wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,
wombat_socho
wombat_socho

  • Mood:

Religion and society and why the Aztecs had it coming

I wanted to revise (slightly) and extend my remarks here, because at first blush it looks like I'm just being a violent, bigoted Hispano-Catholic chauvinist and not taking into account the unique cultural values offered by the Aztec religion.

Except I am. I've done my homework, and I know damn well what the Aztec religion was all about. It was about justifying and continuing the extremely bloody dominance of the Aztecs over their neighbors, an oppressive dominance that explains all too well why Tlaxcala and other nations went over to Cortez and his handful of freebooters: he offered them a way out of the bloody tributes demanded by the priests of Huitzilopochtli, who dominated the state cult. Contrary to modern revisionists' claims, there was nothing voluntary in the least about the human sacrifices, executed on a scale that would make Nazis blanch. The history of the Aztec cult is well documented and not at all a fabrication by conquistadors or Church officials; many of the latter were avid scholars of the pre-conquest culture and conducted exhaustive interviews with surviving members of the Aztec nobility. Translations of the many historical codexes were done before the remaining Nahuatl-speakers died off, and these show quite clearly the cynical, bloodthirsty aims of the Hummingbird God's priests.

Recreating a religion without the support of a society for it to function in is a difficult task. The experience of the "hidden Christians" of Japan shows the deformations and corruptions that occur when a faith is practiced in isolation from a sustaining population. Indeed, our ancestors would have been confused by the very notion that a nation and its religion could be considered as separate entities: loyal Spanish were all Catholics, just as all Japanese subscribed to the syncretic mix of Shinto and Buddhism and all English were C. of E. It is only in the last two centuries that any nation has embraced religious toleration as a basis for society, and even here in the United States, some religions were socially proscribed, if not legally outlawed. Ask any knowledgeable Catholic, Jew, or Mormon about the history of their church in America; the entire system of Catholic schools in America is a testament to the Protestant indoctrination prevalent in the public schools of the late 19th and early 20th century, and the persecution of the Mormons that drove them into internal exile in Utah is well known.

The problems encountered by modern Wiccans in trying to re-establish authentic forms and ritual suppressed for a millenium are well documented, and this in a nation whose general social characteristics are not in conflict with many Wiccan beliefs. Doing the same with the Aztec religion would require a renascence of Aztec culture and a recreation of the Aztec nation, which no sane person would want and every reasonable person should oppose. You don't see Hindus suggesting that thuggee is a respectable form of worship on a par with devotions to Vishnu and Brahma; we should likewise reject calls to revive any obeisance to Xipe Totec, Huitzilopochtli, and the other bloodstained gods overthrown by Cortez and the missionaries in his band.
Tags: culture & politics
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 4 comments