My views on drugs and alcohol...
Tricky to answer this in a few sentences. It's a pretty weighty topic to engage in depending on the direction you take it in. Alcohol and drugs are certainly a mixed bag as a societal issue. I have seen the aftermath of addiction and it is not pretty, but I also respect the cultural aspect of engaging in these activities. I personally enjoy beer, wine, and cocktails (in moderation) but I don't partake in any illegal drugs. Denver is a great city for beer, and more and more, pot as well (the medical marijuana industry is far bigger here than even in California from what I have seen). Not my bag, personally, but I do know many people with their "cards," and I don't judge. I hope that people make smart decisions for themselves and while something may not be for me, I won't look down on people who live their lives differently. I do believe in modern medicine and will mostly take a pill that is prescribed if there is no other way to handle the problem (pain-killer, antibiotics), but I do try to limit excessive medication. Moderation is key for me!
As far religion goes... I describe myself as a "recovering Catholic." I grew up in an Italian Catholic family and while I do not believe in organized religion (or religion period), there is a huge familial tie to Catholicism that I just can't break - hence the "recovering" part. I will always have that in my soul. I grew up with religion in my head and my words, but it never translated to my heart. As an adult I describe myself as a secular humanist. I believe in people and being good because, well, you want to be good. Not because someone is leading you in that direction. But again, I don't judge those who feel differently (full disclosure -I do hate on some whacked out religions in my own home, but I would never publicly mock something so personal as religion). I have friends of all persuasions, so I certainly don't use that as friendship criteria. I think that I am lucky that I grew up in such a diverse place (San Francisco Bay Area), because I have a healthy understanding of world religions and not just Christianity.
When I do have children, I want to let them make religious choices on their own. If they want to explore church, any church, I will encourage that. I want my kids to be aware of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. because I would want them to do whatever makes their heart happy. As someone who studied a lot of social science, I understand the societal need for religion. When Marx said that religion is "opiate for the masses," I get the point he was making. Not that it was frivolous or unhealthy, but that the beaten down masses needed something to look forward to, something to make all the madness make sense. And I don't mean to sound arrogant... I'm not the one who said it in the first place... but I get why it works for a lot of people world wide. And I will be the first to admit that I come at the world from a Christian view point and that perspective dies hard. But I also will admit that I don't think that is the *only* way to live. And some days, when I really think how many wars have been waged in the name of religion, I think back to John Lennon's words... "imagine... no religion." And it makes sense to me - sometimes something meant to uplifting and life affirming can turn into something ugly and controlling.
But like I said, I am all for live and let live. As corny as it sounds, I want to be around happy and healthy positive people and I am all for whatever makes someone that way.