Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Islam's Alcohol Problem
It occurs to me that one big reason the Moslem world is filled with tumult, extremism, and violence is that Moslems are forbidden to drink alcohol, a substance that is renowned for relieving anxieties, lowering inhibitions, easing social interactions, and generally allowing people to relax and put their troubles aside for a while. Once a person can put pressing worries and urges to one side, he might be able to see things from a whole new perspective, and realize that what he had built up in his mind to monumental size isn't really so big after all.
Islam's alcohol problem is not that Moslems drink too much but that they don't drink at all.
Moslems need to drink. They need to work out interpersonal problems over a few beers or mixed drinks with the people they see as causing them difficulties, and talk to each other candidly and in good faith, without defensiveness and self-justifying indignation. Alcohol can help people let go of such negative emotions.
Islam is notoriously inhibited about all things sexual, outside of marriage (be it single or multiple marriage), again because men have to deal with their urges in isolation. Islam's absolutely unrealistic restrictions on even sexual thoughts is related to Islam's very dim view of human nature. To think is to do; to want is to covet and plan to take, by force if need be. To drink a little is to become a roaring alcoholic. No, none of that is true.
Islam needs to grow up, and realize that adults who are allowed to grow up and learn self-control, have mechanisms in place to prevent them from overdoing things. The view of the human creature in Islam seems to be based on the urges of a teenage boy whose raging hormones confuse his mind and impel him to do things without thought of the future or concern for the consequences. That is a very stupid view of the human creature, and by embracing that view, and forbidding people from even thinking about things that they shouldn't do, Islam stilts the very growth that would produce self-control.
Moslems need to drink socially and derive the benefits that other societies derive from the ability of alcohol to lower anxieties and inhibitions, and connect people with their own feelings and the feelings of others. Islam needs to end its ban on intoxicants, and go back to its first teaching on alcohol, that it is improper for people to attend to prayers while drunk (Koran 4:43), but OK to imbibe in moderation. If Moslem societies can learn to use alcohol for its beneficial effects, the levels of frustration and violence in Moslem societies should plummet.
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