A STUDY OF PROVERBS 23:29-35 AND THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOLISM IN NIGERIAN SOCIETY-TH HE ROLE OFTHE CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the Study Alcohol has many usage and contrasting connotations. A glass of wine with a meal can symbolize Love, friendship, relaxation and enjoyment of a special occasion. It can represent romance, coming of age, success, beginnings and endings, good news and good company. At a Christian Eucharist or Jewish Passover, where wine is also shared, thanks are given to God for divine salvation from all that were enslaved, restricted and condemned. In drinking the wine, Christians participate with the first disciples in their Last Supper with Christ, and Jews participate with the ancient Hebrews in their exodus from enslavement in Egypt. In African tradition, wine is used to portray a relationship and communion between the living human and ancestors, deities and other supernatural entities. This is evidence in covenant establishment, oath taking, daily ritual of libation, burial and institution of shrines and altars. Also in marriage ceremonies, the usage of alcoholic wine is indispensible even against the vehement opposition of Pentecostal churches in Africa with Nigeria as typical example. Ekwe (2000) stated that apart from water and wind, wine is another integral and indispensible part of African life and living. The presence is felt in almost all the activities of African customs and traditions ranging from burials, rituals, marriages, oath takings, covenant establishments, meetings, hospitalities, evening relaxation to all forms of their daily activities. Unfortunately, the sacredness and redemptiveness of these occasions contrast with the association of alcohol with drunken violence in our towns and cities, cirrhosis of the liver on our medical wards, debts in families, death on our roads and numbers of fights in families. It contrasts more especially with the enslavement, which is alcoholism or alcohol addiction. This contrasting nature of alcoholic drink is clearly revealed in different chapters and verses of the Hebrew Scripture, the Old Testament. Serious warnings were placed on the need to avoid addiction and lust towards alcoholic wine. At some instances, some people were strictly warned not to taste alcoholic wine or partake in meals that have connection with alcohol. For instance, Nazarites like Samson in Judges 13:7, Princes in Proverbs 31:4 and the Rechabite family in Jeremiah 35 were in this category. The book of Proverbs 23:29-35 which is the case study of this research work pointed out and analyze the state, condition and ordeals of an alcoholic drinker and the problem of addiction even in this contemporary era. In more purely statistical and objective terms, alcohol misuse is a contemporary social problem of enormous economic significance, which exacts a high toll of human suffering as a result of the social, psychological and medical harms to which it gives rise. Alcohol related morbidity and mortality are high in most parts of the world, and in many developing nations like Nigeria, alcohol consumption and its concomitant harms are on the increase. Yet, moderate alcohol consumption is tolerated, enjoyed and encouraged, with the majority of the adult population being drinkers of alcohol in almost all countries other than those with an Islamic culture.