Most of the land was occupied by the people known as Canaanites, of Semitic stock and language like the Israelites, dwelling in small cities and towns with a flourishing agriculture, worshipping primarily fertility deities--often with temple prostitution, homosexuality and various orgiastic rites--and with a fearsome cult of child sacrifice. ... (p. 83)
He goes on to describe the child sacrifices made at Tophet by the Canaanites, "in the deep valley of Ben-Hinnom which, most appropriately, was to give its hellenized name of Gehenna to be one of the names of Hell" (p. 130), and later discusses the transplantation of the demonic practice to Carthage.
Ever since I first read that part of Carroll's history many weeks ago, I haven't been able to shake the thought of the Canaanites and Tophet from my mind. Seems that of all the ancients, that's the society we best identify with these days, isn't it? Maybe even more the Canaanites or the Carthaginians than the old Romans. Though far from saints, the republican Romans, at least, had more moral scruples than we seem to. And since reading about and talking with others about last night's talk by Alan Keyes, in which he suggested in a rhetorical flourish that the Judgment may have already begun, I've been rather preoccupied with the thought. The difference between the Canaanites and our society, though, is that our chastisement isn't so likely to come from a David; our enemies are perhaps the instruments of our Lord's justice, but they are hardly His chosen people.
And on a related note, I bemoan the trouble Mel Gibson has brought upon himself in advance of his release of Apocalypto. From what I've read, and from the trailers I've seen, I suspect that there may be an allegory of some sort in that movie. Unfortunately, as we know, Gibson has played into the devil's hand recently, and that makes it less likely that a larger audience will draw any parallels between the human sacrifice of the indigenous empires of the New World and the human sacrifice of their Western conquerors.