Can a Christian drink alcohol?

(Reuters/Eddie Keogh)Bottles of alcohol are seen at The Lord Cardigan pub in east London in this photo.

One touchy issue that continues to hound new Christians is alcohol drinking. Those who insist that it is okay would refer to the miracle in Canaan wherein Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1–11). Some pastors make that Biblical passage an excuse for the bottle of red wine on the dinner table on special occasions.

Others use the phrase "social drinking" to justify the habit. They drink only to enjoy the party and not to get drunk. Another claim is that certain liquor is good for the health if taken in moderation like wine and beer whose ingredient malt is said to be good for the heart.

Still, others would say a bottle or two of beer is meant to relax their tired mind and body after a hard day's work. To make it more acceptable, there's light beer which only has five percent alcoholic content, just enough to soothe the senses without getting intoxicated.

We will not get into the argument on the miracle exhibited by Jesus. The internet is filled with materials proving what He produced was grape juice, not alcoholic wine. We will get into refuting the philosophical reasoning of those who refuse to give up drinking.

The problem with alcohol is that it is both an upper and a downer, depending on the drinker's mood. Social drinking may sound safe if the drinker controls his intake. More often than not, however, self-imposed limits are not followed once the effect of alcohol kicks in and the drinker begins to enjoy the party.

The alcohol serves as stimulant that would dismantle the drinker's inhibitions. Suddenly, he finds the conversation more interesting, the people around him more attractive, and the music becomes an instant favorite. Before he knows it, the gate of drunkenness is wide open.

So, we will just drink to relax, you might say. In this case, alcohol becomes a downer or a depressant. The first two gulps may provide calmness to the senses, but the next sip will numb the mind. On the second bottle, the drinker will turn pleasant if the day turned out to be good, or somber if he's tired.

At this point, the drinker's spirituality is exposed to attack. It opens an opportunity for the enemy to put thoughts and ideas into his head. The drinker goes home afterward, too exhausted to face his responsibilities as husband and father, and goes straight to bed.

The opportunity to bond with the family, help in household chores and spend quiet time with God is lost. There could have been other ways to relax like watching TV or reading where new things can be learned, or simply taking a nap to energize the body without the hangover.

Advocates against alcoholism would often cite — with statistics to boot — the extreme harm caused by alcohol abuse like crimes and road accidents. The effect may be far from dangerous in the case of light drinkers, but for Christians, this has the potential to erode their faith. 

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