18 and Drinking…

Four Georgia college presidents have signed on to a national initiative to fight binge drinking by their students — by lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.

Launched in July 2008, the Amethyst Initiative is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States. These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the problem of irresponsible drinking by young people continues despite the minimum legal drinking age of 21, and there is a culture of dangerous binge drinking on many campuses. 1

As it currently stands, 18 year olds are allowed to smoke, drive, join the military, get married, open lines of credit, vote, etc. but you are not allowed to drink a glass of wine with dinner, or have a beer with friends. The Amethyst Initiative was started as a way to prevent Alcohol abuse among young adults. Their theory is that if 18 year old College Students are allowed to drink, then they will drink more responsibly. The reason why they do not drink responsibly now is because they’re not allowed to do it at all.

I started to drink when I was about 16. We drank and got drunk. It wasn’t a weekly occurrence for me, but when we drank, we did it with the idea that we were going to get drunk. I believe the Amethyst organization believes that if we were allowed to drink, then we wouldn’t need to find excuses to buy an excess amount of alcohol to get drunk. It would be a more casual thing for everyone. It seems to make sense, in a way.

By the way, Amethyst “is derived from the Ancient Greek words meaning ‘not’ (a-) and ‘intoxicated’ (methustos). According to mythology, Amethyst was a young girl who incurred the wrath of the God Dionysus after he became intoxicated with red wine.” 2

Personally, I think that drinking at 8 is fine. There are whole countries that have no limit on the drinking age, many of which have lower alcohol related tragedies than America. I also believe that God does not condemn drinking alcohol.

What are your thoughts on all of this?

Here are some more articles about this:

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  1. I have one word …. prohibition.

    Ok … more than one word …. ;) … failure ….

    Will there ever come a point when we realize that we cannot legislate morality?

  2. Heather,

    Yeah, who knows what we’re thinking… Perhaps if we make everything illegal God will love us!

    God’s Glory,

  3. Lew,

    Prohibition cannot work, but Heather is absolutely right with her question.

    This country has some of the most liberal drinking laws in the world, yet governments and social agencies are saying we are in crisis over the matter of drinking. Alcohol has been identified as the major cause of most serious crime such as rape, assault,murder, manslaughter etc., as well as dysfunction in families and society in general. Longer hours of availability have been tried (18-20 hours in nightclubs) and matters got worse.

    Having spent most of 50 years of eldership ministry involvement with families, I have no hesitation in saying that alcohol has been the major element in the problems with which I had to deal in regard to dysfunctional issues.

    I have never criticized or condoned drinking alcohol during my ministry, but have observed that drinkers usually, not always, stop having the need of alcohol to prop them up in life, when they become believers in Christ..

  4. I’ll have to think about it over a beer…

    Okay, seriously. I remember the first time I figured out that the Bible doesn’t say, “thou shalt not consume alcohol…” I was doing outreach on a Tuesday night and the couple we were visiting had a few questions about the church and Christianity in general. All was going well until the lady asked why we Baptists had a problem with social drinking or drinking wine with dinner. I looked and looked but to no avail…it’s not in there.

    I’m with Heather on the legislating morality thing…it doesn’t work on issues like drinking or even abortion. (not to open that can of worms) If the church weren’t so dysfunctional some of these issues might all but disappear.

  5. Aussiejohn

    I totally agree about believers in Christ stop having the need of alcohol to prop them up. As you said, this isn’t always the case, as we often battle the old man in our daily lives.


    Yeah, it’s amazing how simplistic Scripture can be, when we actually read it :).

    God’s Glory,

    P.S. It’s a sin to use Energizer batteries.

  6. Hey Lew, long time no see.

    I agree. No one gets taught responsibility through ignorance, and that’s what legislating moral stuff like drinking does… maybe.

  7. It is true that you cannot legislate morality. But you can control behavior with laws and enforcement of those laws. It becomes important to control behavior when it is evident that certain behaviors endanger and devalue life and violates the liberties others who may be defenseless including the ones engaging in said behavior. It all depends on what behavior you wish to curb and whom you wish to protect.

    My husband talks of the time he spent in Sweden as a teen in the 1970’s. Young people could drink but no one drove drunk. Why? Everyone knew that if you were caught, and most likely you would be, then you lost your license, no wiggle room no second chances no need to have gotten into a wreck or killed anyone. If you were caught again, you were thrown in jail, again not because of a wreck or causing a death, just getting caught drinking and driving.

    But decrease binge drinking? Not if my husband’s friends were typical. Instead they drank like fish and rode bikes to and from the pubs (woulda loved to see that) or had a sober driver. I don’t think that he paid much attention to domestic violence problems or college students falling from windows and balconies so I can’t speak to the other ills that over indulging brings.

    Maybe eighteen year olds ought to do some of those things that they are allowed to do, like hold a full time adult job, serve, be responsible for a family; instead of sitting around at a college dorm, whining about what they can’t do that would of course finally prove that they are adults, as they down a couple of six packs each.

    You can’t legislate morality but you sure can instill and influence it.

  8. Lanny,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I’d have to disagree a little though. You can’t control behavior with laws and enforcement of those laws. You may be able to prevent people from doing illegal things, but I can assure you, some will still break the law :).

    One question about your husband’s testimony. You said that he spent some time as a teen in Sweden. However, was he raised in Sweden? Were his friends from Sweden? The context of his situation may be revealing. I’m not saying that it will prove my point, it may and probably will help yours. But some may read your comment and say that your husbands experience is not normal compared to people who are raised in a society where there is no drinking age limit.

    By the way, I don’t really think it is the eighteen year olds who are complaining that they cannot drink. This movement is mostly from university leaders. When I was 18 I didn’t complain that I couldn’t legally drink – I just drank illegally. It wasn’t really a big deal to us.

    Thanks again for the comment.

    God’s Glory,

  9. When I lived in Australia, there were laws against teen drinking and such, but it didn’t stop them. Then I moved back to Brazil, and although there was a “law”, it was NOT enforced and I didn’t come across that many minors who drank. However, I did hang around older people too, and I would have joined them at 13 if it weren’t for the fear of how ridiculous I would look drunk and the gossip that would then follow. I was so close to doing it. Maybe something else that stopped me is that I really don’t like the taste. Thankfully, I came to know the Lord soon afterward. It appeared that it was after they turned 18 (the legal age there) that they started to drink to get drunk. Why? Because of what Aussie John said, they didn’t know Christ. I had a friend who told me how she had everything she desired in life (was in college studying what she wanted, etc.), but she started drinking because something was missing. She wasn’t in a dorm, as it is common for many Brazilians to stay home while in College. Sadly, she still didn’t think Christ was “for her”.
    And then here in the US, I remember a classmate telling me she went out on her 21st birthday. Her friends made her get drunk. She said it was awful, but soon enough she and some other people from our class would be going out often to get drunk. Then it was cool.
    And most of my childhood friends still like to go out to get drunk.
    Like Heather alluded, morality can’t be legislated. Laws don’t change hearts. Christ does.

  10. Renata,

    Thanks for the added testimony. It is good to hear from people who have lived in other places and have a different cultural perspective. Thanks!

    God’s Glory,

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