Approving Alcohol, Prohibiting Marijuana: An Inconsistent Position

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TylerR's picture

It's a joke. Have a coffee, donut, and relax . . . Smile

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Ron Bean's picture

Christians have the greatest senses of humor said no one ever.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

Larry wrote:

Whatever our views on wine and alcohol are, surely we can agree that coffee and donuts are not in the same category.

Agreed: 

Now can we agree that wine and alcohol are not in the same category as cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin

Andrew K's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Larry wrote:

 

Whatever our views on wine and alcohol are, surely we can agree that coffee and donuts are not in the same category.

 

 

Agreed: 

Now can we agree that wine and alcohol are not in the same category as cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin

...and with that, I think, the discussion is done. Wink

Bert Perry's picture

The trick with the coffee and donuts analogies is that they humorously illustrate how weak David's arguments really are.  For example, he draws attention to the expense--and it turns out that a good microbrew costs about as much as a single jelly donut from Krispy Kreme.  Add the coffee, and you've got a nice glass of wine.  He notes the social cost--and ahem, haven't I demonstrated that the social cost of the "Standard American Diet" is many times greater than that of alcohol, as measured in human lives?

It doesn't mean we ought to be flippant about the dangers of either, but it does illustrate the sad tendency to use any stick to beat the enemy.  And that's a valuable service, in my view.

Larry's picture

It's a joke. Have a coffee, donut, and relax . . . 

I would love a coffee and donut but the caffeine would wake me up and make have to have a glass of wine to help me sleep better.

I am fine with the humor but it seemed like some were taking it a bit seriously, so just in case ... 

Now can we agree that wine and alcohol are not in the same category as cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin

I'll get back to you on this when I am done with joint. I'm sick you know, and I don't think straight when I am hitting it. 

Larry's picture

The trick with the coffee and donuts analogies is that they humorously illustrate how weak David's arguments really are. 

No, I don't see how it illustrates anything because it isn't the same. The effects of alcohol are not the same as coffee or sugar, and the biblical teaching isn't the same. The financial cost is not a good argument. But the social cost is not equivalent because it doesn't seem like you are not comparing actual users. Of course more people die from a bad diet, but more people eat food than drink wine. And even if you were comparing properly, there's not a lot of people who go home after a couple of Big Macs and fries and beat their wife or drive on the wrong side of the road after an extra-large milkshake. It's just not the same. 

BTW, for those of you who said this was a humorous joke, take note that some people take it seriously.  

It doesn't mean we ought to be flippant about the dangers of either, but it does illustrate the sad tendency to use any stick to beat the enemy.  And that's a valuable service, in my view.

I disagree with David's view, but he is not the enemy. I am a teetotaler and I tell people they should be as well. And I reject most of what David has said as a matter of argumentation. But a valuable service would be to seek to show grace and kindness even to those with whom we disagree. 

Bert Perry's picture

No argument that alcohol differs markedly in its effects from sugar or dope; the trick is that most of David's arguments are not based on that, but rather on things like cost, vague notions of what constitutes a good testimony, and the like.  And that's where it's really weak.  If I'm to argue against using heroin, for example, it's not that it's that expensive--I'm told it's not anymore, actually--but rather that 

You've also misunderstood the "any stick to beat my enemy." First of all, it's David primarily wielding these sticks, and the enemy is not specifically a person, but rather the notion that one can, as a Christian, have a bit of alcohol.  In other words, the notion that a multitude of arguments ought win the day, whether or not they are well thought out or compelling.

Bert Perry's picture

Larry, regarding "not too many people go home and beat their wife after a Big Mac", yes; but really, half a million people each year don't come home to their families at all due to heart attacks, diabetes, etc..  Moreover, a portion of opiate deaths each year are due to this--a lot of the pain that leads to addiction results from being overweight and under-exercised.  In comparison, the death toll from drunken driving these days is under 15000 people.  Choose your poison, really.

Like it or not, the butcher's bill of SAD is far greater than that of booze.  It dwarfs even tobacco.  And keep in mind that the butcher's bill for alcohol is really the butcher's bill for drunkenness.  

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Excerpt:

"In Jesus' day, there were limited hydration choices: water, animal milk, and the fruit of the vine. The water was often unsanitary, the milk hard to keep fresh, and the fruit of the vine impossible to preserve without the natural process of fermentation taking place. Fermentation changes the natural sugars (glucose and fructose) into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is released; the alcohol remains. This happens quickly in the absence of refrigeration, and the process starts immediately after the juice is extracted. Nonalcoholic grape juice is the legacy of Thomas Bramwell Welch (1825-1903), a dentist, who applied Louis Pasteur's pasteurization process to produce a grape juice suitable for communion. Welch considered it inconsistent for his Methodist church to support temperance while using alcoholic wine at the ordinance. His 1869 invention has become an international business - Welch's Grape Juice - as an alternative to wine for the Lord's Table.

