Friday, November 11, 2011

Week 6 - "Water into Wine."

One of the great miracles documented in the Bible that Jesus was claimed to perform, was turning water into wine. It was actually the very first documented miracle he decided to do. Instead of healing a sick person, he decided to make alcohol for an after party for a married couple. Seems very savior-like to me. I guess he wanted to start off slow, you know, to build suspense. It would be crazy to start off with a bang and give people zero room for doubt that he was the son of God instead of just an average magician with even average-r parlor tricks. Anyways, disdain aside, this miracle can be found in John 2:1-11. The passage states:
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:  2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.  3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Most people, even some non-Christians, do believe this is an impossible feat and therefor must be a miracle, aka an act of God. But was it? Let's ignore the fact firstly, that "Coincidentally, miracles vanish in the presence of video recorders and scientists" as Michael Jensen was known to have said. Let's also ignore the fact that it is a well accepted sin to have vices or indulgences of any kind as a Christian. In several sections, the Bible actually condones drinking.

Leviticus 10:9 - Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

Numbers 6:3 - He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

Deuteronomy 29:6 - Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.
Judges 13:4 - Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

Judges 13:7 - But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

Judges 13:14 - She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

Proverbs 20:1 - Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Proverbs 31:4 - It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.

Isaiah 5:11- Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Isaiah 5:22 - Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.

Isaiah 24:9 - They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.

Isaiah 28:7 - But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

Isaiah 29:9 - Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.

Isaiah 56:12 - Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

There are of course exceptions (like alcohol permitted for medicinal purposes... yet condoms are a sin even if they prevent the spread of STDs and AIDS) as well as contradictions, which once again goes to show that the Bible was written by very imperfect, confused humans. Not only does this make you, mom, a sinner (sherry is an alcohol, sorry to break it to you) but it also makes Jesus a sinner. How can the son of God be a sinner? Is the son of God, or God himself, allowed to break his own rules? (Thou shalt not Kill... oh right.)

Moving on. Thanks to science, we have many answers to many previously unanswered questions. We now know the world is round, not flat. We also know that the earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around. Both of these bronze age beliefs were actually backed up by the Bible, and have since been disproven. We now know that the sun will indeed rise every morning, and it's no longer necessary to sacrifice virgins in order to ensure this natural occurrence. And now, thanks to more and more research, we're even discovering the scientific basis to many things people once believed were "miracles." If you haven't guessed it, the one I'm going to explain today is turning water into wine.

Now, because I'm not a fancy scientist, I'm going to let this 1 minute 42 second youtube video explain this easily debunked miracle.

I know all that is kind of hard to understand, and even harder to believe that people who lived in the desert and rode on camels 2000 years ago had anything like that readily available to them to use as parlor tricks. It's far fetched, yes. But much less far fetched than "God dun it." This is merely the chemical presentation of how it can passably be done in this day and age without the help of any "God." In the end I can neither prove nor disprove the fact that it did or didn't even happen, let alone whether or not it was a true miracle, because the fact of the matter is no one can. The scriptures that told the story of Jesus's life were in fact written approximately 90 years after his death. None of the people writing the scriptures about Jesus even lived during his time, let alone personally knew him or witnessed the events. Plus taking into consideration how many times it's been written, rewritten, retranslated, edited, and put on the chopping block, for all we know, "wine" could have actually been "chocolate milk."

Moving on. Here's another example.

In the end of this video, the person mentions not to drink this, and rightfully so. Like mentioned above, it's a highly chemical example. So again it poses the question; is this a plausible example of something people back in the dirt and camel ages could perform. Maybe not, but there is a more simplistic method of doing this, and creating wine that's also drinkable. It's a simple thing called Oak Aging.

A brief history on these types of barrels...

"Most of us are familiar with museum specimens and replicas of archeologically-recovered clay pots and amphorae from Greek and Roman sites: these clay-based vessels predate wooden containers for storage of wine and other liquid goods. But the existence of straight-sided, open wooden buckets, employing the craft of the cooper, is documented in Egypt as early as 2690 BCE (Before the Christian Era). Fully-closed barrels were first developed during the Iron Age (800-900 BCE), and by the first century BCE were widely in use for holding wine, beer, milk, olive oil, and water.
   As trade and transportation developed, shippers discovered that sealed wooden containers were vastly superior to relatively fragile clay vessels, and the craft of cooperage -- barrel-making -- was launched, developing in direct proportion to the growth of trade. Wooden casks of barrels had largely replaced their clay counterparts by as early as the second century CE .
   The most significant advantages of wooden barrels were, first, their strength: being made of wood and set round with hoops (first also made of wood, later of metal) that bound the joints of the barrels into a double arch; second, the barrels themselves were like wheels and could be easily rolled from one resting place to another; third, it became evident that certain goods - like wine - actually benefited from being stored in wood.
   This third advantage forms the basis for the entire modern cooperage industry, and in fact is the only real reason for its continued existence in a world where stainless steel and non-reactive synthetic materials outweigh all other advantages that barrels ever possessed."

You can read more about oak barrels here...

Basically what could possibly happen, is the residue from wine previously inside these oak barrels remain on the inside of the barrel long after the wine has been removed. By adding some water and swishing it inside the barrel, the wide residue comes off and mixes into the water. There is 31 gallons of water in one cup of wine, so it's completely logical to assume that adding water to the extract left inside the barrel will create... wine. Just as how adding water into a milk jug will create a milky type of water, and in some cases, some people add water to juice (like you) to flatten the taste and make more juice.

And that's why religion hates science. That's why science and religion can never coexist as two sides of the same coin. Science disproves religion, science destroys the usefulness of religion, and when you're in the business of power and control like religion has been for thousands of years, it's going to piss you off.

And in closing, a little video just for funzies.

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