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My pet goat

Happy Eid al-Adha, everyone (this year, it runs from Sunday the 6th until Wednesday the 9th). The Festival of Sacrifice celebrates Abraham’s willingness to cut his son’s throat in obedience to God — one of the more disturbing chapters in the book, I’ve always thought.

Today, a taxi driver told my mother in law this story: when he was a lad in Kashmir, his grandmother bought a young goat every Summer and raised it as a pet. She stroked it and spoiled it with treats until it loved her and followed her everywhere.

Then they killed it for Eid al-Adha.

Because, see, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, you should sacrifice something you love, and that loves you back.

I’ve been trying to tell myself that of course the gods must ask you to do difficult things; but I’m not sure it follows that the gods must tell you to do rotten, shitty things. You can draw a pretty straight line between people who think God expects them to kill their pets, and people who rejoice when their sons fly airplanes into office buildings in the name of God.

November 4, 2011 — 11:09 pm
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