Religion and alcohol

OK so I was wondering about the abstention from alcohol for religious reasons thing.

I think it’s weird (if you’re a Christian.) Jesus created the suff for a party! No, not grape juice, wine. It’s clearly evident from the context of the passage that it was good old alcoholic wine. He also drank wine at the last supper and it has become a symbol of his blood. Red wine = Jesus’ blood. Unless you believe in transubstantiation, in which case it really IS Jesus’ blood.

Now I’m not saying you should abuse it, but a few beers every once in a while is not going to send you to Hell. But of course that’s IMO.

What do other dopers think?

Vast oversimplification ahead…

The Methodist Church (of which I am a member) used to be pretty strongly anti-alcohol, they have relaxed a little recently, but the whole thing came about in an era where people’s motives for consuming alcohol were (generally)somewhat different; gin was not a drink to be sipped with tonic, ice and a slice on the deck of your motor launch, it was something that people drunk in quantity in order to become drunk. The modern concept of ‘a few quiet beers with your chums’ or ‘a glass or two of chianti with the sunday roast’ simply didn’t exist (or were not at all common).

As drunkenness leads to all kinds of debauchery (so it was reasoned), best avoid the stuff altogether.

I’m Catholic. We don’t have a problem with alcohol. Or rather, the consumption of alcohol is not proscribed in my faith. Some Catholics do indeed have a problem with alcohol. We also don’t have a problem with dancing or card playing.


My church has no official policy on alcohol but it’s clear from the bible, to me, that drunkeness is un-christian. I extend this within a broader context to say that a drink is fine but don’t get intentionally drunk.

IMHO, YMMV, Objects in mirror are closer than they appear, etc.



Quick Joke:

Q: Why don’t Southern Baptists have sex standing up?

A: People might think they’re dancing.


The Bible doesn’t condemn the drinking of alochol or its related beverage, but rather warns about the dangers of being addicted to the cup.

My own Church has wine (the real stuff, not mere grape juice) at Communion, and the Retsina flows freely after Easter Liturgy. What is condemned in Scripture is drunkenness, not merely imbibing.

Brief hijack, does anybody know the official Sikh position (if such a thing exists) regarding booze?

Ya, I’d like to know the positions of lots of religions if anybody has any non-Christian info.

I believe that abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and other intoxicants is one of the tenants of the Khalsa (Sikhs who are officially confirmed in the faith and wear the 5 K’s (things like the long hair, sword, and metal bracelet).

Islam obviously prohibits alcohol.

I always wondered about that, but the fact that we were both getting quietly pissed at 2:00 on a Wednesday afternoon sort of made me reluctant to ask Rupinder if he was also violating a religious tenet.

I’m Episcopalian. We serve real wine at communion.

You may have heard the old saying: where you find four Episcopalians you’ll find a fifth! :smiley:

I’ve never understood why some Christian churches ban alcohol. Clearly Jesus drank wine during the Seder. Could anyone out there explain this?

Interesting fact I learned while touring a winery in New York. Some wineries were open during Prohibition, since sale and consumption of wine for religious reasons was not prohibited.

I’ve never understood this. Sure, too much alcohol is not good for you. Neither is too much food, or, for that matter, too much water.

Is this attitude prevalent in religions outside of the U.S.? For example, although there are some things I do not admire about France, the sensible approach to alcohol is one that I do. From early childhood, everyone sees people having a drink of wine with a meal, but public intoxication is rude and uncouth. In contrast, too many U.S. college students go from total prohibition to complete excess, feeling obliged to drink as much as possible just to prove their independence before they come to realize that hangovers are neither cool nor fun! Of course a certain number succumb to dependency.

On the other hand, I recall a documentary about a fairly low level of tolerance – almost to the point of allergy – among Asians. Interestingly, Buddhism, which developed in that general part of the world, also advises against the use of alcohol.

I was raised Southern Baptist, and the explanation I was given as to why we shouldn’t drink was that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and alcohol is a toxin.

Boy was I embarrassed the Sunday I hurled last night’s vodka all over the back pew!

In Judaism, not only is consumption of alcohol permitted, it is required under certain circumstances. A blessing is said over a glass of wine at every religious occasion I can think of (the Sabbath, holidays, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs (Mitzvot?), etc. Although come to think of it, I haven’t been to a ton of funerals, but I can’t remember any wine being involved with those. Four glasses of wine are a required part of the Passover Seder, and prescribed points in the service/Haggadah reading.

Purim isn’t a holiday my ultra-Reform household ever celebrated much, but one of my co-workers is Orthodox, and her husband is a rabbi. She says her husband makes a point of getting drunk on Purim (he’s not a big drinker, so it doesn’t take much). Apparently this is actually encouraged from a theological perspective. Some more observant Doper should probably expand on this idea, because I don’t know much about it, nor could I give you much theological background on the reasoning behind the requirement for alcohol consumption on various occasions of religious significance.

During the era immediately pre-Prohibition, and during Prohibition, some people claimed that Jesus drank and created a “non-alcoholic” wine.

Here are some modern-day lunatics who keep claiming this:

And there are countless other goobers who claim this.

So is fried food. But you seem to have recovered from your upbringing.

I’d always heard “your body is a temple” as well. As a sidenote: all of the weddings I went as a child were of Southern Baptist relatives. I was a little shocked when, in high school, I went to a wedding where alcohol was served. It seemed so racy.

I just wanted to say that I’m also curious about whether the anti-alcohol attitude is purely an American one. I live in the US and I’m Episcopalian. My state is very strict about not allowing anyone under 21 to consume alcohol, and they’ve only recently allowed some liquor stores stores to open on Sundays, yet, as a chalicist, not only have I given alcohol to minors, I’ve seen a policeman do so in front of the mayor!

To me, the “alcohol is absolutely forbidden until you’re 21” attitude doesn’t do anything to encourage people to learn how to drink in moderation. I’ve also been known to point out that if Christ wanted to turn water in to grapejuice, he would certainly have done so. Instead, He turned it into good wine! Certainly, as labdad already said, the only problem the Episcopal Church has with alcohol is running out! :wink: