|“Ok, Ok! You don’t need to kill him, I just wanted to know you would,” said god.|
In roughly 2100 B.C.E. Abraham turned to Ishmael and said, “O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee. So look, what thinkest thou? (Quran 37:101)”
What a question.
Even more shocking than Ishmael’s answer as recorded in the Quran (“O my father! Do that which thou art commanded.”) is that now, some 4,000 years after the event is said to have happened, 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe celebrate it as a major holiday.
Eid al-Adha, a three day holiday also called, pointedly enough, the Feast of the Sacrifice, starts today.
In the traditional retelling, god told Abraham to kill his son in a dream. Then, when Abraham was just about to bring the knife down, god had him kill a ram instead.
So… what exactly is being celebrated? Actually three things:
1) Abraham’s willingness to kill his son because god told him to.
2) Ishmael’s willingness to die because god told his father to kill him.
3) God was awesome enough to back out of the sacrifice at the last minute.
This story (like the similar one in the Bible) is used today to talk about how good god is.
But really, it makes god out to be some sort of psychopathic ex-girlfriend who needs you to sacrifice your son before she believes you love her.
“Ok, Ok! You don’t need to kill him, I just wanted to know you would,” said god. And then he cried about it.
That’s one father-son relationship that never recovered.
The Quran, a book that reads like a trip record already, wants us to think this story is indicative of a god who gives a shit – about us.
In reality this is just a story about an insecure supernatural being. It’s a divine cry for attention. (And a creepy holiday).
So before you cry out “Eid Mubarak (have a blessed Eid)!,” remember:
That literally means, “Have a blessed day celebrating the divine psychopath.”
Allah Akbar indeed.
For Edgar S. Penn's article on Easter, click here.