‘Take, eat; this is My body’ (revisited)

Eucharist 04Earlier in the week I lamented the poor coverage of that Florida college student’s Communion protest. In the comments, reader Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz noted that the story was continuing in Minnesota:

Thanks for covering this. I was appalled by the reporting on this story. Amateurish doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Now it will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on the story that Paul Zachary Myers, the University of Minnesota biology professor who made a name for himself opposing the film ‘Expelled,’ has asked for someone [Editor's note: blasphemous language in that link] to send him some consecrated Hosts in order to publicly desecrate them. He’s doing this in response to the coverage surrounding what Mr. Cook did. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Reporter Paul Walsh at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune picked the story up and did a great job, I think. The story, headlined “Communion wafer held ‘hostage’ raises holy heck,” is remarkably straightforward and calm considering the heated emotions on various sides.

A Minnesota university instructor and avowed atheist is jousting with a national Catholic watch dog group over a smuggled communion wafer, which the associate professor dismisses as a “frackin’ cracker.”

Paul Z. Myers, who teaches biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, on his blog this week expressed amazement that a Florida college student who briefly took a wafer “hostage” from a church ceremony has been receiving death threats for an action that was characterized “a hate crime” by the Catholic League.

Under the headline, “It’s a frackin’ cracker!” Myers wrote in an at-times profane blog entry: “Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane.”

He added: “Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? … I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage … but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart.”

A few thoughts. I’ll note that the source for the claims of death threats was the student who disrespected the Eucharist. Many of us wondered whether people confused Biblical admonitions regarding the Eucharist with death threats. For instance, in the earlier comment thread, reader Michael noted:

Journalist or not, if someone tells you that they received death threats, how can you not be curious about what was actually said?

“For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.” 1 Cor 11:28-29

I wonder if someone just paraphrased that and he took it as a death threat.

To be sure, sacramental Christians regard the consecrated elements as the actual body and blood of Christ. So there’s probably not a good analogy to other religions. But I’m wondering if media coverage would be the same if P.Z. Myers had threatened to disrespect, say, the Koran. One wonders whether a reporter might have asked Myers if he felt more comfortable attacking Christians then adherents to other religions.

Anyway, Walsh’s story notes that Myers claimed the blog entry was more protest than threat and that it has generated a great deal of response, including from the Catholic League.

I had never heard of P.Z. Myers until I saw him condescending to religious adherents in the documentary Expelled. Here’s a clip of portion of his interview. Walsh made sure to mention Myers’ religious beliefs:

Myers, who was raised Lutheran and now considers himself a card-carrying atheist, said he’s been getting a “few death threats” since the conflict began, “but I don’t take them too seriously.”

His opponents, he said, describe him as a “strident, militant atheist” because of his activism in the debate of evolution vs. creationism.

I’m always amazed how media coverage of evolutionary debates portrays one side as religious and the other side as irreligious. In fact, some evolutionists — certainly not all — are more engaged in religious battles than their opponents. It’s basic journalism but still good that Walsh included these details. Again, just very straightforward and well done for a brief article.

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  • Terry

    A journalistic question.

    When someone declares they have received “death threats,” do journalists ever explore whether or not this actually really happened?

    Bishop Gene Robinson has been going around saying he receives death threats. No one ever asks him to provide any concrete evidence.

    I am extremely skeptical when it comes to these kinds of things.

    Even the controversy that Myers is generating on his blog. How do we know that any of the comments and letters he has received that he says are from Christians are actually really from Christians?

    Does anyone ever check on this stuff?

    In today’s mode of communication, it is so easy to go on a blog – especially one’s own blog – and totally control the conversation. A blog owner can make up comments and pretend they are from others. A blog owner can sit and delete ever reasonable-sounding comment from an opponent that appears. A person can claim to receive hate mail and death threats, and even reprint them on his blog or print them out and show them to us, but..

    how do I know they are authentic?

    It seems to me, ironically, that Myers, in waving purported death threats in front of us and showing us the comments on his blog as expressions of the stupidity and hatred of Christians, is asking us to believe him, based on not any firm evidence, anything concrete that you and I could objectively ascertain actually came from Person A who is really who Myers claims this Person A is, but based only on his own authority.

    Sounds a lot like he’s asking me to believe him based on …blind faith.

    Or something like that.

