Popular Posts

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Forbidden Fruit: intoxicants in the Bible and the Book Of Mormon: Part I

I really don't know how to write my thoughts on this topic for a blog -- so I guess that I will just start with Biblical references to intoxicants and see where this takes me, as a Skeptic with Mormon heritage.  This topic is long, so I intend to break it up into several parts.  Please bear with me if I am not entirely consistent in writing these blog parts.

In the start of the Bible, there is the myth of the story of Adam and Eve.  (I refer to this as a myth, although it may be thought of by most Mormons and other fundamentalist Christians as literal truth, because, like other myths, it has teachings that may be thought of as literal truth by some, but there is near 100% probability of it being no more than a story that came to us from the beginnings of modern religions)

Adam and Eve were confronted with the possibility of taking the fruit of two forbidden "trees".  One would give them knowledge of of good and evil and the other would make them eternal, like the Gods.  They were commanded by God to multiply, but not given the knowledge of HOW to accomplish that commandment.  (This myth is given elaborately in the "Mormon" temple ceremony, called the "endowment")  [see Genesis 2-3]

Biblical references to a "tree" can refer to as many as 30 different "trees".  What I want to emphasize here is that one of these "trees" is not what we refer to as a tree at all, but a "vine" [see Numbers 6:4]  Think about it.........  What plant has cause more of both happiness at the gifts of God AND unhappiness than the fruit that comes from the vine (grapes)?  Why would the Bible forbid Sampson and others who wanted to avoid even the appearance of evil than the fruit of the vine -- grapes and wine?  Was it a grape "tree" that was referred to in Genesis -- or an apple?  Although you can easily make an intoxicant out of the fruits of the apple tree, the more common fruit for that purpose is NOT and apple, but a grape.

There are many words in the Bible that have been translated into "wine", "strong drink", "liquor" and others, and not all are consistent in how they were translated.  I have written a 53-page  analysis of Biblical references to wine, drinking, intoxication and other words that refer to drinking and drunkenness.  Any of my readers who would like a free PDF copy of this article, please leave me an email and I will forward it to you.  It is in five, PDF files that are about 15 MEG each.  It not only references the original words, but includes tiny snippets of information of my own whenever I want to share a thought to discuss my own ideas.

I don't want to discuss here all the ideas that I have had about alcohol and wines in the Bible, but let me bring up a few questions for you, the reader of my blog:  (I will answer some of them at the end of this quiz)

1.  Who was the first person "officially to raise grape vines and get drunk on the grape juice?

2.  What kind of food did the Biblical character, Cain, make and what did Abel do for a living?

3.  What did the daughters of Job use to trick their father into sleeping with him?  (and why is it unlikely that he was entirely fooled by their deception?)

4.  What did Jacob's son, Isaac, give to him to drink that made his senses less acute in order to get the birthright that belonged rightfully to his brother?

5.  When Pharaoh had a dream, which of his servants received a blessing at his hands, the baker, or the bartender?

6.  What did Joseph use to implicate the possibility of theft by his brothers to the Pharoah?

7.  What did the Israelites ask of Moses, when they were told to wander in the desert where only water was available to drink?

8.  What is a more accurate interpretation of a promised "land with milk and honey"?

Answers:  1. Noah   2.  farmer -- who made grains and raised vines   3.  Wine (A man too drunk to know he is having sex with his own daughters is too limp to accomplish the deed)  4.  Wine   5.   The bartender   6.  A drinking vessel (for wine)   7.  "What shall we drink?" Exodus 15:24   8.  A land of yogurt and honey-wine.

The Drunkenness of Noah by Michelangelo

And these are only a few of the references to alcoholic beverages in the Bible.

The Torah takes the common-sense position that those who want to conquer the Jews and Christians need to be more sober than your enemies are in order to prevail in battle.  While the warrior who is more prone to drink may be more belligerent, he is also lacking the clear-mindedness that he needs to avoid getting killed.  This was the logic behind the Prophet Mohammed forbidding wine to Muslims (in much the same way that Mormons prohibit alcohol to true believers.

What I am saying -- in as few words as possible -- is that the Bible is replete with references to drinking wine and getting intoxicated.  This is also true of the Book of Mormon, but that is a topic of another part of this blog.

In the next blog entry -- Is there really two references to wine in the Bible -- the good (un-alcoholic) wine and the bad (alcoholic) one?

1 comment:

  1. i am a Jew interested in what you have to say. Please keep writing!