Sacrifices and Trades

 

Sacrifices and Trades

Reviewing a TVO Big Ideas dicussion on Sunday some years ago, I was puzzled by a reference to the idea of sacrifice. I recall that the speaker had drawn attention to the fact that the meaning of sacrifice had become rather obscure to modern man. In order to clarify the significance of the term he tells his audience about how he likes to remind his students that they too have made sacrifices to attend university and receive its benefits. Curiously he uses this example of sacrifice as a lead up to the Genesis story about Adam’s and Eve’s sons Cane and Abel, a story about the sacrificial offerings of the two brothers. Abel, a livestock farmer gives his first born; Cain a grower of produce offers God some of his produce. Now although Abel’s offering is superior to Cain’s both are sacrifices or gifts to God. Unlike the personal pleasures given up for a university education by the speaker’s students they are not exchanges for something better but gifts to God simply for God’s pleasure as are all sacrifices. An example of this idea of sacrifice or giving God the best that one possesses is Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia. Agamemnon wishing to succeed in going to Troy and returning his brother’s Menelaus’ wife Helen promises the goddess Diana that he will sacrifice the most beautiful creature born that year. Tragically this beauty is his daughter Iphigenia whom he inevitably sacrifices to fulfill his promise to Diana and to acknowledge her immortal status. And again in the Bible the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s behest confirms Abraham’s honour for God above all else even his love for his son and that sacrifice means infinitely more than giving up something to perhaps receive something better.

President Trump, Journalism and Religion

It’s weird how the media and the movie-star-entertainment community have made me want to defend President Trump, whose offensive “Your Fired” image  and widely reported hapless victim of bankruptcy character determined my first impressions of him, against insults meant to shame him out of public life.  Maybe despite my sociopolitical tendencies that lean left of today’s self-declared middle class  socialists, I see that this man, championed by the self avowed ultra conservative right,  Mr. Trump, is exactly like the rest of us. He is human and his humanity in this era of human rights should never have been so callously disregarded by journalists as it has. Surprisingly the Pope of the Roman Catholic church has been reported to have reserved judgement on President Trump until his policies are confirmed by his actions. And the much vaunted Tibetan Buddhist, the Dali Lama, states that President Trump and Mr. Putin together might achieve a more peaceful world.