In a paper that is certain to make fundamentalists everywhere continue their denunciation of anything that questions the literal accuracy of the Bible, an Israeli psychology professor has come up with a hypothesis about the experiences recorded in the Old Testament surrounding Moses's receipt of the Ten Commandments.
They were all high.
Writing in the British journal Time and Mind, Benny Shanon of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University said two plants in the Sinai desert contain the same psychoactive molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.
The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an “altered state of awareness,” Shanon hypothesized.
“In advanced forms of ayahuasca inebriation, the seeing of light is accompanied by profound religious and spiritual feelings,” Shanon wrote.
“On such occasions, one often feels that in seeing the light, one is encountering the ground of all Being ... many identify this power as God.”
I await, with bated breath, the ruling on this from Pastor Ted Haggard, who's had his own experiences with mind-altering substances (as well as crystal meth).