Jason, as himself said...
Okay. Here you go. Why is it that throughout history, so many horrible things have been done in the name of God and religion?
And, do you believe that the cracker literally turns into Christ's flesh?
Good ones, Jason.
The cracker is actually referred to as The Host, which is derived from the Latin word hostia which means sacrificial victim, if you believe everything the Wikis tell you.
Transubstantiation is the theological term for the cracker turning into Christ's flesh and the wine or juice turning into the blood of Christ even though all of the physical characteristics of the cracker and juice seem to remain the same. And yes, this is a highly watered-down statement. Transubstantiation is a tenet of the Roman Catholic tradition, and is attributed to an archbishop who lived way back in the 1100's. Transubstantiation was one of the hot topics during the Protestant Reformation.
Today, many churches following the Protestant tradition believe in transignification which means that the cracker and juice are symbols of the flesh and blood of Christ.
I attend a United Methodist church, and am in the transignification camp. Sometimes I agree with the beliefs outlined by the United Methodist church, and sometimes I don't.
Jason's question about the many terrible things done in the name of God and religion is a lot less theological, I think. All things of God are not all things Religion, and all things Religion are not all things of God, almost to the point of being mutually exclusive.
Know what I think? Religion is what man decides God has decreed. Religion is so often more about what people have decided more than what God wants. And this, I think, is the fundamental problem in reconciling God and Religion. Religion is why the Romans conquered and tortured most of Europe and the Middle East. Religion is why the Mormons murdered a bunch of innocents. Religion is why suicide bombers and terrorists and countless others rape, pillage, murder, target, persecute, and torture.
Those acts are NOT. GODLY. Period, end of discussion.
My friend Jocelyn wrote a post called True Religion a few weeks ago, and included this little snippet of scripture:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~ James 1:27There's also this bit:
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ~ I Corinthians 3:13The God I choose to believe in is not about Religion.