Where to draw the line?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Sapper Woody, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. Sapper Woody

    Sapper Woody
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    This is a question I've been pondering for a while. This was kind of brought up in another thread that was closed, but I want to open it up in a different way, hopefully to get answers instead of attacks.

    The question is, where do we draw the line in addictive or mind altering substances, and why?

    Some on this board are against drinking alcohol at all. Some say it's ok to consume alcohol, but not get drunk. The question of marijuana was also brought up, but instead of a discussion, it degraded very, very quickly.

    On my part, I do not drink alcohol nor do I smoke. I am on the fence on whether or not drinking alcohol is a sin, but I will not partake of it even if I am convinced it's ok due to seeing the effects of it on others in the past. I do know that anyone I talk to in the secular world views it as a waste to drink only a couple of beers. If they want to drink, they want to get drunk. I have even heard a few people say that they don't like the taste of alcohol, but like to get drunk.

    For those that are against the use of alcohol (assuming that the user did not get drunk), why then is it ok to drink caffeine? Caffeine is a mind altering (remember, mind altering does not always mean that it is a hallucinogen) drug that can make you hyper, and act in ways that you wouldn't without it.

    For those that are ok with alcohol, why not marijuana, outside of the obvious legal boundaries? Alcohol and marijuana are very closely related, and in fact, from what I've seen/heard marijuana is statistically a safer drug than alcohol. (I added the "from what I've seen/heard, because I have no resources to cite at hand). As far as addiction goes, marijuana isn't even addictive. It's habit forming, yes, but not addictive. There is no withdrawal from marijuana.

    The question can go ad infinitum into substances. What about energy drinks? Fat burning pills (as these have energy boosting substances in them)? What about herbs/pills that are supposed to sharpen the mind? Tobacco is another substance that alters the mind.

    So, to state the question simply so that there is no mistake about what this thread is about, where do you draw the line and why when it comes to substance use?

    This isn't about the legality of a substance. It's about your personal belief, and how you've come to that.
     
  2. Benjamin

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    Unfortunately, we are a quick fix pill popping society and there is no end to the supply and demand to addictive and mind altering substances from sugar to powerful drugs. Personally, I generally try to keep things as natural as possible and I draw that line as wherever and whenever I can.

    Our bodies are incredibly proficient at adapting to healing us, to respond to proper care and diet, even to changing our moods. As saying goes, if you were going to build your dream house you wouldn’t build it out of junk, so why would you fill your body with it.

    If I’m feeling down I eat well, work out, and get a good night’s sleep and I feel great and this makes a whole lot more sense than catching some fast food, going out late and drinking, doesn’t it? I really don’t think the high people get from drinking, smoking dope or using other substances compares to the high I get from a good workout. When my body is naturally firing on all cylinders and running smoothly from good upkeep I know I'm doing things right and when its not I know it probably due to maintenence issues.

    It seems silly that I have to constantly explain things to people like: The reason your back hurts is NOT because you aren't taking enough or the right kind of pain medication! People just don't seem to get it that the quick artificial fix isn't the answer and it falls way short of the benefits obtained naturally if they will only give their body a chance to do its job through some sensible proper care.
     
  3. Oldtimer

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    In the news this morning.


    Mom Forgets Newborn Baby Is On Car Roof, Drives Away
    http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/Mom_Forgets_Baby_Is_On_Car_Roof_Drives_Away_156896695.html

     
  4. freeatlast

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    Woody in anything of this nature one has to be willing to set aside their preconceived idea and personal desires to come to the truth. Truth has to be the absolute complete desire or we end up with personal choice each doing what seems right in their own heart/mind.

    Personally I like a good Bacardi cocktail which I drank before I was saved. And if I approached scripture with that alone I could easily justify the drinking of such in private as long as I do not get smashed, but scripture teaches otherwise. The Greek and Hebrew words involved with alcohol are difficult to translate but with diligence it can be done and along with a desire to be all the Lord intended we can come to the truth.

    Strong drink is always any beverage that has come about with the purpose to make it into a an intoxicating beverage and the use of it is strongly warned against in scripture. Also there were the beverages that fermented naturally because there was no refrigeration it would be used with water being cut usually from 4 to 5 times to assure that the person did not become under its influence. The thing is however it was a necessity in those days to have something to drink and cut to make sure it did not influence the person.

