The difference between alcohol use and alcohol abuse

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YOURSAY | ‘You talked about responsible polygamy. There is also responsible beer drinking.’

Religious people enjoy singing too, Perlis mufti tells Zaid

FairMind: Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has responded to former minister Zaid Ibrahim, who had previously criticised opponents of the Better Beer Festival 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

Asri said that alcohol was considered bad by all rational people as it had become a problem to society. He added that there was a difference between halal polygamy and beer-drinking, as the latter would lead to “free sex with women”, while the former had “rules and responsibilities”.

Asri, in any society there will be a few black sheep. Sure, there are a few beer drinkers who will get drunk and engage in undesirable activities. But the vast majority don't get drunk or are involved in undesirable activities; they are just there to enjoy the merriment.

It’s just the same with Islam, there will be a few black sheep. Do you blame Islam or write off Islam as not being a good religion just because of these few black sheep? You deal with the minority black sheep by educating them and not by banning the majority of white sheep.

You talked about responsible polygamy. There is also responsible beer drinking.

Asri, you know that the real reason behind the ban on beer drinking is more about Malay/Muslim hegemony in minding other non-Muslims' business, rather than the bad beer-drinking habits of a few black sheep.

Vijay47: Asri, you appear to know hardly anything about the guiding light within non-Muslim faiths since you seem very satisfied with the tenets of Islam. Fair enough.

In seeking support, you claim alcohol is considered bad by all rational people. I don't think so, and I am as rational as they come. I think.

Where did you pick up this pearl of wisdom? Perhaps your standard of “rational” refers to your colleague Zakir Naik.

It is excess, sir, that is bad and this applies to food, speed, materialism, air sirap and alas, it also includes an activity so close to certain hearts and lower locations, sex.

It would be useful if you could also explain what prompts supposed teetotallers into bribes, arson, and raping a daughter or two.

Malaccan: Indeed, overindulgence is bad. The religious types are trying to typify the beer festival with the ills of excessive drinking. But the same can be said of other social vices like smoking, speeding, gossiping, etc.

The beer festival is for aficionados to experience a beverage that they enjoy and not a festival on debauchery or drunkenness which preoccupy certain mindsets. The religious types in Malaysia are themselves overindulging in make-believe piousness and morality.

In other places, it is called intolerant religious extremism. Even singing becomes an issue if it is not approved by these religious types, hence we had protests against certain performers.

Lest more be said, Malaysia is not an Islamic nation. The nation is a construct and cannot profess a belief. It has a secular constitution and Islam is the federal religion for the purposes of ceremonies and customs, as clarified by the courts before.

Pokokgetah: Yes, anything carried out to excess is bad. But imbibing alcohol in moderation should not be a problem.

The same can be said of eating, which in excess leads to obesity and the many medical problems that accompany it.

That does not mean we should ban food festivals “because such a festival would have negative effects”. Moderation is the key here, whether it is eating food or drinking beer.

As to whether “alcohol is considered bad by all rational people”, I guess it depends on how one defines “rational”. Should those who disagree be deemed “irrational”?

Hplooi: Even the “baseline” for a civil debate is not uniform, so how are we supposed to debate this?

The most contentious is an understanding of common terms. Example: the religious right's understanding of the term “rational people” is narrowly applied only to people who broadly agree with their moral judgment.

However, a “technical definition” of “rational” from the perspective of philosophy means “knowledge gleaned from logical thinking only” (in the “technical context” the antonym to “rational” would be “empirical”), or in the general colloquial sense (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary) "having reason or understanding" or "relating to, based on, agreeable to reason" or "based on facts or reasons and not on emotions or feelings". Note well that the general definition involves a “circular” invoking of “reason”.

With one broad stroke, the religious right can paint anyone who does not agree with them as "not rational". By this same logical chicanery, "liberal" is equated with "free sex" and enjoying beer is equated with "debauchery".

Anonymous 2471481495504548: Someone can't differentiate between alcohol abuse and alcohol use. "Beer festival leads to free sex with women" - wow, what a rational thought.

Not sure what evidence shows beers enhance sexual urges. Not consuming alcohol for religious belief is someone’s right that needs to be respected. But don't simply associate alcohol with debauchery or free sex.

Ferdtan: It is none of the religious leaders’ business to tell non-Muslims what to do, to drink or not to drink, either at home or in festivals. To each his/her own.

Most of us do not drink frequently, we are only social drinkers. The main reason why we are putting our foot down is because these religious bigots are interfering with our lives.

Vgeorgemy: Asri, we don’t believe in abandoning our religious beliefs just because certain fringe groups are involved in terror and killing. We will have the extreme elements in our society challenging the sanity of society till the kingdom comes.

The same goes for the consumption of alcoholic drinks. There is abuse among a small segment of drinkers, thus affecting the lives of families and communities.

We are treating individual abuse of substances as a medical issue and addressing it accordingly. There are also social volunteers or workers working alongside the religious establishments to address social issues.

You are misinterpreting Zaid’s statements defending our rights to liberty as glorifying illegal activities. That is not correct and mischievous from a respected person like your good self.

 Zaid was responding to the insensitivity shown towards a section of the population by certain civil servants who are to protect the rights accorded to us.

Fair Play: Asri, why not face the facts of life, regardless of one's religious inclination? Too much of everything, religion, drinking and money, yes money, et cetera, is bad.

Moderation in everything we do is key to a long and happy life.


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