Monday, September 12, 2011

Alcohol and The Bible

Alcohol has been a big part of Australian celebrations for better or worse for many years. Some countries and religions forbid the consumption while others seem to flow with the liquid in their drinking water. What does the Bible say?

Most secular Australians would think that the Bible "tut tut's" it due to the temperance movement of days gone by. The reality - and most Aussie Lutherans know this - is that the Bible includes alcohol as one of God's gracious gifts along with food, sunshine, rain and good friends.

At the same token - alcohol - is like fire; good servant- horrible master.

Our Lutheran Church in Australia has an official stance for clarity sake - here is one paragraph from it - the rest can be found in the link underneath:

"We live in a society where it is customary to drink alcoholic drinks, and where social
drinking is approved because of the release it permits to an individual. It is used in
religious ritual, at ceremonies marking birth, marriage, death, celebrations in everyday
life. It reduces tensions and helps people to mix easily in society. Used in moderation,
its undoubted social usefulness is not accompanied by any serious ill effects.
However, alcohol which is a boon to many is a scourge to other members of our
society as some people find it difficult to take alcohol in moderation and develop an
addiction to it, with serious physical and mental consequences. Increasing
consumption of alcohol increases the likelihood of experiencing health and other
problems, even in those who may not be regarded as suffering from alcoholism. The
effect of alcohol is dose related, although it is marginally influenced by other factors,
eg when taken with meals."

(Lutheran Church of Australia: Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions

For the more 'theological' of you I also found this this great little article on "The Bible" and "alcohol" which probably sums up my thinking on the matter:

In summary - if you choose to be someone who 'has a few drinks' and you stay 'under the legal limit' of drinks (and are of adult age) - in this society, that is fine you do no wrong.

There are however, many trappings that come with the "Australian drinking culture" which are foolish and I'd encourage you to stay right away from that.

Here's passage from Proverbs - written a few thousand years back - which is just as applicable today from Proverbs Chapter 23 - I bet you know someone just like this!

Who is always in trouble?

Who argues and fights?

Who has cuts and bruises?

Whose eyes are red?

30Everyone who stays up late,

having just one more drink.

31Don't even look

at that colorful stuff

bubbling up in the glass!

It goes down so easily,

32but later it bites

like a poisonous snake.

33You will see weird things,

and your mind

will play tricks on you.

34You will feel tossed about

like someone trying to sleep

on a ship in a storm.

35You will be bruised all over,

without even remembering

how it all happened.

And you will lie awake asking,

"When will morning come,

so I can drink some more?"

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