The Essence of Phariseeism is Human Sacrifice

The Pharisee- the historical ones of the New Testament, and the modern progressive ones we have today- is driven by a strange urge. He desires not simply to raise himself above others, to glorify himself in some endeavor- the ancient pagan drive for honor, glory, and fame, a drive to self-idolatry but not entirely bad because it does produce human excellence- but to raise himself above other humans by excelling at some standard of behavior he has created, which others cannot adhere to, and thus witness their destruction as proof of his righteousness and superiority.

The fundamental rules of God, whether seen in scripture or derived from natural law, don’t in their obedience give them enough glory- although that is all that is required, as Jesus told the rich young man. So he creates another set of rules, which he by accident of his wealth, social status, and living situation is able to follow, but others are not. He then condemns others, weaker, poorer, and more vulnerable, for not following his own rules. If he is a social authority, as he is often able to make himself, he makes people hate religion and even hate God. As he sees it, their impiousness and doom is only just the unfortunate lack of will to live up to his standards, and a shocking lack of respect for him.

But in reality the Pharisee mocks God. By setting the rules for his own righteousness, he mocks the ability God alone has to glorify, and by making these rules burdensome and difficult for others, he mocks the ability that God alone has to judge and condemn.

When the pagan sacrificed a human being, he only wanted the death and the destruction of the body of the victim as a gift to his god or idol. The Pharisee seeks to destroy not merely the body, but the soul of the victim, while he is alive in the manner of bitterness and despair, after he has died through eternal punishment.

The religious hypocrites that Isaiah raged against were merely hypocrites- people who wanted to use temple sacrifice to cover for and continue their evil ways. The Pharisees that Jesus condemned were far worse. Their phony religiosity was not merely to cover their sins, but to separate people from God, with the idea of their own comparative merit.

There is no way around condemning sin. However condemning sin does not meaning holding people to unreasonable standards they can’t realistically meet while congratulating yourself on being such a great guy. Conservative or traditionalist Christians get labeled as hypocrites and moralizers constantly, but for some reason progressive Christians- the current paragons of decency and morality- are never criticized or called out on their hectoring and belittling of people. Progressive Christians do terrible harm to the name of God, as I think this story demonstrates, but because they are portrayed as representing the height of morality, we are told to shut up and be progressive and go along with it, or at least just shut up.

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One response to “The Essence of Phariseeism is Human Sacrifice

  1. Pingback: The Death and Nightmare World | A Cry In The Dark

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