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"Ritual is the re-enactment of myth" - Jessie Weston
Rites, Rituals, Ceremonies and Sacraments
Are rites, ceremonies and sacraments really
necessary? Do they even enhance faith, or do they get in the way of
true belief as a substitute for intellectual responsibility?
Christianity has developed and fostered new rites, ceremonies and
sacraments as legitimate and necessary accessories to the religious
experience and the spiritual life, but these are not founded upon any
legitimate meaning nor efficacy NOR any
legitimate instruction or interpretation of what the J-person said.
Let us define a rite as being different from a ceremony. Thus a
ceremony would be constituted as being for the purpose of celebrating or honoring
someone for something important and meaningful such as a special achievement or
a birthday, and a rite would be
directed toward producing some kind of “magic” or superstitious
(unreal) action or benefit. Most rites are intended to impress God
and/or achieve something magical or unreal, such as transubstantiation
and its supposed efficacy.
A sacrament in
Christianity is a special rite or ceremony that is considered to have
been inaugurated by Jesus to bring God's grace to the believer that
participates. Roman Catholicism actually believes that these are
generally NECESSARY for salvation, and that they are efficacious in the
sanctification process for the believer. There are 7 that have been
adopted by Roman and Orthodox denominations, with the Orthodox admitting
several more. As Jung states, "it is very significant that the mysteries of
the early Church turned soon enough into sacraments."
The primary seven are:
Let's take a close look at each one of these and see if Jesus instructed us to have these,
or if not, what level of support there is from his words for instituting them.
Also known as Christening, baptism usually involves some form of water application to
the head, whether that be by dunking the whole body, or pouring or
sprinkling water on the head. Most of Christendom with the exception of
a few denominations accept that baptism is necessary for salvation or
inclusion into heaven. Two types of baptism have been accepted that do
not either depend on the ceremony or the application of water to the
head, the first being the "baptism of blood" that allowed unbaptized
martyrs to be saved.
Commentary: The Catholic Church at some point also accepted what they call a
"baptism of desire" whereby those that die while preparing for the sacrament
are saved. This is especially helpful in those cases—more than one—where a
candidate standing in a mountain stream ready to be dunked by his ordained
baptizer was struck by lightning and killed!
Jesus never baptized anyone, never mentioned any
efficacy, nor put his stamp of approval upon this Old Testament ritual
activity. His claim was that he came to baptize with fervor and spirit.
However, in Matthew 28:19 it has him saying, "When you go, you will
make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them with the authority of the
Father. the son and the holy spirit, teaching them to keep all things that I
have instructed." We need not have a problem here with trivializing the
words of Jesus to mean dunking in water, because the original essence of the
word meant to soak or saturate, and it was always symbolic of this being
Also known as
Chrismation, this rite involves the anointing of the persons head with a
sacred oil mixed with balsam and consecrated by a bishop. The purpose is
to further enhance, strengthen or reinforce what ostensibly happens with
baptism. Various aspect of this
ceremony have been changed over time, such as a "warrior slap" becoming
a touch on the cheek or a friendly gesture.
like a kind of religiously fabricated insurance. This sacrament is NOT based
on anything that Jesus said or instituted, but is based on Acts 8:14-17.
This sacrament has been thought by Christendom to have been inaugurated and
commanded by Jesus at the last supper when he said in regard to eating
the bread, "Do this for remembrance of me." It consists of, while in
congregation, the ritual eating of wheat bread, usually unleavened, and
the ritual drinking of grape juice or wine. The bread symbolizes his
flesh and the wine symbolizes his blood, based on his own words, "Take,
eat. This is my body" and "Drink of it...This is my blood."
This sacrament has been "borrowed from a ceremony [pagan] that had been in
vogue much earlier throughout most of the inhabited world."[*]
It is erroneously thought by Christendom to have been instituted by Jesus.
The issue of course is whether he meant this to be a
one-time thing at that moment to help them be mindful during the passion
play up until his crucifixion, or whether he meant them to continue to
do it until some proposed second coming.
First of all, it is telling that this account is NOT in the
book of John, and the directive "Do this for remembrance of me" is
only found in the book of Luke. It is quite probable that Luke listened
to and recorded an embellished account. In any regard, this is the very thinnest
justification of a sacrament, given that sacraments are not valid in the
first place; and it is a stretch to hear Jesus instituting an ongoing rite or ceremony.
Finally, the whole "Second Coming" scenario is a misunderstanding regarding
his words about returning from the grave.
Also known as Confession or Reconciliation, because the four part sacrament consists
of Contrition, Confession, Absolution and Reconciliation, Satisfaction
or Penance. The objective ostensibly is spiritual healing after a person
has been baptized and committed further sin, and reconciliation with
Commentary: In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus has us claiming the dismissal of
our obligations as we forgive or dismiss those of others. There is
nothing further said by Jesus in the Gospels about the other aspects
except he told the paralytic man, "Be comforted, my son, your sins are
being continuously dismissed."
In Luke 13:5 Jesus says, "Unless you repent you will
all likewise perish." To repent means to change direction after you have
come to the conclusion that you are proceeding in the wrong way, but
this has nothing to do with the concept of penance.
Anointing of the Sick
Also can be known, when given in mortal peril, as Extreme
Unction or Final Anointing as part of the Last Rites. It amounts to
anointing the sick with special oil that has been sacralized or blessed
by a priest or bishop.