    And really, to turn this around to journalism…do journalists check up on these claims? How do they deal with purported exchanges on blog sites that are SO EASY TO FAKE?

  • Dutch Hedrick

    I read many of the emails Myers posted and among those were ones he claimed to be “death threats,” yet I had a hard time finding anything that could legitimately be called “threatening.”

    Most of what I saw that could be mistaken as threats were of this nature: “You’d better check your car before starting it.”

    This reminded me of the response I got from my friends after I put a Pro-Life bumper sticker on my car. Knowing that the community where we live is heavily secular in nature, they told me things such as, “Be ready to come out and find your tires slashed.”

    My response was not: “Hey! You guys are threatening to slash my car’s tires!” I knew that they were telling me that by exercising my freedom of speech, some people might take action against me in the form of destroying my property. I have a feeling that Myers’ supposed threats were meant to express a similar message.

    In short, he’s overreacting. The fact that most of the emails he posted were considered my he and his followers as “boring” just shows how benign most of them were. After all, it’s hard to get up in arms about someone praying for your well-being — although some of Myers’ followers accused the email’s authors of using praying as an act of aggression.

  • Martha

    I, for one, welcome our new atheist overlords.

    See how the believer has nothing to fear from such a regime! See how tolerant, inclusive, and reasonable they are!

    The fact that Mr. Cook is a Catholic and is being disciplined within the rules of the church to which he belongs seems to have escaped the keen and incisive scientific mind of Professor Meyers. Or else he thinks that the members of a society, fratnerity, club or other organisation cannot be held accountable for breaches of the rules of that body and are not to be disciplined by officers of that organisation.

    Perhaps some person or persons did indeed send death threats. I hope not, but it could have happened. I don’t think that’s acceptable.

    I’m beyond being angry at this; I’m just very tired and saddened. All I can think of is prayer for everyone involved – even the brave and progressive “Brights” who think that mockery and desecration proves their superiority to us no-brain fanatic “Dulls”.

  • Jerry

    Most of what I saw that could be mistaken as threats were of this nature: “You’d better check your car before starting it.”

    If I were to get that, I would take it as a death threat. I don’t think it’s a mistake to consider it such especially considering all the car bombs that have gone off in Iraq.

  • Julia Duin

    Mollie et al: Do remember to double-check to make sure you got all the coverage on a given topic before you post. You forgot to include Victor Morton’s story that ran today in the Washington Times right here that got a stunning 41 responses – pretty good on a day when the newspaper has no print edition. Lots of strong feelings about this one.

  • Dave2

    Martha wrote:

    The fact that Mr. Cook is a Catholic and is being disciplined within the rules of the church to which he belongs seems to have escaped the keen and incisive scientific mind of Professor Meyers. Or else he thinks that the members of a society, fratnerity, club or other organisation cannot be held accountable for breaches of the rules of that body and are not to be disciplined by officers of that organisation.

    I doubt Myers is responding to the Catholic discipline due to Mr. Cook. No, he’s responding to the public threats/anger/indignation/outcry resulting from Mr. Cook’s little adventure. He thinks it’s like the public threats/anger/indignation/outcry resulting from the Danish Muhammad cartoons, in that it is a ridiculous overreaction that deserves to be treated with contempt.

  • Dave

    Both Mr Cook and Prof Myers seem a few fries short of a Happy Meal to me. Myers, in particular, offers a peculiar psychological profile: He purports not to believe in the efficacy of the Host but he’s eager to get some in order to do his own ceremony defiling them. They must mean somthing to him to provide such motivation.

    I’m always amazed how media coverage of evolutionary debates portrays one side as religious and the other side as irreligious.

    Indeed. I spent one delightful week per summer for twenty-odd years in the company of people of many persuasions, all of whom took evolution seriously enough to want to deepen their understanding of its religious implications. (This was at the institute founded by the 1980 Templeton winner.) The fellow who coined the term “Epic of Evolution” in the process was a Lutheran.

