Religion and alcohol

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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.

Research has been conducted by social scientists and epidemiologists to see if potential links exist between religiosity and alcoholism.[1][2]

Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikh and Jainism[edit]

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.[3]

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.[4]

An initiated Sikh cannot use intoxicants, of which alcohol is one.[5]

Judaism[edit]

Christianism[edit]

Alcoholic beverages appear in the Bible, though drunkenness is condemned (by the stories of Noah and Lot).

In the Catholic Church, the wine becomes the blood of Jesus Christ through transubstantiation.[6] In Protestant denominations, the wine is simply a symbol of the blood of Christ. Monastic communities have brewed beer and made wine.

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[edit]

There is a consensus among theologians that alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited by Islam because it weakens the conscience of the believer. However, this has not prevented the inhabitants living in Muslim majority countries have produced and still produce alcoholic beverages, such as rakı in Turkey, the boukha in Tunisia or the wine in Morocco and Algeria. Wine has even been celebrated by the Muslim suffi philosopher Omar Khayyám during the XII century.

In the Qur'an the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (saws), proposed to avoid it as a rule of life to his disciples from 610 and only five surats mentions wine ('khamr'):

The wine is forbidden to the believers as well as gambling and divining stones.

O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.

(Surat V, 90).
Two others find that wine can be a great blessing and a curse. But the latter is often superior to the good.

They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they should spend. Say, "The excess [beyond needs]. Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.

(Surat II, 219)

And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason

(Surat XVI, 67).
The last two surats about wine make it one of the delights of paradise promised by Muhammad (saws)

Is the description of Paradise, which the righteous are promised, wherein are rivers of water unaltered, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of purified honey, in which they will have from all [kinds of] fruits and forgiveness from their Lord, like [that of] those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given to drink scalding water that will sever their intestines?

(Surat XLVII, 15)

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol has not always been forbidden by Islam and theories on this subject have often varied. The verse "And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason." (Quran, 16, 67) is subject to many interpretations

By the fact that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of twenty years, it's by seeing the evil actions that people committed under the influence of alcohol (wine ) that alcohol was gradually forbidden by Islam.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Sharma, Anisha. "Draksharishta (Grape Wine) and other Ayurvedic Wines used Originally as Medicine", The Chakra News, India, 10 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Access to Insight: the Panca Sila (with Pali)". Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  5. ^ http://sikhism.about.com/od/sikhism101/qt/Sikhism_Dos_and_Donts.htm
  6. ^ Gately, Iain (2008). Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York: Gotham. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-592-40464-3.