Tuesday, January 02, 2007

January 2, 2007 Daily-ish Readings

Readings: II Samuel 16-17, Psalm 142, I Corinthians 8
I Corinthians 8: The Christians in Corinth struggled with eating meat, not because they were PETA activists running around preaching animal rights, but because the meat sold at the market had first been sacrificed to idols. (Here of course is a funny point of contention. I guess the meat was laid in front of the idols, and since they didn't eat any of it because they're stone, the meat was then taken and sold at market. It must be cost beneficial to have a stone god where you get all of your sacrifices back.) Eating the meat bought at market was considered an act of worship of the god. (By the way, the patron goddess of Corinth was Aphrodite (Venus), so they had other rituals...) Christians were unsure if they should eat the meat because they did not believe in the gods, so therefore eating meat sacrificed to a god that doesn't exist shouldn't be a problem, but some of them considered themselves worshiping the gods simply through the act of eating the meat, and couldn't mentally separate it.

Paul's advice? Technically it's fine to eat the meat. God knows you are not worshiping the idols. However, because some people felt so guilty about it, they should not eat the meat. Here's the interesting thing. Paul says that those Christians were weaker than those who had a fuller understanding of God and knew that eating the meat was fine. An interesting concept--legalism is the result of weak faith.

However, Paul then says that those who were not weak were under the responsibility of making sure not to let their freedom cause someone else to stumble. That's the part of the chapter I always forget...

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