A Question to be Answered

by Doy Moyer

Will anyone defend this: "The wise and good thing to do today is to start drinking alcohol"?

If one says, "But the Bible doesn't condemn all drinking," I will respond by asking that question again.

If one says, "But there are passages in the Bible that speak of fermented drinks in a more positive light," I will respond by asking that question again.

If one says, "The Bible condemns drunkenness, not all drinking," I will respond by asking that question again.

If one says, "But Jesus made water into wine," I will respond by asking that question again.

If one says, "But there are other issues, too, like gluttony," I will respond by asking that question again. If one wishes to start another thread on sugar and candy, he or she is welcome to do so. Not here. Not now.

If one asks, "Are you saying it is a sin and one will go to hell for touching alcohol to the lips at all?" I will respond by asking that question again.

Until the above question is answered, I will continue asking it. None of those responses grapple with the wisdom of the issue of drinking alcohol today; they only look at legal technicalities of a culture very different from ours. None of the responses consider the cultural differences between then and now or the reasons for drinking between then and now (e.g., the need to add it to water then where that need doesn't exist now). They don't look at the issue of discernment and wisdom at a time when the problem of alcoholism continues to plague millions. Are you sure the prime reasons for drinking then are identical to now? Are you so certain about it that you will promote modern drinking at the risk of influencing another in a way that could well result in severe consequences? Are you aware of what those risks, today, are?

Just remember that holiness and sobriety go hand in hand (I Peter 1:13-16). Think wisdom. Be discerning.

As a parent, would you tell your child, "You know, I believe it is okay to drink alcohol, that the Bible doesn't really condemn it, so let me give you this wise advice. Go ahead and drink. Don't overdo it, but you really should start drinking some. It will be good for you."?

If you will tell your child that, I beg you, don't give any advice to mine.

Let's get some perspective on today.

More than 16 million people over 18 years old had some form of alcohol use disorder in 2013. In that same year, from ages 12-17, nearly 700,000 had some form of alcohol use disorder. Ages 12-17.

According to the CDC, over 88,000 deaths per year occurred due to alcohol-related incidents from 2006-2010. Over 10,000 alcohol-related deaths occurred in automobile accidents in 2013 alone. Within this very hour, at least one or more will die due to alcoholic-related driving. Alcohol misuse problems cost billions of dollars every years. Billions. Many of the problems are due to binge drinking.

Yet, all it takes is that one time. Just one time.

In 2012, over 3 million deaths globally were attributed to alcohol consumption. Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases. Globally, alcohol misuse is the fifth leading factor in premature death or disability; among those aged 15-49, it is first. First!

Each year, some 1,800 plus college students die from alcohol-related incidents (including vehicle crashes). Nearly 700,000 students between 18-24 were assaulted by another student who had been drinking. Nearly 100,000 report alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. About 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. Shall we go on? (See "NIH Alcohol Facts and Statistics" for more).

This isn't a matter of having little choice in drink, of needing to dilute the water, or of drinking naturally fermented juices that are diluted. Alcoholism is devastating, and there are far too many cases of it not to be prepared to deal with the effects of it. If you will promote taking that first drink to enough people today, will you be prepared to deal with what may well happen to some of them? Shall we bury our heads and think, "oh that won't happen to my family"?

Looking at the question from a strict "where does the Bible specifically condemn or allow it" perspective completely overlooks the wisdom question for today's world. Today, it isn't necessary at all. Today, the consequences are far more reaching and costly than ever before. Is it the wise thing to do?

I repeat, is it the wise thing to do?

Without contradiction, we may say that no non-drinker becomes a problem drinker.

This may frustrate some people. Some will dislike this form of argument. So be it. I'm perfectly fine with not being liked over this issue. When all the dust settles, I will be right back asking this question.

Will anyone defend this: "The wise and good thing to do today is to start drinking alcohol"?