Question:

I was wondering if you could give me a bunch of verses concerning whether being addicted to caffeine is a sin or not. I personally believe that being addicted to caffeine is a sin or anything for that matter. I can think of a few verses to back my point up, but I am having a hard time convincing some of my fellow Christians it is wrong. If you feel that being addicted to caffeine is wrong as I do and have some verses (hopefully a lot) that you could share I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Answer:

There are a few difficulties you will have to first address.

  1. Is the use of caffeinated drinks causing a person to put the drinks in the wrong priority in a person's life. That is, if money got very tight, is a person who loves their morning coffee going to spend the family's food budget on coffee rather than essential foods?

    That is one of the reasons drugs and gambling can be stated to be wrong. It causes a person to change their priorities. The excitement of gambling or the use of a drug becomes more important that just about anything else in their life. It becomes essentially a god to them.

    Yet, I don't know of such cases when it comes to caffeinated drinks. Yes, when given an option people pick them, but I haven't seen them pick it over more important matters.

  2. Is the person actually addicted to caffeine? I know the question has been bantered about, but I don't know of any hard evidence. Yes, there is the caffeine headache for a day or so when it isn't drunk. But it isn't too much different than the person accustomed to eating too much sugar. When he cuts it out of his diet, he drags for several days while his body adjusts to the new levels of sugar in his bloodstream.
  3. Is a person harmed by the caffeine? Again, this is a question that has never found a good answer. You will find studies that say it is harmful, neutral, or even beneficial.

    This is unlike smoking, which the damage is now known to be extensively harmful, not only to the smoker but also to the ones around him. This is not like drugs, which are illegal because the impair a person's ability to function normally.

As matters stand today, I know of no solid evidence of caffeine's harm to a Christian, either in his priorities, his health, or his need to be soberly vigilant against Satan's schemes.

Any product, even the ones which causes no harm in reasonable levels of use, can be harmful if over used. "My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste" (Proverbs 24:13). Yet at the same time, "Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit" (Proverbs 25:16). Would I call the over use of honey sinful? Or, would I be more accurate to point out that over use of honey is unwise? In a similar manner, I doubt there is harm in a few cups of coffee in the morning, but I might point out that getting yourself "wired" so you can stay up night after night with little sleep is very unwise.

Thanks for replying. I just wanted to say that I don't think drinking cafeine is wrong in and of itself, but the person I am refering to drinks a minimum of 42 ounces of soda a day and has made statments like "I just need it to help me get through the day." Drug addicts make the same statements. I guess I feel that if you need it to get through the day instead of your own willpower it just seems wrong to me. I drink soda with caffeine, but I don't need it to get me through the day. Another thought I had was if someone drank so much they became overly hyper or when they crashed they became irritable. I think that would also be wrong because they can't practice self-control mentally or physically since the caffeine is making them grumpy or spastic. I suppose unwise is a fitting term but at the same time it just feels wrong. Thanks for your thoughts.

I hear coffee drinkers say much the same and grumble about how grumpy they are in the morning until they had their first cup of coffee. But I suspect much of that is more habit than actual need.

You are correct that no one should allow their moods to be controlled by external things. However, while drug users make comparable statements the facts of the "need" are not nearly equivalent. So approaching it from the point of being temperate in all things (I Corinthians 9:25). And keep in mind that the quantity that affects a person's moods might vary between individuals. I've known some people who get "wired" on a single cup of coffee and others who drink three or four cups during the day and it doesn't seem to phase them. So don't judge another by what works for you; instead, stick to talking about the adverse effects on their outlook.