The Instigator
KeytarHero
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
christisking
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

The Communion bread and wine becomes Christ's literal body and blood

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,977 times Debate No: 16955
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (48)
Votes (3)

 

KeytarHero

Con

This debate will be on the Communion (or Eucharist, as Catholics commonly refer to it). I would ask that my opponent be Roman Catholic so that the position can be represented as accurately as possible.

I would also ask that in this first round, the contender make their case for the Communion being Christ's literal body and blood, so that in my second round argument I don't strawman my opponent by mistake.

Thank you, and good luck to whomever decides to accept.
christisking

Pro

First of all, I thank KeytarHero for creating this debate and apologize for taking so long to accept this debate and then post my arguments.

As my opponent has requested, I will give some background to my beliefs and then present a case as to why I believe thus. Catholics believe that at the Last Supper Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist. In this sacrament, Christ turned the bread and wine in His hands into His actual body and blood. The appearance of the bread and wine did not change, but their essence did. This is called transubstantiation, which means that the very essence of something, the bread and wine, is taken away and replaced with something else, Christ himself. It still looked like bread and wine, but since God is all powerful he was able to take the place of the bread and wine without even changing their appearances.

Most Protestant Christians on the other hand believe that what Christ did was merely give men a symbol of His body and blood and sacrifice on the cross (please correct me SkepticsAskHere if you believe something different).

Since both sides agree on the legitimacy of the bible as God's word, both of us being Christians, I hope that we can both use strong Biblical arguments to support our points. I hope that both sides will strive to prove that it is either more likely Christ really did initiate transubstantiation or that he did not.

Now to present my arguments:

Contention 1: The Last Supper

Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
http://www.biblegateway.com......

Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
http://www.biblegateway.com......

In these accounts of the Last Supper, we see that Christ said that "this is my body" concerning the bread, and "this is my blood" concerning the wine. Neither before nor after does Christ say that He is merely talking symbolically. If Christ doesn't tell us that He is speaking symbolically or give us any context to cause us to believe otherwise, then we must take Him at His word and believe that the bread really is His body and the wine really is His blood.

Contention 2: John 6

John 6:53-59 53 Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
http://www.biblegateway.com......

In this passage, Christ says several times that the people must eat His body and drink His blood. Since nowhere else in the bible does Christ condone cannibalism, He is obviously foreshadowing what He would do at the Last Supper. By turning bread and wine into His body and blood, He would indeed make it possible for these people to consume His body and blood.

Contention 3: 1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27(AB) Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord(AC) in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning(AD) the body and blood of the Lord. 28(AE) Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
http://www.biblegateway.com......

In this passage, St. Paul tells us that whoever "eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord." To take the words at their face value would mean that Paul is condemning those in Corinth who were receiving the Eucharist (for Christ passed on the power to change bread and wine into his body and blood) in an unworthy manner and reminding them that they are desecrating the very body and blood of Christ himself. There is no suggestion from Paul that he is speaking symbolically, so must indeed take this statement at face value, showing that Christ did indeed institute the Eucharist.

I hope that my points have been clear and understandable, and I look forward to hearing my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Christisking for taking me up on the offer to debate this topic.

"Most Protestant Christians on the other hand believe that what Christ did was merely give men a symbol of His body and blood and sacrifice on the cross."

This is correct. Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, which is similar to transubstantiation, but I take the "memorial view," which is that the bread and wine used by Christ at the Last Supper was merely symbolic of His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus was doing more than dying on the cross, He was saving His people from their sins. Christ's death was more than death, His blood symbolized the New Covenant between God and man, to where we can approach God directly and seek forgiveness from our sins, from the shedding of His blood on the cross.

As such, the "bread and wine" used in Communion is symbolic of Christ's body and blood. I don't see anywhere in Scripture that God instituted a change that wasn't outwardly recognizable. For instance, when Christ saves a person, they become changed. They are no longer subject to their sins. There is a noticeable change in that person's life that they are now subject to God, and not subject to sin. Also, when Jesus changed the water into wine, it wasn't merely an "essence" change. He literally changed it to wine, so much that the headwaiter praised the bridegroom for keeping the best wine until last (John 2:1-10). I don't see why Jesus would take exception here, especially when there is no indication the essences changed at all.

"Since both sides agree on the legitimacy of the bible as God's word, both of us being Christians, I hope that we can both use strong Biblical arguments to support our points."

Agreed.

Now for Christisking's contentions.

