Collegian Debates- Why I’m a Christian Who Doesn’t Drink

Wil England, contributing writer

Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. – I Corinthians 8:2

It is legal in Louisiana to drive with an alcoholic Daiquiri as long as the straw has not been pushed through the lid. This is so one could pick up a drink when on the go through the drive-thru. I remember the first time I heard this as a non-native New Orleanian attending a New Orleans-area high school. It was laughable at the time and, to me, it still is.

Before my years in Louisiana, I lived and grew up in many other southern states. Of course, I had been exposed to what exactly alcohol is during that time; I even recall being told in secret what it means to be “drunk” in elementary school recess. Still, I have not seen that kind of appreciation for a good drink in any other area.

Now, I don’t write to discredit Louisianans. I lived there most recently and find myself identifying with its people in many other areas. I use them merely as an example. But though I’m wary to make a definitive statement, I feel it necessary for argument: New Orleans has an alcohol obsession.

And this is precisely why I fear alcohol. It is why I have made a decision with confidence to not drink—I don’t want to be overcome by it unaware, as I feel New Orleans has. Never has one boasted about the positive life change an inclination to alcohol has brought to their life. Nor has anyone determined to have an unhealthy obsession. Rather, AA meetings continue to grow daily.

This argument may be seemingly sensational and almost over the top, but I desire to have a healthy fear of anything that can overtake me. I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “…do not give the devil a foothold.” I fear to know my limits with alcohol, because I would first have to test them.

Still, I don’t intend to condemn alcohol for all those who believe. Mostly, I desire for the edification of other believers and to be a light to nonbelievers. The Corinthian church of the Bible struggled with a similar objective issue. Members of the church had a mixed view of whether or not to purchase and eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols and then sold in a market. In I Corinthians, Paul writes, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” and later, “… if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”

Simply because a liberty is present does not entitle it to be taken advantage of publicly nor does the existence of a liberty cause it to be worth doing. To quote I Corinthians again, “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.”

Finally, as college students, we have a decision to make that cannot be evaded. A personal resolution on how we are to treat alcohol demands our attention. While thoughts from many Christian spectrums have been presented in this debate, this article’s conclusion awaits to be written by the individual reading it. My only hope is that this conclusion—as well as every other conclusion that life demands—would be made through the lens of Scripture. Who Dat.

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