief, as the rules changed with his reportedly ultimate sacrifice. That was a long time ago and signals the end of Christianity’s connection to blood rituals.

Well, except for the bit where lots of Christians genuinely believe that during Communion, the cheap wine and wafers from the supermarket are magically transformed, and they are eating the actual body and drinking the very blood of their man-god who walked this earth over 2000 years ago.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about that just doesn’t seem probable. Or scientifically possible. Or in any way pleasant.  But I guess if the wisest and brightest minds have been studying this for 2000 years, it must be true.