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Sacrifice in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam$
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David L. Weddle

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780814764916

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814764916.001.0001

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(p.207) Conclusion
Sacrifice in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

David L. Weddle

NYU Press

Each of the religions of Abraham has appropriated the “deep symbol” of sacrifice in its own way and, despite misgivings about its practice, have elevated it as a religious and moral ideal. Unfortunately, sacrifice has been used as sanction for violence against those who oppose religious visions of social perfection or utopia. The story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, while being prevented by God from doing so, demonstrates the moral ambivalence and profound risk in every exchange of concrete good for abstract benefit. To the five warning signs of dangerous religious ideals Charles Kimball identified, this book adds another: the call to sacrifice. Only when that call is for the welfare of humanity, particularly our children, does it signal hope for a more peaceful future.

Keywords:   sacrifice, violence, utopia, Charles Kimball, children

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