Skeptics love to snicker about the old-timey rules in the 5 books of Moses, but… are they missing something?
At the time that this is being written, China is facing a nation-wide health scare. 2000+ people are infected with a disease that has killed (officially) 56 people.
It has confirmed cases in US and Canada, in at least 10 countries and three continents — and it’s just getting warmed up.
Early reports are that the Coronavirus traces its roots back to some, uh, ‘exotic’ food choices.
Bats and snakes are among the suspected culprits.
The coronavirus spreading in China and the SARS outbreak of 2003 have two things in common: Both are from the coronavirus family and both were passed from animals to humans in a wet market.
…”Poorly regulated live-animal markets mixed with illegal wildlife trade offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spill over from wildlife hosts into the human population,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement on Thursday.
In the case of SARS, and probably this coronavirus outbreak too, bats were the original hosts. They then infected other animals via their poop or saliva, and the unwitting intermediaries transmitted the virus to humans.
Some foods aren’t just nasty, they’re dangerous.
The virus appears to have originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, a Chinese city about 650 miles south of Beijing that has a population of more than 11 million people. The market sells fish, as well as a panoply of meat from other animals, including bats and snakes. The Wuhan market was shut down Jan. 1.
“Testing of animals in the Wuhan area, including sampling from the markets, will provide more information,” said Raina MacIntyre, a head of the biosecurity research program at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute.
On Wednesday, a report in the Journal of Medical Virology by a team of Chinese researchers suggested snakes were the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for 2019-nCoV. The work examined the genetic code of the virus and compared it with that of two types of snakes, the many-banded krait and the Chinese cobra. The research demonstrated that the snakes’ genetic code displayed a high level of similarity with the virus.
Isn’t interesting how that much-maligned ‘bronze age book’ of faith and wisdom gives some pretty reliable guidelines about avoiding so many foods that carry the greatest medical risk? Pretty impressive feat for a book that predates our modern understanding of disease vectors and pathology, isn’t it?
Kosher diets don’t include, for example, bats or snakes.
Scripture gives good advice about removing mold from a home, or condemning it. It talks about destroying porous cooking tools that have been exposed to contaminants, and scrubbing durable non-porus ones.
This sets up the objection that Christians don’t keep kosher, that Jesus called ‘all foods clean’. If the dietary restrictions in Moses were so awesome, why would Jesus do that?
Simple. Jesus, who came first and foremost to defeat sin and death — was making a clear distinction between simple sanitation and the much deeper issue of moral purity. Religious blowhards (in his day, ‘Pharisees’) tend to confuse the outward signs of rule-keeping with the life of inner integrity we are called to walk in.
As Jesus explained in the passage when he ‘called all foods clean’:
There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
But even if Christians do not keep kosher, there is a tradition among many Christianized nations of having lines they won’t cross, and food they won’t eat.