I’m still elated to be free again after 13 years of incarceration, though I left prison without the complete experience. I was never hit with pepper spray or a taser, nor did I go to the hole. Perhaps I’ll one day regret not taking advantage of the opportunities I had. Seriously though, I’ve considered volunteering to be pepper-sprayed or tased to satisfy my curiosity. It’s no biggy. All police officers and correctional officers must have it done to them before doing it to anyone else, so please don’t think of me as crazy. Think of me as eccentric. Crazy is what I was under the influence of alcohol, something I no longer need to have fun. It’s now clear to me that no activity or event requires alcoholic beverages, and while the ads for them show drinkers having a great time, what you’re not seeing is fighting, accidents or the other dangers that accompany the product. Neither do you hear about the health risks. The poison for sale is advertised as a harmless beverage, often with the help of professional athletes who speak out against drug use. What do they think alcohol is?
It mystifies me that so many people think it’s okay to use alcohol “responsibly,” yet they’re absolutely opposed to all other drugs, including the less harmful marijuana. I’m not giving an opinion of mine. Medical science has confirmed that alcohol is more destructive to the body, and anyone who has experience with both drugs knows the behavior of a drunk person is far worse than that of a stoned person. (People who occasionally drink alcoholic beverages in small amounts hardly have experience.) By no means am I saying God approves of a lesser evil. I just had to vent my frustration over the way alcohol has been separated from other drugs. In one of the classes I had in junior high, students were told to write an article on drug use and read it to the class. One student ended his by saying he wouldn’t use drugs, but he wasn’t sure about alcohol, “because it can’t mess you up as much.” The classroom erupted in laughter, but it’s no laughing matter that many parents send this message to their kids.
I’ve heard it argued that alcohol’s not as dangerous as marijuana because not everyone drinks for the purpose of getting drunk, but everyone consumes marijuana for the purpose of getting high. That same logic could be used to claim prescription pills are also safer on grounds that not everyone takes them to get high. But it’s doubtful drinkers would be as accepting of recreational pill popping as they are of recreational drinking. They’re also forgetting that a small percentage of marijuana users take it for medicinal reasons. I do mean small, because I’m sure most “patients” just want an excuse to get high. Marijuana and alcohol both are consumed mostly for intoxication. Besides, are the victims of alcohol supposed to be comforted that there are drinkers who don’t get drunk? They’ve still been hurt by the very dangerous drug that is alcohol. I hate it when I hear about “the dangers of underage drinking,” as if it magically becomes safe for people after they reach a certain age.
For all of the damage it causes, alcohol gets little attention from the media. Of course we hear about the dangers of synthetic drugs, as we should. People should know, for example, that synthetic marijuana contains some of the same chemicals found in paint thinner, nail polish and insecticide. But people are so accustomed to alcohol that they give little attention to how dangerous it is. It’s served at plenty of company parties for employees who would be fired if they tested positive for other drugs. You may know alcoholics who are really successful in life, but so are a host of cocaine users who work on Wall Street. Both drugs still ruin lives. Perhaps you’re someone who gets drunk only on occasion. In that case you don’t have the problems I did, but neither can you claim to be a Christian. The Bible outright forbids drunkenness (Isa. 5:11; I Cor. 6:10), and though it makes no mention of intoxication from drugs other than alcohol, why would its authors write about intoxicants unknown to them? (In the book of Revelation the words “sorceries” and “sorcerers” are derived from the Greek word “pharmakeia” [Rev. 9:21; 18:23; 21:8], which can refer to drugs and witchcraft both. It’s debatable whether or not these condemnations of sorcery include drug use as well as witchcraft, but other Scriptures are more than enough to support a prohibition of all intoxicants.)
If God doesn’t want us intoxicated on alcohol, He doesn’t want us intoxicated on anything. He wants us all to have an unaltered state of mind. Alcohol just happened to be my primary intoxicant, so I focus on it more than other drugs. I wasn’t the same person when I was drunk, and it got to the point that I was drunk almost every waking moment. It was a misnomer when people used to my crazy behavior and verbal diarrhea said I was being myself. They knew the drunk me, not the real me. Back then I was a different person even when sober, but under alcohol’s influence I did and said things I never would have if sober. Because only alcohol gave me this split personality, wishful thinking once had me convinced God would approve of me getting high on marijuana. But since the people who control themselves when getting drunk are still sinning, it shouldn’t be assumed there’s an exception for another drug. Getting back to alcohol, I wouldn’t recommend so much as an occasion glass of wine. That one drink could cause mild intoxication, which is intoxication nonetheless.
Although Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:7-9), wine in biblical times meant grape juice. Some of it was fermented, some of it wasn’t. And some of the fermented wine had an alcohol content low enough that it didn’t cause drunkenness in small amounts, a reason for Peter to warn against an “excess of wine” (I Pet. 4:3). It’s also forgotten that people in biblical times often drank wine because their water wasn’t safe to drink. Supposing you’re a Christian and you have access to safe drinking water, why would you risk getting drunk for the taste of a beverage?
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