From the Hindu Yagñá to the Hebrew Altar, Sacrifice is the central religious act.
The English word ‘God’, the scholars say, derives from the German gott, from the Proto-Indo-European ǵʰu-tó-m, itself sourced in the Sanskrit huta; ‘to pour’ [as in libation to the fire-altar] and its related word hotr [the reciter of the ritual-invocation].
Both words derive from Hu: ‘Of the Sacrifice’ [from the Latin, sacer: ‘to make sacred’] as used in the verses of the Rig Veda.
Or if you prefer a less severe term, ‘Divinity’, from the Latin: dyēus, later as Deus, Deity; from the Sanskrit: devam, ‘The Exalted Effulgent’
Or even more endearingly, the 8th century mystic-poet Sundarar’s call to Shivam. ‘Pitha’, literally, ‘[You] Delusional Madman’.
It’s not a good idea to be a goat on the Islamic Eid. Nor a buffalo at a Bengali Durga Pūjā. Nor a turkey at American Thanksgiving.
But you cannot sacrifice by proxy. That is cheating. You have to make your own.
[Yagñá today stands domesticated as the Puja and ‘Immortality‘ has been toned down to requests for an employable son-in-law. But that is another story.]
Self-Denial is the first order of Moral Code. All Virtue aligns with it. All Vanity scoffs at it. Religions offer their denouement at the limit of self-denial, in the perfection of self-mortification. They vary only in the details.
‘Civilization is self-restraint’ declared Rajagopalachari, once a distant neighbor, a man of scholarship and of God. The same was a favored maxim of Sigmund Freud, an acute observer of the Human Condition; and an Atheist.
The English word ‘Virtue’ and ‘Virile’ actually have a common root [Latin: Virtut, Virilis; tell that to your Padre] and in turn link to the Sanskrit Vir. Virtue is related to Masculinity to ‘Manliness’ [before the Feminists got hold of the word]. And where you see a deficit of Manliness you invariably see a surplus of Cunning. Give me a manly culture any-day.