Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is Getting Drunk a Mortal Sin

At our last meeting we decided to address the most common question asked at A&M and brainstormed some responses. This post is the result.

Define the Question:

The first suggestion was to make sure you understood the question being asked. Although this sounds like a very simple question, it could have several different meanings...

What does the person mean by "mortal sin"?

A lot of people throw out the term "mortal sin" around without any idea what it means. For most people it's a vague notion of something very bad that you should never, ever do, but what is mortal sin exactly?

We are called to be in a relationship with God and when we sin we are choosing a lesser perceived good over that ultimate good. When you flick someone off in traffic, you're choosing a perceived good (letting that jerk know what a horrid driver he is) over the greater good (loving one's neighbor as yourself).

Mortal sin is rejection of that relationship completely; turning your back after spitting in his face. It severs the relationship with God when we commit a sufficiently grave act with full knowledge and consent of the will.

Based on this the question becomes not, "how much can I drink before it's sufficently bad" but, "am I choosing to turn away from doing God's will?"

At this point we asked what was meant by getting drunk.

Were they talking about having one too many drinks or purposefully going out and getting trashed?

Drinking in and of itself is not sinful, Jesus himself made and drank the finest wine. Drinking in excess, however, can be unhealthy and even lead to serious medical problems. Also, it can inhibit your ability to discern right from wrong, are you drinking to not be responsible for the actions you take?

No one can analyze another's heart (which is why we're called not to judge), but we can each look into our own actions and consider whether an act is leading us closer or further from God.

This is as far as we got in the meeting, if you are interested in the ethics behind drinking (with plenty of biblical sources) check out the answer given by A&M.

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