Christians often say that Jesus died for your sins and was “the ultimate sacrifice,” taking away the need for all other sacrifices. There are a few problems with that statement. The first is the acceptance by Christians that there ever was a need for sacrifices. Christians, to this day, actually believe sacrifices were necessary because they were “foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus,” so they see them as fine, and a way to take away sins before Jesus came along. Have they ever thought about how there is no connection between murdering some animal and committing a sin, except that logical people realize murdering some animal is committing a sin! Christians are so speciesistic, they might have to think about this subject in completely human terms in order to understand its ludicrousness. If a neighbor “lusted after a woman in his heart” and felt he was sinning, would it be right to take your child and sacrifice it, kill it to give to God, in order to get right of the sin of lusting after a woman?
There is the problem of using animals as a scapegoat because the focus is not on what the person did wrong and making amends directly, but instead the focus is on a quick fix of getting rid of sin. It does nothing to right the wrong committed, and only commits another wrong. This is a very unhealthy practice and a wrong concept to teach people.
Animal sacrifices are still going on. I would say they happen all over the world every day, because I feel the way the farm animals’ hearts are kept beating after the throats are slit is too similar to the old sacrificial ways. Halal meat is a horrible way for an animal to die and it is a religious ritual, and the Muslims slaughter animals during Eid al-Adha every year. There are bull fights, cultures where bulls are stuffed with sand, kicked and tortured as a right of manhood (even though all of them gang up on one bull at the same time so it seems even more ridiculous to call it manly), and so many other unbelievably cruel festivals all over the world.
But back to Christianity: Jesus never said he was ending animal sacrifice, unless I am missing something in the Bible! People just loosely interpret the crucifixion that way because animal sacrifices did ease up during that time period, as more and more people were feeling guilty about the sacrifices and gentler ways such as vegetarianism took hold in other cultures.
Vegetarianism was popular with several groups, including a group of which James, the brother of Jesus (if Jesus actually existed and if James was actually his brother) was leader. Someone named James who called himself the brother of Jesus (according to Paul and a few other sources) was a more powerful person than Jesus was during his lifetime, and James was vegetarian. Most of this came to a halt, however, when Paul started writing several books of the New Testament and since he detested James, he promoted meat eating in the Bible. The Council of Nicea threw all the books such as the Gospel of the Nazarenes and anything to do with vegetarianism on the cutting room floor and they did not make the “final version” of the Bible. Further killings from the 300s A.D. all the way through the Inquisition wiped out many of the vegetarians.
The interesting part of Christianity is that most Christians follow Paul and are therefore Paulists. Paul was the one who claimed that the Old Testament laws need not be followed any longer. Jesus explicitly said the laws of the Prophets were to be followed! (This should be a clue to Jesus having a vision little bigger than his culture.) If Jesus did return and realized Christians were eating bacon, all those pork eating Christians would join the rest of us in Hell! (D. Hump)
If you Google “vegetarian heresy” you will find current articles written by Christians and Pastors actually encouraging meat eating, with the excuse that ‘animals are here for our use.” Two Pastors claimed that it is a sin not to eat meat because God put them here for your food and He will be insulted if you do not eat them. The truth is, the Pastors just like women bringing them BBQ. Vegetarianism has been around since around 800 B.C. with the ancient Buddhists and Hindus. Pythagoras was a vegetarian. (Many ate fish, because of their lack of knowledge about fish, but that’s another story!)
Jesus had little influence around the world if it was his idea to end animal sacrifice with his crucifixion (again, I don’t think it was his intention), and if God had any kindness, he would have sent Jesus earlier to try to stop all the animal sacrifices that went on. How strange to take a step back and think just how insane this idea is, of taking a life away from a precious animal to erase something you did wrong.