One of the most common comments I get if I state that I am a practicing druid is the question,
"Didn't the Druids practice Human Sacrifice?!"
And history tells us, yes, by many accounts, this is correct. Sometimes these accounts are blown up into fantastical proportions but still, it is true that Druids sacrificed humans (likely most often criminals) to appease the gods.
Now, this is something I acknowledge but personally overlook as a modern practicing druid. My knowledge is limited at this time, but I know that will change as I continue through my dedicant studies. My sacrifices are food, drink, nature based, or symbolic; not human. Gone are the days where human sacrifice is necessary or seen as devotional. All history has what we would consider today as very dark elements. Human Sacrifice is a dark element that simply isn't necessary in today's world.
So normally I just laugh and tell the person, "Historically yes, but my Druidry does not condone ANY sacrifice of this nature. The history of all religions is full of stuff like this"
Now I will be honest, I have never put much thought about whether or not there was Human Sacrifice in the Bible or not. Since so many of those who challenge me are Christian I suppose I always assume they may know more about their faith than I do so I just refrain from comment.
But I was wrong. I am thankful that I am taking a college class on Near Eastern History this term, and part of our class uses the Bible as a secondary source as it outlines the rise of Judaism and the conflicts in the this area from the time of the Egyptian old kingdom to the conquest of Alexander the Great. This was a huge time in history. This week I have had to read several books of the Old Testament and it is in the book of Judges that I came upon a clear, undeniable account of human sacrifice.
I nearly spit out my orange juice when I read it.
There in Judges 11:29-40 is the account of Jephthah's vow to God that if God helped him win victory over the children of Ammon then Jephthah would offer anything that comes through his doors to greet him after his victory as a burnt offering. Jephthah is victorious over these 20 cities and heads home. Who/What walks through his doors happens to be his only virginal daughter and although he is heartbroken over it, with her encouragement, he does in fact, sacrifice her to his God.
Willing sacrifice or not, human sacrifice is still human sacrifice and I am kinda shocked that so many of the things I am reading in this class actually written in the Bible are overlooked by those who practice these faiths.
I do not post this to start a war, or to express genuine anger towards Christians, but it does bother me when others cast hatred my way when we both have the same roots in antiquity. At least I aknowledge that these things have happened and I would never condemn another person of different faith for the actions of their ancient followers. That seems pointless.
Its just made me think a lot tonight more than anything. I have no doubt that there will be more Biblical crossover posts in this journal as I come upon them. None of them I wish to be taken as hate towards Christianity or Judaism but instead reflections on religious history or religious interpretation in general. These insights fascinate me and give me a deeper understanding and world view of world religions.