  • Wandering Internet Commentator

    Please forgive a wandering Internet commentator for dropping in, but since Mollie wondered “if media coverage would be the same if P.Z. Myers had threatened to disrespect, say, the Koran,” I thought it might be prudent to point out that the answer is “apparently not.” Dr. Myers has threatened to desecrate the Koran in the past, and as far as I know, nobody really noticed or cared. Please see:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/07/desecration_its_a_fun_hobby.php

    This little ‘threat’ received no attention as far as I’m aware of. Dr. Myers apparently never made good on his promises to desecrate the Qu’ran somehow, and as far as I can recall no Muslim organization (CAIR or any others like it) is even aware of this entry.

    Hope this helps!

  • Dave2

    Dave wrote:

    He purports not to believe in the efficacy of the Host but he’s eager to get some in order to do his own ceremony defiling them. They must mean somthing to him to provide such motivation.

    They mean about as much as images of Muhammad meant to the Danish cartoonists. Or am I missing something?

  • zy

    Re:

    But I’m wondering if media coverage would be the same if P.Z. Myers had threatened to disrespect, say, the Koran.

    He did here and it was not.

  • http://www.GetReligion.org Mollie

    Not quite. He asked for suggestions about what he could do with the Koran. I’m not sure if he promised actions against it — as he did with the Eucharist.

  • Julia

    Martha said:

    the brave and progressive “Brights” who think that mockery and desecration proves their superiority to us no-brain fanatic “Dulls”.

    It was occurring to me that these desecrators have no imagination or flair. The “Black Masses” held in the past were much more dramatic and appropriate to the seriousness of the desecration of the Eucharist.

    Check out Wikipedia on the subject:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mass

    Black Mass is the name given to a ceremony supposedly celebrated during the Witches or Black Sabbath, which was a parody of the Christian Mass[1]. Its main objective was the profanation of the Host, although there is no agreement among authors[who?] on how Hosts were obtained or profaned; the most common idea is that they were profaned by means of some ritual related to sexual practices

    Also google for some great images of Black Masses.

    These present-day desecrators are pikers and boring.

  • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog.html Jason Pitzl-Waters

    “Many of us wondered whether people confused Biblical admonitions regarding the Eucharist with death threats.”

    I have received, as a public Pagan, the occasional “Biblical admonition”. I have never confused them with a death threat. Even someone who is completely ignorant of Biblical admonitions can usually tell the difference between the “threats” of a spiritual nature and e-mails that directly threaten your life here on earth. Of course, since some “loving” Christians are extremely creative in mixing spiritual threats with thinly veiled hints that they may encounter a car bomb, confusion can no doubt occur.

    I find it interesting the so many of “you” were quick to assume that the Catholic lad was merely “confused” about the death threats. That he was merely mis-reading Biblical admonitions. Perhaps one reason you can’t read and judge for yourself is that he turned them over to the police? These “admonitions” could be held for evidence.

  • Dave

    Mollie, two instances of Koran abuse have emerged on the froth of the war in Iraq. Both were punished and both received appropriate (imho) MSM coverage.

    Dave2 (#9), my point is that for someone to devise a ceremony to desecrate the Host, the Host must have some meaning to that person. Otherwise why bother? I think the Danish editor who commissioned the Mohammed cartoons must harbor some strong sentiments about Islam; otherwise, again, why bother?

    In principle, a disbeliever should have equal motivation to conduct a profane parody of a Hindu pujah or a Catholic Mass. That the disbelievers who do so, always pick the Black Mass, reveal that the real Mass still holds some meaning for them.

    Folks like Martha (#3) should realize that most disbelievers have no interest in profaning that which is sacred to believers. Those who do, reveal that they are not disbelievers so much as counter-believers. They give disbelievers a bad name, just as gay-bashing and racist Christians give a bad name to sincere Christians.

  • Dave2

    Dave wrote:

    Dave2 (#9), my point is that for someone to devise a ceremony to desecrate the Host, the Host must have some meaning to that person. Otherwise why bother? I think the Danish editor who commissioned the Mohammed cartoons must harbor some strong sentiments about Islam; otherwise, again, why bother?

    In principle, a disbeliever should have equal motivation to conduct a profane parody of a Hindu pujah or a Catholic Mass. That the disbelievers who do so, always pick the Black Mass, reveal that the real Mass still holds some meaning for them.

    Well, okay, but none of that explains your setup “He purports not to believe in the efficacy of the Host…” As if he must secretly think there’s something to it, that perennially plausible doctrine of the real presence.