Contention 1: The Last Supper

Christisking pointed to Luke 22:19-20, but even in those verses we see Christ saying: "do this in remembrance of me." Communion was instituted so that we may remember the Lord as often as we partake of it.

Regarding Jesus speaking metaphorically, He did this often: "I am the vine" (John 15:5), "I am the door" (John 10:7, 9), etc. Jesus never indicated that He was speaking in metaphorical language. Should we also believe that Jesus was literally a door or literally a vine? Of course not. He was a man, and so logically we can infer that He was not a door or a vine. Jesus did not cut His flesh off or pour His blood into a chalice. If I were to hold up a piece of bread and say "this is my body," no one would take that literally. As such, there is no reason to take the Lord literally here. I would say it is more reasonable to assume He was speaking figuratively since there's no reason to believe otherwise.

Contention 2: John 6

"Since nowhere else in the bible does Christ condone cannibalism..."

I think this is the key here. Consumption of blood was forbidden under Jewish law (Leviticus 7:26-27), as was cannibalism (Genesis 9:1-6; John 6:52). Jesus would not have condoned eating His own flesh and blood, because under Jewish law absolutely no blood was allowed to be consumed (and no exceptions were made), and the Jews were allowed to eat certain types of meat, humans not being among them.

Contention 3: 1 Corinthians 11

Actually, I do see that there is a suggestion from Paul that he is speaking symbolically. He says whoever "eats the bread or drinks the cup...will be guilty concerning the body and blood..." He doesn't say whoever eats the body and drinks the blood in an unworthy manner. He says whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup. There is no reason to suspect he is speaking literally. He says if we take it in an unworthy manner, we will be guilty concerning the body and blood of Christ. This is because of what the bread and wine represent, the body and blood.

I look forward to Christisking's response.
christisking

Pro

I would like to thank KeytarHero for his arguments, and I hope to be able to give a comprehensive and well explained rebuttal.


I don't see why Jesus would take exception here, especially when there is no indication the essences changed at all.


Actually, to the contrary there is a very good reason that Christ initiated transubstantiation. In conversion and at the wedding feast of Canna the original person or substance was lacking. Thus, the transformation needed to change the water into real wine for it to be of any use, and conversion needs to change the person outwardly for it to be genuine. On the other hand, in the Eucharist the outward appearances, far from having to change, actually need to remain the appearances of bread and wine. Christ wants to have a deep personal relationship with each of us, which is why he instituted the Eucharist. In my experience, there is nothing more personal or profound than receiving God into my very self. Had Christ changed the appearances of the bread and wine into real flesh and blood, then we would have been unable to receive them in the way that we receive Christ in Holy Communion.


Now, I hope to show through my case that Christ did indeed institute this beautiful sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.



Contention 1: The Last Supper


Christisking pointed to Luke 22:19-20, but even in those verses we see Christ saying: "do this in remembrance of me." Communion was instituted so that we may remember the Lord as often as we partake of it.


What does it mean to remember something? It means not to forget it. Christ is telling the apostles to do as he did so that they and all of their disciples will not forget about Christ and his death on the cross (which is what the Eucharist is, a sort of reenactment of Christ’s death on Calvary). This doesn’t change the fact that He said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood”. By changing bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood we are given a powerful way not to forget who our savior is.


Regarding Jesus speaking metaphorically, He did this often: "I am the vine" (John 15:5), "I am the door" (John 10:7, 9), etc.


I agree that this phrase alone, “This is my body” sounds similar to Christ’s other phrases like “I am the vine”. However, there is a huge difference. When Christ said “I am the vine” he did then go into detail to try and persuade people that he was, or give this new teaching a preview earlier on in his ministry. However, the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper was previewed in a dramatic way in John 6. In John 6, Christ not only tries to persuade his listeners that he will give them His genuine body and blood, but succeeds.



Contention 2: John 6


I think this is the key here. Consumption of blood was forbidden under Jewish law (Leviticus 7:26-27), as was cannibalism (Genesis 9:1-6; John 6:52).


