Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yahweh and Jesus vs. Bacchus

Bacchus is traditionally known as the god of wine. We may understand him more accurately as the god of consumption. If Pluto would have us hoard our money, Bacchus would have us spend it wildly.

Bacchus sometimes bullies but mainly bribes us into finding the meaning of life in eating, drinking, and buying stuff. Yahweh finds it in the truth that sets us free to love and leads us to fullness of life. So Yahweh, for example, called Amos to lament the devotion of Israel’s male leaders to wine, women, and song. Their devotion to Bacchus blinded them to the sickness of Israelite society and their responsibility for it.

As with the other Olympian gods, Jesus proves to be a poor servant and model for Bacchus. Not that Jesus emphasized deprivation. On the contrary, he partied with people regarded as marginal by the religious establishment. He even graciously turned water into wine to sustain the festivity of a wedding reception.

It was Satan, however, who tempted Jesus to prove he was the Son of God by turning stones into bread. Jesus would have proved he was a good Son of Bacchus had he done so. Instead, Jesus replied that our vitality as humans does not come primarily from consuming things but by discerning and affirming the truth from God.

Jesus didn’t present himself as our best means for obtaining fancy clothes, fast cars, and big houses. To be in his presence was itself the goal of life. He didn’t gain audiences by offering free pizzas, trips to theme parks, media spectacles, or powerful emotional experiences. He did it by witnessing to the truth, freedom, love, and vitality that are ours from Abba, through him, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.