Is intoxication good or bad? Judgments are made in religions and in societies. Some are clear, some aren’t.
For as long as drugs and alcohol have existed, society and religion have weighed judgment on their consumption. In ancient Egypt beer was a gift from Osiris, while in ancient Greece many praises were sung to Dionysus, god of the grape harvest and life of the party. However, many of the world’s younger religions have not been so friendly toward intoxicants. Buddhists, Muslims, and Mormons generally condemn drugs and alcohol as a form of evil, while Christians can’t seem to agree on whether intoxicants are a gift from God or a tool of Satan.
Christianity’s indecision on drug and alcohol policy is directly related to a number of contradictions in the Bible. In the beginning, it seems as if God tacitly accepts the consumption of booze. In Genesis, God’s right-hand man on earth, Noah, loves the stuff. Following the flood, he immediately plants a vineyard and lolls about naked and drunk once his wine has fermented (Genesis 9:20-25). As humanity repopulates, God’s people continue to sing praises for this apparent gift to man. The Song of Solomon contains beautiful poetry comparing the joys of love to the intoxication of wine (Song of Solomon 1:2, 7:9). Later, when the wine runs out at a wedding, God’s own son goes on a celestial booze-run, reinvigorating the party (John 2:1-11). Given that precedent, one would think that Christians would host keggers every Sunday. However, as Alcoholics Anonymous will tell you, there are many other Bible verses that simultaneously condemn the consumption of intoxicating beverages. (link)
So is the experience of intoxication “good or bad”? Let us listen to a more logical and pragmatic take.
Featured Image: GM Williams