Friday, March 06, 2009

Comments on Belmont Club
"As time goes by"

@61 Mark,
Judaism gets it also as far as scapegoating goes. God rejected two sacrifices Cain's (insincere) and Abraham's offer to kill Isaac. For the first case Cain was repudiated because his brother's blood cried out from the ground. Cain could not offset his sin by the sacrifice of his pride. If God used the logic that Islam ascribes to Allah then Cain could have elided his guilt. The substitution for Isaac was essential because it revolutionized the relationship of Man and God. The ram was not a scapegoat to carry Sin away, the Islamic perversion, but a proof of sincerity and reminder, similar to the Eucharist, of the totality of Abraham's offering and the totality of God's love in declining it.

@bogie wheel,
You are correct, my apologies if I was unclear or strained in my argument. Cain's offering was insincere and God rejected it, Cain then slew Abel, who could be viewed as a Scapegoat and God rejected the human sacrifice when he charged Cain that the blood called out to him (but he was not pleased.) Also God did not allow a post facto justification of the crime to absolve Cain, as Muhammad claimed Allah would do for his crimes.

To stir the pot more I have always preferred the Jewish formulation on the expiation of Sin. The Catholic cycle is an eternal cycle of Sin, repentance and Grace, mediated by Clergy, leading to absolution until Sin recurs. In Judaism there is a distinction between Sins against God and Sins against Man. God makes all laws but some are his personal concern, such as not using his name or following a dietary rule. It is made very clear to every Jew during High Holy Day service that the ancient Kol Nidre prayer only states that God forgives and absolves for injuries done to God, the false oath or the lapse of faith, but that God does not forgive and absolve for an injury done to another human being. If a Jew injures you then they can not go to God, or a Priest, and by assuring that they are really sorry, or by making a payment, obtain grace. If the Jew hurts you then they have to go to you to make amends.

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