Sunday, July 31, 2005

Coffee as Sacrament

So after church I hung out and shmoozed with my fellow Centralites. I had a cup of coffee (I’m not a coffee drinker) and felt quite awake. It got me thinking about the sacraments. I think it was Voltaire who tried to explain them away as a sort of post-Bacchus religious institution; the Holy Spirit and getting drunk off spirits were one in the same. They both effect perception of reality etc.
My thought is if we REALLY wanted to mess with people’s heads and make them "feel the Holy Spirit" we would give ‘em coffee (or Wisky or Ecstasy or LSD for that matter, but Coffee is potent enough for me). That’s my whole thought, if the Sacrement of Holy Communion was nothing more than messing with parishioner’s minds the Church would use stronger stuff.

1 comment:

Eva said...

Look up the Canadian psychologist Michael Persinger. He rigged up an old motorcycle helmet with magnets to stimulate strategic parts of the brain, and when he put it on, he said that was the first time he'd experienced God.

The debate over the role of physical agents in religious experience is a big one in the field of psychology today. It's been demonstrated that there are certain areas of the brain that get activated when someone has a religious experience; the question is, then, is God a figment of our crazy brains or did God intentionally wire our brains so we would be capable of experiencing Him?

I've seen the Holy Spirit/distilled spirits comparison mentioned in the works of M. Scott Peck, too. I don't know what to make of the fact that chemical stimulants have been an ingredient in all sorts of religious ceremonies throughout the ages, although it always baffles me that the Baptists can be so opposed to wine when Jesus himself drank it. Unfortunately I don't have the exact reference on hand, but I have heard of studies that found people who drank a moderate amount of alcohol to be healthier than people who drank either a ridiculous amount or none at all. Likewise, it was in Psychology Today a few months ago that moderate coffee consumption decreases suicide risk significantly. I find I personally enjoy church more after a cup of coffee. Maybe God put all these illustrious substances on Earth for our benefit.