I would like to point out that my opponent has not addressed Christ’s stunning words here, but merely said that it is impossible for us to believe them literally. However, there really is no serious barrier to accepting these words as literal. God had a purpose for every law he put on the Jewish people. They had to respect the Sabbath so they didn’t forget about God, honor their parents to keep strong families and not intermarry with other races so that God’s people could remain pure of paganism. However, God allowed exceptions to these rules if they did not violate the laws original purpose, especially if it was in circumstances including the worship of God Himself. Exodus 20:4 says ““You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” But then a few chapters later God commands in Exodus 25:18 “And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.” God did not want the Israelites making statues which could become idols, but it was ok if they made ‘graven images’ when it was to worship God. Eating the Eucharist, since it still maintains the appearances of bread and wine, is so different from normal cannibalism or drinking of blood that it does not contradict this Jewish law.


If there is no serious contradiction with Jewish law, then Christ must not have been joking when he said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” The way he says this and the fact he says it multiple times shows that he is not speaking symbolically. We are assured of this when we see that many of the Jews stop following Christ because they could not accept a teaching which sounded identical to cannibalism to them.



Contention 3: 1 Corinthians 11


He says whoever "eats the bread or drinks the cup...will be guilty concerning the body and blood..." He doesn't say whoever eats the body and drinks the blood in an unworthy manner. He says whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup. There is no reason to suspect he is speaking literally.


To the contrary, it makes perfect sense for Paul to say ‘bread and cup’ the first time as opposed to ‘body and blood’. In this passage, Paul is chastising those who have not been taking Christ’s presence in the Eucharist seriously. Paul would thus want to refer to the Eucharist first by its appearances so that these doubters know what he is talking about, then tell them bluntly that they are now “guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord”.



I anticipate KeytarHero’s next response with great curiosity and interest.

Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Con

Again, I thank Christisking for his very thought-provoking response.

"On the other hand, in the Eucharist the outward appearances, far from having to change, actually need to remain the appearances of bread and wine...Had Christ changed the appearances of the bread and wine into real flesh and blood, then we would have been unable to receive them in the way that we receive Christ in Holy Communion."

But why would you not be able to receive them in the way that you receive Christ in Holy Communion if they actually change into flesh and blood? Why do the elements need to remain bread and wine? It seems like you're having to explain why you can consume human flesh and blood when there are Biblical commands against it. It just seems a little convenient to me to claim that they change into real body and blood when they still feel and taste like bread and wine.

"What does it mean to remember something? It means not to forget it."

Exactly. We take Communion to constantly remember Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The bread and wine do not need to change for this to happen.

Contention 1: The Last Supper

"By changing bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood we are given a powerful way not to forget who our savior is."

What I don't understand is why is this a powerful way not to forget? I have never forgotten and yet I believe the bread and wine stays bread and wine. In fact, you won't even know they change unless a Catholic teaches you about Transubstantiation. How is it any more powerful than simply consuming literal bread and wine?

"When Christ said 'I am the vine' he did then go into detail to try and persuade people that he was, or give this new teaching a preview earlier on in his ministry. However, the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper was previewed in a dramatic way in John 6. In John 6, Christ not only tries to persuade his listeners that he will give them His genuine body and blood, but succeeds."

You seem to be contradicting yourself here, but I'm assuming when you say "did" you mean "didn't"? The thing is, though, that Christ did explain what He meant by "I am the vine" (that we, as the branches, must remain connected to the vine in order to prosper and flourish).

Contention 2: John 6

"I would like to point out that my opponent has not addressed Christ’s stunning words here, but merely said that it is impossible for us to believe them literally."

I did address them. In the way that we shouldn't take Christ literally with His other metaphorical statements (e.g. "I am the vine," "I am the door"), there is no reason to take Him literally here. I have no problem with Jesus foreshadowing the Last Supper here, but just because He's foreshadowing it doesn't mean the bread and wine literally become His body and blood.

"However, God allowed exceptions to these rules if they did not violate the laws original purpose, especially if it was in circumstances including the worship of God Himself."

I understand where you're coming from here. However, what was the reason for forbidding the consumption of blood? "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement" (Lev. 17:11). We are not allowed to consume blood because it is the life of flesh, and it has been given on the altar to make atonement for your souls. Blood was the life of Jesus while He was here on Earth, and He gave it on the cross for the atonement of our sins. By consuming His blood in the Communion, this would have violated the law's original purpose.

"We are assured of this when we see that many of the Jews stop following Christ because they could not accept a teaching which sounded identical to cannibalism to them."

Just because they misunderstood Christ doesn't mean that they understood what He was really saying. And just because Jesus didn't bother to correct them doesn't mean anything either, because Jesus never explained His parables to the people, saying instead that they have not been given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11).

