Monday, November 16, 2009

Inebriation - Bible style!

This morning I read an article in the CDT from a reader expressing vehement hatred for alcohol. The author made no distinction between the casual drinker and drunken college students who spend their Saturday nights in the local bars, then chasing every blonde, brunette, and redhead up and down College Avenue.

Graham Spanier recently solidified his tone against binge drinking and alcohol abuse, which he dubbed "dangerous drinking", by Penn State's student population. The author took exception to Spanier's position, and I agreed with the author's stance that throwing more money at the problem isn't going to rid State College of alcohol related problems. That is, until the author invoked religion.

Not surprisingly, the author is a Christian who possesses a very weak knowledge of the Bible and its origins which are deeply rooted in gnosticism and paganism. The author carefully chose two passages from the Bible which he/she used to bolster his/her argument that alcohol itself is pure concentrated evil, and that anyone who enjoys even the occasional drink is subject to hellfire. The favored passage used is Proverbs 23:31-32:

"Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."

Of course, the author made a huge blunder by omitting the New Testament narrative of the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), where Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine. Needless to say, Christians maintain that this passage simply illustrates Jesus turning water into unfermented grape juice. Honestly, if you were at a wedding and had a choice between wine and grape juice, which would you choose? Yep, I'd choose the wine, too. As the Psalms say, "wine maketh glad the heart of man".

But the Wedding at Cana is only one example of celebratory and ceremonial inebriation that can be found in the Bible. It is filled with example after example of inebriation, the first possible example of which could (emphasis added) be found in the Garden of Eden narrative, where God forbids Adam from eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil:

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Genesis 2:16-17

And we all know the rest of the story. God creates Eve for Adam, Eve tempts Adam with the fruit from said tree, Adam gives in, God calls out Adam for giving into his curiosity (i.e., being a human being)...errrr...sinning, Adam blames God for giving him Eve in the first place, God curses Adam and Eve, and Adam and Eve go on to live happy, healthy, productive lives.

Wait. I thought God said they were to die on the day they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? And not only did they not die, Adam went on to live 930 years. That's odd. Nearly 7 billion people later, and we're still here. That sounds more like the rise of mankind, not its fall. Besides, there's something unnerving about a god who doesn't want you to know the difference between good and evil, but punishes you for doing something wrong.

Perhaps the most telling evidence of inebriation in the Bible can be found in Exodus 16:12-24, which tells of Moses leading the Israelites through a wilderness. God appears to Moses and speaks to him from a cloud, telling Moses that he will give him and the Israelites bread, or manna, to eat. But even a casual glance over this passage reveals that the Israelites were more than likely consuming psychoactive fungus, not bread. As a matter of fact, the term manna is a Hebrew word that doesn't mean bread at all, but literally translates to "What is it?" Surely, the Israelites knew what bread was?

Most Christians believe that just because the Bible says that the manna is bread, then that means it's bread - period. But let's take a closer look at this passage starting in verse 14.

"And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.

Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein."

Genesis 16:14-24
Consider the characteristics being described of said manna. It appears in the presence of moisture, something which mushrooms need in order to grow. Also, after enough time passes mushrooms will begin to rot and give off an odor, and will subsequently "melt" in the heat of the sun. But spray a mist of water on bread and leave it out overnight, and it will turn into a soggy mess. However, it will produce nowhere near an offensive odor as a rotting mushroom, nor will it melt away in the heat of the sun. On the contrary, if you put bread outside under the heat of the sun, you get a crouton.

The word "manna" is used 17 times in the Bible, and the term "hidden manna" can be found once in Revelation 2:17. Strong's Concordance refers to manna as the food of the angels, those who the Bible refer to as the elohim. Elohim is the Hebrew word for God, however, its meaning changes when the word is presented in all lower case. It is interesting to note that multiple cultures around the world also refer to some hallucinogenic mushrooms as the "food of the gods".

Author Dan Merkur, Ph.D., is one of the first researchers since the late John Allegro to approach the topic of hallucinogenic fungus use in the Bible from a scholarly perspective, even though Merkur is at times at odds with Allegro. Merkur's research has taken a critical look at the manna found in the Bible, and offers evidence that manna could have been a hallucinogenic fungus called ergot. There are about 50 different species of ergot, some of which infest grains like barley and rye, and were often baked into loaves of bread. However, some other forms of ergot are small, round, granular fungi, about the size of a "hoar frost".

In short, if I ate psychoactive mushrooms by the handful, I'd be seeing the glory of God, too. And even if there was such a person named Moses that led the Israelites from Egypt, he was simply an ancient version of Timothy Leary, and nothing more.

more to come...

2 comments:

Dave & Sonya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
millerdo said...

Shrooms!

Well done.