Cannabis News NORML - It's Time for a Change!
  One Toke Over The Line, Sweet Jesus?
Posted by FoM on July 20, 2000 at 13:27:14 PT
By Joel Miller 
Source: WorldNetDaily 

cannabisnews.com Christians aren't stoked on the idea of drug use. Don't believe me? Try waving a joint under a preacher's nose someday; you'd better be prepared to hear about how warm your eternal lodgings in the great hereafter will be. On the sin scale of most Christians, doing drugs is pretty close to doing sheep. WWJD? Not dope.

The problem is that, for most, the position is kneejerk, based upon as much critical thinking as bumping into a wall. And, like face-planting the plaster, the results are less than desirable.

Uncritical thinking leads to muddling issues and slipping into sloppy conclusions. For the Christian and the question of drugs, this typically involves making no distinction between immoral and illegal -- going all gung-ho for escalating the war on drugs, leading the choir in "Onward, Christian Soldiers" as we rush to jail the junkies, desolate the dealers and spray defoliant on half of South America to ruin the coca crop.

This uncritical jiggle of the brain flab is, however, not good enough. True Christians don't operate on gut feelings, societal impulse, cultural conditioning or whether Aunt Margaret boxed your ears as a teen-ager for saying smoking crack was cool. As "People of the Book," the overriding question for Christians should be, is smack scriptural? What, after all, does the Bible say about dope?

The moral question: Is gumming a bong bad?

Holy Writ is riddled with condemnation for drunkenness. Harsh words against getting sloshed are so plentiful and obvious that even a one-eyed inebriant should be able to spot a few references on a drunken thumb-through. And prohibitive and condemnatory statements against elbow tipping and booze bibbing are just as severe as they are plentiful. A few verses in no particular order:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation (Ephesians 5:18)

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness (Romans 13:13)

Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is at the head of the fertile valley of those who are overcome with wine! (Isaiah 28:1)

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality ... envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and things like these ... those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19, 21)

Some may object that these passages condemn alcohol, not drugs. Forget about it. Two principles in Scripture blow a slobbery, wet razzberry in the direction of this objection. For starters, notice that word "dissipation" in Ephesians? This falls in the same category of taking things to excess, about which Christians are continually warned in Scripture. Dissipative behavior is pursuing indulgences -- like doping or drinking -- to the point of harm. Many drugs, without doubt, bring harm upon the user. LSD-induced flashbacks, for instance, are evidence of lasting mental harm -- not a brain upgrade.

Those that don't bugger your gray matter usually run afoul of the second point: sobriety.

Drugs do funny things to your mind -- why else do you think folks drop acid, snort lines and tap veins? It sure isn't to feel normal. If so, it's an extremely expensive way to feel as lame as you did five minutes before toking that bong. The whole point of drugs is tweak your perceptions -- and they do.

Drugs can make you feel euphoric (pot), jazzed (meth), invincible (PCP), mellow (heroin). Much like Dumbo's visions of dancing pink elephants, drugs can make you hallucinate. Someone I know who suffers the odd LSD flashback sees walls bend around her. Another woman I know, sitting doped on morphine, saw large ants the size of 1950s B-movie horror flick monsters marching around her room.

Likewise, a friend's dad tells the story of when he was big into drugs during the '60s. Once, while stoned like Gibraltar, he walked into the bathroom and saw what he described as a demon staring at him from inside the toilet. A definite spooker if you ask me. The solution was twofold. First, not having George C. Scott or a suitable exorcist nearby, he did the next best thing and flushed the john; second, he cleaned up. (Eventually, he also converted to Christianity and flushed his wife's herbal pot down the porcelain one, resulting -- as the story goes -- in his first experience of being persecuted for the faith.)

Perhaps confirming all those stereotypes of being a celestial party-pooper, God is undeniably concerned with level-headedness. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober," writes Peter in his first epistle. Checking my interlinear New Testament, that word "sober" is "nepho" in the original Greek, which means "self-possessed" and "having control of your mental faculties."

The Apostle Paul uses the same word, "nepho," in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica: "... they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

God doesn't give a hoot how a person gets tweaked -- be it crank, beer, wine, paint thinner, bourbon, crack, ganja or glue. He doesn't care if a person is just nursing a gentle buzz or getting flat-out fit-shaced. For the question of Christian morality, if two tokes on the bong rob you of your "nepho," that's one toke over the line.

