It has to be blood...
The priest holds the heart of the victim dripping blood up to the gods as an offering, an appeasement. They believed that this act would bring the rains, make the crops grow, make the land and the people prosperous. Other cultures such as the early Canaanites would offer up their children to their god, burning them on a ritual fire. The Celts favored fire as well, burning criminals in huge constructs called 'wicker men'. The Etrusions, the Minoans, the Gauls, even the Romans believed that the gods could be swayed by the offering of human life. We shake our heads at the barbarity, the cruelty of these acts.
Sometimes we make them into a cliche, a joke... the cartoon of a group of Islanders about to toss a girl into a volcano with a caption "Wait!, I'm NOT a virgin, ask Mobimbo, ask Huwali, ask...." We shake our heads and marvel at the primative and superstitious nature of these murderous beliefs.
Unless of course, we are talking about the human sacrifice that is the root of our most prominent western religion, Christianity. Then it becomes a beautiful and moving act. One that essays, books, even entire careers have been built around, extolling the virtue of a death on a Roman torture device. A favorite of the artist, thousands of paintings have lovingly detailed the blood and gore, the sense of suffering. Millions of little children wear the image of this near naked man hanging in torment, dieing on a torture device, around their necks.
The god of the bible is no stranger to bloody sacrifice, with all manner of animals (only the 'clean' ones, if you please) being slaughtered on the stone alters of the hebrew temples. And of course, the story of Abraham and his son, Isaac. Can't you just picture this child... 10 or 11 years old, tied hand and foot and stretched back over rough boulder? The book doesn't record how he felt as he watched his beloved father pull out the cruel knife, willing, eager to do murder for his god. Then of course, god stepped from behind a bush and said "Just kidding, here, kill this goat instead." Did Isaac get the joke?
Jesus on a cross. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus paid the price.
More learned and erudite folk than I have asked the obvious question and so will I.
Why did the all powerful god, who could create the universe with just a thought need to see blood? Further, why engage in a mind boggling complex and convoluted game of deception to get to the point where he could see his own blood?
Why could this being, powerful and wise beyond understanding not just simply 'forgive'?
We are asked to believe that this barbaric and bloody act was necessary, that someone had to pay for the mistake of a mythical ancestor who disobeyed, and thus condemned millions to a life of sin. It had to be blood. It ALWAYS has to be blood.
Again, I ask, "Why?"
Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.