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Christian teaching against addictions (Part-1)

  • Reverend Martin Adhikary
  • 8 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Christian teaching against addictions (Part-1)

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The Holy Bible abounds with great teachings against the devastating effects of each and every kind of addictions. There are so many kinds of addictions in our time that is really mind blogging. The adolescent and the young generation in our society today are victims to many addictions resulting in paralyzing effects on them: physically, mentally, socially and intellectually and all that one can imagine! Smoking, glue-snipping, alcoholic drinks, drugs, narcotics, sex, pornography, gambling, food. They are the sins of idolatry of our time that are wasting our young generation in a galloping rate today.  The word ‘addiction’ has two basic meanings. According one it means the state of ones being physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance. People, who are addicted or given to drink too much wine, are called ‘drunkards’. The second meaning is: it is to occupy oneself with or involve oneself in something habitually or compulsively being a slave to the object or substance of one’s addiction. This is an unnatural obsession with anything other than God: money, games and sports, work, family or children, womanizing, and so on and so forth. Alcohol is most common a drink used and abused. This intoxicant depresses the central nervous system and can lead to loss of control over physical and mental powers. It signs are lack of coordination, slurred speech, blurred vision and poor judgment. Drugs were integral part of many ancient pagan societies for their cultural and religious functions.

The Bible, the Holy Scriptures (both the Old and the New Testaments together) of the Christians clearly teaches that drunkenness is sin. It can be called also the mother of sins because of its seminal and adverse consequences. Bible speaks highly of man’s dignity as being the ‘Image’ (Hebrew ‘Demuth’ and ‘Likeness’ (Hebrew ‘Tselem’) of God with his spirituality, love, goodness, justice, reason, purity, etc the moral attributes of God all pointing to the sacred stewardship in life and in everything in the creation. As the faithful manager or representative of God over all of God’s creation—everything that is there in it—man is supposed to faithfully use for the maximum benefit of himself and of all making for eventual glory and praise of God, the only sovereign maker and owner of all (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 8). Drugs, narcotics, and etc worth the name constitute grave wastage and as such unfaithful use of God’s resources for the good of man. It is sin through and through. Deuteronomy 21:20-21 is very serious about drunkenness. It can lead one to profligacy, stubbornness and rebelliousness against parents, family and society. This Old Testament book prescribed death penalty for it!

 The book of Proverbs (Mashal) has great deal of teaching against addictions. Proverbs 20:1 tell us: “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”  “Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. ‘They hit me, but I am not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?’ ” (Proverbs 23:30-35). Such is the danger of wine! This is succumbing to the desire of the flesh, the sinful nature, which becomes a mother of many evils in the lives of addicted people. It is narrated in the New Testament of called ‘Galatians’ thus: The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: ‘sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’ (Galatians 5:19-20). 

Isaiah 5:11: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks; those who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.” Habakkuk 2:15-16: ‘Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies ...and disgrace will cover your glory.”  Genesis 9:20-21 and Genesis 19 have the most disturbing stories of Noah and of Lot are narrated as commentaries on the deplorable cultural situations of that time. They tell us of how corrupt human mind can become unless led by God. But this is so true always and everywhere!

 

The writer is a Christian Theology teacher and a Church leader