Absinthe and the Apostle Paul


In one of Paul’s letters we have the curious advice offered to Timothy that he should take a little wine for his stomach to help him heal because of his frequent illness (1 Tim. 5:23).  It would seem odd that such a recommendation is offered by the apostle Paul of all people.

However, I came across an interesting parallel employing the same idea with a surprising substance, Absinthe.  Apparently, the French Army distributed Absinthe to its soldiers to put in their canteen water to prevent them from getting sick or developing malaria or dysentery from the substandard water supplies they had to make use of in the campaign of the African battalions into Algeria.  This is in fact what popularized the drink in France.

Water supplies in biblical times often times were sub-par and carried similar problematic microorganisms which meant much of the water was diluted with wine to kill those same said bacterial bad guys.  Fast forward to today with hiking kits, one can use a type of iodine in water to accomplish a similar task.  This points out the practice is one which has been practiced for millenia and the Bible no less mentions an example as an aside in the occasional writing of Paul to his faithful disciple Timothy.

Why atheism is sometimes good

Sometimes atheism can be a good thing. Let me explain. From time to time, I come across folks who have rejected God for various reasons. When we get around to finding out the reasons for their turn to atheism, often times, they describe a divine being in which I too have no problem saying does not exist. The issue is their conception of God. It simply does not correspond to the loving God of theism. Anytime our view of God is a cheap knock off of the all-powerful, all-loving deity, it is right to conclude that that God must die. The mistake so often made by people in this situation is that they just stop there. They become satisfied with atheism. The means becomes an end. The only problem is, it really doesn’t satisfy. What is needed instead, is a superior conception of the Almighty. Only when we have a more accurate view of God, can we hope to be saved from our own depravity and selfishness. If we replace our old view of God with a better one, we can begin to start the healing process and get out of the cul-de-sac of atheism. Then, like Zarathustra, we can say to those ill-conceived notions of some white dude with a beard floating in the clouds, “God is dead” and turn our attention towards the vision of the Alpha and Omega, who is, who was and who is to come. Only to a God of infinite moral perfection can it be said, “You are worthy to be worshipped.” All other Gods need not apply.