But here's where the issue of puffing skunk bud gets really stinky: just because something is immoral, does that mean it should be illegal?

The legal question: Should junkies be jailed?

Adding new meaning to the expression "holy smoke," Rev. Oliver Daley of the United Church in Jamaica recently came out in favor of legalizing marijuana. While receiving cautious support from fellow Jamaican ministers, if the nations and persons were switched and it was Billy Graham calling for legalization, doubtless fellow preachers would be questioning St. Billy's salvation. For American Christianity, is there any better clue of a wolf in sheep's clothing?

http://www.go-jamaica.com/gleaner/20000706/News/News2.html

Because of genuine religious convictions opposing the use of drugs, Christians fall into the trap of assuming that because dope is bad, it should therefore be illegal. They get blinded by the blight, so to speak.

In a discussion of things like prostitution, pornography and drugs, Christian economist and legal theoretician Gary North (yes, that Gary North ) argues that there is no such thing as a victimless crime. He cites fellow economist F.H. Hayek as saying that laws against victimless crimes are an illegitimate butt-in into people's private life, "At least where it is not believed that the whole group many be punished by a supernatural power for the sins of the individual. ..." Hayek holds to no such being. North, on the other hand, does.

Objecting to Hayek, he writes, "But that's the whole point: such a community-threatening God does exist."

While North's position is tied to an elaborate and well-detailed covenant-oriented theology, the Cliff's Notes version of the idea is this: Snorting coke is sin, and God will punish the community collectively for it. Basically, everybody gets hammered, in one sense of the word, because one guy wants to get hammered, in another sense of the word. As such, North argues that there is biblical justification for the state to oppose drug use.

North is, however, exposing an interesting prejudice. He is writing in an attempt to show the relevancy of Old Testament law applied to modern life. The problem here? While Scripture has clear civil injunctions against buggery, adultery, getting to "know" the livestock and other sorts of debauchery, there is no civil injunction against drunkenness -- or, for our argument, dope.

There is a moral injunction against it if, as I've argued, Scripture's commands against drunkenness apply to getting blitzed on angel dust. No doubt getting stupid on tequila as opposed to THC is a distinction over which God does not split hairs. A fried brain is a fried brain, not matter what kind of oil you cook it in.

But North takes his moral abhorrence for drug use -- which as a Christian he should have -- and lumps it, without scriptural justification, into the same stack of things the state, according to Christian doctrine, should hate and act against. In short, he lets his distaste for drugs color his application of what the Bible actually says about them.

It cannot be said enough that Scripture condemns dope -- to the extent that it harms the user or inhibits his sobriety. But to say that it also provides justification for legal sanctions against popping pills and shooting smack is a stretch. With all the many warnings about drunkenness scattered throughout the Word, two things are obvious: 1) that God is concerned with it, and 2) that Israel and the Church have a real problem with it. But does God ever command civil punishment for insobriety -- caused by either alcohol or dope? No.

God treats some sins differently from others, and for Christians to support a measure that even God does not comes close to saying we are wiser and even more moral than God.

Given the monumental failure of the drug war, its ever-increasing violations of individual liberty, egregious injustices, and the fact that there is no biblical mandate to back it up, Christians should seriously -- and scripturally -- reconsider their support of it.

Related Items:

"Yakkity yak, don't talk smack," a column about the drug war's recent attacks on free speech.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_miller/20000715_xcmil_yakkity_ya.shtml


"The problem with drug raids," a piece about sacking the Bill of Rights to pursue drug offenders.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_excomm/19990915_xex_the_problem_.shtml

Please direct news submissions to: news@worldnetdaily.com

NewsHawk: observer
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2000
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.