    I mean, if you’re just making the mundane point that typically those who make a point of desecrating sacred items pick out stuff that’s relevant to the culture they find themselves in, that’s fine, but it doesn’t quite live up to the “gotcha” tone of your first post. Indeed, it doesn’t even live up to your claim “Those who do, reveal that they are not disbelievers so much as counter-believers.” I mean, don’t get me wrong, I understand the claim that it’s needlessly boorish and mean-spirited to desecrate sacred items. But to claim that it manifests a secret departure from disbelief just sounds preposterous.

  • Martha

    “it is a ridiculous overreaction that deserves to be treated with contempt”

    So how does boasting of his willingness to desecrate the Host do that, Dave2?

    He could confine himself to lambasting the ‘overreaction’; he could continue to call believers stupid old poopyheads; he could get up off his backside and investigate whether “Christian fanatics right here in our own country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker” or did Cook merely say “I feel threatened”.

    No – he put this kind of nonsense up instead. Suppose I put up a call for copies of “The Origin of Species” for a bonfire? Or said I’d use them as toilet paper? How do you think that would be received as a reasonable objection to evangelical atheists? How would that represent me as an intellectual role-model?

    And he doesn’t even have the guts to stand by what he put up – as soon as he got heat over it, it suddenly morphed into “No, this was only satire and protest, I didn’t mean I’d really do it!”

    Maybe it’s all nonsense for you, Dave2, but this is how seriously us uneducated bigots take the matter:

    “Saint Tarcisius: Third-fourth century layman or deacon (sources vary). While taking Communion to prisoners, Tarcisius was attacked by a pagan mob, and died defending the Host. Martyr. It is said that when the pagans searched him after beating him to death, there was no trace of the Sacrament.”

    We’re supposed to be prepared to die to save the Host from desecration.

  • Martha

    Dave, I do realise that many atheists and agnostics are, thankfully, happy to live and let live.

    Unfortunately, Professor (if he is) Myers is not Joe Six-Pack ranting from his basement. He’s one of the New Enlightenment with Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris et al, who puff one another’s books, engage in mutual admiration, and are quoted in one another’s books as authorities.

    It’s the difference between me saying “Burn the heretics!!!!” and the Pope saying it ;-)

  • Stoo

    mollie:

    I’m always amazed how media coverage of evolutionary debates portrays one side as religious and the other side as irreligious.

    I’m amazed that you’re amazed, frankly. What’s even slightly surprising about that?

  • Stoo

    Dave:

    Dave2 (#9), my point is that for someone to devise a ceremony to desecrate the Host, the Host must have some meaning to that person.

    Not sure I buy that. Annoying the people to whom the host has meaning, might have meaning to that person. The host itself doesn’t have to. Or rather if there is any meaning, it’s indirect.

  • Dave G.

    that got a stunning 41 responses – pretty good on a day when the newspaper has no print edition. Lots of strong feelings about this one.

    Yes, and read the comments on the Washington post story. I’m beginning to think that the internet is to our times what those old back-alley publications in Europe were in the early 20th century. Wow. There is some major hatred and loathing in those comments. How about a news story looking at the comments – on both sides to be fair – to examine how such incidents are treated in our new sophisticated and enlightened internet age. Only hope is to eradicate religion? Whew. Like I tell my boys, hold on, it’s going to be a wild ride.

  • http://vagantepriest.blogspot.com/ FrGregACCA

    Stoo (#18):

    Because there are many people of faith who accept evolution, for whom this is a non-issue. Three prominent names that immediately come to mind are Dr. Francis Collins, author of The Language of God, Gerald Schroeder, a scientist-author who is also an observant Jew, and the late Pope, John Paul II.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    FrGregACCA:

    Back to the pope, again. You do know that the pope was misquoted? Or, over simplified?

    Check the content again. John Paul was a Darwinian heretic.

    http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/column/1996/11/06/

  • Dave

    Dave2 and Stoo, I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you. Let’s chalk it up to “agree to disagree.”

  • Dave

    Martha (#17), I wasn’t aware of the current atheist pantheon (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). I’ve been disappointed with contemporary atheist leadership ever since Dawkins took gratuitous aim at a book about spiritual aspects of nature, written by a friend of mine. The most irksome thing, I guess, is that they aren’t even rebutting religion as it now exists in the 21st Century.

