Numerous times I’ve seen people claiming America is unique in how we treat alcohol. Prohibition (1920-1933) ruined everything in America, they claim. If we just taught others, including our children, moderate drinking, everything would be fine, just like it is in other countries.
They wax eloquent on the drinking utopias in Russia, France, England, Germany. Why, those countries they say, make alcohol a part of their everyday lives. They frown on drunkenness, yet learn to always drink responsibly and moderately.
As one among many recently said, You don’t see this kind of American debate against alcohol, in Europe where alcohol is just a part of the culture and its use is not attached to social stigma. Some have claimed American missionaries would be impolite to visit a Russian without drinking vodka with him.
So, Europe, Russia, and other countries don’t have the problems with alcohol that we Americans have? Well, their claims are impressive. The evidence, though, is lacking. Permit me to give the other side of the story.
French Combat Youth Binge-Drinking
“In decrying the excessive alcohol consumption of their compatriots, American and British health experts have long pointed to France with special admiration. Here, they said, was a society that masters moderate drinking. In wine-sipping France, the argument went, libation is just a small part of the broad festival of life, not the mind-altering prerequisite for a good time. The French don't wink like the English do at double-fisted drinking; they scorn people who lose control and get drunk in public. It's a neat argument. But it sounds a little Pollyannish now that France itself is grappling with widespread binge-drinking among its youth. Worse still, fully half of 17-year-olds reported having been drunk at least once during the previous month.” -Time Magazine, July 17, 2008; quoted in “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”
Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia,
by Tulip Mazumdar Global health reporter
“The high number of early deaths in Russia is mainly due to people drinking too much alcohol, particularly vodka, research suggests.
The study, in The Lancet, says 25% of Russian men die before they are 55, and most of the deaths are down to alcohol. The comparable UK figure is 7%.
Causes of death include liver disease and alcohol poisoning. Many also die in accidents or after getting into fights.
The study is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.
Researchers from the Russian Cancer Centre in Moscow, Oxford University in the UK and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, in France, tracked the drinking patterns of 151,000 adults in three Russian cities over up to 10 years.”
-bbc.com; January 31, 2014.
Every fifth German has a drinking problem
“Launching the centre's Annual Addiction Report 2011 in Berlin on Tuesday, director Raphael Gaßmann, estimated one in five people aged 18 to 64 had a drinking problem.
‘Alcohol consumption remains conspicuously too high, too risky, with too many consequences,’ he said…
Moreover, the effects of binge drinking have become noticeably worse in recent years. The number of alcohol poisoning incidents climbed by nearly 112 percent between 2000 and 2009. Most disturbingly, such incidents rose 194 percent among people aged 20 to 25...
The deaths of 73,000 people aged 35 to 65 could be traced back to ‘alcohol-related health problems’ each year, which is about one fifth of all deaths, Gaßmann said. For men, the figure was roughly one in four.”
-The Local, Germany’s News In English; April 26, 2011.
Europeans Drink More Alcohol
“People in Europe drink more alcohol than in any other part of the world, downing the equivalent of 12.5 litres of pure alcohol a year or almost three glasses of wine a day, according to report by the World Health Organization and the European Commission…
The report found that in the European Union (EU), almost 12 percent of all deaths in 2004 among people aged 15-64 were due to alcohol - equivalent to 1 in 7 deaths in men and 1 in 13 deaths in women. Just over 3 percent of deaths were due to alcohol consumed by others.”
-reuters.com, March 27, 2012.
These are not the drinking utopias that some Americans claim. Like America, they are wracked with the problems of alcohol. Drinking beverage alcohol as a way of life and a cultural heritage may not be the answer, but the problem. Don’t drink, and Europeans may even consider you wise.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 7, AD 2015.
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the Book; update
The Problem With Drunk Preachers
Israel, May They Prosper Who Love You
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Bob Jones, Sr. on Wine, Alcohol, Christian Drinking
More articles in lower right margin.