Know Your Bible

VOL. 8                           March 15, 2009                           NO. 8

Drinking "Responsibly" & "Safe" Sex

    The alcohol manufacturing industry has a long-running promotion that promotes what they call the 'designated driver' program in which they encourage people [who are going out to drink alcohol] to designate one person who will not drink alcohol so they will be able to drive the drunk ones home after they have sufficiently indulged to the point they cannot see straight. After all, the alcohol industry wouldn't want to get any bad publicity, right? "Keep buying and imbibing our product, but drink responsibly," they say. I am sure they understand, as well as I, that the more their product is consumed, the less responsible someone will be and, as a result, around 50% of this country's annual highway deaths are attributed to drivers who did not 'drink responsibly.' Only when state and national government agencies began cracking down on DUIs and DWIs did the industry begin to take responsibility themselves, but you can be sure they are not going to quit producing the product altogether; there is too much money to be made!

    The wise writer had a few words about this product whose makers suggest we all imbibe 'responsibly.' Listen to his words: "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 'They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?'" (Prov. 23:29-35).

    There are people who make a living out of being handlers of poisonous snakes, but I can't say I've ever heard anyone in that business advertising or promoting the idea that we should all handle deadly snakes, as long as we do it 'responsibly'! Friends and brethren, this is the equivalent of consuming alcohol! The wise writer says it "bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper," yet the producers of this substance actually want us to believe it can be consumed 'responsibly'! How many parents would tell their kids, "Now go out and pick up that rattlesnake, little Johnny, but do it responsibly"? No one in their right mind would do that, but how many parents are telling their kids, "It's all right to drink alcohol, just drink responsibly"? Far too many, I am afraid.

    And yet how many Christians attempt to justify even 'social drinking' or imbibing in this substance, 'as long as it's in private'? I have personally heard some run to 1 Timothy 5:23 as justification for drinking 'in moderation', yet none have told me they are doing it for their "frequent infirmities"; it seems that they drink because they want to drink. Some have actually argued that since the qualifications for deacons specifies they are to be "not given to much wine" (1 Tim. 3:8), this somehow gives permission to drink a little wine. [This necessarily means "much" and "a little" are purely arbitrary judgments and, as stated previously, the consumption of alcohol impairs one's abilityto use reasonable judgment. One who starts out with "a little" may not realize he has consumed "much" until it is too late!] Will we use this argument with Eccl. 7:17, and argue that "a little" wickedness is just fine, since the charge was to "not be overly wicked"? Surely not!

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], alcohol abuse cost society $28.7 billion [in 1992] "from direct costs and losses in productivity related to crime, social welfare expenditures, motor vehicle crashes, and fire destruction." According to NIDA, "Alcohol is responsible for about 25 to 30 percent of violent crime and 3 to 4 percent of property crime." While some brethren may think alcohol consumption is "okay" as long as they do it at home [out of sight], police departments across this country can tell you that domestic calls are most frequently alcohol-related [up to 75%]. On NIDA's web site, they made this statement: "Alcohol increases brain serotonin function temporarily, but thereafter, serotonin levels drop below normal levels (Pihl and Peterson 1993). This reduction in brain serotonin function is "associated with heightened vulnerability to depression, increased risk of violent suicide, propensity to exhibit aggressive or impulsive behavior, and susceptibility to alcohol abuse" (Pihl and Peterson 1993). These properties are strongly indicative of a causal link between alcohol abuse and violence, even though alcohol is only one factor among many that have been found to contribute to violence and aggressive behavior." When we consider the commands of our Lord to "think soberly" (Rom. 12:3), to "be sober-minded" (Titus 2:6), and to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8), why would I want to consume something like this that either reduces greatly or takes away completely my ability to think soberly? 'Drink responsibly'? What a farce!

    And then there is the movement that has been aimed squarely at our young folks and its deception has reached to even supposedly 'responsible' adults, and that is the lie of "safe sex." For years now, some groups have promoted the idea of handing out items that purports to allow teens to engage in extramarital sexual relationships 'safely.' Instruction is given in public schools to children as young as six years old about sexual intercourse and practices and actual 'how-to' classes for using sexually-related objects. When outraged parents protest, the pathetic answer is often, "They're going to do it anyway!" "So," they continue, "why not do it safely?"

    Why not? Hey, let's go a little farther, shall we? Since teens are going to lie and cheat on tests, why don't we set up a web site they can go to to get all the answers and pass all the tests? According to polls from the last decade, they are already "doing it" so why not make sure they do it 'safely'? And since teens are going to do drugs, why not set up kiosks at school so they can get 'safe' drugs without all those harmful pesticides and impurities they might get in the street_bought drugs? Just send a portion of the proceeds to drug-prevention programs and that will soothe the consciences of parents and teens, in case they feel awkward. And since some urban areas have high rates of gang violence and teens in those areas have a high death rate, why not provide them the guns so they won't be stealing to get them? Wouldn't that reduce at least one level of crimes tied to gang violence?

    I hope you see the utter absurdity of the things suggested in the last paragraph, but I hope you also see the utter absurdity of the arguments of those who think we should encourage sexual promiscuity by handing out sexual aids [there's a term that should scare you]! If the manufacturers of these "aids" admit their product has even a small failure rate, it really isn't "safe" is it?

    I am reminded of a story where a parent went to a parent-teacher conference and forum on the sexual education classes being taught. This parent, who believed strongly in teaching abstinence, greeted the chief promoter of the opposing view and made his case, only to be ridiculed and told how it is outdated and insufficient for today''s teens. He pressed on with his position, however, and was politely told such views had no place in the current class setting. The embarrassed parent stepped aside and sat down, away from those happily mingling with one another. Later, this one who was so vocal about promoting "modern" sex-ed classes stood up and announced, "May I have your attention please?!? Please, sit down and we will continue the discussion together." Everyone found a seat and the speaker then spoke up again. "Everyone look on the back of your name tags that were given to you when you came into the room. On the back of one person's tag, there is a red dot; who has it?" One woman stood up and admitted it was she who had the tag. The speaker then continued, "Now, how many of you shook hands with this woman?" Several hands were raised in the air, almost the entire assembly. "Now," said the speaker, "the red dot represents one who is infected with AIDS; everyone who shook hands with her is also now infected. Do you see the importance of this class now?" The assembly immediately started exchanging shocked and surprised looks with one another and the buzz was deafening. But in the corner, that concerned and previously embarrassed parent slowly stood up and quietly said,"Excuse me." The buzz died down quickly and all eyes were on him now. He then said in a voice that was quiet, but which all could now hear, "Excuse me, but I am not 'infected'; I abstained."

    Point made: There is only one way to ensure "safe sex." Hopefully, this is not something that is news to parents who are trying to raise their children according to the instruction of God's word. The writer of Hebrews said, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4). The only "safe" sex, according to God, is within the marriage union. Every other indulgence places your body in danger of contracting deadly diseases and your soul in danger of judgment. That, by no means, could be called "safe."

    We could go on with the discussion of these, and other, issues, but let us recognize that these concepts do not come from the mind of God; they come from men who seek to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh without guilt. Though Satan would have us believe there is a "safe" way to indulge in sin, don't believe it!

---Steven Harper

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