Moral Contradictions

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Literal contradictions

While taking a break from my Christian Tradition paper I am catching up on some of my blog reading. I am literally 1,000 posts behind as more are added everyday. While trying to knock that number down, something connected in my little brain. I may be totally off-base, but bear in mind that I am asking a question and do not have an answer yet.

The majority of Christians believe in transubstiation; in other words, when the bread and the wine are blessed at communion they become the literal body of Christ. Contrary to the triumphant Baptist tradition in which I was raised, this may be a shock to some as many are used to viewing this act in a symbolic manner. Unlike the Roman Catholic tradition, the Orthodox church has not tried to explain this belief - it's a matter of faith and though I disagree, I admire them.

The majority of current Southern Baptists along with Christians of other conservative denominations hold fast to the unbiblical word "inerrant", believing that the Holy Spirit, acting as God, used humans as a vehicle to move the pen on the scroll and write down the Holy Scriptures. In their circles, it's not enough to say the Bible is authoritative, inspired, and something to treasure, live by, and faithfully study. One must speak the word 'inerrant' as much as possible for a ticket of acceptance, else folks like myself are accused of not believing the Bible. Nevermind that word is not found in the Bible or in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, but whatever floats your boat.

I'm getting beyond myself, but the point is this: How is transubstiation dismissed as impossible, yet complete divine authorship is readily accepted?

In my mind, transubstiation has a Biblical edge when the statement "this is my body" is literally read, whereas "this book is without error" cannot be found. (Disclaimer: I have not taken Hebrew or Greek yet, so maybe I have a "liberal" translation or don't know enough yet to find it).

Furthermore, I have not taken a theology class yet, so maybe it's easier to believe that the Holy Spirit prefers human vehicles as opposed to those made of starch and alcohol and I am simply an ignorant fool.

Even though us Baptists believe the elements are symbols rather than actual flesh and blood, we still hold the act of communion in high regard - so high we usually only do it once a month so as to not take it for granted. To my knowledge, no one accuses us of not believing in Jesus' sacrifice because we do not believe the literal words of Jesus and agree with those who do.

Thus, if limiting the Holy Spirit's power in symbolizing communion does not take away from the meaning and importance of the act, why do some folks consistently dismiss those who disagree with the method of inspiration of the Bible as not believing the Bible? To me, saying the Bible is authoritative, inspired, and worthy of studying and living out is on the same level as considering communion as a holy sacrament despite disagreeing with the Catholic and Orthodox belief of the Holy Spirit's literal interaction with the ceremony.

Does that question make sense? I am merely trying to read the Bible for what it says and not assume I know what it says (or should say). I know it is impossible to be objective, but it is also impossible to be perfect, yet we are called to strive towards perfection.

Please bear with my ignorance and slight sarcasm, but my brain threw up a "Compare and Contrast" flag and I'm just throwing it out there.


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