Transubstantiation and Other Easy Matters

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This is not a post about particular religious views.

In fact, this is probably not a good forum for such a debate at all.

This is a post about how we should think about and respond to difficult issues.

There are books included in many of Sonlight's packages that some users complain about. In fact, people have gone so far as to say, "How DARE you include such-and-such in your curriculum?" Others huff, "And you call yourself Christian."

Pretty serious accusations. I think my dad and the writers here at Sonlight have done a good job of dealing with these concerns in the "Why Sonlight Uses Certain Books that Some Homeschoolers Won't Touch" article.

For me, I'm glad I grew up reading opposing ideas and discussing difficult questions with my parents. It helped me when I got to high school and encountered ideas that opposed my own. Even so, it is still disconcerting to hear people articulate ideas that go against my beliefs--even worse when there isn't a clear rebuttal.

I ran across one of these today. An article about a young man who got out of Mass with a wafer of the Eucharist has caused quite the commotion. People are ranting and raving.

It's been a while since I have come across such hatred and defamatory speech. These bloggers, and the comments following, spew forth rage against religion.

[NB: If you follow the following links you will encounter profanity.]

But their issues aren't totally without merit. Poorly stated and not very loving, but there is some truth in what they say, even more in what they imply.

But how should we respond?

What do we say to in response to this:

If kidnapping a piece of bread is a mortal sin ... the wost thing you can do, including killing a person ... then what will the average Catholic do to protect the Eucharist? Commit a venial sin?

Or how about this:

Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a [expletive] cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?

How would you respond?

Well, for starters, I didn't.

I thought about it, but then decided against it. Like the debate about Transubstantiation itself, we're not going to get anywhere in a comments section of a blog. Even if I wrote a really fantastic response to these rhetorical questions, it would fall on deaf ears.

And perhaps that's what those who shield themselves from dissenting and disturbing ideas would argue: What's the point? They're wrong, and I can't convince them otherwise. So why put myself through that?

And this is where my homeschooling experience comes in. The answer: For me, and those around me. I want to know where I stand, what I think about it, and how I would respond if someone asked... for real.

I know I'm not going to get anywhere in the heat of a public lambasting, but if my friend, Christian or not, asked me about it, I should have an answer.

And this is where this is truly a very difficult matter. I don't think there is an easy answer to these serious questions, even if they are not asked seriously. They are weighty matters and hold huge implications to how we think about religion, God, and the state of the world.

And if we don't have practice working through these issues in the comfort of our own home, reading great books and talking with our family, how will we ever be "salt and light"? [Matthew 5:13-16]

Or is that passage really just about doing good deeds and not discussing things for the good of others?

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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