One of the great ironies of the P.Z. Myers controversy is that it has revealed how literal-minded and intellectually cramped Myers and his followers are. In the comments on my post "Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum," one of Myers' admirers (echoing Myers' own comments and the comments of hundreds of people on Myers' blog) writes that Myers desecrated a consecrated Host:
To show that it's just a piece of bread, of course. I mean, he wasn't struck down by lightning, it didn't bleed, the earth didn't tremble, the stars didn't fall from the skies. Nothing happened, just as one would expect if the eucharist [sic] were simply a piece of bread and not, as a lot of people apparently believe, a god.
Myers claimed to be striking a blow in favor of rationality, but this is one of the most irrational remarks I've ever read. To see why, however, those who subscribe to Myers' atheism have to be willing to entertain the reality of the historical narrative of Christ's life, if only for the sake of argument. Let's suppose that the Christian narrative is entirely true. God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son to die to save mankind from its sins. Christ, in His three years of public ministry, was repeatedly persecuted, and His life and liberty were threatened on several occasions.
The last week of His life began with a triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and ended with betrayal, scourging, a crowning with thorns, a long, painful walk to Calvary carrying the instrument of His own execution, and finally the Crucifixion itself. Hanging on the Cross, waiting for the consummation of His mission, Christ endured the ridicule of the very people whom He came to save. At the end of three hours of exceeding pain, He gave up the ghost.
Let's also assume that Christ is, indeed, the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. That means that, at any point, He could have brought an end to the torture. In the Gospel narratives, He even says as much, when He mentions that His kingdom is not of this world. The bystanders taunt Him, asking why He doesn't come down off of the Cross if He is Who He says He is.
And yet He didn't. He endured it all, we are told, for the love of mankind, and for our redemption. Again, Myers and his ilk don't need to believe this (unless, of course, they wish to be saved); they simply need to grant it briefly for the sake of argument.
Then grant, finally, that Christ meant what He said when He took the bread and declared, "This is My Body," and the cup and said, "This is My Blood." And then go back at look at the commenter's naive remark I quoted above.
How would we expect the same Christ Who "stood silent, and opened not His mouth" while enduring the pain and humiliation of the Crucifixion to react to Professor Myers' infantile attack on the Eucharist? By striking Myers down with lightning? By making the earth tremble and the stars fall from the skies? By making the Host bleed, so that Myers would have no choice but to believe?
Of course not. Only a child would think so. And yet Myers and the commenter and the thousands of people who raised a glass to Myers' act of desecration claim that, because none of these things happened, Myers "proved" that the Host is merely a piece of bread and not the Body of Christ.
Where's the rationality in that? Who has fallen prey to an unthinking faith here? The sad fact is that Myers has shown himself not to be an empirical scientist, but an ideologue who is so hellbent on disproving the claims of faith that he has "joyfully and with laughter in my heart" ignored the very logic that he claims to hold dear.