Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


THINKING ABOUT THE COMMAND, "YOU CANNOT TAKE LORD'S CUP AND DEMON'S CUP"

The Christian faith thinks Jesus is the only true God so if you eat his body in communion and drink his blood you cannot participate in pagan worship.
 
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul tells his disciples to shun idol worship and to judge for themselves what he says. He then says that the cup the Church blesses is a sharing in the blood of Christ and the bread is a sharing in the body and that all are united by partaking of the one bread. But the trouble is you can leave this bit about the bread and drink out without missing it.
 
He says,
 
ß Shun idols and judge this as wrong yourselves.
 
ß He says the bread and cup are union with the body and blood of Jesus and that we are one for we all share the one bread.
 
ß Consider how Israel are made sharers in the altar when they take what was sacrificed on it and eat it.


ß What do I imply then that idol sacrifice amounts to anything?
 
ß No for idols are nothing but do not eat idol sacrifices for it is a communion with demons.
 
ß You cannot drink the Lordís cup and eat at his table and partake of a cup offered to demons and partake of their table.
 
From this it is clear that the embolded doesnít even fit in. It can be left out for all it does is interrupt the flow. It looks like an insertion made not by Paul but by a copyist who was less careful than Paul. If the bolded had any value what was the point about going into how Israel regards sacrifices? It is not clear how food and drink which are not sacrifices could have any relationship or relevance when discussing how animal sacrifices on the altars of Israel unite people with the altar.
 
My view is that the bolded material is possibly an insertion. But even if it is not it only says that food and drink are being used to help love Jesus more and love each other which can be said of any food that is shared in the name of Jesus. We must remember that the people he was writing to brought food and drink to worship to share for this very purpose to deepen fellowship. He complains that some were not sharing properly so clearly what you took with you had to be distributed to everybody. Then why does he say cup and not cups for they would have been using several cups. Do you think if he was thinking of one communion cup that one would do? Several would have been needed. Nothing can be read into that. He singles out the bread for that was the main thing brought to the meals and it was broken and shared following the Jewish tradition.
 
But Paul said in his last point about the Lordís table and the Lordís cup. This is most likely hypothetical for the demon sacrifices did not involve drinking from chalices and using a table but an altar. When it is hypothetical that means that the embolded bit was an insertion, a forgery. The pagan sacrifices were not comparable to communion as Christians practice it for they involved blood and pouring wine over the burning carcass of the sacrifice. The sacrifices were meant to bribe the gods for favours more than to unite the believers for this unity was only false unity. So it is only hypothetical. Paul when saying you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and eat at his table is using this as a metaphor for saying you are friends with the Lord. He does not mean literal eating and drinking. The proof of this is in the fact that the pagans did not share chalices offered to demons. He knows that but he means it metaphorically so the whole line is metaphorical.
 
Possibly Paul means if you have the cup of the Lord which would be animal blood and the sacrifice of the Lordís table which would be animal flesh then you cannot partake of pagan sacrifices. He is talking symbolically in the sense that the Christians have the right to partake of sacred things sacrificed to God in the Temple and so they cannot partake of the cup of demons. He does not mean he wants the Corinthians to eat the sacrifices and drink blood for the only place sacrifice was allowed was in Jerusalem. It is symbolism for he doesnít literally want them to drink animal blood which was forbidden by Jewish law and not practiced at Jewish rites. The symbolism of what he said indicates that the bolded bit which talks literally must be a forgery.

The subject arose about the matter of Christians eating pagan sacrificial meat very early on in the Church.  Acts 15 has the apostles directing the Church to abstain from such meat.  It follows that if the Eucharist is not the literal body of Christ and presented to you as if it is then it is a sin to eat it.   Thus going to communion in a Catholic Church is a sin.  It is the same as a pagan sacrifice.  The problem is not so much that it is a pagan sacrifice but intended to perform false worship.

For Paul, anybody eating flesh sacrificed to idols is okay.  The food is unaffected by the worship for those Gods do not exist.  However if you think they do you are worshipping demons.  This is a clear statement that the modern view that well-meaning sincerity is enough is rubbish.  It is believing in pagan gods that is bad.  Thus believing wrongly that the Eucharist is Jesus is idolatry.  Not all the pagan gods were that bad but idolatry or the worship of those beings was strongly condemned.