Contention 3: 1 Corinthians 11

If we read the passage in context, we see that taking the Communion in an unworthy manner means taking it with unconfessed sin in their life, and for not taking it seriously (they wouldn't eat beforehand, and treated it like an actual supper; they didn't take it seriously).

I look forward to our next round.
christisking

Pro


I would again like to thank KeytarHero for his well explained and reasonable arguments.



But why would you not be able to receive them in the way that you receive Christ in Holy Communion if they actually change into flesh and blood?


If the bread and wine had become Christ’s physical flesh and blood, then they would be naturally disgusting and repulsive to people to consume. Thus, by allowing the Eucharist to maintain its appearances of bread and wine, Christ allows his followers to have him within their very selves and know it.



It just seems a little convenient to me to claim that they change into real body and blood when they still feel and taste like bread and wine.


I agree that it seems strange that bread and wine can change into God without us seeing it, but God can do all things. It was also strange that God should require his own son to become man and then die to save mankind. Just like the Eucharist, however, it makes sense after some thought and reflection. We believe this because of the strong biblical support for this belief and because the teaching has been passed down by Christians since the time of Christ.



We take Communion to constantly remember Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The bread and wine do not need to change for this to happen.


Ok, I agree then. The verse saying ‘do this in remembrance of me’ does not prove either of our points since it helps us not to forget Christ whether the bread and wine are Christ or not.



Contention 1: The Last Supper


How is it any more powerful than simply consuming literal bread and wine?


It is easy to follow a formula of prayer and symbolism reminding us of Christ our savior. It is a completely different experience to realize that God has so humbled himself that he will allow you to consume him under the appearances of bread and wine. To realize that you have the creator of the universe within yourself gives room for profound mediation on God’s love and leaves a profound impact on devoted Catholics afterwards.


You seem to be contradicting yourself here, but I'm assuming when you say "did" you mean "didn't"? The thing is, though, that Christ did explain what He meant by "I am the vine" (that we, as the branches, must remain connected to the vine in order to prosper and flourish).


Thank you for catching my mistake, I apologize for the confusion. Of course Christ would have expounded on why he said “I am the vine” since such a statement on its own is merely confusing. However, you will notice that everything he says helps to illustrate the symbolism of the metaphor, not persuade people that he is a genuine vine. When I get to John 6, I hope to show that Christ’s words sound more persuasive of a point as opposed to being an explanation of a metaphor.



Contention 2: John 6


I did address them. In the way that we shouldn't take Christ literally with His other metaphorical statements (e.g. "I am the vine," "I am the door"), there is no reason to take Him literally here. I have no problem with Jesus foreshadowing the Last Supper here, but just because He's foreshadowing it doesn't mean the bread and wine literally become His body and blood.


My point was that you addressed the passage in general as if it were Christ just saying “this is my body… this is my blood” again. However, if we look at the verses, they sound nothing like Christ’s other ‘metaphorical’ statements:


John 6:51-59


“This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”


“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”


“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”


“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink”


“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.”


“Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”


“Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”


Here we have nothing less than seven verses from John 6 which Christ gives us in rapid fire, all of which bluntly saying in one way or another that Christ’s flesh is genuine food. Let us look at the last verse and see what it would imply if my opponent is correct in his understanding of the Last Supper. It would mean ‘whoever eats bread and wine which symbolizes Me will be given eternal life’. This statement makes no sense. Why would Christ make such a dramatic promise for doing something so simple as eating bread and wine? In the Catholic understanding however, this verse takes on new significance. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is accompanied by graces which help one to live a truly Christian life. It is a belief of the Church that if one cannot be a good Catholic without frequent reception of and spiritual nourishment from the Eucharist. It is our spiritual food if will.


We are not allowed to consume blood because it is the life of flesh, and it has been given on the altar to make atonement for your souls. Blood was the life of Jesus while He was here on Earth, and He gave it on the cross for the atonement of our sins. By consuming His blood in the Communion, this would have violated the law's original purpose.


That is where Christ’s sacrifice differs from all of the Old Testament Sacrifices before Him. For a sacrifice to be worthwhile, something must be lost by the man and given to God. Christ is the high priest who offered his own sacrifice, and lost his own life. However, whereas every Old Testament Sacrifice remained dead after its sacrifice, God graciously returned Christ’s life to Him who is the representative of the human race before God. As our Head, Christ has the authority to hand the life (which you said blood symbolizes) which he received from His Father over to us in the Eucharist. Thus, in the Eucharist we receive not merely the crucified Christ, but also the risen Christ. While Christ does not abolish the Old Testament, He builds on it and fulfills it, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)


Just because they misunderstood Christ doesn't mean that they understood what He was really saying. And just because Jesus didn't bother to correct them doesn't mean anything either, because Jesus never explained His parables to the people, saying instead that they have not been given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11).