  • Martha

    Pantheon? Oh, Dave – tsk, tsk! :-)

    Yeah – it’s depressing, how the self-appointed leaders of the movement to bring enlightenment and education to the masses can’t even bother to deal with a serious viewpoint.

    I think that if death threats were made, either to Cook or Myers, then that is sufficiently serious to be dealt with by the police. I’m not even all that convinced that asking for him to be punished by the University is that good of a thing.

    I think, though, that a man in his position should be held accountable for what he says. Maybe he’s rowing back on “I’m willing to desecrate a Host” but what about some of those who posted comments on his site who were cheering him on and promising to do as much?

    I’m not calling for his head on a platter; I would like an apology. (Yes, and we’ll all go skiing in Tartarus at the same time we get it, I’m sure).

  • http://vagantepriest.blogspot.com/ FrGregACCA

    tmatt:

    Reread J-P II’s speech and your piece. Collins, for his part, lays out the following six point as underlying “theistic evolution” or “biologos”:

    “1. The universe came into being out of nothingness approximately 14 billion years ago.
    “2. Despite massive improbabilities, the properties of the universe appear to have been precisely tuned for life.
    “3. While the precise mechanism of the origin of life on earth remains unknown, once life arose, the process of evolution and natural selection permitted the development of biological diversity and complexity over very long periods of time.
    “4. Once evolution got under way no special supernatural intervention was required.
    “5. Humans are part of this process, sharing a common ancestor with the great apes.
    “6. But humans are also unique in ways that defy evolutionary explanation and point to our spiritual nature. This includes the existence of the Moral Law (the knowledge of right and wrong) and the search for God that characterizes all human cultures throughout history.” (Collins 200)

    John Paul is obviously interested in defending the last point against those who, on the basis of purely materialistic explanations and/or presuppositions, would deny it (as is Collins); however, I see no contradiction between the above and the comments of the late Pope. Concerning your piece, I wonder if the Biology Teachers’ definition of evolution doesn’t transgress the boundaries of “Darwinian orthodoxy” by going beyond validly scientific questions. As with the Big Bang, it is scientifically impossible to specify whether the process is “supervised” or not.

  • Dave2

    Martha wrote:

    No – he put this kind of nonsense up instead. Suppose I put up a call for copies of “The Origin of Species” for a bonfire? Or said I’d use them as toilet paper? How do you think that would be received as a reasonable objection to evangelical atheists? How would that represent me as an intellectual role-model?

    I guess I’ll just use this as the centerpiece example. Suppose some creationist burned the Origin of Species or used it as toilet paper, and then suppose someone lunatic atheist group (maybe the “Rational Response Squad”) started losing their mind, making threats (“Be careful when you start your car”) and trying to get the creationist fired from his job. At that point some of us would definitely feel an impulse to further ‘desecrate’ the Origin of Species, just to needle the childish morons who were overreacting. I myself probably wouldn’t follow through on this impulse (it’s kind of a base impulse), but I certainly understand it.

    I mean, it’s the same impulse that led South Park to do a Muhammad cartoon episode.

  • Dave2

    Dave wrote:

    Dave2 and Stoo, I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you. Let’s chalk it up to “agree to disagree.”

    It’s not that we don’t understand what you’re saying. It’s that we understand it but we think it’s false.

  • Dave2

    Dave wrote:

    The most irksome thing, I guess, is that they aren’t even rebutting religion as it now exists in the 21st Century.

    I’m not exactly sure what you have in mind here, but this is worth pointing out: in the 21st Century, in poll after poll, roughly half of the United States thinks the universe is only several thousand years old.

  • Julia

    Dave2:

    in the 21st Century, in poll after poll, roughly half of the United States thinks the universe is only several thousand years old

    Do you have a cite for that? I find that really hard to believe. Half?? WOW.

  • Dave2

    Julia wrote:

    Do you have a cite for that? I find that really hard to believe. Half?? WOW.

    Well, I have to backtrack and apologize and clarify a little bit.

