Thursday, May 14, 2009
I find the Eucharist more than a little difficult to swallow....
I don't know why I was thinking about this, probably because PZ Myers touched on in on his blog a few days ago and it got me thinking. Thinking about communion. If you're not familiar with communion, the specific meaning I'm talking about is the church meaning, I.E. the ritual of eating a wafer and drinking wine during a ceremony, and more specifically, a Catholic ceremony.
I grew up in a Baptist Church and we certainly took communion. Once a month, I think. However, we had no delusions that what we were putting in our mouths was nothing more than unleavened bread and grape juice (Baptist don't like the alcohol). It was symbolism, you see. Something we supposedly did because Jesus asked us to, so we'd remember him.
The reason I was thinking about this is because I read that Catholics, or at least some Catholics (I especially don't expect the young Catholics to believe this), believe that when they put the bread and the wine in their mouth a miracle happens. And that miracle is that the bread ACTUALLY turns into Christ's flesh, and the wine ACTUALLY turns into his blood. Its called Transubstantiation but you and I might call it "fantasy cannibalism."
So my questions are:
1. Can I possibly be understanding this correctly?
2. Do people actually think this happens?
3. Why the hell would they want it to?
4. Has it never occurred to anyone to spit it out and test it?
To me this seems more like an idea that witches would have. I apologize if that offends any witches, I confess, I don't know much about you, save what I read in Harry Potter.
Now I hate to bash on religious rituals too much. OK, that's not true I'd love to, but I won't. When I was religious I used to say "Faith and Ritual are like love and sex. They're not the same thing though people often mistake the two. However, when they're together they make each other better." So I get it. I understand why people get baptized and raise their hands during worship, and even speak in tongues and handle snakes. We think it heightens the experience, essentially. But It really just makes me wonder if instead of heightening the experience, it IS the experience. I've had the typical church camp experience so I know what it feels like to have a professional band play the four right chords that tug on those specific emotions that are so vulnerable in teenagers (or just the downtrodden), to make us think that there's something wrong with us that only Jesus, Mohammed, Yahweh, Buddha, or Joseph Smith can fix. Hell, I've been in the professional band that knows those chords and exploits them. That's the power of music and I could post a whole other way-too-long blog about that, but I digress. Does anyone else feel like its possible that religion uses rituals of all different kinds to replace reason with emotion?
On a much better note, Harper is almost a week old and we had our first night that was just our little family last night, and we did just fine. I swear, she gets cuter everyday. She's so ridiculously expressive. We're about to take her to Target so we can get out of the house a little bit and so that she can learn to love Target, that's one of those really important things that we're trying to instill in her. I've made her 3 different mix CD's for sleeping to now. If you'd like a copy, let me know and I'll post a drop site for you to download them.
ADDENDUM>>> I made a "best of" from all 3 sleeping mixes and you can download it here and it includes such hits as:
The Golden Age - Beck
To Sheila - The Smashing Pumpkins
Christmas Song - Mogwai
El Condor Pasa (If I Could - Simon & Garfunkle
Georgia On My Mind - Willie Nelson
Lake Michigan - Rogue Wave
Mirrors - The New Frontiers
The Tower Of Learning - Rufus Wainwright
Lord Can You Hear Me - Spiritualized
The Film Did Not Go 'Round - Nada Surf
Hallelujah _ I Know It's Over (Medley) - Jeff Buckley
Say Yes - Elliott Smith
The Tourist - Radiohead
Summertime - Sam Cooke
The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us! - Sufjan Stevens