There was no misunderstanding; there was merely a lack of faith on the part of Christ’s followers who did not trust that He could give them his body and blood to eat and drink in a way that would be feasible. Where else in the Bible is it recorded that ‘many of Christ’s followers left him’? Every verse written by John had a purpose and was inspired by God. This means that there is something significant in the fact that they left, namely that they refused to accept what Christ wanted them to believe. Also, we see that when Christ gave a confusing teaching which he refused to explain to the people, he would then explain it to his apostles. However in John 6:67 we do not see Christ explaining the symbolism of his words to his apostles, but asking them if they intend to leave him too. All of the Biblical evidence suggests that Christ wanted us to take his words literally.



Contention 3: Corinthians 11


we read the passage in context, we see that taking the Communion in an unworthy manner means taking it with unconfessed sin in their life, and for not taking it seriously.


Exactly! And then he says that for this, they will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. He is telling Christians that it is not merely a symbol that they are decicrating, but Christ's genuine body and blood.



I look forward to my last round with KeytarHero.
Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Christisking for the debate, and the time he has put into his responses.

"If the bread and wine had become Christ’s physical flesh and blood, then they would be naturally disgusting and repulsive to people to consume."

Is not the very thought of consuming flesh and blood repulsive? Why would dressing flesh and blood up as bread and wine be any less repulsive a concept?

"...but God can do all things."

I agree with this, and I do agree that God could, potentially, do as you suggest He does by changing the substance of the bread and wine into His body and blood while leaving the appearance, texture, and taste of bread and wine. However, judging from the Scriptures this does not appear to be what He does. Besides, what good is it to say the elements have changed into flesh and blood, but still taste and feel like bread and wine? You wouldn't know you were consuming flesh and blood unless someone told you, so it really doesn't seem necessary to me. You could use it as a memorial just fine, remembering the Lord's sacrifice until He comes, without the bread and wine having to change into His flesh and blood.

"The verse saying ‘do this in remembrance of me’ does not prove either of our points since it helps us not to forget Christ whether the bread and wine are Christ or not."

Yes, we can both agree to that.

Contention 1: The Last Supper

"To realize that you have the creator of the universe within yourself gives room for profound mediation on God’s love and leaves a profound impact on devoted Catholics afterwards."

But see, I get this from taking Communion, too. I don't know if you believe the elements change when non-Catholics take Communion since we don't ascribe to this philosophy, but I certainly don't take Communion lightly. Before taking it, I always search my heart to make sure I have no unconfessed sin, and just meditating on Jesus' sacrifice on the cross leaves a profound impact on me. The bread and wine do not have to change for this to happen.

"Thank you for catching my mistake, I apologize for the confusion."

No worries. I'm not petty; I don't call people out on spelling or grammatical errors. I just wanted to make sure I was properly understanding what you were saying.

Contention 2: John 6

The verses you gave do not have to be literal food and drink. Consider John 4:13-14. Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman and tells her that He can give her living water, in which she will never thirst again. No bread or wine, but now He offers living water which will spring up into everlasting life. Jesus' words were rife with metaphor, and I don't see that the bread and wine need to be taken literally.

Also, I don't believe Communion is necessary for salvation (which is a topic for another debate), though it is an ordinance and not doing so would be disobedient to our Lord, and when Jesus said whoever eats the bread and drinks the wine has eternal life, He could also have meant that those who are truly and genuinely saved will take the Communion.

"As our Head, Christ has the authority to hand the life (which you said blood symbolizes) which he received from His Father over to us in the Eucharist. Thus, in the Eucharist we receive not merely the crucified Christ, but also the risen Christ. While Christ does not abolish the Old Testament, He builds on it and fulfills it..."

See, I don't see that in the Scriptures. The Old Testament Law forbade the consumption of blood because it was the life given as a sacrifice. Yes, Christ rose from the dead but that's because He conquered death. That doesn't necessitate that He can now use the blood that was forbidden to consume in a way that goes contrary to Jewish law, especially when He had to be perfect for the sacrifice to truly save us.