Commentary: Of course Jesus said absolutely nothing to initiate and
support this sacrament, and it is just another carryover from an ancient
Division of certain men or acolytes through "ordination" into an "order"
or legal hierarchy of usually 3 levels, those being in Catholicism, top
down: bishops, priests and Deacons. Martin Luther could not help but
categorize every facet of the congregation into a hierarchy headed by a
Commentary: In Luke 22:24,25 But he said to them, "The kings of
the gentiles lord it over them, and these exercising authority over them
are called benefactors. But with you, it should not be this way." This
statement by Jesus in conjunction with Matthew 23:8-12 "You do not be
called Teacher, for you are all brothers. And call no man on earth
Father..." should absolutely preclude or interdict any and all forms of
authoritarian hierarchy among true believers. And yet, these forms are
universal in Christendom, indicating a deep seated failure to understand
the Gospel message.
As far as the beginning of the formal organization, it
began early when Peter appointed himself to formally replace the twelfth
disciple upon the demise of Judas, thus setting the disciples up as a
special cabal of leaders. This was the beginning of inequality and
hierarchies in the Christian movement.
Also known as
Marriage, it is a formal, ostensibly God-blessed commitment of a man and
women to engage in a permanent relationship, one that authorizes the
responsible sharing of sex, setting the roles, having children and as a team
preparing them for service to the mission of the church. It is
usually connected to a binding legal contract that either specifies or
implies co-ownership of any material wealth and property.
Commentary: Most of what Jesus said about marriage was when he used the
word in a common saying, "marrying and giving in marriage", which
means carrying life on as usual. Used in conjunction with "eating and
drinking" they meant carrying on as usual while being oblivious to
momentous developments. The balance of what he said was rather negative,
and when the disciples asked him if it was better to not marry, he said
it was for those that could handle it. Very enigmatic to Christians, and not
any real solid basis for this as any thing more than a secular or legal
Further general commentary:
In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, "the
sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by
Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is
dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments
are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to
each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them
with the required dispositions."
The Church teaches that the effect of the sacraments comes
ex opere operato, by the very fact of being
administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the
minister administering it.
However, as indicated in this definition of the sacraments
given by the
Catechism of the Catholic Church, a recipient's own
lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can
block a sacrament's effectiveness in that person. The
sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and
ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to
Though not every individual has to receive every
sacrament, the Church affirms that, for believers as a
whole, the sacraments are necessary for salvation, as the
modes of grace divinely instituted by
Through each of them, Christ bestows that sacrament's
particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the
Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a
The Rites, Ceremonies and
When it comes to the rites, ceremonies and sacraments, most of
Christendom actually believes that these have some efficacy in and of
themselves. Despite what even Paul said about Sabbaths and circumcision, they don't seem to have a clue that
these were ever and only symbols, and unless the reality behind the
symbols is grasped, they are worse than worthless. Imagine the glorious
sons and daughters of God mucking around with these trappings and
thinking that they are glorifying God. See:
The tragedy is that most find it easier to embrace and perform these
outward, empty, mundane symbolic rites than it is for them to change
their concept of God to one based on Jesus. Not so good, is it?
[*] "Even in pious Sweden," Frederick Elsworthy tells us, "the flour
from the grain of the last sheaf, supposed to contain the corn spirit, is
baked unto a loaf in the shape of a girl, which is divided amongst the whole
household and eaten by them." And Sweden is only one of the various European
countries in which similar rituals are conducted. In these particular cases,
however, the "corn spirit" was not everywhere considered to be female, but,
as we have already noted, just as often male. So, for instance, at Palisse,
"In these examples the corn-spirit is represented and eaten in human shape.
In other cases, though, the new corn is not baked in loaves of human shape,
still, the solemn ceremonies with which it is eaten suffice to indicate that it is partaken of sacramentally, that is, as the body of the corn-spirit."
In Ireland, the great festival in which "the first wheat cakes were
prepared and shared out as a kind of sacramental thanksgiving" included the
sacrifice of bulls. And, as Cottie Burland documented, while the Irish festival was gradually forgotten,
"echoes of it still remain in harvest-home celebrations."
Similar ceremonies can be found among the Hindus and
other religious associations in India, the Ainu of Japan, in Indonesia, and
just about the rest of Asia where, in some countries, the Mother of Rice
supplants the Corn Mother. And so, similarly in Africa.
The ceremony was even celebrated in the Americas,
especially by the Aztecs in Mexico, long before these tribal units and
civilizations came in contact with the Spanish conquistadores and their
Christian Missionaries. Twice a year, in what to us are May and December, an
image of Huitzilopochtli was made out of dough, broken into pieces, and
"solemnly eaten by his worshippers." In fact, the ceremony was actually
called teoqualo, which means "god is eaten." Additional to that, an
identical ceremony was also practiced by the same Aztecs, once every four
years, in honor of Tezcatlipoca.
It can thus be seen that the Eucharist, or Holy
Communion as it is also called, in which bread, or a thin host made of
flour, together with wine, are said to be miraculously transformed into the
body and blood of Jesus, and then consumed by Christian worshippers, was
another ritual practice that was borrowed from a ceremony that had been in
vogue much earlier throughout most of the inhabited world." - Cardona,
Dwardu, Newborn Star, Tellwell Publishers, Victoria, B.C. Canada,
,(2016), p. 322-323.
 Jung, 1977, Mysterium Coniunctionis,
New York: Princeton Univ. Press, p. 232
 F.T. Elsworth, The Evil Eye: The Origins and Practices of
Superstition (N.Y. , 1971), p. 111.
 J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion
(London,1974), pp. 632 ff.
 C.A. Burland, Myths of Life and Death (N.Y., 1974), p. 153.
 M. Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion (London,
1996). p. 337.
 J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion
(London,1974), pp. 632 ff.
 Idem, The Golden Bough: The Roots of Religion and Folklore
(N. Y., 1981). part B, p. 79.
 Ibid p. 81.
 E.G. Squier, The Serpent Symbol (N.Y., 1975), pp. 178,