I’ve gained a certain degree of understanding of the religious importance of human sacrifice to the ancient Aztecs. They owed the gods a “Blood debt” for the creation of the world, since the gods sacrificed themselves in the very act of creation. Abhorred and condemned by the Spanish missionaries who encountered them, in some ways, this aspect of the Aztec belief structure may have helped Christianity get a foothold in the region. Indeed its not so far off to say that both god and man were sacrificed in the crucifixion, and the symbolic drinking of the blood of Christ took on a much more tangible form in the mezoamerican context.
In this way, or so it seems to me, there is a decided psychological disconnect between the natives of North and South America. One that more often than not, it seems, in the popular imagination is overlooked.