Related Web Sites:

The Liberal Christian
http://home.uchicago.edu/~mbaldwin/libxrst.html

A Christian's Argument Against The Drug War
http://home.uchicago.edu/~mbaldwin/drug.html


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Comment #12 posted by Ethan Russo MD on December 28, 2003 at 08:07:11 PT
Info on Migraine and Kaneh Bosem
Please see this PDF file:

http://www.freedomtoexhale.com/hh.pdf

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #11 posted by jose melendez on December 28, 2003 at 04:50:50 PT
mark my words: this topic is hotly disputed
The kaneh-bosm calamus cannabis argument is played out here:

http://www.e-church.com/Blog-print.asp?EntryID=8

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #10 posted by mark on December 27, 2003 at 22:10:27 PT:

re: hebrew word
Hello. I stumbled across this forum while searching for information about the medicinal uses of Marijuana. My mother endures severe migraines and I've been looking into it's viability as a painkiller. I'm a christian and I would be interested in learning more about the particulars involved with the mistranslation of the hebrew "qaneh-bosm" to "Sweet Calamus". If the originial hebrew text literally translates to Cannabis as you say, that would be quite astounding. If anyone can offer a resource for more information, it would be much appreciated. I did a little research on Calamus and found that it contains Asarone and B-Asarone which once processed by the liver become a hallucinogen called Tri-Methoxy-Amphetamine or TMA-2. I'm not sure how it compares to the effects of THC and other cannabinoids, but I would imagine that having a solution containing large quantities of it(250 shekels or approximately nine pounds of Calamus oil, as used in the recipe for anointing oil called for by God in Exodus 30:23) applied to you would result in a bit of an experience.

Concerning Acorus Calamus: "Both the leaves and rhizome are apparently psychoactive, due to the presence of asarones, which have mescaline-like hallucinogenic properties if taken in sufficient quantities..." www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/var002.htm

Apparently this anointing oil must have been something else regardless of whether or not an error occurred in translation. -Mark

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by observer on July 21, 2000 at 10:57:06 PT
re: hebrew word
Isn't it ironic that the word cannabis is derived from an ancient hebrew word. (Yes, the Isrealites knew about marijuana.)

Yes ... I've heard that before.

Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels...
-- Exodus 30:23

What is rendered as "sweet calamus" in the Hebrew is "qaneh". http://www.bju.edu/bible/h/7050.html#7070

"... the Hebrews already had a long and beneficial relationship with the useful plant, known to them as qaneh-bosm, (the root name for our cannabis)."
http://www.island.net/~mama/HempInfo/Hemp-Hist-by-CB.htm

The word translated as "sweet calamus" is "QaNeH-BoSheN" Which more appropriately translates "Cannabis"..
http://www.efn.org/~iahu/thankyou.htm


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on July 21, 2000 at 10:03:34 PT:

The meat's not all off of the bone, yet!
Though I have to admit, as usual, Observer has been quick to steal the thunder with his razor sharp dissections. So I'm only going to add a little bit of pepper to the main course.

One of the main reasons for drug prohibition becoming the issue that it had in the last century (that still feels pretty starnge to be saying that, doesn't it?)was the pressure exerted by WASP missionaries seeking Asian converts in China and at home.

After all, how could they get the 'heathen Chinee' to listen to them rattle on about 'pie in the sky, by and by, when you die' if their intended audience is busy chasing the dragon and experiencing chemically induced Nirvanna. So, in order to 'save their souls', the missionaries lobbied here at home for increasingly punitive laws... especially to prevent drug induced miscegenation. (Like cannabis, opium was thought to lead White women to cohabitate with Asian men, producing bastard offspring. They really believed this dreck!)

Ah yes, those "God-fearing, good Christian people" have a lot to answer for. Without their hearty help, we could possibly have missed the worst of the Drugwar, but are instead saddled with a de facto Puritanical fusion of religion and State which seeks to punish sins in a secular way.



[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #7 posted by CD1 on July 21, 2000 at 08:30:41 PT
IRONIC
Isn't it ironic that the word cannabis is derived from an ancient hebrew word. (Yes, the Isrealites knew about marijuana.)

Also, correct me if I am wrong, but didn't God speak to Moses via a "burning bush"? Hmmmm........

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by dddd on July 21, 2000 at 05:26:01 PT
God Insider
Lets ban guys like Observer,Dan B,and Nemo from commenting here.By the time they get done,all the good comments have been used up,,its no fair!!......

Now that I've finished my attempt at abstract jocularity,,,,,,I gotta say;

It is perhaps unavoidable,when discussing God or religion,,for people to try and say what God does,or does not approve of.I think Dan summed it up quite nicely with;"I am a Christian, but I do not claim that God can only be
understood the way I understand God. I believe God speaks to different people in different ways, and one must
consider other points of view when talking about religious reasons for doing/not doing something."

