Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cigarettes, Alcohol and Jesus

A Malaysian news paper was shut down for printing a cartoon which showed Jesus smoking and drinking beer.

As ever, the Malaysian establishment just makes itself look silly. Christians weren't actually responsible for getting the paper shutdown, a Tamil political party was -- cos it had been on the receiving end of a lot of flack from the paper.

Interestingly the bible has this to say about the matter,

Philippians 1:18. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.

I reckon Jesus wouldn't have taken himself too seriously, and would have enjoyed a cigarette and a pint of beer now and again.

A Christian, or other admirer of Jesus, who concluded that He DID drink beer honors His essential humanity, and the theological truth that He was like us in every way except for our sinfulness.


13 comments:

David said...

Interesting, John. Jesus drinking beer I can accept, but smoking? I think He in His infinite wisdom would have known that smoking not only harms ourselves in ways that moderate drinking does not (moderate drinking is beneficial to the heart), but also harms others (passive smoking). So, no, he would not have indulged in something that would cause suffering to others.

That's why I can't stand it when self-righteous religious nuts here in Indo raid mini-markets around Ramadhan to rid the shops of alcohol but have no apparent problem with smoking.

Even the apostle Luke (a Doctor) recommended alcohol for stomach ailments.zc

johnorford said...

i am not a smoker ,I don't like the habit! and don't want to support it in anyway.

nevertheless, the point could be made that drinking could also lead to harming others - drink driving for example?

fact is, there's a cost attached both to oneself and others for most actions.

question is, where to you draw the line?

the way i see it, lines mostly drawn culturally: in the west cigarettes are increasingly taboo, in indonesia alcohol.

i can't think of a more general rule for this dilemma...

David said...

Sorry John, I don't mean to sound like I take offence or anything. I thinks it's a great topic.

Your point about what potentially could cause harm to others could be true of any thing we do. The point here is about Jesus drinking and smoking (at a time when there were no cars to drink-drive in).

Alcohol can be grouped in with all other medicines and thus all medicines when taken incorrectly could potentially make us cause harm to others.

But as a substance its initial action is therapeutic until taken in more than moderate amounts. Unlike tobacco which is harmful from the word 'go'.

Cheers.

johnorford said...

well i reckon cigarettes might've fit jesus' rebel image of the time... :):)

David said...

yeah, kinda fits the long hair and sandals bit hey? :)

johnorford said...

hahaha! yup sure does!! :)

Rusdy said...

John said:
"...question is, where to you draw the line?"

Good point, so many moral choices that we take today are shaped by our culture. Say from your example, alcohol is 'wrong'. BUT, who said so?

Too many people take moral choices without the ethics (asking to themselves why they take such moral choices)

If people work out their ethics first, then they can answer to themselves, why do I decide such and such is right or wrong:

Take another example: "Smoking is wrong": Why?

Some people will say: Because my religion said so (for example: some christians), but I bet you my bottom dollar even the Bible does not have such thing as prohibiting smoking directly

Then, it would be a heresy to claim the Bible ban smoking, as it doesn't. But the Bible is clear what is the ethic of living with one another:

David said:
"...So, no, he would not have indulged in something that would cause suffering to others..."

Yes, love your God bla bla bla and your neighbour bla bla bla.

If that is the Biblical ethic, as David said, then it would be wrong for Christians to smoke because of causing harm to others, not because it directly said so. I mean, let say someone really need smoking for theraupatic purposes (just for talk sake) without causing harm to others, why not?

Of course, that is if you are a Christian, if you're not, then you are free to make up your own ethics. Free to be your own king in this world, how good is that!!!

David said...

Rusdy said "then you are free to make up your own ethics. Free to be your own king in this world, how good is that!!!"

Tell that to the millions of people who don't have the power, money, resources, or freedom to be their own kings because of human rights abuses by those who do have the power.

But then, if ethics are relative, then those people (or their advocates) don't have the right to complain, true?

So when someone comes and burns down your family home because according to his/her ethics it is the right thing to do, you won't be justified in voicing a protest. My ethics are my ethics, your ethics are your ethics.

Rusdy said...

David said:
"My ethics are my ethics, your ethics are your ethics"

Summed up well, though the problem is most people don't know what the right ethic is (not claiming that I have the right ethics). Just like you said, when 2 conflicting ethics collide, who's ethic will be followed?

Say, if the Bible turned out to be the ultimate ethic of the universe (I said, if), then we all stuffed, don't we? ;) (Well, all people that rejected God the creator that is)

David said...

Rusdy said -

"Say, if the Bible turned out to be the ultimate ethic of the universe (I said, if), then we all stuffed, don't we? ;) (Well, all people that rejected God the creator that is)"

Ha ha...yep. But that's the whole point of the Bible - to tell us that we're stuffed, but also to tell us how to get 'un-stuffed'...

Cheers,,

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