THE FEAST
 
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul says he will not commend those who get drunk and wonít share when they meet together for their holy meals. He then says it is because the meal is a memorial of the body and blood of Jesus that he canít commend them. But that doesnít really fit for he never explains why the meal being a memorial should mean that people donít abuse the meal. The passage makes more sense and flows better if you leave out the entire stuff about the last supper and the body and blood of Jesus. The verse before that stuff says something like, ďWill I commend your behaviour when you meet to eat? No I will not. And the bit after runs, ďSo when you gather together to eat, wait for one another.Ē If the portion is an insertion by a fraudulent disciple of Paulís that means that there is no authority whatsoever for celebrating the Lordís supper with the body and blood of Jesus stuff. It could well be an uninspired writing of Paul that he discarded and somebody took it and stuck it in his letter to forge evidence that the rite was celebrated from the start of the Church.
 
There is no proof that we should hold that the Christians that though they might have had breaking of bread ceremonies just to be friendly practiced anything remotely resembling holy communion as the Church now practices it.

In Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 we read that if food upsets a brother the believer must not eat it for it is downgrading a weak conscience and making the brother vulnerable to falling away from the faith. This is interesting concerning some would have had doubts about drinking wine. But the New Testament records of what Paul wrote nowhere suggest using wine for the Lord's Supper.  Others would not have ate bread they thought was turned into an idol of Jesus.  Those offended by idol worship would never have being able to assimilate and revere the notion that bread and drink can become the body and blood of Jesus.  Paul's diplomacy suggests that using wine, saying the food is Jesus were later inventions he would have opposed strenuously.   
 
In summary, there is no evidence that the Bible asks us to say this is my body or blood over bread and wine. Even if it did there would be no reason to think it was an obligation or command. All it says is that we think of Jesus when we eat bread and of his blood when we drink. All the theology that Christians have built on the Eucharist is nonsense for the Eucharist isnít even obligatory or authorised by Christ.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED

Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Book 2, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, MH Gill & Son, Dublin, 1954
Apologetics for the Pulpit, Aloysius Roche, Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd, London, 1950
Born-Again Catholics and the Mass, William C Standridge Independent Faith Mission, North Carolina, 1980
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Christian Order Vol 36 8-9 and Christian Order Vol 36 Number 4 53 Penerley Road, Catford, London 1995
Confession of a Roman Catholic, Paul Whitcomb, TAN, Illinois, 1985
Critiques of God, Edited by Peter A Angeles (Religion and Reason Section), Prometheus Books, New York, 1995
Documents of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979
Encyclopedia of Theology, Edited by Karl Rahner, Burns and Oates, London, 1977
Eucharist, Centre of Christian Life, Rod Kissinger SJ, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1970
Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Fr Charles Chiniquy, Chick Publications, Chino, 1985
Is Jesus Really Present in the Eucharist? Michael Evans, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1986
Handbook to the Controversy with Rome, Vol 2, Karl Von Hase MD, The Religious Tract Society, London, 1906
Living in Christ, A Dreze SJ, Geoffrey Chapman, London-Melbourne, 1969
Martin Luther, Richard Marius, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999
Radio Replies, Vol 2, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1940
Roman Catholic Claims, Charles Gore, MA, Longmans, Green & Co, London, 1894
Salvation, The Bible and Roman Catholicism, William Webster, Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, 1990
Secrets of Romanism, Joseph Zaccello, Loizeaux Brothers, New Jersey, 1984
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Veritas, Dublin, 1995
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
The Mass, Sacrifice and Sacrament, William F Dunphy, CSSR, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1986
The Primitive Faith and Roman Catholic Developments, Rev John A Gregg, APCK, Dublin, 1928
The Studentís Catholic Doctrine, Rev Charles Hart BA, Burns & Oates, London, 1961
This is My Body, This is My Blood, Bob and Penny Lord, Journeys of Faith, California, 1986
Why Does GodÖ? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Pauls, Bucks, 1970
 
The Web
Transubstantiation, Is it a True Doctrine?
http://www.geocities.com/christian_apologist2001/
 
MOST BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
 
The Amplified Bible