Slacktivist critiques evangelical teetotalers

Biblical literalists often aren't:

Thus wherever the word "wine" appears in the Bible -- which is a lot -- these folks read it as "grape juice." But then they get to a passage like Ephesians 5:18, "Do not get drunk on wine," and suddenly decide that the same exact word they have insisted should not be read as "wine" now means "wine" after all.

And Slacktivist doesn't take their abstention very seriously:

The teetotalism of American evangelicals is in itself a relatively minor quirk, a vestigial remnant of the 19th-century "temperance" movement. It exists today as merely the kind of arbitrary symbolic gesture that wholly conformed and assimilated religious groups tend to make as a desperate attempt to distinguish themselves from their otherwise indistinguishable neighbors.

So even though Perkins sounds like he wants to re-establish Prohibition, he doesn't really. If the rest of the country stopped drinking, or dancing, then he and his people would have to find some other symbolic characteristic to set themselves apart. They'd have to prohibit sugar or carpeting or something else, devising some way of reading this prohibition back into the Bible and then tricking themselves all over again into believing that it was something they found there instead of something they inserted into the text, Y for X.


Mad Latinist said…
While I generally agree with this, and definitely think the idea that יין means "grapejuice" is patently absurd (to say nothing of οἴνος!), I do know a passage that could be quoted in their defence. In Acts 2, when the faithful begin speaking in tongues, the bistanders are baffeled. While some were amazed...

"ἔτεροι δὲ διαχλευάζοντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Γλεύκους μεμεστωμένοι εἰσίν."
...others mocked them and said that they were full of grapejuice.

Full... of grapejuice. OK then. So what does this mean? Well, keep in mind that without pasteurization grapejuice starts to ferment quite quickly.

Unless of course the non-believers were mocking them because, being good Christians, they drank grapejuice instead of wine. That must be it.

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