Is Alcohol Intrinsically Sinful?

“It’s a bad drug, man. It’s the only drug we know that actually makes people more aggressive, so you see a massive effect on crime rates. Half the people who murder someone are drunk. And half the people who are murdered are drunk.”

That was Jordan Peterson in May of 2019 talking about alcohol with comedian Theo Von, who used to be an alcoholic and heavy drug user. Peterson, who is a self-proclaimed “fan of alcohol”, is also starkly aware of the negative effects alcohol can have on a person.

“You do stupid things when you’re drunk. You hurt yourself; you compromise your health. It’s really hard on the people around you. You tend to turn into a liar. And it screws up your life.”

So why risk it? Why drink alcohol? And more importantly, is drinking alcohol sinful? Does it put our souls in danger? These were the questions of a listener Richard who called into The Patrick Madrid Show after having recently discussed the topic with an attendee of a Catholic event who objected to the fact that the event was serving alcohol.

The attendee quoted Chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians to Richard, reminding him that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And he is correct. But as Patrick pointed out, there is a fine line between irresponsible drinking habits and simply enjoying alcohol in moderation.

The simplest explanation for how we know drinking alcohol is not intrinsically a sin is because of what took place at the Wedding Feast at Cana. The bride and groom ran out of wine. Mary, recognizing the need for more, went to Jesus. At first, he responded, “‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’” (John 2:4) But Mary knew that Jesus loved His mother infinitely. She also knew that He would do as she asked. She went to the servers and told them to listen to her son.

Jesus turned six stone jars of water into about 120 to 180 gallons of wine. When Mary asked Jesus to do something, He didn’t just do it begrudgingly. He did it well, He did it with love, and He did it generously.

“Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:10)

That should be sufficient evidence to convince any apprehensive Catholic that Jesus permitted the consumption of alcohol. But just in case it is not, Patrick also suggested another passage, this time from Deuteronomy.

“But if, when the LORD, your God, blesses you, the journey is too much for you and you are not able to bring your tithe, because the place which the LORD, your God, chooses to put his name is too far for you, you may exchange the tithe for money, and with the money securely in hand, go to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses.

You may then exchange the money for whatever you desire, oxen or sheep, wine or beer, or anything else you want, and there in the presence of the LORD, your God, you shall consume it and rejoice, you and your household together.” (Deuteronomy 14:24-26)

The dangers of alcohol will always be present. That fact will never change. Alcohol can result in drunkenness, thoughtlessness, stupidity, and aggression. Those things can lead to violence, abuse, and other criminal behavior. The key to maximizing the enjoyment of alcohol is moderation. That means different things for people with different body types and metabolisms, but it’s simply a matter of determining your limits and sticking to them. Recognizing one’s tolerance for alcohol is not a perfect science but doing your best to drink in moderation can be the difference between good-natured fun and making a grave mistake.

Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am-11am CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.