Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thinking Biblically about Marijuanna - Part 1

Last July, I posed a question as to how the Christian should view drugs in light of the potential legalization of marijuana. Well, that day may be as soon as November 2010.

A recent article states what I have known for a while now, that legalization of marijuana will be one way which raises funds for California’s never ending budget short fall. Voters will get a chance to decide this November. If it doesn’t pass, which I will be shocked if it doesn’t, it will at some point. And as California goes, so goes the country. In 1996 when California was the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana, 14 other states would follow. Who knows how this will all pan out and how this will interact with the Federal Law. One thing is certain, it is only a matter of time. So, how does one view this interesting issue biblically?

One of the challenges in this is the term drugs is not found in the Bible. But because something is not in the Bible does not mean that it is righteous and not sinful. Pornographic internet sites are not in the Bible either. Abortion is not in the Bible. Euthanasia, stem cell research, child molestation and other contemporary hot topics cannot be found in the Bible. Yet what we do find are principles found in Scripture that transcend culture that can apply to other situations. For instance, Abortion is not specifically in the Bible, but the concept of killing is. Leviticus discusses a situation where a woman is with child and is hurt by a man. Amos condemns the ripping open of wombs of those who are pregnant labeling this as wicked, sinful and appalling to God. So, there would be enough evidence from Scripture to show that God is concerned for the helpless, for the sanctity of life and so on. But what of drugs? Well, the Greek word “pharmakeia” from which we get our English word Pharmacy is found in Galatians 5:20, Revelation 9:21 and 18:23. It is often translated as “sorcery.” To be fair, this is in the context of drugs being used in the context of witchcraft and mind altering states that include deception among other things. So drug use was often linked to some type of witchcraft or pagan worship that would “enable the mind” to worship beings on a higher level. Maybe a good comparison could be drawn to Peyote use among Native Americans.

The Bible also has much to say about the abuse of alcohol and can legitimately apply to the use of drugs because both alter the state of thinking and motor skills. While I believe (though some fight'en Fundies would disagree) that drinking alcohol is not a sin issue, it can become one. The reason is the issue of affecting ones thinking, ability to control oneself, ect. Ephesians 5:18 compares being drunk with wine with being controlled by the Spirit. Drunkenness is compared to “dissipation” which is the same word translated in 1 Pet 4:4 as debauchery and really is summed up in two words…”reckless living.” The issue with alcohol is similar to drug use since it deals with being under the influence. That is why if you are driving under the influence of drugs, you get a similar penalty as if you were driving while drunk. Drugs, illegal drugs, in some form hinder or alter your thinking. Thinking, sound thinking is a pretty big deal in the Bible. In the same 1 Peter 4 passage, verse 7 shows that one needs to be sober, sound in thinking so that one can pray. In Titus 2, both older men, older women, younger men and younger women are called to be “sensible” literally sound of mind, thinking rightly and self controlled. Drugs hinder that.

More to follow.........

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