Alcohol and Christianity

Updated on June 01, 2015
A.J. asks from Norristown, PA
17 answers

This is sort of a tag-on to a question. Sometimes people say they don't drink because they are Christian. I wonder what this means, because I was raised Lutheran, and we went to church A LOT, and there was no mention of not drinking in my church-I was young though so I may have not heard every detail of every sermon. We had wine at communion. My parents are light occasional drinkers. I've never seen either of them drunk. They are major rule followers too so I'd be surprised to learn they drank if it was frowned upon by church!

It's on my mind because the kids and I were recently reading about the crusades and how when the European Christians attacked Jerusalem, it was the Muslims who customarily didn't drink according to their religion but the Christian invaders drank heavily. I lived in Europe for years and the Protestants and Catholics there drink. Of course not all Christians drink, but I thought that was a choice separate from church.

I haven't been to church regularly in the US since adulthood (20 years). What is the Christian church's official view on alcohol? Is there one?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks Osohapi, so for you it's more about values than edict. That makes sense.

Thanks everyone! I know "the Christian Church" encompasses tons of denominations, so I was referring the whole umbrella-I guess I should have said the Bible's view on it. I wondered if there was something in the Bible that most of the Christians were ignoring :)

More Answers


answers from Columbia on

The Bible says that we should not engage in drunkenness or allow wine to be our master (live in addiction). It does not say that we should or cannot drink at all.

Different churches have differing views. The Bible is pretty clear: Don't let alcohol control your life, the Holy Spirit should control your life.

I was wondering if someone would ask about this, after reading some responses to the other question. I'm glad you did. :-) I am a Christian, I do have a glass of wine or a frou-frou drink on occasion. In front of my children, even, because that is how I model safe and acceptable behavior so they know what to do when they are offered a drink one day. Parenting isn't about hiding everything dangerous or scary, it's about making it known and understood and teaching kids to make wise decisions independently.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Well, I'm Catholic so Sunday mass whole damn church smells like a brewery.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Based on my experiences living in three regions of the US (New England, the upper Midwest, and the Southeast), I can say that the view on alcohol use depends purely on the denomination and the historical moment. New England and the Midwest are Christian-majority areas, with more Lutherans, Catholics, and non-Evangelical Protestants. Those committed Christians drank plenty of alcohol in those areas, I assure you. In the Southeast, with lots of evangelical Protestants (Baptists, Presbyterians, etc), there is an assumption that 'real Christians' don't consume alcohol. I also was surprised to find when I spent time in Tanzania that Anglicans and Catholics would generally drink, however observant Lutherans would not drink alcohol. I think it's because many forms of Christianity which arrived in Tanzania in the late 1800s were more evangelical and more likely to consider alcohol use a problem. So it really depends.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think it's really important to realize how many denominations of Christians there are. There is no such thing as "The Christian Church." That's really critical.

The Catholics have an overriding authority in the Pope, the Mormons (LDS) have a firm hierarchy, the dozens of Protestant denominations have varying degrees of strictness (some have bishops, some don't), the evangelicals and Pentecostals have a different structure, and so on. There is a HUGE spectrum of beliefs, interpretation of the Bible (degrees of literal view vs. interpretation), varying views on everything from women clergy to saints to dietary laws.

The same thing applies to Judaism and Islam and many other world religions - you can't really say "All ______ believe in X and Y." There are thousands of translations of the Bible into English alone, and thousands more into other world languages. A few are directly from the original Hebrew, and most are translations from the Greek translation of the Hebrew. Even those who study in the original Hebrew (as Jews do and some Christians) find that there is disagreement and there are many viewpoints on what certain passages mean. (In Hebrew, we even look at the 3-consonant root of the word in question, and even so, there's discussion and commentary.) Now multiply that times all the words in the Bible! And there are tons of obvious contradictions in the Bible - there are 2 sets of 10 Commandments, there are 2 creation stories, and more.

So really what people are saying is "This is MY interpretation of Scripture" or "This is the viewpoint of my Pope/Bishop/Pastor/Priest/Spiritual Leader."

Most people, even those who consider themselves literalists, do pick and choose among Bible verses. Technically, if you're following everything in the Old Testament, you're not eating lobster or shrimp, you're not wearing any garments made of wool and flax/linen at the same time, you're a believer in animal sacrifice, and you're never ever eating a cheeseburger because you aren't having meat and dairy at the same meal. You think animal sacrifice is the way to go, and you think it's fine for men to have multiple wives or relationships with their servants, like Abraham and Jacob. So really, EVERYONE is a revisionist in some ways!

I think you look at whether you're doing anything in excess or for the wrong reasons. If someone avoids alcohol but winds up treating people shabbily and disrespectfully, they are far less of a religious example than someone who drinks wine, and benefits humanity.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

There is no one Christian view on alcohol consumption. Some denominations consider it a sin, some don't. Same for smoking, dancing, and wearing certain articles of clothing.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think, like anything religious, it is subject to individual interpretation.

