A question to protestants

I have a question to protestans out there. I myself am a former protestant. I converted 2 yrs ago. However, I really didn’t have an opinion or answer to the question back then to the question I am about to propose.

If you do not believe in the real presence, then do you think that all catholics, eastern orthodox, and all other christians that do believe in the real presence will go to hell?

If the real presence is incorrect then it is idolatory. I declared to a friend the other day while having a discussion on the real presence that if there was no real presence then a just God would damn me to hell for idolatory. The context of the conversation would take too long to explain here. But back to the point.
Would you agree, if the real presence is false, then belief in it is idolatory. Idolatory is a sin. So if the real presence if false, then belief in it is sinful. So, if the real presence is false did all mainline Christians before the protestant reformation go to hell?
This is a serious question. A just God would damn people to hell for full out idolatory, when the people had full knowledge of His message. So, I want your opinion on all of this.

**This is an excellent question you posed here. All the Catholic faith saints were not afraid to proclaim the Eucharist IS the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And so do I. In fact they went to their deaths believing this doctrine instituted by Jesus Christ himself at the last supper.

Praise be Jesus Christ both now and forever Amen**

Yes it is a really great question and THE one that still prevents me from swimming the Tiber. I have lately come to rationalize it like this. If he Real Presence isn’t real but we think it is, then are we engaging in idolotry? That is, can it be a sin if we think we are doing right but really we are wrong?

God is extremely forgiving of people who commit a sin but honestly believe that they are doing good. But it’s still a sin, and they will have to make some kind of penance for it.

However, this particular question is among those that confuses me the most. Jesus said, “This is my body”, and “This is my blood”. Some of His disciples were surprised at this and asked Him to clarify. He said it again. He told them that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Some of them found this so disturbing that they got up and left. But still He repeated the same thing. When Jesus told a parable, He would then tell His disciples what it meant. When He said something figurative, He would explain it to His disciples. But when He meant something literally, He would repeat it no matter how many times someone asked for clarification. This pattern is well established in the Gospels. Not to mention that the Greek word used doesn’t literally translate to “eat”, it translates to “gnaw”. Sounds pretty specific to me.

He is the Bread of Life, foreshadowed many times in the OT, the Manna from Heaven. He is the Pascal Lamb, sacrificed and consumed. God was very specific that the Passover lamb had to be free of blemishes, with no broken bones. The Gospel writers were careful to point out that the Romans intended to break His legs, but they didn’t.

The parallels are complete, and Jesus’ own words are as specific as human language is capable. I don’t understand what the debate is about. Even Martin Luther was devoted to the Eucharist. It wasn’t until later groups tried to distance themselves from Catholicism that the question even came up.

So there is a significant difference between skin lesions caused by scourging (and a lance blade by the way)and broken bones? How so?

Are we quite certain that the guys nailing Him to the cross avoided breaking bones in His hands or wrists and feet? How do we know?

Just for the record, this protestant would accept the real presence, but not transubstantiation.

Personally I doubt whether God would send anybody to hell for failing their theology exams. The real question is whether or not the supposed idolatry has an adsverse effect on your life, and in that respect (if it was idolatry) there would be far worse idolatries than belief in the real presence.

If as a matter of fact, the doctrine of the real presence was objectively false, but it nevertheless aided you in your devotional life, and helped you draw closer to God, would belief in it be sinful?

Blemishes were things like sores, infections, blisters, perhaps scars. Lacerations caused in the sacrificial process wouldn’t count, since even when slaughtering a lamb you would have to cut it. As for the bones in Jesus’s hands and feet, the place where the nails were driven for crucifixion were just below where the metacarpals and metatarsals are. Tiny bones that get pushed out of the way rather than crushed. There’s also some speculation that the nails in His hands would have actually been in His wrists, between the ulna and radius, which would have missed both bones. This seems to be unlikely though, since ancient accounts of the process do specify the hands, since the wrists bleed too much, not to mention the stigmata suffered by various saints has always been in the hands.

Good question though, I’m glad someone asked. :thumbsup:

“To those that much has been given, much will be demanded.” All Christians are familiar with the Gospel message. Let me put it this way, God is all merciful, and God is all just. So if the real presence is false, then we are kneeling and worshipping a piece of bread. If God is anything like he sounds throughout all of scripture and tradition, then I am pretty sure he would damn them all to hell. This isn’t one of those small mistake kind of things. This is huge. If the real presence is false, then it is idolotry. One can not say maybe they did not know better. It is pretty clear cut. We are all familiar with the incident with the Golden Calf. Well, I would wager God would be even more mad now, if the real presence was false. I would like to hear more from those who do not believe in the real presence. I would like their opinion on the matter.

I too believe in the real presence but not that defined by the CC.
I do not believe in transubstantiaton and therefore do not knell when the host or wine is consecrated if I attend a mass.
Yes I believe it is idolatry
Do I believe you are going to hell because you believe otherwise?
No, not if you believe trust in rely on God for your salvation.

How can one commit idolatry and rely on God for salvation? If one trusted in God, would they not commit idolatry?

If somebody believes in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and if that belief is mistaken, that means only their metaphysics are a bit off; nothing more. If they still recognise their absolute dependence upon God’s providence, if they still try to base their lives on the teachings of Christ, and if they still believe they must live their lives in service to the God who reveals himself in the Bible, I do not see how they can seriously be accused of idolatry.

We, who believe in the real presence, pray before the host, since it is Christ. This would seem more than a metaphyiscal blunder. In the scripture the pagans are told that their idols of wood and stone are only that wood and stone, they are not gods. If the real presence is not true, then we are worshipping a flase idol (idolatry). It seems to me there must be consistency in belief. For 1500 years the real presence was the only belief about the Eucharist. The idea that it was symbolic did not come about until the Protestant Reformation. I am attempting to illustrate the importance of this belief. To not belief in it is one’s own choice, I am not condemning that with this arguement. I am saying looking at it in the perspective of disbelief in it. If one beliefs it is nothing, than those who pray to the eucharist, and it is still just bread, then it is idolatry. If the real presence is false then it is just bread; it would be the same as taking a slice of bread and praying to it. That is why the belief is important. Some groups claim that there is no real presence, and they claim that those who pray to the Eucharist are idolators. This is a consistent arguement. There is full knowledge of this. The first commandment bans it. We know what we are doing. We belief it is Christ. If we are wrong we are idolators. To say one can commit open idolatry while having full knowledge of the truth, and they will not be punnished by a just God is one of the most incoherent arguements I have heard. It comes dangerously close to relativisim.

IN Scripture Jesus Said it is his Body and it is His Blood.

He said to do it in remembrance of Him

He said to take it very seriously and not to Take it with unconfessed sin in your life.

I believe Jesus meant it is Important, that we must trust Him, and to Obey Him. What exactly happens during it is up to Him and a Mystery of Faith. I do not have to understand the details of what actually happens or doesn’t happen in order to obey this teaching.

I think Catholics take it very seriously as is commanded. If the real presence is false, Catholics were not idolizing the bread itself, they believe they are worshiping Jesus not elevating bread otherwise wouldn’t all bread count as Jesus?

Good point, Syele, about the bread. I think you have brought up the best counter example. My concern with the issue, when a Catholic was talking to me and said he believed in the real presence, but he was also saying that he did not think belief in it, among Catholics was that important. I was awe struck at this. With such things as Jack Chick’s “The Death Cookie” how could a Catholic say it is unimportant if Catholics belief in the real presence. Because if one is Catholic but does not believe in the real presence, and then goes to Eucharistic adoration and prays to the host doesn’t this seem odd. They don’t believe in transubstantiation but they are praying before the Eucharist. It seems odd to me, I suppose the Catholics that do not believe in it do not go. Then that brought me to the original question.

Worshipping before wood or stone would not in itself be idolatrous. What would be idolatrous is the belief that there was either no objective referent which existed independently of that wood or stone, or, alternatively, that the supposedly objective referent had a nature very dissimilar to that of the actually existing God.

It seems to me there must be consistency in belief. For 1500 years the real presence was the only belief about the Eucharist. The idea that it was symbolic did not come about until the Protestant Reformation. I am attempting to illustrate the importance of this belief. To not belief in it is one’s own choice, I am not condemning that with this arguement. I am saying looking at it in the perspective of disbelief in it. If one beliefs it is nothing, than those who pray to the eucharist, and it is still just bread, then it is idolatry. If the real presence is false then it is just bread; it would be the same as taking a slice of bread and praying to it.

Except that nobody believes that praying to a slice of bread would be a sensible thing to do.

That is why the belief is important. Some groups claim that there is no real presence, and they claim that those who pray to the Eucharist are idolators.

It may be devotionally important to the believer; I can wholly believe that, and I am not saying that belief in the real presence is necessarily wrong. But, mistaken or not, God is only likely to become concerned if it leads on to a seriously wrong conception of his nature and of what he requires of us.

This is a consistent arguement. There is full knowledge of this. The first commandment bans it.

The first commandment bans it for a reason. Namely to prevent people from manufacturing a god to their own liking and then worshipping it. If somebody bases their life upon the God who is objectively revealed in the Bible, they are not guilty of that.

(And to repeat, I didn’t say belief in the real presence was wrong.)

The first thing that popped into my mind in terms of idolatry and Eucharist was Eucharistic adoration …

That seems to me, in my non-Catholic mind, to be different that receiving the Eucharist during communion, real presence or not.

If real presence is true (and I too as a protestant have come to believe in real presence but not transubstantiation), receiving this gift from God during mass would not be the same as spending time in adoration.

Don’t know if this makes any sense or not …

Personally I do believe in the real presence, and I have no problem with its adoration.

DDClark, it does make sense. That is more of what I am referring to. In the sense of Eucharistic Adoration. Not in as much the sense of within mass. The idea that Christ is really present even after the mass is done. That is why we put it in the taberncale and that is why we put a consecrated host in the monstrace for adoration that is what I am referring to. Do you think Eucharistic Adoration is idolatrous, if transubstantiation and the contiuned real presence is false. Sorry for the confusion.

**Paul settled this question for me once and for all many years ago, not to mention the early church fathers faith in the real presence of the Consecrated Host.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, avoid idolatry.
15 I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying.
16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
17 Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

1 Corinthians 11:27
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.
28 A person should examine himself, 13 and so eat the bread and drink the cup.
29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment 14 on himself.
30 That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.
31 If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; **

I think that it could be, but I think it depends on what adoration means to you.

If there is no continued real presence of Christ, and you are worshiping the host itself (instead of praying or meditating in the presence of the host), then maybe. But aren’t you honoring and worshiping Christ in the adoration?

On the other hand, if you believe, and it turns out not to be true - it wasn’t “deliberate act” like the bronze snake in the BIble.

I believe that the issue of idolatry is much more complicated than your friend realizes (and he/she had no business saying what he did).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.