If you are looking for an easy way to prove to yourself that Jesus is not God, try this simple experiment. Take a small child, perhaps age 4 or 5, to church on Sunday and let the child watch communion. Because we all know that things four and five year old children say, who cannot really think for themselves nor understand complicated theological concepts, have a bearing on the validity of the truth claims of religion. You may experience something like this, though I seriously doubt it:
Child: Daddy, what are they doing?
Daddy: Well dear, this part of the service is called communion.
Child: What's communion?
Daddy: Well, it's where... Well, it's... you know, what we do is we eat Jesus' body to... Well, it's complicated. Let me see...
Child: We eat Jesus' BODY???
Bright: Hey, guys. Nice to see you in church this morning. What happened to Norm and Chris?
Daddy: Yes. Well, no, but...
Child: Why do we need to eat Jesus??? I don't want to eat Jesus!!!
Daddy: No, no, no. It's OK honey. It's OK. Be quiet now, don't cry in church. Shhhh. Shush. Now it's OK.
Bright: Don't worry, kiddo. It's symbolic.
Child: But Daddy, I don't want to eat Jesus!
Daddy: Mom, help me out here.
Mom: Honey, it is a holy sacrament. You see, we eat Jesus' body and we drink his blood because...
Child: I have to drink his blood too??? Mommy, I don't want to drink blood!!!
Mom: Honey, calm down! You don't actually drink his blood.
Bright: Right, it's just grape juice. Or maybe it's wine...I haven't been to this church in a while. Either way, it's all metaphorical.
Child: But that man up there is holding up a cup and he is saying that it is Jesus' blood! Mommy! I want to leave! I am leaving!
Mom, Dad: No honey! Wait! We can't leave now!
Bright: Seriously, guys. You need to learn how to discipline your children.
Because Christians have been participating in the communion rite for many years, they tend to forget just how bizarre this ritual is. But any child sees it with fresh eyes. And many children are, naturally, horrified at the thought of eating Jesus' body and then drinking his blood. It is grotesque in the extreme and a child implicitly understands that. What's funny is that I don't know a single person that has ever experienced anything remotely like this. I don't know any child that was "horrified" by this, or thought it was "grotesque." Perhaps that's because we understand the symbolism, and you apparently have no creative ability whatsoever.
Or, you're merely being antagonistic for the sake of argument. You're being willfully stupid.
Have you ever wondered where this ritual came from, or why billions of people would participate in a ritual that is this bizarre? First, let's look at the part of the Bible that prescribes the ritual. You find it in Mark, Chapter 14:
And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
There are a few lines in Luke chapter 22 that are nearly identical. Reading through this passage, can you seriously say you don't see the metaphor? Is it really this difficult to see the blatant symbolism here? I think any child reading this could easily make the association that bread = body, and beverage = blood. We could study this in our English courses as an example.
Jesus gets far more graphic, however, in John chapter 6:53-55:
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Imagine that you are a normal person, and you have never been exposed to Christianity before. Now imagine that a Christian comes up to you and quotes John 6:53. Just out of the blue? Walked up to you in the street and blurted it out for no reason? Any normal adult would rightfully assume the Christian to be insane. Probably, because the verse is out of its context. But, to be fair, if you were a "normal person" and had never been exposed to the theory of evolution by natural selection before, and someone came up to you and said that chimpanzees and humans have a common ancestor, you would likely assume that person to be insane too. That doesn't make it false. Thus, you never see a bumper sticker that says "John 6:53."
However, the assumption is accurate. You can't be serious. The dictionary describes cannibalism in the following way:
The usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being
No, he's not demanding anything. I think you're being really extreme when you're saying such a thing, and you're probably doing this knowing how over the top you are. To truly come to that sort of conclusion, you must rip those verses out of the rest of the context of Jesus's entire ministry and out of the entire history of Christianity.
You may be beginning to see a pattern here. The only pattern I'm observing is your complete cluelessness about Christianity. We have already discussed in chapter 14 that God, in the Old Testament, is quite captivated by animal sacrifice. Did we now? God tells people how they are to sacrifice animals in minute detail. In the New Testament things move to a completely new level and God requires human sacrifice. God is not the only one who gets excited by human sacrifice -- a flood of Christians saw the movie "The Passion of the Christ." Oh, come on.
Now we learn that the human sacrifice is not enough, and we need to ritualistically cannibalize Jesus' body, and satanically drink his blood, to have "eternal life." But what does that mean? What is a metaphor? What is a symbol?
What does your common sense tell you about all of this? My common sense, as well as the "common sense" of every "normal person," says that you're woefully misguided. Look at it through the eyes of a child who doesn't know what a metaphor is. Now it all makes sense. What we are talking about here is cannibalism, and what Christians are doing looks exactly like a pagan/satanic ritual. If you are a Christian, the two questions you may be asking yourself right now are:
- Why in the world am I, as a sane individual, participating in ritualistic cannibalism? How in the world did I stoop to this point?
- Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God demand that I do this? What sort of God am I worshipping?
Actually, I don't have any of those on my mind right now. I do have another one, though:
- Why does Marshall repeatedly ignore the concepts of metaphorical language, hyperbolic language, dramatic orientation, and symbolism?
The source of the ritual
If you are curious, here is why Christianity contains this bizarre ritual. Please tell us, oh wise one. It is not the case that an all-powerful God in heaven demands this behavior. All of the rituals in Christianity are completely man-made. Christianity is a snow ball that rolled over a dozen pagan religions. As the snowball grew, it freely attached pagan rituals in order to be more palatable to converts. Wait...Christianity is a snowball? But...I thought it was a religion...What does that mean? Mommy? DADDY?! AHHHHH!!!! The process is described succinctly and accurately in the book "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. Apparently, he still hasn't realized the incredible mistake of citing a popular fiction book as an accurate source about historical religion. The book offers these two accounts of the creation process:
- "The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbology are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Even if that were true, it wouldn't have any bearing on the validity of the faith, would it? Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. "Miraculously conceived?" I mean, sort of...Horus was born when Isis had sex with Osiris after putting his body back together. But using the term "miraculously conceived" as a comparison to the virgin birth is laughable. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual - the miter, the altar, the doxology, and communion, the act of "God-eating" - were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions." Yeah, you're going to have to back that up.
- "Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras - called the Son of God and the Light of the World - was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. By the way, December 25 is also the birthday or Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The newborn Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity's weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans." Wrong, wrong, wrong. He wasn't called the Son of God and the Light of the World...You can look through many scholarly works and you won't find those titles attributed to him. The December 25th issue is really a non-issue, since nowhere does the New Testament attribute that date to Jesus's birth in the first place. Most importantly, there are NO references anywhere in Mithraic studies literature to Mithra being buried, or even dying, for that matter; there is no resurrection three days later, because there's no death in the first place. I've also found no references to the gift giving either. Dan Brown might as well have made all of that up.
When you research it historically, you realize that Jesus was a human being like any other. Your historical research is "The Da Vinci Code." You have no room to talk. The mythology of his birth, life and death are pagan stories that are all man-made. Keep shooting yourself in the foot, Mr. Brain. It can't get much worse. Or maybe it can.
© P-Dunn's Apologetics 2009. All rights reserved.