I understand the reluctance to move more deeply into the theological discourse between the Abrahamic religions and to skirt the recorded history preserved or recovered from the earliest days of the Common Era. So many question come up . . .
Who was Abram before God called to him and would go on to call him Abraham?
As none of us are prophets ourselves, should we behave as if we were prophets, prophetic, and empowered both to judge and sway the lives of others?
Among the believing collectively, God has made, preserved, and heard — and hears — the children of Isaac and Israel both: what are we fighting if we fight on behalf of the descendents of one or the other?
Jesus, rabbi, produced his following, and Constantine, who has just been introduced in this thread by way of reference to the Council of Nicaea, consolidated that base, or leveraged it, turned it to war, and established Christian Rome. Has not God made Jesus and Constantine both?
Enlarge that last question: are others not chosen, important, included in God’s world?
Who was not created by God?
Who has been left out?
IF we are to judge the passage of ancient Jewish custom and thought through time and even suggest corruption, should not others having participated in the creation and transmission of behavioral, ethical, and moral guidance not also be examined?
Who would be immune from such questioning? Or above and beyond criticism?
If we set out to spare feelings while failing to spare lives, what, really, has been spared and kept?
In America, we no longer burn witches in Salem, generally doubt that witches exist at all, and we don’t condemn those who grow differently in their nature as somehow being beyond either God or nature, nor do we provide license for murder on so benign and trivial a basis. In Iran, the Ayatollah, believing himself directly the avatar of God, hangs the same from cranes. God made the Ayatollah too, I suppose, but what is that figure really and seen clearly before those cranes, ropes, and robbed souls?
The thread topic had to do with wine, halal in Islam, inseparable from Jewish custom and the Jewish appreciation of life and of God. Another party voiced the Protestant, so it seemed to me, of judging indepently whether wine was a bad or good thing.
Wine is wine and is neither conscious nor possessed of conscience: it hasn’t the power to be either bad nor good, to be ethical or unethical, to be joyous and righteous or sorrowful and malign. The one who abstains from wine and the one who partakes have all those powers: might not the badness and goodness reside instead in the manners of both?
A part of the last questions and points fielded, stated, more or less: “Who has done the world good while drinking?”
Done good while drunk or between bouts: scores of beloved artists, musicians, and writers, famously. However, what I believe artists, musicians, and writers do — and there are more than a thousand of those here with me in spirit — is provide windows into many worlds and mirrors about the nature of our existence. Such are a little bit of everyone and everything, including God, and ecstatic or depressed, troubled in their private lives, they are ourselves with a creative spirit working through them.
The prophets depicted were themselves not angels — not one Prophet was Gabriel — but they to in depiction or historical acclaim or record live as men before becoming prophetic (e.g., Abraham had had a life as Abram before God called him, and text suggests he left behind and consigned to the past some wealth as he responded to that call; Moses enjoys not only depiction as an infant abandoned in the reeds but also as a shy fellow, a poor speaker — in his own words — and one not deserving, equipped, nor prepared to represent God, but God being God knows that and makes of Moses the Moses who leads the Jews and the mixed multitude into the desert and toward the Holy Land).
In Leviticus, Moses’ partner Aaron receives this instruction: “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die:” — “when ye go into the tabernacle . . . .” The rule has context (Leviticus 10:5) and perhaps the context contains the principle: i.e., if one is to judge others, one should prepare for that work clean and sober.
The value of life, thankfulness for it, the pleasure to be had in living has in Jewish custom a relationship with wine, but in good episodes and households, even the sip comes with obligations to ourselves and others, and drunkenness, the lost of self-restraint, the taking of license or licentiousness, all of these things are discouraged.
Finally, with Noah, who plants vines and gets drunk first chance, we might also acknowledge a faulted humanity.
Although I feel I have been put to work on this thread — with thanks, for there has been a lot for looking over –I shall nonetheless stop here.
# # #