NGO criticisms on the idea that abstinence is the absolute priority
Some people think that the idea of total abstinence is deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But this is not true. Of course abstaining from worldy pleasures like sex and drugs had an intrinsic value according to many religious traditions from the beginnings of the civilization, but the idea that total abstinence should be prescribed for mainstream society as the only ethically acceptable way is a modern idea. As Harry G. Levine points out in his article, the concept of “addiction” itself was discovered in the end of the 18th century, followed by the concept of total prohibition. Most church fathers, like most Greek philosophers, promoted the virtue of temperance (understood as moderation) instead of abstentism, and attacked Gnostic and Manichean groups who rejected even the moderate use of wine. In those times people who were in favour of total abstinence were considered heretics and “fools” (John Chrysostom) – in our times people who promote the idea of moderation with regard to drugs and drug policies are labeled as the “pro-drug lobby”.
Posted by Peter Sarosi