Re: the doctrine of transubstantiation

Something the Orthodox and the Catholics have in common is the insistence that the wine and bread in communion are literally the blood and body of Christ. This makes it interesting because a two year old could figure out that isn’t true. You can look at it and see it’s not blood, and if it’s not blood it’s not Jesus’s blood unless Jesus has wine for blood (and that idea just upsets the priest more than the idea that you aren’t buying his bullshit definition of “literal”). As far as basic tests of logic and realism go, transubstantiation isn’t a hard one. The apologetics they bring out are laughable at best.

So that raises the question of why humans have beliefs like this. One possibility is they’re just errant for no reason (i.e. sin), but things that have no reason tend not to recur and persist. The next possibility* is that they’re errant in a common way for a common reason. That raises the question of whether it’s a good enough reason, or a categorically bad one, or somewhere in the middle. For example, people have believed a lot of stupid things about masturbation (it will make your dick fall off) that were factually incorrect but correct in the meta sense of accidentally communicating that “masturbation is bad and bad for you”. (Incidentally, I wholeheartedly recommend The Social Dilemma on Netflix for the same reason. Put down the smartphone or cigar-chomping canard-free capitalists gonna eat your soul! It’s like Nazis if you really think about it.)

A big problem with challenging dogmas like this is all the neurotypicals lose their minds very quickly in the absence of unquestionable moral authorities. Like, one time back around 1500 a priest apologized to a woman for bumping her in the street and now we have children doing strip teases on TV. I wonder if neurotypicals are simply incapable of showing reverence to things they’re allowed to be logical about. If we presume that women can go to heaven, as a thought experiment, that means normal people can go to heaven because all women are normies. I.e. As soon as you admit that a ritual is symbolic, it stops working for them and they go on opiates and abort their babies. Since group-ism is all the rage right now, we think healthy breeding is important. Pure autism clearly isn’t the answer, because the Enlightenment was our fault and the fruits of Protestantism have been a mixed bag in the breeding department.

This all leads me to consider whether there’s a golden mean of moral pragmatism that’s necessary for maintaining the breeder class. A responsible leader can’t throw out the truth entirely, even if the breeding stock constantly demand it as an expression of their will to power, but there appear to be specific untruths they want to believe that it would be wrong to take away from them on account of the societal consequences alone. What things then, specifically, must be held as Absolutely Taboo Unquestionable Mysteries (ATUMs)? These things appear to center around tradition, the group, hierarchy, and the absolute primacy of System 1 cognition over System 2 cognition. But these ATUMs must be prevented from overreaches too, like the seemingly inevitable evolution of national pride into WE WUZ ISREALITES will-to-status fantasies.

This whole thing feels a lot like managing the female rationalization hamster. I wish Heartiste hadn’t gotten on the Trump train, I feel like he would still be blogging.


*The other possibilities, such as Descartes’s evil genius demon or Tex’s One Holy Autistic Catholic Church, are not worth getting into right now.

About Aeoli Pera

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11 Responses to Re: the doctrine of transubstantiation

  1. Obadiah says:

    Huh. I’ve always wondered why the trees at the top of your page didn’t actually feel very cold and why the snow on the branches never melted.

    Anyway gonna go kill some kids now.

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  4. Heaviside says:

    >So that raises the question of why humans have beliefs like this.

    I know that by “like this” you mean nonsensical, but the general category that I would put communion under isn’t that one but under the class of theurgic operations, which are justified on the basis that god(s) can make themselves present, or reveal themselves, during rituals because they aren’t limited in the same ways that we are.

    If you are dreaming, you can see the appearance of a chair which looks and feels just like the appearance of a chair in waking life. However, only the appearance of a chair that is visible while awake actually discloses the presence of a physical chair. So similarly, a metaphysical principle can be disclosed by a physical object during rituals even if the presence of such an object does not normally do so. In other words, our normal state is like dreaming but during divine works we recognize something higher and become awake.

    Cultures inherit magical and religious rituals and they come up with various explanations for them afterwards. These days it is commonly preferred to interpret them in subjective, psychological terms. The doctrine of transubstantiation is a legacy of a much older way of thinking, which says that symbols employed in ritual don’t refer to something outside them and far away, but something immediately present and united with them. Sym-bolon literally means “thrown together”. A symbol is a token by which is inferred the presence of something hidden, the uncovering of which is an apocalypse.

    “You are wine; you are not wine, but the guts of Osiris.”

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      This is interesting but it’s an aside from the main point, which is that “literal blood” means actual, real blood in the concrete and common sense of the term. ‘late 14c., “taking words in their natural meaning” (originally in reference to Scripture and opposed to mystical or allegorical)’. (https://www.etymonline.com/word/literal). But even if they use a different word than “literal”, the insistence is always that it’s actual blood in the commonly understood sense, like if I said “My girlfriend is literally, actually the town bike”. If there’s a mystical symbolic tranference at work, then the simple fact is they’re describing this literally the opposite of the correct way and should correct this mistake.

      Re: the aside,

      Let’s work with the analogy of dreaming and waking, where dreaming refers to perceiving the wine only and being awake refers to seeing both the wine and Osiris’ guts as if Osiris had jacked into the Matrix and inhabited the wine instead of a human-like avatar. Why does Osiris depend on the wakefulness of the people in the Matrix to inhabit the Matrix?

      • Heaviside says:

        >This is interesting but it’s an aside from the main point, which is that “literal blood” means actual, real blood in the concrete and common sense of the term. ‘late 14c., “taking words in their natural meaning” (originally in reference to Scripture and opposed to mystical or allegorical)’. (https://www.etymonline.com/word/literal).

        My understanding is that “literal” used to have (a long time ago) a much broader meaning such that mystical or anagogical interpretations of Scripture were included, and that’s probably what causes confusion today. The mystical interpretation was considered the deepest and most true, and therefore the most “literal”.

        >Why does Osiris depend on the wakefulness of the people in the Matrix to inhabit the Matrix?

        The best explanation I can think of right now is that when you’re praying to an omnipresent, eternal deity it’s not like he has to travel from somewhere else in order to be present, it’s that for him to be present to us we have to turn towards him instead of turning away from or ignoring him, and that when you carry out rites to honor a god in some sense the god being honored is responsible for this, that it’s a case of “effects returning to their causes,” that us praying to him is a manifestation of his own activity.

  5. makus says:

    The ritual makes it the body of Christ, if you don’t believe this you don’t believe in God, or maybe you do but 20 generations down the line your descendants won’t and they may very well prefer something less ritualistic, you eat the body of Christ so that you don’t eat real bodies, simple.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >if you don’t believe this you don’t believe in God, or maybe you do but 20 generations down the line your descendants won’t

      That’s the gist of what the OP is wrestling with.

    • Heaviside says:

      It’s hard to convince people of an idea detached from the intellectual framework that lead to its conception in the first place.

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