I started thumpin' on bibles decades ago,,and I still thump ocassionally.
As I've wandered
nearer to the golden years,I have concluded that the most important part of anyones relationship with whoever/however they see God,,is between God and themselves
Beware of anyone who says;'God says' this is a sin,,,but this other thing is not'.
The deepest possible area where God exsists,is within ones heart,and the depth of this relationship is something no one else knows about ...........dddd


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #5 posted by Dan B on July 20, 2000 at 21:54:27 PT:

Some Personal Observations
What is most odd about this article to me is its absolute exclusion of any religion that does not use the Bible as its scriptural foundation. This exclusion occurs, of course, because the author is too narrow-minded to look beyond his own religious points of reference. He should really consider the fact that the vast majority of the world's population is not Christian. Does this fact imply that the vast majority of the world's population is riding the fast train to H-E-Double Hockey-Sticks, simply because they do not agree with (or have not heard) the message of Christianity? If so, he loses credibility from the get-go. I am a Christian, but I do not claim that God can only be understood the way I understand God. I believe God speaks to different people in different ways, and one must consider other points of view when talking about religious reasons for doing/not doing something.

The other thing I want to address has to do with something very important that was said by Observer:

"Does using marijuana in itself, cause 'an abandoned, dissolute life'; 'profligacy, prodigality'? I think not. Can people who are leading dissolute lives use cannabis? Sure, we've all seen examples of that. Such people can do anything; did cannabis cause their dissolute life? I doubt it. But using something is not the same as abusing it. Miller confuses the two."

This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my mother and stepfather concerning the influence of marijuana. My stepfather was involved with the "hippie" movement in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He later converted to Christianity and renounced all drug use, which is fine. That worked for him, and I respect his decision.

My Mom, to my knowledge, has never tried marijuana, but she has always been very much against the use of drugs. And I respect her position, as well. There is nothing wrong with telling kids that they are better off not using drugs (provided one does not harm others to prove this point). Thousands of people go through their lives without using drugs with no negative repercussions; that's a perfectly legitimate way to live one's life.

But when I began to discuss the drug war and the importance of legalization the last time I visited with Mom and my stepdad, my stepdad told me that marijuana was just as bad as other drugs because it causes rebelliousness. My Mom pointed out that he began using all kinds of other drugs (LSD, mescaline, etc.) so shortly after using marijuana that his experiences with those drugs may have clouded his memory of marijuana use, attributing the feelings he had while using those drugs to the effects of marijuana.

I then pointed out that he was in a rebellious state long before he used marijuana. One does not "find oneself in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the late 1960s"--a place my stepfather associated with rebelliousness--without having some intention of being there in the first place. So, to a large extent, I argued, the rebelliousness he associated with marijuana use was really a sign of his state of mind before he began using any drugs. He remained relatively silent for the rest of the conversation, and he quickly changed the subject as soon as he found an opening.

The next day, without prodding from me, my Mom declared that she believes the effects of marijuana have a lot to do with the state one is in when using the drug. Amen, Mom!

My point is just that: the effects of a drug have a lot to do with the intention/state-of-mind one has while using it. To claim a universal effect for any psychoactive drug is as absurd as claiming universal personality characteristics or claiming that everyone has the same level of intelligence.

Thanks, Observer, for your brilliant (as usual) critical evaluation of this article.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 20, 2000 at 19:15:35 PT
Thanks observer
Thanks Again observer!
You do such a fine job. I am watching Reefer Madness now as I type this! Very cool!
Peace, FoM!


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by observer on July 20, 2000 at 18:56:21 PT
``Dope'' Associations

"You government men have got to find some way to put an end to it," demands Dr. Carroll. The government man replies: "Of course, I agree with you Dr. Carroll. But do you realize that marihuana is not like other forms of DOPE. You see, it grows wild in almost every state of the union.
Therefore, there is practically no inter-state commerce in the drug. As a result, the government's hands are tied. And frankly, the only sure cure is a wide-spread campaign in education."

[Reefer Madness, 1936   http://www.crrh.org/hemptv/misc_reefer.html (realmovie)]

Some words trigger strong emotional responses in people. The word DOPE is one of them. This word is emphasized on the sound track. Though we are told that marijuana is not like other forms of "dope," the association is established.

Hypnosis and "Reefer Madness" Steve Jacobson, 1985
http://www.marijuananews.com/news.php3?sid=113

In 1935, The Atlanta Georgian ran a poem named 'The Jaws of Death' by Gorge E. Phair; it well sums up the associations that are desired to be evoked by using the word "dope".

"A slinking thing with hellish sting, The reptile known as Dope.
Its poison breath is living death Beyond the pale of hope,
And in the blight of endless night Its countless victims grope.
In stricken homes the reptile roams On hearthstones bare and bleak.
Ambition dies in youthful eyes, Slain by the noxious reek.
For Dope is strong and prospers long Because the laws are weak."

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Misc/booklist.htm

To say that "dope" is a loaded term is to make a huge understatement.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by observer on July 20, 2000 at 16:07:45 PT
``More Moral than God''

While I certainly appreciate Joe Miller's legal discussion in the second half of is essay, I would argue that scripture never forbids the alteration of one's consciousness in general: only drunkenness is condemned.

. . . Some may object that these passages condemn alcohol, not drugs.

Yes, I would do so.

Forget about it. Two principles in Scripture blow a slobbery, wet razzberry in the direction of this objection.

Cute, but empty, rhetoric. Notice several things at this point. Miller's continual use of the word "dope", as if that will justify something. Also, his lumping together of a) all "drugs", and b) various uses of the various drugs. Miller makes no distinction: marijuana is "immoral" (to Miller) because it is "dope" like heroin; Miller makes no distinction between an addict mainlining heroin, and grandma using cannabis for migraines.

People, people around the middle east, have been using cannabis for millenia. Did God somehow forget about cannabis? Why not even one mention, if using it were the sin and "imorality" asserted?

For starters, notice that word "dissipation" in Ephesians?

Miller seems to make much over this word.

Miller's version: "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation (Ephesians 5:18)"

another version: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess http://www.bju.edu/bible/g/800.html#810 but be filled with the Spirit"

The verse (in context) is making a point about the Spirit-filled life, it is not condemning the use of cannabis.

excess: "asotia -- 1) an abandoned, dissolute life 2) profligacy, prodigality"

Does using marijuana in itself, cause "an abandoned, dissolute life"; "profligacy, prodigality"? I think not. Can people who are leading dissolute lives use cannabis? Sure, we've all seen examples of that. Such people can do anything; did cannabis cause their dissolute life? I doubt it. But using something is not the same as abusing it. Miller confuses the two.

This falls in the same category of taking things to excess, about which Christians are continually warned in Scripture.

Using marijuana does not imply excess any more than having a glass of wine implies drunkeness. Many would argue, further, that you just can't get reeling, rolling, staggering, in-the-mud-intoxicated on cannabis: it just doesn't happen.

Dissipative behavior is pursuing indulgences -- like doping or drinking -- to the point of harm.

Oh ... "to the point of harm". Like riding horses and falling off one? (Has cost people their health, killed them etc.) Would horse-jumping be "dissipative behavior"? Remember: it can easily cause harm.

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (1Tim.5:23)

Many drugs, without doubt, bring harm upon the user. LSD-induced flashbacks, for instance, are evidence of lasting mental harm -- not a brain upgrade.

Many (if not the vast, overwealming majority) use LSD with nothing but pleasent memories as an after effect. Is there any evidence that LSD is more harmful than, peanut butter, say? (Remember that people who are allergic to peanuts can go into anaphalatic shock and die from eating them.)

Those that don't bugger your gray matter usually run afoul of the second point: sobriety.

But only if "sobriety" is defined circularly.


Drugs do funny things to your mind -- why else do you think folks drop acid, snort lines and tap veins?

(or take aspirin, or consume the caffeine in coffee... Am I "sober" if I drink two cups of coffee? How about four cups?)


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by observer on July 20, 2000 at 16:07:14 PT
``More Moral than God''
It sure isn't to feel normal. If so, it's an extremely expensive way to feel as lame as you did five minutes before toking that bong.

Same can be said for coffee ... "extremely expensive way to feel as lame as you did five minutes before" swilling that java.

The whole point of drugs is tweak your perceptions -- and they do.

Right ... continuing our example, The whole point of [drinking coffee] is [to] tweak your perceptions -- and coffee does that.


Drugs can make you feel euphoric (pot), jazzed (meth), invincible (PCP), mellow (heroin).

