Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What would Jesus eat?

Came across this a while ago. It is a book by Don Colbert, a Florida doctor, which outlines the diet typical in first century Palestine. Unsurprisingly, Clobert finds that this diet - with little meat and without the sugar-based snacks of today, but with healthy beans, lentils and fish - is much healthier than the average American's diet. Colbert said: "If you truly want to follow Jesus in every area of your life you cannot ignore your eating habits."

This is an extension of a question that unthinking Evangelicals are encouraged to ask themselves in any given situation, "What would Jesus do?" Now, if you want to imitate Christ and you're not too bright, I suppose this is a reasonably good way of going about it. The problem is, you shouldn't really extend this to too many situations.

It's weakness, of course, is that even if what someone did in the first century was always appropriate now, in so many cases we simply can't know what "Jesus would do" because we simply haven't enough information. What would Jesus do, for example, if his partner was screaming obscenities into his face and his children were going insane before his very eyes? We don't know; he wasn't married and didn't have children. There's also practical pitfalls: best not to do "what Jesus did" when you're confronted with a lake you want to cross; you'll drown.

It doesn't work with this diet either. The gospels tell us "the birds have their nests, the foxes their holes but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head". What would Jesus do? I reckon he'd order a pizza.

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