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Animals have been accorded a symbolic status, in the words of Hobgood –oster. This merely strengthens the dogma of human dominance and superiority. Such symbolization has made it possible to deprive animals of the status of fully living entities. This is inequitable and patently exploitative, and necessitates restoration of the reality of animals…
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Beasts of Burden: An Exploration of Soteriology and Animality
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Download file to see previous pages Christian theology has frequently attempted to relieve animals of their reality, and the results are clearly visible.
In his work ‘The End of Animal Sacrifice’, Ullucci states that with the crucifixion of Jesus, a perfect sacrifice took place. This, according to this author, effectively supplanted every animal sacrifice, which God had not asked for in the first place.
Salvation is a major feature of Judaism and Christianity, and it is derived from the Latin salvare, which connotes to deliver, preserve, save or rescue. This term is closely related to the Latin salus, which denotes deliverance, health, safety or salvation. A saving action has been attributed to God in the Holy Bible. In this context, there are several biblical terms that refers to such saving action, namely, gā’al (redeem, restore, vindicate, or deliver) and yāsa’ (save, rescue, set free). This notion of saving has been expressed a record 106 times in the Holy Bible, and the interrelated salvation (sōtēria) finds mention on 45 occasions.
Salvation was deemed to be unattainable by humans on their own, and they had to depend on God to make atonement for their sin. A recommended strategy in the Bible was to slaughter a lamb and draw its blood for smearing on the altar. This was the gist of Leviticus 17:11. In Ezekiel 18:4, it is stated that all souls belong to God and that the sinning soul shall die. However, such death could be averted by sacrificing an animal. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb nonpareil, as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:20. The soteriological doctrine is derived from these passages. Animals were to be sacrificed, in order to constantly remind humans of their sin, as had been declared in the Bible at Heb. 9:22; 10:3. In Exo. 29:38 – 46, explicit and detailed instructions regarding the slaughter of animals was provided to Moses on Mount Sinai by God. Despite the contention of Christian theology that with the crucifixion of Jesus, there was no necessity for further animal sacrifices, certain biblical passages make it clear that this practice is to be continued forever. For instance, Leviticus 16:29- 34 categorically declares that human sin can never be expatiated and that atonement by sacrificing animals has to be complied as an everlasting statute. As such, the Holy Bible had promoted a pastoralist vision of nature, wherein animals were to be exploited ruthlessly. The hapless animals were nothing more than chattels and their existence was justified only in the context of satisfying human needs. These perceptions have engendered considerable debate regarding the ruthless attitude of the Christian faith, Vis–a–Vis animals.5 In addition, in order to purify sinners, the Holy Bible advocated the sacrifice of animals. Thus, Leviticus 4 and 16 prescribes ?a??a’t or sin offering as purification for sinners. At this juncture it is to be clearly understood that sin and its redemption are central to the Christian and Judaic faiths. Sacrifice, form the biblical perspective, denotes the act of rendering sacred. This is to be achieved by the transfer of human gifts to the dominion of the divine.6 However, there were certain sacrifices in the Christian faith that were acts of thanksgiving. As such, the original sin attributed to Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, finds no corresponding parallel among animals. In brief, animals need not be redeemed and therefore the question of their salvation does not arise. However, mankind has to mend its ways and adopt a more humane and less self – centered approach. In fact, the abuse of animals by humanity could jeopardize human redemption. Although, some scholars claim ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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