    Today such is not the case as well as all we have is strong drink and any intake today of alcohol for pleasure is a violation of scripture's intent. I have no problem saying that I in no way believe that the Lord would set down with the boys and have a beer for recreational purposes or even a glass of today's wine. it simply would not happen so neither should we do it.

    About pot. Let me lay aside the claim of using it for medical purposes for now and deal only with the recreational side of it. Any use of any drug for recreational purposes, and feeling relaxed is one of them or to the extreme of slurred speech or stumbling, it is sin. We are to be controlled by the Spirit not things we ingest.

    So to your question;
    " where do you draw the line and why when it comes to substance use?"
    Any drug is substance abuse the moment it is not being used for medical purposes or to sustain life when nothing else can be used.
     
    #4 freeatlast, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2012
  5. InTheLight

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    I fit that description, although I only drink beer and occasionally will have a glass of wine at formal dinners.

    The difference between alcohol and marijuana is that you can moderate alcohol use. You know what the alcohol content is. It's on the label. Pot? Who knows? You never know the strength of what you're getting. Furthermore, with alcohol the effects are measured and easily counteracted. You can tell when you are approaching your personal threshold based on the number of drinks you've had plus you can feel the effects accumulating. Then you switch to water and/or eat something. With pot you are buzzed pretty much right away and there is no way to easily reverse it. You're stuck and you're helpless to do anything about it.
     
  6. InTheLight

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    So drinking coffee is a sin. Energy drinks are a sin. Diet pills, tobacco, even ingesting certain aromas are a sin by your definition. Is that correct?
     
  7. DiamondLady

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    Addiction to anything, not just alcohol or caffeine or drugs, but anything can happen so quickly. When is that? The very moment your mind stops functioning in its normal processes. The problem with this is, we do not realize we are addicted until it is often far too late for us to do anything about it under our own power.

    I can give you a personal example. After my surgery 3 years ago the doctor ordered a pain pump, Dilaudid. I was told I could push that little button as often as I liked but the machine would only dispense a dose ever hour. I do not, under normal circumstances, like medication of any sort and use it only when absolutely necessary (I will admit I often wait until I'm really sick before I even go to the doctor), but I was in pain... a lot of pain....and took advantage of the medication. My surgery was on Monday morning, they took my pain pump away on Wednesday. I was MAD as a wet hen! I was already addicted. I LIKED not having any pain (I guess I forgot to mention I have fibromyalgia so am almost always in pain of one level or another) and it was a real relief not to feel pain at all.

    So often we become addicted without ever realizing it. It's so convenient and easy. My sister became addicted to her morning Pepsi...couldn't start her day without it. My husband can't go without his morning coffee. When we think we can't do something without something else it's addiction.

    I, personally, draw the line at things which are not natural to my body that alters my mind. That includes nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    Let me refer you to post #4
     
  9. InTheLight

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    Why are you so obtuse? I'm asking for clarification. Let's try it from a different angle.

    What is the distinction between 'medical purposes' and 'sustaining life'?

    Is caffeine a drug?
     
  10. freeatlast

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    If you want a thread on those issues post one and I will respond, but this thread is about what I responsed to in post 4.
     
  11. InTheLight

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    Caffeine use is covered in the OP.

    Then you said:

    Do you consider caffeine use a sin?
     
  12. freeatlast

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    That is why I pointed you back to post 4. I stand on my statement unless you can show me that God calls for us to use drugs of any kind to enhance our pleasure or to have some kind of stimuli effect. An example. We have to have food and drink. If we are eating or drinking to get some stimuli effect no matter the effect, outside of medical reasons, then our eating and drinking is for the wrong reason and we are in sin.
     
  13. agedman

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    THIS IS A GREAT POST!!!

    freeatlast, I think you have done a very well reasoned response.

    :thumbs: :thumbs:
     
  14. asterisktom

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    Apparently, in the minds of many here, it is a sin to have a beer to help you sleep at nights (hops are very good for this) but it is not a sin to have a couple cups of coffee to wake help you wake up in the morning.

    Do we not see the double standard here? Of course neither side is helped by looking for "coffee" in the Bible, seeing there is no passage on this addictive stimulant, this drug. So we are restricted to the general passages and intelligently and (hopefully) prayerfully extrapolating from those.

