Date: 17 Feb 1998
>>The statement that "... some groups believe that power resides in blood..." stopped me cold. If ever a religion believed in the power of blood it's Christianity. While some Christians believe that transubstantiation is symbolic, many believe it's literally true.<<
Yup! I was a fundamentalist as a kid. And while my church didn't emphasize transubstantiation like the "heathen" Catholics, it most certainly did believe that power resides in blood. Believers were "washed in the blood of the Lamb". We were taught that only blood atoned for sin, that Adam's sin was so monstrous that only human sacrifice (Christ's death) could wash it clean. Now, as an adult, that metaphor puzzles me. Wash something clean with blood?!? If I got a grass stain on my pants, would I wash them in blood to clean them?? Is something blood-covered "clean"?
Not, mind you, that this is an exclusively Christian belief. Our word "bless" comes from an Indo-European phrase meaning "to hallow with blood", so the idea of the sanctity of blood is very, very ancient. Blood is a major symbol in many Pagan religions, not just Christianity.
But what disturbed me is that the authors of this article couldn't see that the "Satanic" beliefs that horrified them were thoroughly Christian, too. The sanctity/power of blood is one example. Dualism, the idea of a good god (Yahweh) and a bad one (Satan), is much more common in Christian sects than in Pagan ones. The fact that Zorastorianism believed in good and bad gods made them "Satanic" somehow; the fact that Christians embrace the same dualism passed unnoticed.