Bloody Love

“God so loved the world that he gave his only son….”

The older I get, the less I can accept this idea. When my own sons were born, I discovered a depth of love that I didn’t know I had and I went a little crazy thinking about how to care for them. They’re grown now but I would still fight tigers, armies, and hurricanes to protect my sons. I have cried in frustration and shame when I failed to care for them adequately.

How am I supposed to respond to a heavenly father who hands his child over to be sacrificed and says he did it for me?

Child sacrifice. It’s an old concept where cultures thought it would protect them from disaster or perhaps give them a good harvest. Butcher a child, sacrifice a virgin, throw someone into the mouth of a volcano, and the village would be saved. Nowadays we know better and we understand that human sacrifice is reprehensible.

Except when God does it. For some reason, we don’t say it’s awful. Instead, we say it’s beautiful—a gesture of God’s love and we sing lovely songs about it.

We especially sing of the blood of Jesus spilled on our behalf.

There is a fountain filled with blood.
Are you washed in the blood?
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood.
Oh, the blood of Jesus!

But wait, there’s more! We have a special ceremony, a commemorative meal, where the bread is his body and wine is his blood. Some Christians say it miraculously changes to actual flesh and blood as it enters us. “Take this body, take this blood,” we say, “remember what was done for you and be grateful.”


No more.

I do not accept.

I do not celebrate the blood of anyone’s child.

8 thoughts on “Bloody Love

  1. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but I get a certain morbid comfort reading that someone else has “cried in frustration and shame” over their failings as a parent. It is no consolation to hear that I “did the best I could at the time.” They were still hurt.

    Surely there's a better explanation for the death of Jesus than “blood sacrifice,” or the death of a son who shows back up in three days. –Mark


  2. I agree that it is reprehensible to celebrate hurting a child. I have never looked at it this way. I also have always had a sort of child like faith, if you were to ask me why I believed, I would say to you, because I just do. I have had several, bad things happen to me in my life, and I can say that childlike faith is what brought me through it. I have cried many times in church, as the message delivered resonated so deeply. Yet,I read your words and I wonder am I just a child told what to believe. My heart says no, but that we may not have always been told the truth of God, or the interactions with his people. Our culture has changed in so many ways, from that of the early years, where it was kill, survival, and a megar life for the masses. War in the most brutal of ways, was a way of life. Today, war is less of a combat, and more of a long range weapons contest. That is not to belittle anyone who has faught for our way of life. The simple facts are that wars are just faught differently. Your words, tear at the very foundation of my beliefs, yet my heart still screams, do not deny God. Tis a conflicting thing. My question, is many people became Christians around the time of the Crucifixion and moved away from the pegan, religion so why is that? Do you think that such a large shift in the beliefs of so many occured at one time? Is the timeline in our history skewed or is The timing at the least something to counter what you are saying? As always I say all this in love and to share my thoughts, and maybe we could discuss this further.


  3. Hi Mark,
    There are people who consider themselves Christians but do not accept the premise that Jesus served as sacrifice on our behalf. The writer of John's gospel didn't like the idea, so he described Jesus as God who knew everything and manipulated everything to his choosing… even his death.


  4. Scoutmom, to ask questions and reconsider theological positions is not the same thing as rejecting faith. It's hard to keep a simple faith after you read through the history of Christianity–in fact it's pretty disheartening.

    I always tell my college students, “As you study the Bible critically, questions will arise that you never considered and it can be scary. But if you choose, you can go right back to the faith you've always had.”

    Finally, if your understanding goes through some change, please remember that you are you and you will always be you.


  5. I liked the Augustinian view of the Trinity which is that there is God the Father who is the being of God, Jesus the action of God, and the Holy Spirit which is the love that flows between. I like the Father/Son idea as two parts of a single entity. And Jesus being the acting “word” of God makes sense Biblically. Still not sure how that idea of the Holy Spirit makes sense.

    In that view God would not be sacrificing his son, he would be breaking his own “word” and allowing communion between himself and fallen humanity.

    But now I certainly don’t believe in an orthodox view of hell so I don’t get what the point of him dying would be.


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