Undoubtedly, it is Providential timing that a press release entitled Christians Consider Drinking Beer Acceptable appears on the website Christiannewswire.com at precisely the moment I am poised to launch a series discussing The Role of Beer in a Christian Life OR The Role of Christianity in a Beery Life. I call it “The Gospel According to St. Arnold,” and it will be a Wednesday feature here at brewvana for the entire month of December.
The press release discusses a poll conducted by ChristiaNet, who asked 5,200 Christians, “Is it wrong for a Christian to consume beer?” ChristiaNet President Bill Cooper offered a non-commital “Christ warns of the results of drunkenness,” a stance with which few reasonable thinkers, Christian or otherwise, might disagree. The responders to the poll tossed out results that give beer lovers hope regarding the thinking of Christians–a group often in opposition to any progressive legislative thinking about alcohol issues.
Of the respondents, 51% asserted that drinking beer is not wrong. Thirty-eight percent of respondents believed drinking to be wrong. Another 11% indicated that they were unsure of their position.
While it appears there is sound thinking in slightly more than half the pews, it is clear that there are others who are misguided or not guided. Here are a couple of comments from respondents:
“I don’t know anyone that only drinks one beer, they usually drink more to get a buzz and that is wrong. Sometimes they even turn into alcoholics.”
I’m not sure who this person is hanging around, but perhaps they should change their company. I often have only one beer, and I never drink with the purpose of getting a buzz. Sometimes a mild buzz is the result of a day of tasting several one-ounce samples at a festival or judging two flights at a competition. However, I wish these folks could hear the number of judges requesting to judge low alcohol beers in the afternoon–simply to keep clear heads and the stamina to get through a very long day of pensive work. While I’d agree that the buzz-seeker’s approach to drinking is certainly worthy of concern, the “sometimes they even turn into alcoholics,” statement makes alcoholism sound as magical (dark magic, I suppose) as kissing a frog and having it turn into a prince.
Others in this group quoted Proverbs 20:1 which states, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
These folks are using this passage of the Bible to say that drinking is wrong. I think it’s a wonderful passage worthy of taking note. Like the musings of Black Sabbath, it’s really more of a warning. Don’t get deceived; don’t get pulled into overconsumption and the darkness that can tear upon a life. But we might also use this passage to offer other warnings. I’d say that it made good sense to not get deceived by infomercials, fast food and pharmaceutical advertising or those late-night preachers selling prayer handkerchiefs and the like.
“There just isn’t any good reason to drink alcohol, and it is not like it tastes good.”
Everyone has their reasons. I drink beer because I enjoy the flavors. I guess this person never tried a beer that tasted good. It’s a pity that a closed mind might cause them to miss out on something truly delicious, not to mention the culture and history involved, which has always intrigued me.
Some in this group [undecided] were more concerned with the motivation for drinking beer rather than the amount consumed, “If you are drinking because you want to dull some area of your life then it is wrong because you are supposed to turn to God when you are in need.”
I’d agree with these people, and I’m elated that they are thinking for themselves.
All in all, I’d consider this news encouraging. It serves as a wonderful introduction in to my “Gospel,” and we can all hope that some of the more conservative Conservative Christians might take a listen to what their flock has to say. More importantly, I’d like to see those that disagree with my views take a reasonable step back and listen to another person’s views without becoming defensive or belligerent. I admit up front that I believe that drinking beer (in moderation) to be both fine and dandy. I do it with a clear conscience something close to daily.
My purpose for this series is not to crack on Christians for the next few Wednesdays. We are brothers, after all, and besides, they have enough infighting to deal with–sorting out the best denomination and all. I will call out what I consider to be foolish thinking, but I’ll labor to be fair and respectful (I may be smart-alecky at times, but I’ll stop short of sarcasm). I’ll hope that the Christians out there reading (both the drinkers and the abstainers) will do the same. I invite your comments as we proceed.
Coming Wednesday, December 5–Part 1