Christians’ views about alcohol consumption have remained steady over the last 10 years. This is according to a new study by Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
Out of 1000 Protestant churchgoers, 41% said they drink alcohol, while 59% said they don’t. Back in 2007, the survey showed that 39% of Protestant churchgoers said they consume alcohol, while 61% said they don’t. According to LifeWay Research Executive Director Scott McConnell, “While alcohol consumption continues be seen as mainstream in the United States, churchgoers’ attitudes about drinking haven’t changed much in the past decade.”
Compared to 2007 results wherein 82% of churchgoers agree that the Scripture says people should not get drunk, the new survey revealed an increase, as almost nine in 10 respondents (87%) agree to the statement. However, when it comes to total abstinence, 23% of Protestant churchgoers believe that the Scripture indicates that people should not consume alcohol, while 71% disagree.
The survey also found a decrease in the share of churchgoers who believe that the Scripture teaches against any form of alcohol consumption over the last 10 years. In 2007, only 29% said the Scripture teaches people not to consume alcohol, while 68% said otherwise.
More than half of survey respondents said the Scripture indicates that all types of beverages including alcohol can be consumed without sin. Likewise, 54% said Biblical liberty is exercised when consuming alcohol in reasonable amounts.
Demographic factors such as age, geography, and denominational affiliation affect the attitudes and behaviors related to drinking alcohol. For instance, survey reveals that male churchgoers (48%) are more likely to say they consume alcohol compared to female churchgoers (37%).
When it comes to age groups, 50% of churchgoers who are between 18 and 24 years old said they drink alcohol. Forty-one percent of churchgoers who belong to the 35-49 age group said they consume alcohol, while 44% of respondents who are between 50 and 64 years old said they drink. The age group that is least likely to say they drink alcohol is age 65 and above – only 32% said they consume alcohol.
The survey likewise revealed that churchgoers with higher education are more likely to say they consume alcohol. Churchgoers with a graduate degree are most likely to say they consume alcohol (62%). This was followed by respondents who have a bachelor’s degree (59%), some college (46%), and those who are high school graduates or less (26%).
“Churchgoers’ perspectives on alcohol are not changing very fast,” said McConnell. “The majority believe that biblically they can drink, but they choose not to.”