Religion and alcohol

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A monk samples wine.

The world's religions have had differing relationships with alcohol. Many religions forbid alcoholic consumption or see it sinful or negative. Others have allocated a specific place for it, such as in the Christian practice of using wine for Communion. In the Catholic Church, the wine becomes the blood of Jesus Christ through transubstantiation.[1] In Protestant denominations, the wine is simply a symbol of the blood of Christ. Monastic communities have brewed beer and made wine.

Alcoholic beverages appear in the Bible, though drunkenness is condemned (by the stories of Noah and Lot). Some Christians including Pentecostalists and Methodists today believe one ought to abstain from alcohol. Alcohol consumption is also prohibited by Mormonism's "Word of Wisdom". Temperance and Prohibitionist movements have often had religious elements: the movement which led to prohibition in the United States was started by Methodists and Christian movements (see, for instance, Woman's Christian Temperance Union).

Islam considers consumption of khamr (Arabic for fermented drinks, wine) sinful (haraam) under Islamic dietary laws.[2][3][4][5]

In Hinduism, wines as medicine is documented in the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda. Arishthas and Asavas are fermented juices, and herbs. Ayurveda, the oldest, documented system of medicine does not recommend wine for everyone. Wine is a potent healer for specific health conditions, on the other hand drinking wine without getting a pulse diagnosis done by an Ayurvedic doctor, may work the other way around. For instance, wine is recommended in specified quantity for Kapha body types.[6]

Jainism is strictly against any type of alcoholism. Jainism which preaches the path of Non Violence doesn't allow alcoholic beverages on the fact that they are fermented & fermentation causes growth of microorganisms in the liquid & having liquor is equivalent to eating non vegetarian.

Buddhists typically avoid consuming alcohol (surāmerayamajja, referring to types of intoxicating fermented beverages), as it violates the 5th of the Five Precepts, the basic Buddhist code of ethics and can disrupt mindfulness and impeded one's progress in the Noble Eightfold Path.[7]

An initiated Sikh cannot use intoxicants, of which alcohol is one.[8]

Research has been conducted by social scientists and epidemiologists to see if potential links exist between religiosity and alcoholism.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gately, Iain (2008). Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York: Gotham. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-592-40464-3. 
  2. ^ "Al-Baqara [2:219] - Tanzil Quran Navigator". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  3. ^ "Al-Ma'ida [5:90] - Tanzil Quran Navigator". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  4. ^ "An-Nisa [4:43] - Tanzil Quran Navigator". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  5. ^ Arthur James Powell (2004). "Only in Paradise: Alcohol and Islam". In Charles Kevin Robertson. Religion & alcohol: sobering thoughts. Peter Lang. ISBN 978-0-8204-6793-1. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Sharma, Anisha. "Draksharishta (Grape Wine) and other Ayurvedic Wines used Originally as Medicine", The Chakra News, India, 10 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Access to Insight: the Panca Sila (with Pali)". Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Francis, L. J.; Fearn, M.; Lewis, C. A. (2005). "The Impact of Personality and Religion on Attitudes toward Alcohol among 16-18 year olds in Northern Ireland". Journal of Religion and Health 44 (3): 267–289. doi:10.1007/s10943-005-5464-z. JSTOR 27512870.  edit
  10. ^ Ford, J.; Kadushin, C. (2002). "Between Sacral Belief and Moral Community: A Multidimensional Approach to the Relationship between Religion and Alcohol among Whites and Blacks". Sociological Forum 17 (2): 255–279. doi:10.1023/A:1016089229972. JSTOR 3070326.  edit