    And, yes, I do use both of these, in moderation. I'm certain that this means I am not a fundamentalist.

    That is a good thing.
     
  15. Benjamin

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    Two points I would like to make here:

    1) I wouldn’t call drinking a beer before bed a sin, but I would call it prudent either. Although alcohol may let one fall asleep faster because of the sedating effects it disrupts sleep patterns by altering the REM cycles. It also significantly decreases the slow wave sleep (SWS) times which is the deep sleep pattern especially by causing wakefulness in the second half of sleep that does you the most benefit. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by falling asleep faster, its classic quick-fix mentality, “I just want to fall asleep now, to heck with how I will feel tomorrow”. You’re kidding yourself if you think that is the answer. Get yourself an intense 1 hour workout in before dinner. :thumbs:

    2) I thought everybody knows the Bible has whole Book on coffee. Never heard of HeBrews? :rolleyes:


     
  16. asterisktom

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    I'll see your two points, and I'll raise you two points. :thumbs:

    1. I have been doing this beer before bed for quite some time now. I don't know about how it affects others, but for me it works. I, too, had heard that sleep patterns are altered, but I just don't believe it.

    BTW, every day here in China is pretty much an intense workout. I often walk a mile or two almost every workday. Quick-dodging-cars-on-the-sidewalk-walking too. That plus walking up and down multiple floors.

    2. I like your Hebrews thing. It reminded me of a website I saw and then expanded on. Take a look at it here:
    http://asterisktom.xanga.com/701682830/a-word-search-quiz-on-books-of-the-bible/

    I would post it here in this thread but I would be accused again of derailing the thread.
     
    #16 asterisktom, Jun 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  17. michael-acts17:11

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    What about food addiction(gluttony) which God puts in the same camp as drunkenness. I can't tell you how many times I have heard obese preachers railing against alcohol, smoking, tattoos, etc over the years. If I had the nerve, I would love to stand up & demand that they resign their pastorates due to their own ongoing, unrepentant sin which is lived out in front of the congregation. Not only that, it is celebrated & mocked with jokes about how much "baptists love to eat". If pastors ate with the same moderation with which I drink, they would all be lean & in good health. If I drank with the same lack of moderation as they eat, I'd be an unemployed drunkard.

    Another thing, so often, those who preach against moderate drinking, smoking, etc typically state that one cannot be right with God with these "unrepentant sins in one's life". Hmmmm, according to that standard, fat pastors are living in sin & are preaching under their own power & not by the power of God. Isn't it fun to follow such beliefs to their logical conclusions & apply them consistently to those who preach them?
     
  18. menageriekeeper

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    The line between moderate use and addiction can only be drawn at the individual.

    We can pass laws of course on addictive drug use, because some drugs are immediately addictive and only the rare individual can resist. And these laws are a good thing. But when it comes to substances such as alcohol or marijuana, or nicotine or caffiene, there is a wide range of human experience. How my body handles one of these is not going to be exactly the same as how your body does.

    I would never expect Freeatlast to go out drinking, because he has a conviction against it. On the other hand, I have no such conviction unless I'm driving.

    Why do some believe that Christians must hold to one and only one standard on this matter? Freeatlast doesn't live my life, witness to those I witness to and I don't do these things in his life. We are different people and it's okay for us to have different ideals on the same subject. And we both are right in our own place.
     
  19. michael-acts17:11

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    I think we are missing the underlying issue. Alcohol abuse is rampant in our culture, not because it is addictive, but because our culture is centered on self-indulgence. This is seen in the food we eat, alcohol consumed, illicit drugs used, average amount of unsecured debt held by citizens, etc. There is no difference, in God's Word, between the obese pastor & a drunkard. Many like to convince themselves otherwise because it makes them uncomfortable, but that is a Biblical fact.
     
  20. mont974x4

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    Yes, virtually anything can be considered a drug. Ever gone to long without eating and then when you finally do get something in your system your attitude/mood changes? It's simple biology.

    The problem is not the effect on the body, but the effect on the heart. I draw the line when it ceases to be something enjoyed and taken with thanksgiving and becomes an idol by my looking to it to do something for me that I should be looking to God to fulfill.

    We ought to allow God to draw the lines for us, and avoid drawing lines where He does not.
     
    #20 mont974x4, Jun 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2012

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