When it comes to human sacrifice, we can say to those ancient civilizations that practiced it: Hold my beer! From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:
I’ve spent the last three days in awe of the temples of Teotihuacan, Mexico, which are beyond description in size and scale, challenging even the pyramids of Egypt for inclusion in wonders of the world. They are all the more impressive because we can observe their geographic context as part of a large and once-thriving community, including the ruins of roads and housing complexes.
The age of the temples date from the 1st century and before, even long before, and the town itself was a massive cultural and commercial center until about the 8th century, when the population migrated elsewhere.
We like to find connections between our lives and theirs and we find it in the everyday ways of the people, who, like us, had families to feed, water to find and keep, and life struggles to overcome with the assistance of trading relationships, folkways, tools, community leaders, and traditions. It’s all very beautiful and remarkable, and also rather elusive at some level simply because the written history of these people and this period are sparse.
Of course, one terrible reality hangs over the entire apparatus: human sacrifice. That was the purpose of the temples, the very ones we admire and adore. It’s a truth we know and yet don’t like to think about it much and are not encouraged to do so. We would rather look at these pyramids as mighty achievements of a developed pre-modern civilization, which they are in many ways.
The grim horror of these religious rituals are impossible to deny as historical facts. It was 500 years ago. It’s long over. Surely today we can rescue the beautiful parts of a faith and history without obsessing constantly on the bad with unrelenting severity.