Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Gehenna?

I've been reading the first volume of Warren H. Carroll's history, The Founding of Christendom, in which he discussed the original inhabitants of Palestine and their cruelty and worship of Baal at several points in the first 150 pages:
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.

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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.


Anonymous said...

Your comparison of ancient infant sacrifices to cult fertility deities with contemporary abortions is valid.

The ancients killed their babies to ensure good harvests and, unbelievabale as this sounds, additional fecundity. In short, they killed their babies to make their lives better.

Same same with 99% of today's abortions, which are committed to ease financial or personal 'burdens' that babies bring to people's lives.

My understanding is that Gehenna/Tophet sacrifices were to a god called Melech. The babies were cast into a huge, red-hot furnace in the form of the deity while drums were beaten to cover the cries of the poor, tiny victims. Today, the high priests of abortion use anesthesia.

hilary said...

They use anesthesia on the woman, not the baby.

And not in every case on the woman either. There is an odd mentality in abortion facilities where abortion is considered a kind of punishment for the woman for having been stupid enough to get pregnant. Women are often treated very brutally in them, especially the US private, for-profit ones.

I wonder if the Cananite priests of Moloch charged a fee for the sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

You've concluded that (1)fewer people will see Apocalypto and (2) most people will not connect New Age abortions with the human sacrifice of the Mayans over five hundred years ago.

The first conclusion doesn't seem likely because people are more attracted by controversy and scandal than by good actions. Sorry, your score is '0' (Boo!).

You do get a score of '1' (Yay!)on your second conclusion. Unless Mel Gibson has something special in the film that makes people see the value of pre-birth children in the womb.

I'm definitely going to view the film to see whether he directly or only indirectly connects the former Mayan Age with the New Age of our time.