I'd also suggest that there is no "Christian church" entity... there are so many different groups which fall under the Christian umbrella that it would be impossible to tease out one answer. Adventists don't drink. Baptists don't drink. My folks on dad's side were fundamentalists who didn't drink until they did start, and are very moderate.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

"What is the Christian church's official view on alcohol?"

Well, there really is no such thing as "the Christian church." There are many, many Christian churches, each with its own set of teachings.

Some Christian denominations preach against alcohol. Southern Baptist comes to mind, but I'm not sure. Probably some non-denominational churches, as well.

As an Irish Catholic, so even though my family did not drink much, I heard all kinds of jokes about the stereotypes of Irish Catholics. My husband (also Catholic, but not Irish) is a recovering alcoholic. So there is no alcohol in our house.

It's my understanding that Alcoholism is more about addictions. While for many people it's an addiction to alcohol that causes problems in their lives, in many ways it's their tenancy towards addictions that they need to understand and learn to live with.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I thought abstaining from alcohol was a Mormon thing?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I read the same response you did to another question and had the same disagreement. I'm Catholic (which is of course only one type of Christian so I hardly speak for all) and alcohol is certainly not frowned upon or discouraged in the church. Wine is given at Communion and is, of course, mentioned throughout the scriptures. Alcohol is served at some church events, our Pastor has his favorite liquor, and alcohol is a very large part of the Irish, Italian and Portuguese cultures that are the dominant Catholic ethnicities in my region.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

As far as I know the Bible says alcohol is fine in moderation.

Some denominations think alcohol causes nothing but trouble so they abstain as a religious tradition (or social prudence) even though it isn't expressly forbidden in the Bible while others interpret the Bible to read that alcohol is against God's law and so they abstain on that principle.

Then you have other denominations who stick to the alcohol is a gift from God gospel.

As far as I know everyone agrees that straight up drunkenness is a no no.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It depends on your personal beliefs and the beliefs of your church or denomination. There are so many different denominations and some are more strict than others. I was raised that moderation was OK, but my grandmother is a tee-totaller.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from unknown city on

I am Lutheran as well and raised to believe in "moderation".

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,

There are official denominational stances on drinking. I have friends that are Baptist and they say anything that can make you lose your sense, drinking, drugs, etc is not right. I personally (and quite Presbyterian in my thinking) believe that Christ was our perfect example on earth. He drank wine at many celebrations. How can it be a sin if Christ partook?

M. 😄

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

There are parts in the bible that talk about God giving you this body and how you should treat it like a temple, for some faiths that means not doing things that could damage it, like drinking or smoking. I know the Mormon faith is strict on this at most churches, and even some Pagans avoid drink due to the "harm none" part of our creed. It just depends on how you or your church interpret those parts of your holy book.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Some denominations teach drinking alcohol is a sin. Some don't bother with it and drink whenever they want.

One of my friends from university had gone to St. Gregory's in Shawnee. They'd sit outside in the quad, or someplace picnic like, and the nuns and priests and students would drink on Friday evening. It was a nice tradition that everyone enjoyed and it brought them together, they were a more cohesive group.

Then there are the religions that teach it's a mortal sin, well, almost. They are quite rigid and if you are found out, even a mixed drink at a social event where you sipped all evening on the same glass, then you're out of favor, called on the carpet, you lose your standing in the congregation and if you had any callings such as youth leader or Sunday school teacher or anything you are booted from that position.

Then there are the ones that preach it's bad for you, it's a nasty habit that can grow and take over your life and that it is a choice to first...then it gets where it's not a choice. So don't start it. Even if there is no history in your family you can become an alcoholic or addict.

Then there are those who openly condemn it but secretly have lavish wine cellars and liquor cabinets fully stocked with numerous types of alcohol. Secretly drank of course.

Depending on your choices and beliefs you should always connect with a religion that holds the same values as you do. If you ever were to go, then you'd need to make sure you didn't pick an organization that is completely against it if you grow grapes and make wine. If you are completely against it then there will be a lot of places you can go to hear that it's okay as long as you are not being a drunk.



answers from Rochester on

It totally depends on the denomination. I grew up in an American Baptist Church. I don't remember being told drinking was bad, it was just understood that you didn't drink. I had friends who were Mormon and from conservative Baptist churches who definitely were taught that drinking was a sin. My parents didn't drink so I never wondered about it. I went to an ABC college but there were people from all denominations and no church background. I knew people who drank but I didn't until I was 21 and then it was minimal. I went through times when I drank more, but never to excess. I've only felt a buzz a handful of times. It just isn't me. I now attend an ELCA Lutheran church. Some people drink, some don't. A lot of my friends who don't drink grew up with parents who didn't drink or parents who were alcoholics and caused chaos in their lives. To me, drinking is ok as long it is done responsibly, safely, and in moderation.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions