Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

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Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby vendace20 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:28 pm

Full title: "Is It Okay for Christians to Use Marijuana (Cannabis) and Other Drugs?"

Before we start, I'd like to note that English is my second language, meaning my grammar isn't going to be perfect. Also, I am a Christian, if that happens to interest anyone. Also, the following ackowledgements shall be made: This critique focuses mainly on natural, hallucinogenic substances. I will not address synthetic compounds or stimulants or depressives. Let's get right to it, shall we?

Background: Psychoactive drugs are divided into three main groups: Stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, etc), Depressants (opioids, alcohol, etc) and Hallucinogens (THC [marijuana], LSD, psilocybin, mescaline).

In the second paragraph, the writer basically says that smoking and marijuana are not mentioned in the Bible. This is an honest, but troublesome admission. In the time that the New (and Old) Testaments were being written, smoking existed; perhaps most prominantly in the Native American cultures. So my question to all is: Why didn't the Bible know anything about it? If it is the inerrant word of God and it wished to prohibit smoking, why didn't it do so? God certainly knew what the Native Americans were doing. However, in his book he raised no objections. Now we get to the writer's case that smoking marijuana (or taking any other psychoactive drugs) is a sin.

Is smoking weed a sin? Although the Bible does not address marijuana directly, it does discuss other mind-altering drugs[1]. Specifically, the Bible addresses the use of drugs in the book of Galatians[2]:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)


Three things to note here. First of all, it discusses only one mind-altering drug (alcohol), which, one should note, is artificially made unlike all the psychoactive compunds contained in plants. In other words, alcohol is created by man whereas, say, psilocybe mushrooms were created by God. I'll return to this topic in a minute. Second, the writer is quoting a letter which wasn't written by God. I'm sure there might be something in the Gospels (= spoken by Jesus) against alcohol use (and even then it would only address drunkenness). The writer continues:
So, where are the drugs mentioned in this verse? Actually, the word translated "sorcery" is the Greek word pharmakeia,4 from which we get the English word "pharmacy." The primary meaning is "the use or the administering of drugs" (usually associated with sorcery or idolatry). Since this verse comes from a list of things that if practiced would preclude one from heaven, this should be a reasonably strong suggestion that the Christian should not practice drug use. In addition, the book of Revelation lists drug use as one of the things for which the unrepentant will suffer the wrath of God.5


So, the central argument to the writer's case is that the word "sorcery" means "drug use". The evidence he gives is that the word sorcery is "pharmakeia" in Greek. Well, I went to Google Translator and looked whether or not this was true. I typed in "sorcery" and the results were: mageía, máv̱ri̱ mageía, goi̱teía, magía. I welcome anyone to try this and see for themselves. So, since I've refuted the writer's assertion that "sorcery" actually means "drug use", all conclusions that follow are invalid since they're based on an invalid premise. It doesn't matter if the greek word "pharmakeia" means "drug use", since "sorcery" does not translate into pharmakeia.

Thus far every argument against drug use has been invalid (however, I will concede that the Bible does condemn people who abuse alcohol.) That's another noteworthy thing. The Bible, when it condemns drinking alcohol, always makes it fairly clear that the people abusing the substance "won't inherit the kingdom of God", it doesn't extend to people who use it in moderation. So even if the argument I discussed before was valid, it wouldn't extend to every single human being who's ever drunk a single drop of alcohol in their life (only to alcoholics).

The next paragraph is basically filled with arguments that have been already discussed; they require no further discussion since I've already shown their invalidity. But I will address this point: "In the New Testament, those who serve in the body of Christ are not to be addicted to wine or any other sordid thing.15 Even those who do not directly serve in the church are warned not to be addicted to wine.16" Notice that this only condems abusers, not users who drink in moderation.

...Because when one use marijuana, one is legally intoxicated and incapable of clear thinking and reasonable reactions[1]. Being intoxicated is clearly condemned in scripture[2]. So, if one uses drugs or anything else to escape and get high[3], or is addicted to these substances[4], it is against the commands of scripture and inappropriate for Christian participation[5].


Here, I think, a very important distinction should be made. During this entire post I'm only talking about "soft" drugs, which include (but are not limited to) the following: Psilocybe mushrooms, peyote, marijuana, salvia divinorum, etc. I am not referring to hard drugs (since that is a different discussion for a different day.) So, there are 5 points I have issue with. 1: Yes, psychoctive compounds cause intoxication. The problem here is that especially hallucinogens affect each individual differently. Some may be very high or on a very intense trip from a very little dose, while some may be capable of performing tasks which require a lot of mental effort even at high doses. But in no case do soft drugs (at reasonable doses) make someone a zombie with no control over his/her actions. On the contrary, many are capable of "clear thinking and reasonable actions" even while under the effects of hallucinogens. Now, I agree that no one should drive under the influence of anything, but that is beside the point. 2: Intoxication is not condemned in the Bible, it only condemns "drunkenness"/addiction to alcohol (= alcoholism). 3: The two reasons given for drug usage are minor (although many like the high that marijuana gives.) There are hundreds of other reasons why people use hallucinogens (yes, marijuana is a hallucinogen). Some may use it as an entheogen (for religious purposes), while others may want to explore the human psyche. Hallucinogens have also been used as a form of therapy, and it should be noted that it was extremely successful. I could go on and on, but you get the point. 4: (Natural) hallucinogens are not able to be addictive (and it's hard to abuse them as well). It's simply not possible. What do I mean by this? Well, first of all, users build up a very rapid tolerance to hallucinogens (marijuana is a bit of an exception, since it has stimulant, depressive and hallucinogenic properties. However, marijuana doesn't cause physical addiction, only possibly a mental addiction.) When one uses, say, psilocybin just once (regardless of dosage), (S)he will need DOUBLE the amount to get the SAME effects as long as the tolerance is in effect. The tolerance goes away in about 3-5 days, meaning that AT MOST, it can be used TWICE a week. This is just my humble opinion, but if someone uses a substance maybe once or twice a week (assuming they use it every time the second the tolerance disappers), they're NOT abusing it by any stretch of the imagination. Also, there is no possible method by which one could become addicted to ANY naturally occurring hallucinogen (even marijuana.) At most they'll be wanting to use it again, but when they stop using it, there will be NO withdrawal or anything else whatsoever. There is not a single person on this earth who has a physical addiction to (naturally occurring) hallucinogens. 5: I've already explained why this is false, but actually, my reasoning leads me to believe the opposite. I'll get back to that in a minute. This critique is getting quite long, so I won't go into great detail from here on out.

"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." The only exception to this command would be if those in authority directly contradicted the commands of God. Since smoking marijuana was never a command of God, Christians should not smoke marijuana where doing so is illegal.
This, again, was not said by Jesus but by a mortal (he was a holy and great mortal, but a mortal nevertheless.) But that isn't my main problem. If we extend this logic to its obvious conclusion, it means that God wanted abortion to be legal (just to throw a random example in here) and we, as Christians, should obey this (if we had lived in the USSR, we all should've obeyed their laws as well. God never prohibited communism, did he?). (Please don't address abortion in your reply, that is a totally different conversation for another day.) Also, God did kind of give us permission to use natural drugs. What do I mean by this? "Then God said: 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." Genesis 1:29, NIV Also, why did God create these plants if he didn't want us to use them for the obvious purpose that they serve? But I will be definitely returning to this topic when I'll make my case that Christians are permitted to use drugs and maybe even encouraged to do so.

The next paragraph ("Freedom in Christ") is basically addressing a straw man; I see no need to say anything about it. The writer continues:
Obviously, smoking marijuana does nothing to fulfill this most important commandment. Along the same lines, Jesus said that people should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.23 However, these days, it seems that many "Christians" seek first the kingdom of self and its attendant pleasures.
Why should it have to fulfill it? Not everything we do has to fulfill: "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND" This could easily be expanded into an argument against ANY non-religious activity performed by Christians.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
This perfectly describes basic human nature and also any period in mankind's history.

Regarding Genesis 1:29 wrote:Marijuana smokers are especially fond of the King James version, since it uses the word "herb". However, the Hebrew word is much less specific, having the general meaning "plant," with the root word having the meaning "green." Further, the verse talks about fruit trees, indicating that the real meaning of the verse is about edible plants. So, the verse makes it clear that God created the plants for us for eating. It doesn't say anything about smoking them!
I don't understand why the writer is so obsessed with marijuana. It is only one drug, and there are thousands more. As far as I'm concerned, 1: Marijuana can also be eaten. 2: Marijuana is just about the only hallucinogen that is (or even can be) smoked. For example, if psilocybin mushrooms were to be smoked the heat would destroy any psychoactive compounds in the plant. Now that I've addressed all the important arguments in the article, let's get to my case.

I personally believe in theistic evolution, but I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that most people in this site are creationists of some sort. Hence, this case is tailor-made for any and all creationists who believe that god created the universe and the earth as it is now without evolution (so therefore anything that exists was specially created by God.) Also, since it's over midnight I'll only be giving one argument of my own. Maybe I'll go into more detail in a seperate topic.

So, my argument is going to be focusing on mushrooms containing psilocybin/psilocin. These mushrooms are hallucinogic (which is caused by psilocybin and/or psilocin.) Now, it's important to understand something. These mushrooms contain psilocybin and/or psilocin at varying levels. Some contain only psilocybin and abosolutely no psilocin. Now, psilocybin is actually an unactive compound. It doesn't cause ANY hallucinations. Then why do ALL "magic mushrooms" cause hallucinations you ask? It's because the liver converts psilocybin into psilocin. If it didn't, most "magic mushrooms" wouldn't do anything. Now, just so you understand the VERY complex and sophisticated process the liver goes through to convert psilocybin into a hallucinogenic compound, let me quote Wikipedia: "Psilocybin (O-phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a prodrug that is converted into the pharmacologically active compound psilocin in the body by a dephosphorylation reaction. This chemical reaction takes place under strongly acidic conditions, or under physiological conditions in the body, through the action of enzymes called phosphatases. Oxidization of psilocin by the enzyme hydroxyindole oxidase yields the deep blue-colored compound ortho-quinone. This compound readily undergoes electron transfer, a feature that is thought to play a crucial role in its physiological activity." So just to be clear, the process undergone in the liver (that God created) is certainly no accident. What have we learned? 1: God created plants with hallucinogenic qualities (which serve no other purpose. Hemp is an exception.) 2: God created special mechanisms that allow these to work. He even made it so that some nonactive compounds become hallucinogenic in the liver.

Just one more as an added bonus. The entheogenic properties of hallucinogens have been shown in numerous studies published in peer-reviewed science journals. Now, let me ask you, if someone under the influence of hallucinogens has a life-changing experience (due to the entheogenic qualities mentioned before) that causes him to give his life to Christ and became a devout follower of Jesus, is that evil? Is it something that should be prohibited?

But anyways, thank you all for your time and I hope that the factual errors and invalid arguments are fixed in the article "Is It Okay for Christians to Use Marijuana (Cannabis) and Other Drugs?" I would also like to thank the writer of the article, Rich Deem, for letting me hear the arguments made by some Christians against drug use. I had never heard any concinving arguments against drug use from a Christian perspective, and it was enlightening to hear the other side (which I'm all about). :amen:
Arrogance and deception,
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby Tevko » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:44 pm

Let me get this straight, you based a core argument on the results you got from google translate ??

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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby kmr » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:33 pm

For the Google Translator argument, I would just like to suggest something. The translations for words between languages varies. Therefore, "sorcery" in English would likely be translated most often in the specific ways you mentioned above. However, pharmakeia can likely be translated a number of ways back into English. It can be translated as sorcery, or drug-related affairs as well. Because its true meaning varies so much, however, the word for sorcery instead is usually mageía which more directly translates to sorcery. Unfortunately, though, the author just happened to use pharmakeia instead of mageía, meaning that the translator had to struggle to choose a word that would work in English. Sorcery would be easier than "drug use associated with rituals", therefore sorcery was used. But the translation leaves out the true meaning of the word.
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby kmr » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:33 pm

For the Google Translator argument, I would just like to suggest something. The translations for words between languages varies. Therefore, "sorcery" in English would likely be translated most often in the specific ways you mentioned above. However, pharmakeia can likely be translated a number of ways back into English. It can be translated as sorcery, or drug-related affairs as well. Because its true meaning varies so much, however, the word for sorcery instead is usually mageía which more directly translates to sorcery. Unfortunately, though, the author just happened to use pharmakeia instead of mageía, meaning that the translator had to struggle to choose a word that would work in English. Sorcery would be easier than "drug use associated with rituals", therefore sorcery was used. But the translation leaves out the true meaning of the word.
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby vendace20 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:50 am

First I'd like to thank the moderators for (eventually) accepting my critique. Second' I'd like everyone reading this to note that everyone that has replied has only had a probem with one of my counter-arguments. Therefore I'll assume that all the other arguments have been accepted as valid, since they've gone uncontested. This means that even if the writer is right that "sorcery" is code-word for "drug use", all my other 9000 arguments stand as valid since even then it would only prohib drug abuse, not reasonably moderated use. Let's just take a quick look at all the uncontested arguments (I'll get back to the "sorcery" argument later).

Arguments that have not been contested:
- Smoking in other parts of the world
- Only alcohol is discussed in numerous passages
- Alcohol is artificially made by men, whereas hallucinogenic plants were made by God
- Bible condemns abusers, not users
- Soft drugs aren't as terrible as the writer makes them out to be
- Some people use hallucinogens for religious purposes (I'll return to this in a bit)
- Medical and psycoholgical benefits of hallucinogens (treatment of PTSD, cluster headaches, etc)
- Natural hallucinogens aren't addictive.
- It's practically impossible to abuse hallucinogens.
- Reductio ad absurdum of the "governing authorities" argument
- Reductio ad absurdum of the "everything we do must fulfill the 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART...' commandment"
- Psuedo-Freudian analysis of the article's focus on marijuana
- Marijuana doesn't have to be smoked and is the only hallucinogen that can be smoked.
- My case for why Christians can use hallucinogens.
- My question: "if someone under the influence of hallucinogens has a life-changing experience (due to the entheogenic qualities mentioned before) that causes him to give his life to Christ and became a devout follower of Jesus, is that evil? Is it something that should be prohibited?"

So, 1 argument has been contested, 15 have not been. I think my case still stands. Now, to address the "sorcery is really code-word for drug use(?)" "argument", let me point out for starters that the objection most commonly raised is "OMG n00b u use google translatorz??". I can sort of understand why someone might think that Wikipedia isn't a trusted source, but since when has Google become the new Wikipedia? I'd also like to note that the writer gave no source to "sorcery" translating as "pharmakeia". I've tried five different online translators, and I've not been able to get "sorcery" to translate into "pharmakeia". Also, no word that sorcery is translated as has a double meaning of "drug use" alongside sorcery. And to address Kmr's points (which he admits are speculation) that 1: sorcery means "drug use associated with rituals" 2: pharmakeia translates into drug use and sorcery. It should be noted that he's practicing pure speculation (implied by "pharmakeia can likely be translated a number of ways back into English"). And also, it should be noted as a sidenote that every translator I've tried doesn't translate pharmakeia as either "drug use" or "sorcery". So basically "sorcery" doesn't translate into "pharmakeia" and "pharmakeia" doesn't mean "sorcery" and "drug use" (arguendo, I'll take the writer at his word that pharmakeia even means drug use (which I'm highly skeptical of)).

And by the way, there's a contradiction here. Basically there are two conflicting positions:
1: The Bible is now and has always been the inerrant Word of God (i.e. translation errors and the such haven't corrupted it.)
2: Due to a translation error (call it what you will), "sorcery" means "drug use".

Now, since these both can't be true, one of them is obviously wrong. I'll let you figure out which (it's the second).

Also, one question to anyone reading this. If a Christian uses a hallucinogen only for its entheogenic properties, is it a sin? Is it wrong/immoral/evil?
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby Kurieuo » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:09 pm

Firstly, I'd like to make clear it would a misrepresentation to characterise Christians as though they're the only ones against drug use, whether marijuana or some other drug. Christianity is irrelevant to the issue of marijuana, and therefore many of your arguments are largely built upon an informal fallacy -- which is wrongness or rightness of marijauana smoking is rooted in Christian belief. So all your arguments that refer to Scripture or Christianity can be dismissed.

You may therefore go a simpler angle to argue against Rich's article. If it is being said that the wrongness of smoking is rooted in Scripture or Christianity, then he has missed the boat also. But Rich is simply debating whether a Christian (which he goes onto define) should or shouldn't smoke marijuana. His Christianity embraces Scripture as authoritative and inerrant, and as such his target audience is to those Christians who also do and who desire to follow after Christ.

That aside, many people can realise the detriment of drugs to health, finance, self-depency and mentality. I smoked a long time ago, and my brother is a regular mari smoker. I've seen the negative issues first hand to life, personality, finances (not just the spending on drugs, but keeping down a job), clear thinking and health.

vendace20 wrote:First I'd like to thank the moderators for (eventually) accepting my critique. Second' I'd like everyone reading this to note that everyone that has replied has only had a probem with one of my counter-arguments. Therefore I'll assume that all the other arguments have been accepted as valid, since they've gone uncontested. This means that even if the writer is right that "sorcery" is code-word for "drug use", all my other 9000 arguments stand as valid since even then it would only prohib drug abuse, not reasonably moderated use. Let's just take a quick look at all the uncontested arguments (I'll get back to the "sorcery" argument later).

Arguments that have not been contested:
- Smoking in other parts of the world

And so...?
- Only alcohol is discussed in numerous passages

And so...? Mind you, I don't know whether this is support or not, but Jesus did turn water into wine.
- Alcohol is artificially made by men, whereas hallucinogenic plants were made by God

And so...? Many poisons were made by God too.
- Bible condemns abusers, not users

Actually, the Bible ultimately condemns everyone.
Soft drugs aren't as terrible as the writer makes them out to be

But they are just a little bit terrible then?
- Some people use hallucinogens for religious purposes (I'll return to this in a bit)

And so...?
- Medical and psycoholgical benefits of hallucinogens (treatment of PTSD, cluster headaches, etc)

There is benefit to morphine also. But that doesn't mean everyone who wants to should be able to hook themselves up to a drip.
- Natural hallucinogens aren't addictive.

Based on experience, I beg to differ.
- It's practically impossible to abuse hallucinogens.

I beg to differ.
- Reductio ad absurdum of the "governing authorities" argument

But reasons behind why "governing authorities" banned in the first place are not irrelevant to the debate.
- Reductio ad absurdum of the "everything we do must fulfill the 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART...' commandment"

Fine.
- Psuedo-Freudian analysis of the article's focus on marijuana

I won't comment, as I haven't re-read the article since I read it some time ago. ;)
- Marijuana doesn't have to be smoked and is the only hallucinogen that can be smoked.

And so...?
- My case for why Christians can use hallucinogens.
- My question: "if someone under the influence of hallucinogens has a life-changing experience (due to the entheogenic qualities mentioned before) that causes him to give his life to Christ and became a devout follower of Jesus, is that evil? Is it something that should be prohibited?"

One's sinful past can cause guilt and a desire to be forgiven and made right with God, yet this does not justify the sins. Putting people under the sword might cause conversions also, if a conversion can happen in an instant. This is not how God wants people to come to Him. He wants a free and clear thinking decision where a heart change happens. Someone who comes to God under the influence of a drug may not be in a true state of mind. For sake of argument, if they were, then this still wouldn't mean everyone else will be the same because of a few instances. And finally, even if everyone would, this has no bearing on the rightness or wrongness.

As a final, if you're living life, you have friends and loved ones close by, you don't cheat or live off of others, you are of good character and generally a good person, you are financially well off, you have your health and you smoke marijuana, then I guess there is nothing wrong with that? y:-?

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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby kmr » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:19 pm

The bible does not condemn the use of alcohol, no, it condemns using it to get drunk. So, if this applies to drugs, we can use drugs, we just can't use them to feel their effects... y:-/ What is the point of using an illicit drug if not to feel its effects? It doesn't provide sustenance, or help to kill harmful bacteria, and any benefits that drugs might have are still surpassed by their safer synthetic counterparts... y#-o I dunno, just food for thought?
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby vendace20 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:07 am

Firstly, I'd like to make clear it would a misrepresentation to characterise Christians as though they're the only ones against drug use, whether marijuana or some other drug. Christianity is irrelevant to the issue of marijuana, and therefore many of your arguments are largely built upon an informal fallacy -- which is wrongness or rightness of marijauana smoking is rooted in Christian belief. So all your arguments that refer to Scripture or Christianity can be dismissed.


Note: When I say "drug", unless otherwise specified, I mean natural hallucinogens. I condemn and dislike the use of hard drugs (like alcohol, tobacco, opioids, amphetamines etc).

I'd like to note that marijuana isn't my focus for a couple of reasons. It's the most "harmful" of the "classical" natural hallucinogens (psilocybin, mescaline, THC etc). Still, one should note that even as such it's drastically safer than almost all legal intoxicants. Most marijuana users smoke cannabis to get high, and in this respect it's drastically different from almost all other natural hallucinogens (except for salvia divinorum) since they can't be smoked (the heat would destory any psychoactive compounds). Obviously smoking any organic compound is bad for the smoker's health and not recommended. My main focus was psilocybin, since I am the most familiar with it and it's safe (and, like I argued, evidence for why Christians can use hallucinogens (I'll elaborate on this later.))

Also, I agree that Christians aren't the only ones opposing drugs. However, I take issue with "...informal fallacy -- which is wrongness or rightness of marijauana smoking is rooted in Christian belief." I, as a Christian, believe (more or less) that the Bible is the word of God (although the Creation (universe) is at least as authoritative as the Bible, since it was created by God directly) and therefore I do base my beliefs on the Bible (and Creation). If Christianity is the true religion (which I believe), it follows that by looking at God's Creation and the Bible we can tell what is right and wrong. If, from this, we come to the conclusion that drug use is right, it means it's right.

But this is all irrelevant since the article I was discussing was condemning drug use from a Christian perspective. I wanted to show with logical reasoning, facts and Biblical arguments that Christians can use drugs. The made the point, as a Christian to Christians, that Christians shouldn't use drugs. I made the point, as a Christian to Christians that Christians can use drugs.

That aside, many people can realise the detriment of drugs to health, finance, self-depency and mentality. I smoked a long time ago, and my brother is a regular mari smoker. I've seen the negative issues first hand to life, personality, finances (not just the spending on drugs, but keeping down a job), clear thinking and health.


Yes. Anything can be bad if it's abused (especially hard drugs). However, in my article I was mainly talking about users who take drugs in moderation. Again, in this respect marijuana is a little unlike other hallucinogens since it can be theoretically smoked as often as one wishes(?) Other hallucinogens build up a rapid tolerance that takes about 3-5 days to go away, meaning that even the most hardcore users of hallucinogens can only trip once or twice a week. Most, however, do this much more rarely. It's also worth noting that natural hallucinogens only grow during very specific times of the year, and afterwards the users have to wait about 10 months before they can use them again.

Smoking in other parts of the world.
And so...?


The argument I made was as follows: The writer admitted that the Bible didn't prohibit smoking anything. My question is: why? Sure, smoking psychoactive plants hadn't been discovered in Isreal, but numerous civilizations around the world practiced smoking anything from tobacco (Native Americans) to marijuana (Persians). God obviously knew what they were doing. Therefore, had he wished to prohibit it, he would've at least mentioned it in passing. Yet he didn't.

Only alcohol is discussed
And so...? ...Jesus turned water into wine.


Why are no other intoxicants discussed? God certainly knew he had created marijuana, peyote, psilocybe mushrooms, salvia divinorum, etc (at the time Jesus was alive, almost all hallucinogens were being used by at least one culture). If he had decided to prohibit their use, why didn't he do so? Why did he only discuss alcohol? And the example of Jesus turning water into wine totally slipped my mind when I was writing this. Thanks for bringing it up :)

Many poisons were mady by God too.


Yes, but arguably their purpose was to prevent animals from eating certain plants. This is a very large advantage when it comes to natural selection (obviously), because the non-poisonous plants would be eaten by herbivores while poisonous plants would be spared from this fate. However, hallucinogens do not serve this purpose since animals do sometimes eat them; (and some animals are not necessarily repulsed by hallucinations) some might even like them.

Actually, the Bible ultimately condemns everyone.


True, but when the Bible talks about alcohol it's pretty clear it's only referring to abusers, not users.

But they are just a little bit terrible then?


I apologize if I chose my words incorrectly (and hence some might have thought I was implying that soft drugs are just a little terrible). In fact, soft drugs are almost harmless (especially natural hallucinogens, which have practically no or very little adverse health effects.) On the contrary, many (especially hallucinogens) are beneficial to such a degree that they far outweigh any negatives there might be. Yet, in the interest of truth, I should note that with any intoxicant, there is always a risk of psychosis. However, this risk is relatively small for soft drugs (I haven't much research into hard drugs), for example the risk with psilocybin has been found in most studies to be somewhere aroung 1:1000, although one outlier arrived at about 1:200. However, even 1:200 chance is only 0,5%. The only other risk I can think of is doing something that is harmful to self while hallucinating (trippers aren't much of a threat to others), but this chance, too, is pretty small (I've never heard of it happening) especially if one is an experienced psychonaut or has a sitter. The possibility of bad trips is also pretty small if one takes small proper precautions (set and setting), but even a bad trip can be useful since they can be used to resolve issues repressed in the unconscious (this is fairly complex, but I'll return to it at the end).

On the contrary, hallucinogens have no risk for dependance or abuse, their LD50 (and active dose/lethal dose) is very good (psilocybin is less toxic than caffeine), therefore the risk of overdose is virtually non-existant. Also, it's been proven in a number of studies that hallucinogens do no (temporary or lasting) physical damage at all. A doctor confirmed this for me when I asked. They have medical and psyciatric uses. They can be very powerful tools for... well, anything from exploring the mind to religious purposes to resolving unresolved issues in the mind. I could go on and on, but (like I said) this subject is somewhat complex so I'll go into further detail in the end.

There is benefit to morphine also. But that doesn't mean everyone who wants to should be able to hook themselves up to a drip.


Yes, opioids are very powerful pain/cough suppressants etc. However, this argument isn't meant to be a stand-alone reason for why anyone wishing to do so can use hallucinogens (as a Christian or otherwise.) It's meant to be connected with other arguments such as "hallucinogens are practically harmless" to show that there is no logical reason to oppose hallucinogen use, since there are almost no adverse health effects to their use and on the contrary they have massive benefits of which some are unique to only them.

There are numerous other medicines which can do exactly what opioids do. However, I've read that currently psilocybin is the only cure to cluster headaches (although I remember that it was very effective in curing cluster headaches, I'm not 100% sure if it is the only cure). Also, as far as I'm concerned, hallucinogens are the most useful substances for psychiatry (I'll get back to this).

Natural hallucinogens aren't addictive.
Based on experience, I beg to differ.


I'm assuming you're referring to marijuana since you stated earlier you had some experience with it. Two points should be made. First, as a minor note marijuana is very different from almost any other natural hallucinogen. In addition to being hallucinogenic, it has some traits in common with stimulants and depressants (it's sort of a combination of all three drug groups) etc. Second, you're likely talking about a mental addiction (a craving), not a physical one. I said in my OP that someone might develop a craving (technically a mental "addiction") to natural hallucinogens (like marijuana). However, it should be noted that such a mental addiction can be developed to almost anything from video games to Facebook to delicious food. Sure, some cravings might be stronger than others, but it's physically impossible to develop a physical addiction to natural hallucinogens (since there is no physical mechanism for such a thing). However, there are numerous different opioid receptors in the brain (among others), meaning that it's possible (and likely) to develop an addiction to hard drugs (that's one of the reasons they're seperated from soft drugs.)

I beg to differ.


I apologize for not choosing my wording more carefully. It's possible to abuse a few natural hallucinogens, marijuana being one of them. It's practically impossible to abuse almost any other natural hallucinogen for three main reasons. 1: Tolerance. This isn't the "normal" kind of tolerance, either. After consuming hallucinogens, for about 3-5 days the user needs to take twice the dose for the sameeffects. If one consumed a medium dosage of psilocybin (varies a little between species and somewhat within species) mushrooms, let's say for the purpose of illustration 50 liberty caps (psilocybe semilanceata), for the following days (s)he'd need 100 liberty caps for a trip of the same intensity. For the following days 200 for the same effects, the next 400, 800, 1600, 3200. This cycle is impossible to keep up with, since psilocybin mushrooms are semi-rare and usually there aren't too many in one site. Hence, even the most hardcore trippers only use hallucinogens 1-2 times a week at most (after the tolerance has dissipated.) 2: If hallucinogens are used too often (maybe more than once a month), they lose the magical feel they give the user when they're used reasonably moderately. The user might simply become bored if he uses the substance too often and either stops using them or keeps the gap between trips larger. 3: Psychoactive plants are semi-rare in nature. Most only grow in a few places in the world. Only psilocybin mushrooms grow on all continents (except Antarctica, of course) and even then they only grow during very specific periods (late-ish autumn). Even if the time of the year and the locale is right, they are still a very rare find. Hence, users can't (in all likelyhood) find very much, if they find any at all. This means that the user will have to keep the sessions pretty spread out since a few hundred mushrooms (a typical catch, if one is lucky) is only good for a few (depends on dosage) trips and then they will have to wait until autumn again. It's technically possible that one could grow psychoactive plants themselves, but this process is very time consuming and requires a lot of know-how and experience. Marijuana is relatively easy grow compared to psilocybin mushrooms, but their seeds are somewhat difficult to acquire which makes growing both a challange. Also, producing a drug will result in heavy charges compared to simply owning an illegal drug for personal use.

But reasons behind why "governing authorities" banned in the first place are not irrelevant to the debate.


Politicians aren't inerrant. Most are corrupt, and the rest are so heavily biased by their views that they might be blinded to facts. However, I certainly understand why drugs were made illegal during the period it happened. At the time the anti-drug propaganda was in such strong condition (facts be damned) that the only ones it didn't swey against drugs (generalization) were drug users themselves (and most scientists who researched the matter or had degrees in the related fields). I, too, was brainwashed by this day's anti-drug propaganda to be totally anti-drug for a long time (I'm still anti-hard drugs) until I saw the facts and statistics on the matter. However, if I had been raised in a culture where Reefer Madness-type scares were commonplace and there was no strong opposition (with facts) to the lies, I might have very well been anti-drug my whole life. I would be surprised if drugs hadn't been made illegal. That doesn't mean that we should keep them illegal, since just about every argument made then against drugs has been countered with studies, statistics, etc. Reefer Madness is nowadays an object of ridicule, taken as a satirical parody of the anti-drug movement.

And here's something to directly address the question why they banned drugs in the first place. it's interesting to note that the legislation that started the whole drug prohibition (before that there was only regulation on opioids and cocaine) was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (the whole thing went downhill from there). It's been argued (pretty persuasively) that the reason this bill was passed was to suppress the hemp industry, so Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst and the Du Pont family could make fortunes with paper (hemp was its biggest competitor). I won't go into too much detail since none of this (to my knowledge) has been shown conclusively to be factually correct, but a quick Google (or Wikipedia) search will help if you want to hear the whole argument.

From here on out I lost everything I wrote, hence, I'll sum everything I wrote in a couple of sentences.

My comment on the fact that marijuana is one of the few hallucinogenic natural plants that can be smoked, salvia divinorum being the only other I know. Now, smoking organic compounds (like tobacco or marijuana, or even tea leaves) is bad for one's health. Therefore the fact that most halluinogens aren't smoked makes them even more safe to use health-wise.

In determining the rightness or wrongness of a deed (taking hallucinogens) you seem to be a somewhat fir believer in deontological ethics, i.e. the rightness of an action is determined solely by whether or not it adheres to a cet of moral values (like the rules/laws set forth in the Bible). You ignore things like motives, circumstances and consequances. To illustrate why a deontological approach to ethics is inevitably futile, let me propose to you a scenario. You live in Nazi Germany and you, as a good person, are hiding Jews in your basement. Hitler comes to your house and asks you if you're hiding Jews. Do you follow deontological ethics and abide the rule "Thou shalt not lie [or deceive]" (leading to the death of the Jews) or do you break a moral value and lie, because you realize the consequances will be much better for everyone.

To respond, I'd have to get into some fairly complex explanations of how hallucinogens work, which I don't have the patience to do for the second time. Therefore, I must concede that 1) Not everyone uses hallucinogens for their entheogenic purposes 2) Not everyone that uses them for said purpose are converted into Christianity. However, I would disagree with the statement that one experience under the influence of hallucinogens isn't enough to transform someone. I don't have the time to get too deep into this subject, so I'll just quote George Carlin who, as always, says it best: "Hallucinogens are value-changing drugs."

Now, I'd like to re-ask 2 of my questions.

1: Even if the Bible did condemned drug use, if someone were to use said drugs to get closer to God or regain their dying faith, should that and the consequances be taken int account when making a moral judgement?
2: Some magic mushrooms have no psilocin, only psilocybin. Psilocybin is an unactive compound. Only when the liver converts it into psilocin it causes hallucinations. Why would God create the very sophisticated process undergone in the liver (which I desriber in the OP) to convert an unative compound into an intoxicant if he didn't want us to use them? And why did he even create hallucinogenic plants in the first place?

The bible does not condemn the use of alcohol, no, it condemns using it to get drunk. So, if this applies to drugs, we can use drugs, we just can't use them to feel their effects... What is the point of using an illicit drug if not to feel its effects? It doesn't provide sustenance, or help to kill harmful bacteria, and any benefits that drugs might have are still surpassed by their safer synthetic counterparts... I dunno, just food for thought?


It condemns "drunkards" (=alcoholics) and those addicted to alcohol (=alcoholics). This is what I meant by users vs. abusers. The abusers are the alcoholics that the Bible condemns, and the users are those who use it occasionally and/or in reasonable quantities (did you know that those who drink 7-14 drinks a week live longer than those who never drink alcohol?) If we extend this logic to hallucinogens, we see that their occasional use in reasonable quantities is acceptable according to the Bible. Also, I think that natural hallucinogens (psilocybin, mescaline, salvinorin A) are safer than synthetic (or even semi-synthetic) hallucinogens, like phencyclidine (angel dust) or MDMA (extacy). Also, like I said, psilocybin is the only cure for cluster headaches (not 100% sure).
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby Murray » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:52 am

Leagalize It :D
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby domokunrox » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:36 am

This is by far one of the most interesting threads on this forum.

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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby B. W. » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:41 am

Concerning the word pharmakeía from how this word was used First Centaury Greek language and not what the word has evolved into in today’s world.

In the context of Galatians 5:20, this word describes the use drug enchantments used to conjure up destiny visions, bodily spirit possessions, door way into the realm of communion with the dead, casting of spells, shape shifting, astral projection, etc…

Illicit drug use does that, prep the user to be open to demonic influences. Marijuana makes one lazy and users all share a similar odd mind set to odd ideas and far out laid back justifications: wow groovy man…

People develop psychological issues with illicit drug use as it opens the doorways into the demonic. The end is death, death to relationship with God, death to relationships with others, death relationships with friends and family after the honeymoon seduction period of such drug use wears off and the users is a mental mess or dead...

In ancient times, pot, opium, and a host of other drugs were used by pagan shamans to conjure demons, also called gods, or the dead, to do the bidding of the shaman to attack people, attain wealth, move items or events, etc… The eventual cost was tremendous to the user and society as it led to the debasement of society into acts that tempt and test God’s good patience and character.

If one wants to smoke pot, please be aware of Gal 5:20 injunctions. No human being can stop you from doing so. Be aware that such use will open you up to the influences of the demonic realm after a prolonged period of pleasant seduction. The period of pleasant seduction is revealed by how users will do anything, even use the bible, to justify using it. This tempts and test God – so if that is you please understand what Titus 2:11, 12, 13, 14, 15c is saying. Slighting grace involves abusing God’s good grace to justify one’s twisting away from truth.

Also see this link for more on meaning of pharmakeía -- http://concordances.org/greek/5332.htm

Ans note that the quote below is from AMG's word studies:

Strongs number 5331

φαρμακεία

pharmakeía; gen. pharmakeías, fem. noun from phármakon (n.f.), a drug, which in the Gr. writers is used both for a curative or medicinal drug, and also as a poisonous one. Pharmakeía means the occult, sorcery, witchcraft, illicit pharmaceuticals, trance, magical incantation with drugs (Gal_5:20; Rev_9:21; Rev_18:23; Sept.: Exo_7:22; Isa_47:9, Isa_47:12).

Syn.: mageía (G3095), magic.
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby domokunrox » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:13 am

Very good B.W.

Initially, my thoughts are of about the same. God doesn't want us to lower our cognitive faculties, for that is against the order of the universe. God does not ever want us to do such a thing. It makes us inhuman to do so, and obviously less like God designed us.

These alterations indeed do put us in the state of mind where demons could attack and do physical, and psychological harm to us.

Btw, B.W. I have been wanting to read the demonic possession article that is referred to and off site linked on the Main website article but I am rather too cheap to fork out the $2.50 for it. Do you have a copy? I would very much like to read it as I have been much into comparative apologetics with eastern philosophies lately, and would like to use the source. I would appreciate it very much.

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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby RickD » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:03 pm

Illicit drug use does that, prep the user to be open to demonic influences.

People develop psychological issues with illicit drug use as it opens the doorways into the demonic.


B.W., You've raised some interesting questions, in my mind. You mention "illicit" drug use, as causing the problems you describe.

1) Why did you preface those statements with "illicit"?

2) Is it only illegal drugs that you're talking about?(If pot was made legal, would that change your stance?)

3)At least on the tv stations I've been watching recently, it seems like there is a pill for everything being advertised. How does the "we've got a pill for everything" kind of mentality, fit into what you're saying?

4) How does one make the distinction between illicit, and legal drugs?

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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby Murray » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:57 pm

Weed is a literal weed, that's it. How is it different from tobacco? It's a dried plant.

1) it's not addictive

2) it does not cause violence

3) it calms people down

4) it does not effect the body and it may even possess some cancer curing qualities.

5) If god hated us using dried plants i'm sure he would address it specifically.

6) No other banned substance is completely natural with 0 human alteration.

7) It's not even a drug it's a herb.....

We spend money, lives, and time fighting a harmless PLANT, so pointless.....
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Re: Critique of "Can Christians Use Drugs?"

Postby Proinsias » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:25 pm

Murray wrote:Weed is a literal weed, that's it. How is it different from tobacco? It's a dried plant.

1) it's not addictive

2) it does not cause violence

3) it calms people down

4) it does not effect the body and it may even possess some cancer curing qualities.

5) If god hated us using dried plants i'm sure he would address it specifically.

6) No other banned substance is completely natural with 0 human alteration.

7) It's not even a drug it's a herb.....

We spend money, lives, and time fighting a harmless PLANT, so pointless.....


I though a literal weed was a plant you wanted to get rid of, a plant which is somewhere it shouldn't be. People put money and effort into getting rid of weeds.

If there was 0 human alteration I don't think it'd be commanding the prices it does on the black market.

If herbs are fine and it's just drugs that are bad we can all start smoking opium!


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