    The option that hovers around 45% is worded thus: “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” It’s usually one of three options, alongside theistic evolution and naturalistic evolution. Thus the full prompt goes: “Which one of the following statements come closest to your views about the origin and development of human beings? Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. OR, Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process. OR, God created humans pretty much in the present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”

    A great many of these polls can be found at http://www.pollingreport.com/science.htm

    The reason I need to backtrack is that the option doesn’t explicitly address the age of the universe, and so I misspoke/misremembered/failed. But it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the main reason why people go for the “humans created as-is in the last 10,000 years” option is that they accept the Genesis account as literally true. This hunch is reinforced by a 16 February 2004 ABC News poll where 61% said Genesis should be read literally and not metaphorically, and 73% accepted the Noahic Flood story: see http://www.washtimes.com/news/2004/feb/16/20040216-113955-2061r/

  • Dave2

    And, looking through the Polling Report page, I’m feeling a little more confident that my original claim is probably accurate. There’s a 8-10 March 2005 NBC News poll where 44% went for explicit six-day creationism: “Which do you think is more likely to actually be the explanation for the origin of human life on Earth: evolution or the biblical account of creation?” Asked of those who answered “Biblical account”: “And by this do you mean that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh as described in the Book of Genesis, or that God was a divine presence in the formation of the universe?”

    Also there’s several polls where Biblical creationism hovers around the low to mid 50s and I think the lowest it ever gets is 43%. So I think it’s a safe educated guess that roughly half the US thinks the universe was created in the last several thousand years.

  • Dave

    Dave2, Dawkins came down on the author of that book I mentioned for using religious language without including the concept of an overarching God, violating his concept of the religion he rejects. This puts him out of phase with a time that includes lots of Buddhists and New Age types.

    Atheist leaders also defeat themselves with this silly new self-designation as “Brights.” Yes, there’s probably a mild correlation between IQ and atheism, given the larger percentage of atheists among scientists vs the general population. But there are plenty of high-IQ theists, and where does this “Bright” label leave the atheistic pipe-fitter or stenographer? The atheist speakers I remember from the ’70s and ’80s spoke to the masses, not to the academy.

    When I said I couldn’t understand it for you, I was being polite. What I really meant was that I suspect you harbor some of this counter-belief yourselves and are too close to the situation to take it in. YMMV.

  • Maureen

    But doesn’t “as described in Genesis” mean “understanding the idioms used in Genesis, and the proper interpretation of the creation stories as a whole”? The interpretation that “day” equals “a gazillion years” wasn’t new when the early Christians wrote about it in Roman times. So… who’s really being ignorant here?

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. These religion polls need options like “Your question is badly phrased and thus essentially meaningless” and “Your question is not phrased in such a way as to express adequately the complicated theology involved, but I know what you mean to say and thus answer Yes.” (Political polls could use similar options.)

  • Dave2

    Dave, I’m not defending Dawkins’s handling of that particular book, or Dawkins in general. But I do think “religion as it now exists in the 21st Century” is still (at least in the USA) almost entirely a matter of a somewhat anthropomorphic God who created everything and then flooded the earth and made a covenant with Abraham. As for “Buddhists and New Age types”, the 5% of the USA that belongs to a religion other than Christianity breaks down into 0.5% Buddhist, 0.3% UU, and 1.3% “Non-denominational”, with the rest Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu. In other words, they’re pretty small potatoes.

    The term ‘bright’ is embarrassingly foolish. I’ve never disputed that fact.

    I don’t think you can honestly say that “I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you” is a way of being polite. Now, if I take your words at face value, the ‘counter-belief’ you’re ascribing involves a sort of secret hunch that the doctrine of the real presence is true. But surely you don’t intend to say that. I confess that I am at a loss, but I think that’s more due to the fact that you haven’t really spelled out what you have in mind (which is, I hasten to add, perfectly understandable) than to the fact that I’m so close I can’t see it aright.

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  • Dave

    Dave2, having brought you to the state of bafflement reflected in your last comment, I feel I’ve done enough damage and will leave it there.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    St. Augustine wrote that the “days” of Genesis 1 were symbolic, as the world was created in a single instantaneous act. So which pigeonhole do you assign him to?

  • Dave2

    Will wrote:

    St. Augustine wrote that the “days” of Genesis 1 were symbolic, as the world was created in a single instantaneous act. So which pigeonhole do you assign him to?

    Well, since St. Augustine isn’t a US citizen, my remarks didn’t really apply to him. If your point is just that St. Augustine had a more nuanced and intelligent approach to Scripture than half the US, then Yes of course. That’s like saying St. Thomas Aquinas is better at theology than Kent Hovind.