“Is drinking bad?” A discussion with a student

Michael
Why is drinking/getting drunk bad

David W. Pendergrass
Good question. I know of no particular teaching of Jesus that explicitly prohibits it and tells us why. Yet, based on the New Testament, I'd say that getting drunk is immoral because (1) it violates the requirement of God to have self-control (said repeatedly in the Bible) and (2) it is nearly impossible to love God with all our hearts, souls, strengths, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mk 12:28-31) if we're drunk. It's also possible that being drunk ruins your Christian witness (Paul speaks about a similar situation in Romans and 1 Corinthians). My last two reasons are not biblical, but still matter: it can lead to an addiction, which enslaves us. Finally, because a drunk looks like a moron. J

Michael
But when I have been drinking I absolutely have my clearest moments with Jesus and god and am actually a really good advocate on behalf of Christianity. I spread the word to my friends when the liquor Is flowing, and I'm being 100 percent honest.

David W. Pendergrass
lol!  and I appreciate you being honest! If you mean that you are an advocate when you've had some drinks, then I don't see anything immoral about that (of course, there are legal ramifications, http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/laws/underage_drinking_laws.asp). That is, drinking alcohol is not inherently immoral/sinful.
If you mean that you are an advocate for Christianity when you're inebriated, then I'd say you're making a consequentialist argument (remember that one? when the end justifies the means). If that's the argument, then I don't find it compelling because you're violating the virtue of having self-control and are almost certainly coming across differently than you perceive.
In that scenario (and we can change it to weed or any other substance), I'd say, "Would Jesus talk about the Kingdom of God to me while drunk or high or wasted?" Immediately, I think that question seems absurd. Of course not. "Would Jesus get drunk or high just so that he had 'clarity' and boldness to talk about the KoG?" Of course not.
So, while I'm not doubting your clarity or advocacy, I'm suggesting that the METHOD of being an advocate--in this case, I'm assuming after heavy drinking--is immoral.
So, I'd say in this case, the ends do NOT justify the means. Why? Because (1) it violates the commandment to have self-control and because (2) I cannot fathom Jesus doing such a thing.

Michael
im not saying it justifies the means, i think the fact that its fun, makes me feel good, and brings people together justify it enough, im just saying my advocacy is just a pretty postive externality, or additional benefit. im also not saying i dont have awesome moments of clarity when im complete sober as well, im just questioning why suppress or demean the act of drinking? i know that when christians(especially my former school) take on ethic of believing drinking is a sin, and should result in punishment(or in our schools case suspension/expulsion) it doesnt drive people to God, it drives them away. when i was in an enviornment where what I did with my body was accepted, I felt comfortable, and as a result my relationship with jesus and god improved tenfold. how do you expalin that?

Michael
also, cannabis is a natural, god made thing. it has the tendency to make some people idle or lazy, but so does putting a 50 inch tv screen in your living room. im not denying it can lead people to bad stuff sometimes as a result of being exposed to a bad crowd, but is smoking marijuana really that inherently bad(other than the fact that it is illegal, and that you break the law/disrespect authority when you do it)?

David W. Pendergrass
Hey Michael,
There are several things here. Here are my reflections:
(1) "its fun, makes me feel good, and brings people together justify it enough" -- Michael, we can't use these as criteria for what's moral. I could use these descriptions for a whole host of immoral choices: Nazi genocide, rapists talking together, thieves, drug addicts, and on an on. In no way, in a Christian worldview, could these be considered descriptions for what would justify an action.
(2) "im just questioning why suppress or demean the act of drinking?" -- I'm not sure who you're speaking against here, maybe people you've encountered. I've already stated in a previous exchange that I see nothing inherently immoral with the act of drinking itself. Jesus drank wine. Rather, it is getting drunk that is immoral.
(3) "it doesnt drive people to God, it drives them away." -- That may be true. Of course, schools must do such action typically, because it violates legal rules (and they could be sued). Now, on this issue, I hate to see people driven away from God just over the issue of drinking. On the other hand, I have no problem at all with people being driven away from God if they are offended because they are told that being drunk is immoral. Why? Because God's moral commandments are good. I'm well aware that people hate religion, and Christianity in particular, because they don't like being told "that's immoral to do." Murderers, rapists, thieves, gossips, practicing homosexuals, the proud, etc.: we all have reason to feel some childish anger toward God. Who likes being told "no"? In any case, we don't make moral decisions in life because it "drives them away." Again, that's a consequentialist ethic that I don't find compelling because it would allow us to do any immoral thing we wanted, as long as it kept people liking God. If that's the case, we should reject Christianity altogether and stop preaching a message of repentance and confession of sin . . .
(4) "when i was in an enviornment where what I did with my body was accepted, I felt comfortable, and as a result my relationship with jesus and god improved tenfold. how do you expalin that?" -- Our relationship with God is not based on how well you accept what you "do with your body." If you were a pedophile hanging out with other pedophiles, you'd be accepted. Our relationship with God is also not based on whether or not other people accept our behavior. As psychological creatures, we feel good when accepted. That's not good or bad (I think), it just is. BUT, this has nothing to do whatsoever in deciding if something is moral or immoral. Gang members have utter acceptance, even when they steal, rape, and kill. Feelings of acceptance have nothing to do with the teachings and example of Jesus. Jesus's example and instruction supersedes all feelings and intuitions we might have. Why? Because He's the Messiah. If He's not, then nothing I've said matters at all. We're just evolved mammals wanting to spread our seed and conquer the weak . . .
(5) "cannabis is a natural, god made thing. . . . but is smoking marijuana really that inherently bad?" -- Cannabis does grow naturally, as does cocaine and sugar. Of course, just because something occurs in nature, it doesn't mean we should avail ourselves of that thing. Sugar is natural, but surely it's not moral to eat sugar in a way that damages our health. The same is true of cocaine and marijuana. Again, I see nothing inherently immoral with using a drug as long as it does not violate the moral commandment not to lose self-control. Otherwise, I cannot love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and MIND and my neighbor as myself. Finally, like I said before, humans must ask the question: "Would Jesus smoke, drink, inhale, shoot up this drug for fun?" I think the answer is clearly "no."
And no matter how much it offends people or turns them away, truth is truth. No matter how offended a person is to the truth that 2+2=4, it doesn't change the veracity of that statement. We all have to make up our minds: either Jesus is the authority for all things moral or He's not. 
Peace,
Dr. P

Michael
All great points
I knew my logic had holes just wanted to have someone explain them to me
Regardless, I'm still going to drink and smoke and love Jesus with all my heart.
Sorry if that offends you at all, just being honest
I've just been thinking about this stuff a lot, wanted to know your input seeing as its a lot more educated than mine lol