酒與宗教 ~ Alcohol and Religion

酒與宗教
史杰輝

諸位老師同學好。今天我要講的題目是「酒與宗教」。我認為「酒與宗教」的關係有兩方面。一個是生活上使用的準則,另外一個是禮儀上所代表的意義。

在許多異教中,酒佔很重要的地位。根據它們的觀點,酒不但能增加性活力、也可以使生活更加快樂,所以當然是天神的禮物。按照挪威異教的傳統,酒是世界之樹的汁。而古代埃及人把歐西里斯,也就是他們最重要的神之一,看成啤酒的發明者。古代希臘人認爲喝醉等於接近酒神,狄俄倪索斯。根據祂弟子的說法,縱酒狂歡之所以對人有好處是因爲酒讓人類返回他們真實的面目。

從另外一個角度來看,因爲喝酒可能讓人在意識不清楚的情形下,做出不應該做的事,所以許多宗教都限制飲酒。譬如說,佛教的第五戒就是「諸佛盡壽不飲酒」。

在猶太經文的故事裡,酒代表樂趣,也是一種神聖的進貢,不過喝醉常常讓人犯罪或是出差錯,因此不宜過量。擧個例子來説,猶太教徒在逾越節第一個晚上的塞德晚餐中,都要喝四杯葡萄酒。所謂逾越節是紀念天主三千多年前把猶太人從埃及奴隸制開釋。這四杯酒代表天主對猶太人開釋令的四句言辭。

十九世紀以來雖然一些少數的基督教派禁止飲酒,不過天主教、正教和基督教的態度本來都跟猶太教的差不了多少。耶穌的第一個神跡就是最好的例子。在祂參加的結婚酒會裡,因為葡萄酒不夠了,所以祂把七桶水變成了葡萄酒。天主教僧侶也以釀造啤酒或是葡萄酒為賺錢過活的方法。

在這些宗教的信仰中,葡萄酒有重要的意義。在福音裏,耶穌説信徒非吃祂的身體、喝祂的血不可,要不然不能得到永生。在所謂的最後的晚餐,祂拿起麵餅跟葡萄酒來,分給門徒說,那就是祂的身體和血,要求他們吃下。祂命令門徒以這個儀式來紀念他,因此天主教、正教跟基督教中都有類似儀式。

總而言之,宗教在一方面為了指引信徒起見必須有一定的道德準則,在另一方面為了傳播思想與信仰也須要一定的儀式。因爲酒無所不在,而且對人們的影響有好有壞,所以世界上的宗教有各式各樣關於酒的準則和習俗。

因為時間有限,我只能簡單地把酒和宗教的關係加以介紹。我希望能夠引起大家對這個話題的興趣,也希望天主會保佑大家的幸福。

Alcohol and Religion
James Smyth

Hello, everyone. Today I’m going to discuss alcohol and religion. I think there are two sides to the relationship between the two. One is religious teachings about the use of alcohol in daily life, and the other is alcohol’s significance in religious ceremonies.

Alcohol has high standing in many pagan religions. They believe that because it increases virility and makes life more enjoyable, it’s clearly a gift from the gods. According to Norse mythology, alcohol is the sap of the World Tree. The ancient Egyptians consider Osiris, one of their most important gods, the inventor of beer. The ancient Greeks teach drunkenness is an encounter with Dionysis, the god of wine. According to the cult of Dionysis, orgies are good for us because they allow us to return to our original nature.

From another perspective, because alcohol can cloud our minds and make it easier to do things we shouldn’t, many religions restrict its consumption. For example, the Fifth Precept of Buddhism is “as the Buddha refrained from alcohol until the end of his life, so I too will refrain from alcohol until the end of my life.”

In Jewish Scriptures, wine represents joy, and it is also a sacred offering, but drunkenness often leads people into sin or disaster, so drinking should be done in moderation. During the seder on the first night of Passover, all Jews drink four cups of wine. Passover is a memorial of God freeing the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago. These four cups represent God’s four expressions of deliverance.

Though some prohibitionist Protestant sects have existed since the 19th century, by and large Christianity’s attitude toward alcohol is the same as Judaism’s. Jesus’s first miracle is the best example: the drinks ran out at a wedding party He attended, so He turned seven barrels of water into wine. Also, many Catholic Trappist monks support themselves by making beer or wine.

Wine has an especially important place in Christian theology. In the Gospel, Jesus says that His followers must eat His flesh and drink His blood to attain eternal life. At the Last Supper, He raised bread and wine up to heaven, distributed it to his disciples, said it was His body and blood, and asked them to consume it. He then ordered them to repeat this ceremony to remember Him, and so Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant services all have similar rites today.

Religions have moral codes in order to guide their members and rites in order to express their beliefs. Because alcohol is omnipresent, and its effects on people are so complex, there are all kinds of moral and customary responses to it in the religious world.

Since my time is limited, that simple introduction to alcohol and religion is all I can give you, but I hope it was enough to spark your interest in the subject. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

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