Drugs can make you feel euphoric (coffee), jazzed (coffee), invincible (coffee), mellow (coffee). Is one sinning and un-sober because one drings a mug o'coffee and feels euphoric, jazzed, and invincible?


Much like Dumbo's visions of dancing pink elephants, drugs can make you hallucinate.

True ... as can lack of sleep, illness. Miller omits much here, shoehorning all use of psychedelics into the category of "abuse" to bolster his "all drug use is sin" theme. It won't fit. Miller doen't even mention the rich and continuing history of the use of psychedelics in the religious experience itself! see: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/relmenu.htm I'm not making this stuff up: people have used hallucinogens for millenia to feel closer to God. You may not like this fact, yet this fact cannot be erased.


Someone I know who suffers the odd LSD flashback sees walls bend around her. Another woman I know, sitting doped on morphine, saw large ants the size of 1950s B-movie horror flick monsters marching around her room.

That is odd. And that's sad. But mental institutions are full of people who see even more bizarre things, yet have never consumed an illegal drug.


Likewise, a friend's dad tells the story of when he was big into drugs during the '60s. Once, while stoned like Gibraltar, he walked into the bathroom and saw what he described as a demon staring at him from inside the toilet. A definite spooker if you ask me. The solution was twofold. First, not having George C. Scott or a suitable exorcist nearby, he did the next best thing and flushed the john; second, he cleaned up.

I'm not sure what Miller's friend sees in the john is very relevant to whether or not someone is "immoral" or "sinning" if they smoke marijuana...

(Eventually, he also converted to Christianity and flushed his wife's herbal pot down the porcelain one, resulting -- as the story goes -- in his first experience of being persecuted for the faith.)

Sounds more like the man was in the doghouse for stealing someone's property, not suffering for righteousness' sake...

Perhaps confirming all those stereotypes of being a celestial party-pooper, God is undeniably concerned with level-headedness. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober," writes Peter in his first epistle. Checking my interlinear New Testament, that word "sober" is "nepho" in the original Greek, which means "self-possessed" and "having control of your mental faculties."

Using cannabis, does not lindicate a lack of control. One could argue the opposite. One is able to control one's consciousness to a greater degree; that is, one has in fact more control over one's consciousness than not, when one is able to choose whether or not to use cannabis at a given time. For example, if one needs to sleep and is having trouble doing so, what is wrong with using cannabis (or whatever)? Who is going to be in better control the next morning, the person who didn't sleep the night before, or the person who soundly slept? How about the person in constant pain, but who is able to function because of cannabis use? Things are not near as simply as Miller would have it.

The Apostle Paul uses the same word, "nepho," in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica: "... they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

Again, the word "drunken" there refers to alcohol. Not coffee. Not ephedrine (i.e. Mormon's Tea). Not [fill in the blank]. Scripture isn't a giant blank check for people to make it say what they would like. Drunkenness means drunkenness, it is not defined as "anything that alters consciousness" etc.

God doesn't give a hoot how a person gets tweaked -- be it crank, beer, wine, paint thinner, bourbon, crack, ganja or glue.

What does "tweaked" mean here, anyway? ("Drunken" one time, but just "anything that alters consciousness" when it is expedient?) No, the Bible condemns drunkenness, and is silent on the effect of caffiene, THC, psilocin, et al. No, none of the verses that are offered up as evidence that using ganja is immoral really tell us anything near that. Drunkenness is condemned; a sober mind commended. That's it.

He doesn't care if a person is just nursing a gentle buzz or getting flat-out fit-shaced.

Pure assertion: we've just shown that only drunkenness and insobriety are condemned: any and every alteration of one's consciousness is not condemned explicity or implicitly.

for the question of Christian morality, if two tokes on the bong rob you of your "nepho," that's one toke over the line.

Yes, but it is a loss of "nepho" that may be a problem, not using any specific substance in any amount. Put another way: for the question of Christian morality, if 1000 tokes on the bong do not rob you of your "nepho," then no "immorality" or "sin" has been committed.


* * *

Apart from assertions that all cannabis use is "immoral", the rest of Joe Miller's piece is excellent.


If you say, "Would there were no wine" because of the drunkards, then you must say,
going on by degrees, "Would there were no steel," because of the murderers, "Would there were
no night," because of the thieves, "Would there were no light," because of the informers, and
"Would there were no women," because of adultery.
-- St. John Chrysostom, "Homilies," circa 388



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