Questions about Religion
Transsubstantiation and the Eucharist
Transsubstantiation is the wonderful change where the Eucharistic elements (bread and wine) change into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The elements only keep their appearance of bread and wine. The thought is to bring the literal truth of Jesus to the participants. It is also done in remembrance of Jesus and His sacrifices for the people.
The idea of transsubstantiation comes from the Bible where is mentioned that Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples, which happened at the time of the Last Supper. The Apostle Paul was the first one to write about the Last Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is also mentioned by Mark (14:22-24), Matthew (26:26-28) and Luke (22:19-20). Jesus asked his disciples to repeat this ceremony to remember Him. After Jesus’ death, people who became His followers, repeated (and still repeat) this ritual every Sunday.
The several divisions of Christianity formed their own ideas about the exact meaning and purpose of the Last Supper. They do all have similar remembrance ceremonies.
Questions about Religion
Image Worship & Prayer
Image worship is the practice of worshipping an image or idol which represents a divine figure. It is found in many ancient religions and in today’s Hinduism. In the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), this kind of worship (idolatry) is strictly forbidden. In Exodus 20:3-5 we can read in the Ten Commandments that it is wrong to worship any other gods or worship idols.
Displaying a picture of someone is not the same as worshipping a picture. The display of pictures makes people remember fun times or deceased loved ones. It is a little bit different when the picture is one of a Saint. It can look like people worship this picture, or the Saint, but it is the idea that the saints are asked to pray for us, for Saints are said to be closer to God. Most of the Saints have their own ‘specialty’ and this makes it easier for people to ask the right Saint for the right prayer. This is actually the same for the Holy Mother Mary. She is displayed in portraits and sculptures almost all over the world.
Prayer is done from the heart, directly to God. Since there is no one who really knows what ‘god’ looks like and a lot of people believe that God has no shape, it is not right to make a representation of God; the picture would never justify God. This is also valid for most religions, because whatever people believe in (sacred energy, Allah or anything else), the representation would not suffice the deeper meaning behind it.
It sounds like a helpful thing, representations of God to help people pray. The fact that most people will lose the focus of it all, and start seeing God as that representation is the bad side of it. In religions, it is not about the image, but about believing, the goodness and the deeper meaning of the ideas and rules.