      In Biblical times, no such option existed. The process of fermentation was impossible to prevent. Moreover, it was discovered that the wine actually had helpful qualities. Alcohol apparently had some limited medicinal value in an age where antibiotics had not been discovered. It also would have killed bacteria in the water, though it is doubtful anyone would have known this for certain. In Biblical times, alcohol was often mixed with water, diluting the wine and making the water safer to drink."

http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/straub.jeff.saints.sober.html

http://www.centralseminary.edu/people/jeff-straub

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David Brumbelow says that fermentation was easily and routinely prevented in Bible times.

Jeff Straub says it was "impossible to prevent."   

Larry Nelson's picture

 

An example of another substance (besides wine) both commended and cautioned against in the Bible:

"My son, eat honey, for it is good,
    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste." (Proverbs 24:13 ESV)

"It is not good to eat much honey,
    nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory" (Proverbs 25:27 ESV)

Bert Perry's picture

Keep in mind that a most significant passage warning about drunkenness and its perils (probably including alcoholism, really), Proverbs 23, also warns against gluttony.  So we might infer that there are two breads; the one that nourishes you is organic whole wheat and spelt "Ezekiel Bread", and the one that makes you fat is "Wonder Bread."  

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Ancients Preventing Fermentation

Patrick E. McGovern is  pro-drinking secular scholar on ancient and modern wine.  He said,

“Concentrating grape juice down by heating is still used to make the popular shireh of modern Iran and was known to the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia as well as well as the Greeks and Romans.  It enables fruit to be preserved, and, diluted with water, it produces a refreshing, nonalcoholic beverage.”  

-Patrick E. McGovern, Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey; 2003.  

So yes, ancient people could stop the fermentation process before the discovery of pasteurization.  This quote is just one example, and just one of the ancient methods.  Much more evidence is available to anyone who cares to look.  That the ancients could stop the fermentation process is a historical and scientific fact.  

About the Church Covenant.  Some churches may use it in a strict way to discipline members.  Most simply use it to inform and point people in the right direction.  

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving.  

David R. Brumbelow

Ron Bean's picture

"Could" doesn't prove "did".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Ancient writers such as Hippocrates, Columella, Pliny, Varro, Cato, Aristotle, Virgil, speak of boiling, and boiled, wine.

Ancient literature is filled with such references.  They not only could do this, they did it on a regular basis. 

They also speak of other methods of preserving wine and fruit without alcoholic fermentation.  

David R. Brumbelow

TylerR's picture

OT prophesies speak about the Israelites drinking wine when Christ returns and restores the kingdom; it's one of the promised blessings of prosperity and peace. Assuming, for the sake of argument, I grant your premise that alcohol then isn't like alcohol now. Do you believe the Israelites will revert back to their "old way" of making alcohol in the millennial kingdom?

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Bert Perry's picture

Well, I guess we know that the pagans did indeed expose their slaves to the ravages of heatstroke and smoke inhalation so they could have sweet beverages with a hefty dose of lead and no Vitamin C, but thankfully the Scriptures contain zero evidence that the Hebrews were idiotic enough to waste precious fuel for that purpose!

Honestly, David, the simple fact of the matter is that even the passages that you cite as examples of "nonalcoholic" wine really refer to something that anyone who's familiar with viticulture will instantly recognize as putting the must into fermentation vessels. 

It is also worth noting that the reason the people of Shiraz tended to boil down their must not because they wanted to enjoy it without being fermented--even in Muslim times, Shirazi wines were uniformly alcoholic--but rather because the grape terraces were irrigated, which results in must that has a low sugar content and therefore will not produce a robust wine.  Even today, significant numbers of vineyard owners in Shiraz make wine in the old style, despite the ayatollahs.  Friends of mine have tried and enjoyed it.

Honestly, you seriously need to get yourself to a brewery or winery tour to learn something about this.  Your "fundagelical ghetto isolation" is showing, badly.  One hint; don't mention your theories there unless you want to hear a quaint country epithet referring to something you'll find scattered around the King Ranch.  

Bert Perry's picture

David, as I've seen some of your arguments, here's one definition that ought to whet your appetite for further learning; in viticulture and wine-making, a "sweet" wine does not mean a wine that is not fermented.  It means a wine that is decidedly alcoholic, but retains some of the sugar because the yeast actually killed itself with the alcohol it produced.  In other words, "sweet" wines are not only not unfermented, but can also be pretty strong.

And the way they're produced is worth noting; like the Shirazi wines, German and Austrian dessert wines are often made from "late harvest" (Spaetlese) grapes where the water content is lower and the sugar content higher.  Hence, a lot of the methods you're citing as evidence of non-alcoholic preservation of grapes are pretty much anything but.  

Again, get yourself to a winery and take a tour.  They won't force you to drink any, and the worst you'll hear is a barnyard epithet if you mention one of your theories of non-alcoholic wine.  

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