Also, the fact that Christ came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it seems to indicate that Christ would not have used the blood in a way contrary to the law He came to fulfill.

"This means that there is something significant in the fact that they left, namely that they refused to accept what Christ wanted them to believe."

This could have simply been the last straw for them. Christ gave many hard teachings, many of which they were not given to understand. Christ didn't explain the parables to them like He did to the disciples. When Christ said they now had to consume His body and blood, that could have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back and they decided to leave. If Christ didn't explain His other parables to them, it seems reasonable that He wouldn't explain the teaching on His body and blood to them at that moment, either. It is true that Christ didn't explain the teaching to His disciples (at least recorded in Scripture), but perhaps He was testing their faith at that moment. After all, all of the other disciples had left so Jesus was asking if they intended to follow suit. Perhaps explaining what He meant by the body and blood wasn't so important as whether or not His disciples intended to continue with Him.

Contention 3: Corinthians 11

"And then he says that for this, they will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord" (emphasis his).

The words don't indicate that it's a literal body and blood. If the bread and wine are symbols of Christ's body and blood, then desecrating them would be just as heinous as if they were His literal body and blood.

-Closing thoughts-

I would, again, like to thank Christisking for taking me up on this debate, and for the time he took to put into this debate. I don't see that there is any reason to take the Lord's words literally, especially since a good portion (if not most) of His teachings were in parable and metaphor. For the reasons given, I just don't see any reason His words must necessarily be taken literally when He talks about the bread and wine becoming His body and blood during Communion.

I look forward to reading Christisking's final response.
christisking

Pro

I would like to thank KeytarHero for having created this debate and given me the chance to take him up on it.



Is not the very thought of consuming flesh and blood repulsive? Why would dressing flesh and blood up as bread and wine be any less repulsive a concept?



No it is not since Catholics believe that we are receiving the full living Christ when we consume the Eucharist. It bears no resemblance to cannibalism to the Catholic believer especially since it such a profound and spiritual event.



You wouldn't know you were consuming flesh and blood unless someone told you, so it really doesn't seem necessary to me. You could use it as a memorial just fine, remembering the Lord's sacrifice until He comes, without the bread and wine having to change into His flesh and blood.



That is why we have the Church to tell us that we are actually receiving Christ. Once we know that we are actually receiving God in the Eucharist, we not only have room to reflect of what Christ did for us on the cross, but you can have a very personal conversation with him through prayer about anything. I believe that Christ instituted the Eucharist because he knew that when people were told that he has remained on earth to be with us until the end of time, this would make a much more profound impact on them than a mere memorial.



Contention 1: The Last Supper



I don't know if you believe the elements change when non-Catholics take Communion…



They don’t. Unless you have a legitimately ordained priest saying the words of consecration, it isn’t the real Eucharist.



The bread and wine do not have to change for this to happen.



I understand that your communion does make a very positive impact on you and I expect that it would. I believe, however, that the Catholic Eucharist has the potential to change the lives of Christians even more. There are countless stories of Catholic saints spending hours in front of the Eucharist because it helps them to feel close to Christ and more able to feel his presence in their lives. This in turn helped them to become the holiest men and women that this earth has ever seen.



As I think my opponent has understood, this contention merely presents the words of Christ at the Last Supper which may have instituted the Eucharist. Since Christ speaks figuratively in other parts of the Bible, it will mainly be up to the next two contentions to determine whether it was more likely that Christ was speaking figuratively or literally when he said “this is my body”.



Contention 2: John 6



The verses you gave do not have to be literal food and drink. Consider John 4:13-14.



My opponent believes that John 6 is just another example of Christ telling people about the coming kingdom. However, John 6 is noticeably different from any example of Christ speaking figuratively. Throughout all of John 4, Christ only has three sentences where he makes claims about this living water and each of them seems quite necessary to make the imagery complete. In John 6, Christ goes far overboard as I said last round, giving at least seven statements one after another commanding or suggesting the consumption of his flesh and blood. This is more than an attempt to create a symbolic picture, it is an attempt to persuade his audience that this is a big deal.



Also, I don't believe Communion is necessary for salvation (which is a topic for another debate), though it is an ordinance and not doing so would be disobedient to our Lord, and when Jesus said whoever eats the bread and drinks the wine has eternal life, He could also have meant that those who are truly and genuinely saved will take the Communion.



