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Is cannibalism ethical? Show more Show less
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Cannibalism - the practice of eating human flesh - is illegal in every country on Earth. Yet, the moral context is far from straightforward: is it always wrong? What about in matters of life and death? Should having the victim's consent impact the way it is viewed?

Forms of cannibalism already exist in mainstream society Show more Show less

Whether in religious ritual or post-natal diet, forms of cannibalism are already widely accepted.
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The Eucharist is metaphorical cannibalism, which emphasizes spiritual sustenance

Religions like Christianity are often said to be cannibalistic because of their belief in the Eucharist. By eating and drinking the bread and wine that symbolizes Christ's body and blood, they practice the very idea they disapprove of.

The Argument

At the core teaching of the Catholic Church lies the notion of Transubstantiation.[1] It refers to the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ at the time of consecration during mass. By its very definition, it checks all the boxes for it to be considered as cannibalism. The Christian faith rests on the idea that Christ died so that the sins of all humanity can be forgiven. By partaking in the Eucharist, Christians all over the world consume his body metaphorically. This brings up another question, is cannibalism limited only to the physical food being eaten? Or does the intent, motivation and imagination of a person make them cannibalistic too? If the latter is true, then everyone who calls themselves a Christian and consumes the Holy Communion would be considered a cannibal. Cannibalism in Christianity is advocated by one of the central people the religion is associated with. In the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus explicitly states that it is only through the eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood that the world will be saved.[2] If the practice of cannibalism is so taboo, then why would the very figurehead of Christianity himself advocate for it?

Counter arguments

Christians being called cannibals is not a new accusation. History shows how the Romans were one of the first to levy that charge against them, because of their belief of eating Christ’s body and drinking his blood. Yet this happens to be not just a misrepresentation of cannibalism, but also Christianity. Cannibalism refers to the eating of dead human beings, however, Christianity believes that Christ rose from the dead and that the Eucharist is partaking in a living savior. In cannibalism, the amount of flesh on a corpse decreases as it is being consumed, which is not the case with Christ, particularly considering that the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood is metaphorical.[3] This also ties in with the fact that no nutritional value is being gained through the Eucharist. It is meant to satisfy a person’s spiritual hunger and increase their faith in the Lord.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Christianity believes that the bread and wine at the Eucharist are the body and blood of Jesus Christ. [P2] By taking part in the Eucharist, all Christians are essentially engaging in cannibalism.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The belief of consuming the body and blood of Christ is symbolic, not literal. [Rejecting P2] The Eucharist is a metaphor which symbolizes satisfying the "spiritual" hunger of Christians, rather than physical hunger such as that of cannibals.

References

  1. https://www.nwcatholic.org/spirituality/ask-father/how-can-i-explain-transubstantiation.html
  2. https://biblehub.com/john/6-53.htm
  3. https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2011/08/06/the-eucharist-a-cannibalism/

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 at 15:36 UTC

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