PedanticDan  Dansplaining The Bible

March 19, 2006

No Good Reason

Filed under: Booze In The Bible — PedanticDan @ 6:45 pm

This morning, folks attending my church were treated to a bulletin insert that explained why it is wrong for Christians to go to the cinema. Basically, since the author of the article could think of no “good” reason to go to one, it must be sinful to do so.

This argument is frequently put forth by prohibitionists to condemn any practice they dislike, but they typically fail to apply it evenhandedly. There is no good reason to drink coffee, yet many prohibitionists do. There is no good reason to eat cake, yet many prohibitionists do. There is no good reason to eat pie, yet many prohibitionists do. There is no good reason to eat ice cream, yet many prohibitionists do. How can such scandalous behavior be justified as acceptable for a Christian when such things are clearly unnecessary? No one needs coffee, cake, pie, or ice cream, so how can the sincere Christian continue such carnal indulgences?

I think the clearest answer can be found in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 in which God dictates the manner in which His people were to observe the tithe. Those who had to travel too far with their produce were instructed to sell it and bring the money instead. Once they arrived at “the place which the LORD thy God shall choose”, the instruction in Deuteronomy 14:26 was “and thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household” There are others, but this passage establishes that one can worship and bring honor to God by thankfully eating and drinking things that one enjoys simply because one enjoys them. According to Deuteronomy 14:26, the only “good” reason one needs to justify eating cake, pie, or ice cream is that “thy soul desireth” it.

Prohibitionists have no problem understanding the principle when it is something they enjoy. The “no good reason” argument is entirely void of merit.

March 1, 2006


Filed under: Booze In The Bible,Ignore Me — Tags: , , , , , , — PedanticDan @ 9:01 am

When I was in college, many years ago, I studied physics. Somewhere along the way we learned about pulleys.

The purpose of a pulley is to change the direction of a force. Ideally it will do so with very little friction, but the purpose is still nothing more than changing the direction of a force. When you combine multiple pulleys in the right configuration, you effectively trade force for distance in the equation for Work: W = FD (Work equals the Force applied multiplied by the Distance over which the force is applied). The basic principle is that the necessary force goes down as the distance traveled goes up. A collection of pulleys increases the distance (you have to pull more rope) which reduces the required force by the same factor (i.e., four times more rope means 1/4 as much force).

In one pulley-related assignment, there was a problem where one pulley was replaced by a simple iron bar which was assumed to be frictionless. Instead of going around a pulley, the rope went around this frictionless iron bar. Since a pulley changes the direction of a force, and the bar changed the direction of the force, I treated the iron bar as if it where a pulley. The professor marked my answer wrong. When I discussed it with him, he said that since the bar was not a pulley, it did not add to the mechanical advantage of the system. He rejected my reasoning that since the bar changed the direction of the force just like a pulley, and since the bar increased the distance traveled by the rope just like a pulley, then the bar served exactly the same function as a pulley.

Although I got nowhere with that professor, I have since found that my analysis was in fact correct. You can replace a pulley with a metal bar, a metal ring, or even a loop of rope (you can actually make a “block and tackle” arrangement with nothing but rope). As long as the direction of the force is changed with relatively little friction added to the system, the physical principle is the same.

A doctorate does not prove that someone knows what he’s talking about.

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