Tuesday, May 25, 2021

If "Drinking Any Amount of Alcohol Causes Damage to the Brain," Is It Permissible for True Believers to Drink Alcohol?

It doesn't make sense for anyone to drink something that causes damage to the brain.  A new study says that drinking any amount of alcohol, even one drink, causes damage to the brain.  Both CNN and Fox News reported this.  It was an Oxford University study using 25,378 participants.  Knowing what alcohol is and how it affects the body, this news doesn't surprise me.  It deprives brain cells of oxygen and they die.  This is something people already knew, but it is has been released now as a scientific study.

I already believe the Bible, especially in Proverbs 23, teaches against alcohol consumption or what has been called the teetotalling position, the prohibition of alcohol.  I wrote a five part series on it (first, second, third, fourth, and fifth).  I show that prohibition of alcohol is a historic and biblical position.  This recent study adds another layer, because the Bible would argue that it is wrong to destroy your body and especially your brain or your mind.  Indeed, "the mind is a terrible thing to waste."  It would seem that you could not love God with your mind by damaging your mind.  Those two thoughts are in contradiction to one another.

An online Christian forum linked to this above article and I was interested in how pro-alcohol professing Christians would deal with it.  It seems insurmountable.  Proverbs 23 says alcohol is destructive so that someone would be better never even to look at it.  This is God's will.  So what were the arguments against the article?

One, the study wasn't "peer reviewed" yet.  The study had  been done and yielded it's results, but apparently peers had not yet offered their review before the study showed up in public.  There is a dedication to alcohol among some professing Christians that becomes desperation when they might be required to stop drinking.  What hypothetical scientific peers might say is that there is a safe or acceptable level of brain tissue loss.  Imagine that conversation.

"This s going to destroy some of your brain tissue if you drink it."  "How much will I lose with one drink?  Two?"  "Oh, only that amount?  Well, that's a safe and acceptable loss of brains that I will never get back again, so give me that drink."

So, more study needs to be done to find out what acceptable brain tissue loss is.  I know that when we cut our fingernails, they grow back.  When we destroy brain cells, do we get those back?  In the end, it is the pleasurable feeling of destroying brain cells with alcohol versus the loss of that pleasure.  What should a Christian do?  I think we all know that a Christian disobeys God by destroying brain cells or brain tissue.  The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and destroying brain tissue with alcohol moves to an unacceptable level of harm to the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The other argument was a related argument to the first one, that is, drinking is a calculated risk like "climbing a mountain, exploring a cave, snow or water skiing, scuba diving, buying bitcoin, investing in a stock, driving a motorcycle, seeing how fast your car can go (100 mph plus), ice skating, or driving on a frozen lake."  He included drinking alcohol as parallel to everything else in that list.

Scripture teaches that believers should not tempt God by taking risks, the example of Satan in Matthew 4, tempting Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple.  This is not of faith.  It's true that anyone could die doing almost anything, that breathing causes cancer and someone crossing the road could get hit by a car.  Alcohol does damage brain tissue.  That's not a calculation according to this study.  It's 100 out of 100.  You are destroying your brain.  None of the examples of activities in the previous paragraph guarantee destruction.  There is an argument for calculating risk, I agree, taking the safer route if possible, but alcohol isn't safe, so this argument doesn't work.

There is more to an argument against alcohol.  When you drink it, you're hurting yourself, you're also disobeying God, and you're causing others to stumble. None of those are permissible in scripture.

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