1 Jan 1999

Religion and alcohol?

Submitted by theshovel
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Why is religion so hung up on alcohol? Why is it that everybody thinks its so wrong if you drink alcohol, I mean Jesus drank wine. He turned water into wine as his first miracle and we're talking a lot of wine, not a little. Also, what right does the church have to use grape juice instead of wine.  B 

Hello B.! Thanks for sending in your question.

Yes, yes, this is one of the biggies of contemporary religion, isn't it? Now, it's pretty obvious that we can get carried away and be rather foolish in the drinking of alcoholic beverages, but we can do the same thing with just about anything in the world.

The problem with alcohol is that it is so stinking obvious when someone gets out of control and does things they probably wouldn't normally do - not that they're incapable of doing it without the influence of clouded judgment but that their religious inhibitions usually stifle those urges. This is why many have turned to the escape of alcohol in the first place. What is there to escape from? The fear of living.

But there are many such escape techniques. Heck, weekends, vacations, different on-line identities, and such can be turned into excuses to break free of the normal bonds of life, but you don't hear the religious institutions ranting and raving about these as often. The things that get picked on are usually the things that can be backed up with a Bible verse and/or are the things that caused serious struggles in those who now condemn them.

Actually, those who scream the loudest about certain vices and sins are either caught up with these things themselves or are being tempted by them in a big way. Haven't you ever noticed this pattern before? Like for instance, what about those preachers who were harping about sexual sins only to be discovered as being heavily engaged in it themselves? It's like a child who is trying to convince mommy that his brother is being bad, and the more he talks the more obvious it is that he is doing the very thing he claims his brother shouldn't be doing. Been there, done that.

The funny thing is that the one who is doing this doesn't have the faintest idea that he is giving himself away!! My God, we are so transparent. But who's going to notice it when they are so caught up in their own BS, huh? It's just like the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. Nobody wants to rock the boat by stating the obvious because it might get turned around on them. In the story, the one who broke the silence and yelled out that the Emperor wasn't wearing any clothes was a kid who was too stupid (read that, naive) to know that he was supposed to pretend like everybody else or he could suffer the consequences for stating the obvious.

Ironically, the prohibitions against drinking not only don't really solve any of the related problems associated with drinking they usually end up compounding and stimulating more problems. Yes, yes, I know that may sound backward, but the fact is that the more rules that are made the more rules that are broken. The more laws we discover the more we discover how much of a lawbreaker we are, huh?

Suffice it to say that we don't need more rules, we need to be delivered from our need of a law-based life. This is what Christ has brought about in what he did in his death and resurrection. Unfortunately, the church has for the most part turned Christ into a religion so that we have learn to ignore the reality of what he did and who he is. As far as the right the church might have in using grape juice instead of wine is actually immaterial. When Christ is turned into a religious icon and his finished work is turned into a ritual, what difference does it make anyway?

That may not be what you were expecting to hear, but I hope it gives you something to consider. Please feel free to comment or ask something more, okay?

Jim Minker

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