If receiving Communion was merely a side effect of being a good Christian, it would not need to be emphasized by Christ. However, we see in the quotes I presented that four of them make this statement. Why is Christ emphasizing this relationship between Communion and salvation unless Communion plays a vital role in the Christian’s road to salvation?



That doesn't necessitate that He can now use the blood that was forbidden to consume in a way that goes contrary to Jewish law, especially when He had to be perfect for the sacrifice to truly save us.



As I showed earlier through the example of graven images, it the intention of the law which counts. God wanted the Israelites not to consume the blood of animals because it represented the life of the animal which they were handing over to God. The animal’s life was recognized as a loss to the Israelite offering the sacrifice, and so they would have to go without that which they had valued before (the animal’s life). On the other hand, we never offered Christ’s life to God as something valuable. The Jews, as a matter of fact, scorned him and thought he was worthless. Christ offered himself up, and lost his own life for us all. However, note that it was Christ who did the offering, not mankind as a whole. Thus, we are not consuming blood which we have offered, but which Christ offered for us. This does not contradict the intention of this particular Jewish law.



This could have simply been the last straw for them. Christ gave many hard teachings, many of which they were not given to understand. Christ didn't explain the parables to them like He did to the disciples.



If this were just a final piece of the puzzle which made Christ’s followers abandon him, why did John not record this? No, we see that he is directly linking their departure with this particular teaching. It would be very deceptive of John to show Christ teaching that he would give people his real flesh to eat, showing that people believed that this was what he meant, and then giving an instance where Christ seems to actually give his apostles his flesh to eat, while all the while he knew that Christ was speaking figuratively. If this were so, then John would have given an explanation of the events as we see him do elsewhere, or give an additional instance where Christ himself revealed to his apostles that he had been speaking figuratively.



I believe that John 6 proves that Christ spoke literally at the Last Supper. I have shown that Christ’s teaching did not contradict Jewish law and my opponent has not given another explanation was to why the words “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” should be taken figuratively. I have also shown Christ intended these words to be understood literally since that is the way his followers took them.



Contention 3: 1 Corinthians 11



The words don't indicate that it's a literal body and blood. If the bread and wine are symbols of Christ's body and blood, then desecrating them would be just as heinous as if they were His literal body and blood.



Paul follows up this statement with the verses saying, “29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” What is it about this Communion which makes receiving it with sins on one’s soul such a sacrilege that one can be condemned or that God would punish them with sicknesses? In context, Paul seems convinced that he is speaking about Christ’s genuine body and blood.



This has been a very enlightening and interesting debate, and I thank Keytarhero once again and wish him good luck. I hope I have shown that verses like “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink,” (John 6:55) were intended to reveal to us that Christ really did change bread and wine into His body and blood so that He could be with his Church until the end of time.

Debate Round No. 4
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Posted by ALightintheDarkness 4 years ago
ALightintheDarkness
For my comment on this debate, please visit the following link. It was a little too long to post here. Thank you.

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Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Then why are millions of Catholics ok with eating the flesh and blood of Christ in the Eucharist? This automatic, God-made repulsion is apparently not as deep as you believe. Looking at this evidence, it makes much more sense to believe that the repulsion only applies to the accidents of human flesh and blood, not the substance unless it came a cost to another human person.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
The repulsion of eating human flesh goes beyond simply not appealing to a person's taste. In fact, if you gave most people cooked human flesh they would not be able to tell the difference between it and most red meats.

The reason that eating human flesh is repulsive is because it goes against our very nature. It goes against the way we were built by God, and simply because Christ does not have to suffer more or because he is not dead does not change that.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Ah... The question which needs to be asked is 'what is repulsive about eating human flesh and drinking human blood?' The repulsive aspect can be broken up into two parts:
1) eating raw flesh and drinking blood is not appetizing to the tastes of most people
2) consuming dead human flesh means that there is a person who is either dead or suffering to supply that 'food'.

