Excersus L: Friends in Low Places
If you're in the process of making up your own religion at the moment, the inclusion or exclusion of animal sacrifice is something you should put some thought into. You obviously need SOME ritualized appeasement ceremony to keep your priests' hold on their followers. If placating the gods is something ANYBODY can do, your religion is pretty much finished from the start. But then you have to choose between three options: Human Sacrifice, Animal Sacrifice, or some sort of non-deathy offering. Sacrifice is great, because it's something that nobody else reeeeeeally wants to do, and in that there is power. Human's nice for offing anybody who is getting a little too mouthy against your order, but if there's one thing we've learned from world history, it's that one rushed execution can really screw things up for the rest of us, so as a personal favor, I'd urge you not to do it. Animal sacrifice is, strangely, something people who eat on a regular basis find appaling. "Brutally killing innocent creatures - all fine and moral, but then NOT hacking them to pieces and eating the corpse? That's just WRONG!" the reasoning apparently goes. I like animals alive rather than dead, so I'd prefer you opt out of this too, but again, when you remove flowing blood from the equation, you make your priests REALLY have to work for their bread. All you've got then is words - either said over a bucket of oranges or some such thing - or by their lonesome, and that means literacy, showmanship, and the cleverness to make it all look like something that absolutely needs a priest looking over it.
- Count Dolby von Luckner