Point 1is obviously no longer an issue with the Eucharist since the accidents of raw meat and blood are not there. Point 2 is also not an issue since a) Christ is giving us himself completely to us in the Eucharist as a living person, not a dead one and b) Christ does not suffer extra to supply us with the Eucharist.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
So what you're saying in point C is that millions of Catholics something that they actually find repulsive (eat human flesh) because God tricks them into thinking it is actually bread and wine.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
A) agreed, the grammatical structure proves nothing
B) agreed, the word 'remembrance' proves nothing
C) Your argument is that it was pointless for God to leave the accidents as bread and wine since it is still repulsive to consume something we know to be Christ's body and blood, so why would God have done this (correct)? The fact of the matter is that millions of Catholics do not find eating the Eucharist repulsive, but if asked they would say that if they had to eat flesh and blood they would find it repulsive. This shows that there is/would be a good reason for God not to change the accidents of the bread and wine.
D) I didn't say Christ in his humanity knew everything. However, Christ obviously received some sort of divine revelations since he otherwise could not have known that he was the Son of God. The concept of transubstantiation could easily have been one of these revelations.

Seeing that none of these objections definitively show that the Eucharist is impossible, I propose that there is no reason to think that Christ's apostles and disciples misunderstood him in John 6.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
A) It is also one of the most basic gramatical structures for stating metaphorical constructions, and Christ does so often (I am the living water, I am the vine, You are the branches, the kingdom of God is). So we're at an impasse and we cancel each other out
B) Again, we are at an impasse here and we cancel each other out.
C) But you're not eating bread and wine... you're eating human flesh and human blood that looks, tastes, feels, etc like bread and wine
D) So when Christ said "I do not know the hour or the day" he was lying? There are lots of things that Christ did not know (in his humanity) and the Father did not tell him. Why would we assume this is different when we have no reason to believe otherwise.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Here is why He would not apply this Jewish law to Christ in the Eucharist. Normally if you consume the blood, then it was not offered as a sacrifice. In this miraculous circumstance, the blood of Christ was offered on the cross and spilled on the ground without being consumed, so the sacrifice was fullfilled. Without unfulfilling the sacrifice, since the blood was never physically gathered from where it fell, we can still recieve the blood of Christ through the sacrament of the Eucharist.

A) This is one of the most basic gramatical structures for stating litteral comparisons (in addition to figurative ones). Christ uses the same structure inplaces like Acts 9:5 and at the end of John 8:50.
B) It makes more sense in the litteral since he goes to all of the effort to persuade his audience of it. The phrase 'remembrance' is just as fitting with the Catholic belief since the real Eucharist also reminds us of Christ's life and death.
C) Eating bread and wine is not repulsive however.
D) Christ was God, so a revelation from His Father would have been enough for his humanity to understand. He could then have taught his appostles.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
He would apply this Jewish Law to the Eucharistic blood of Christ for the same reason that he applied it to the blood of sheep and rams. A) Life is in the blood, B) The blood is to be offered as a sacrifice only (not consumed).

As far as the reasons I taking Christ figuratively:

A) He is using the same grammatical construction as he does in other statements that are figurative (Predicate Nominative where Subject = Predicate).
B) The teaching makes more sense as a symbol. Especially given the fact that he uses the phrase "remembrance."
C) Eating human flesh and blood is not only sinful, it is repulsive and contrary to natural human sensibilities.
D) The concept of Substance/Accidents is an Aristotelian philosophical framework that would have been alien to Jesus (in his humanity) and his disciples.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Look at the reasons that you are trying to take Christ figuratively. The only real reason is the verse from Leviticus which you are trying to take word for word and apply it to a case it was never intended to apply to.

You lost me with the reference to clothes of two fibers. My question to you is what reason would there be for God to apply this Jewish law to the Eucharistic blood of Christ?

If you take the dog poop, remove its taste, texture and flavor, remove all of its bacteria and add some nutritional value (i.e. essentially make it something other than dog poop) then I would not have an issue with eating it. There is really nothing we can compare the Eucharist to since we have no other example of something having the accidents of one thing but the substance of another. What has God hidden from us? He hasn't hidden the fact we are consuming Christ's living flesh and blood. He also hasn't concealed the accidents of Christ's flesh and blood; he just never put them there.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TheNerd 6 years ago
TheNerd
KeytarHerochristiskingTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Excellent defenses on both sides, but (speaking as an ex-Christian) it seems to me that Jesus did give enough metaphors for himself that there's no outstanding reason why the Communion need be the one literal exception.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
KeytarHerochristiskingTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro makes a fairly strained argument that it is physically exactly bread and wine but just had the essence of Christ - that is essentially what it means to be symbolic. 95 of the people who would read this would not follow the argument.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
KeytarHerochristiskingTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Keytar fulfilled his burden of proof in excess. He more than showed that the Communion/Eucharist does not teach that the substance of the host and wine are transformed, Pro did not cast sufficient doubt to over rule this.