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What The Bible Has To Say About Drugs

By John Clarke

Awesome. The pope has arrived in the UK. That’s just what this country needs – a bill to the taxpayer of upwards of £10 million so a paedo-concealin’ old bloke can patronise us all with his outdated moral code and flagrant disregard for human rights, even though only a quarter of us actively support the visit, at a time when science funding is about to face monstrous cuts. Brilliant!

To celebrate, I thought I’d take a look at what the Bible had to say about drugs. Obviously, I’m no theologian, so I’m basing this post on the interpretation given by GotQuestions.org (GQ from now on), who:

Seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by providing biblical, applicable, and timely answers to spiritually-related questions through an internet presence.

Their website looks to be quite a big deal, probably getting over 100,000 pageviews a day, so who better to spiritually guide us on our quest for information? Let’s get started…

The Bible doesn’t have anything to say about drugs explicitly, however drug use is covered within the scope of other, broader teachings.

"...something something something complete!"

Rule #1 – Don’t break the law

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Romans 13:1–5

So, that immediately rules out any illegal drug use, lest an “agent of wrath […] bring punishment”, so that’s a “No” to cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, etc! GQ helpfully offers up this snippet of wisdom, in case we feel the laws are unjust:

Contrary to popular belief [what?!], simply disagreeing with a law does not constitute a license for breaking that law.

Cannabis should be legal, I hear you scream! But what about alcohol and tobacco, I hear you ask? Hypocrisy! Well, our friends at GQ have already thought of that:

Many have argued that marijuana does not warrant prohibition. They contend that smoking pot in defiance of the law is justifiable on these grounds and in light of (what they perceive to be) the hypocrisy of outlawing weed while allowing nicotine and alcohol consumption. Those who argue this point may be sincere in their conviction, but they are mistaken nonetheless. Heartfelt disdain for the law does not justify impunity towards it, as our Lord Himself made clear. While rebuking the Pharisees for turning the Law of Moses into an excessively oppressive yoke, Christ still required His disciples to submit to their unfairly harsh demands (Matthew 23:1-36, especially 1-4). Dutiful submission to authority and patient perseverance through unjust suffering and/or perceived unfairness (1 Peter 2:18-23 [Partly quoted below]) is God’s high standard for us – even if that means having to abstain from marijuana in compliance with “unfair” legislation.

Here’s the coolest bit of the Bible they reference to support their point, so you don’t have to go looking it up:

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

1 Peter 2:18-19

Right, ok. So breaking the law is bad, no matter how unjust we think it is. Fair enough. Surely then, we can smoke a bit of weed in The Netherlands or enjoy some coca tea in Bolivia, or consume some legal highs? Right? Right?!

Wrong!

Rule #2 – Don’t harm your body

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Everyone knows drugs are harmful. In fact, here’s an old graph listing 20 different drugs ordered by the harm they cause. You’ve almost definitely seen it before.

Notice how no drug in that graph has a harm rating of zero, and according to GQ:

Beyond stewardship, as Christians, our bodies are not our own. We “have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not “with perishable things like silver or gold . . . but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19). Having bought us with His own life, Christ has delighted to create in us something entirely new, something somewhat bizarre. By indwelling us with His Spirit, He has turned us into organic temples of sorts. So now, caring for our health is not just a matter of good stewardship. It is a matter of reverential piety. To pollute or harm our bodies is to desecrate the House of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 [The bit I quoted earlier]). This is both wondrous and terrifying.

GQ also talk about a number of individual drugs and the damage they cause. Here’s what they have to say about cannabis:

Marijuana, while being the least harmful of all of the illicit drugs, is still potentially lethal. Marijuana enthusiasts (“potheads”) take comfort in the fact that, unlike most other illicit drugs, it is seemingly impossible to fatally overdose on weed by means of normal consumption (i.e. smoking it). But this does nothing to diminish the potentially fatal risks of lung cancer, emphysema, and other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by marijuana smoke. While marijuana can be ingested without smoking it, thereby eliminating these risks, there still remain negative physiological and psychological consequences including damage to the reproductive system, the immune system, and cognitive ability.

At this point I was wondering what their guidance was on alcohol but they don’t seem to have mentioned it. That’s odd, what with alcohol being ranked fifth most harmful on that graph above. Looks like I’ll have to come to my own conclusions without GQ’s help then! Let me think for a moment…

Ok, got it. In John 2:1-11, Jesus turns water into wine:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

John 2:1-11

Crikey, how about that then! If Jesus himself not only condones drinking wine but practically busts out a keg, then alcohol must be the exception to the rule, despite the massive objective harm alcohol causes, right? I know what you’re thinking – one bible quote doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the case. What about other evidence? Well, there’s also the Catholic belief in transubstantiation, which:

means the change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the Body and Blood (respectively) of Christ in the Eucharist, while all that is accessible to the senses (accidents) remains as before.

Wikipedia on Transubstantiation

For starters, that’s what Catholics literally believe. The wine they use in church has *literally* become the blood of Christ, despite appearing to be wine and retaining all the properties of the wine, including alcohol content. The fact that Catholics not only drink this fortified Jesus-elixir routinely, and also that wine was selected by Christ to represent/become/whatever his blood both support my conclusion that alcohol is fiiiiiiine compared with the rest of the evil drugs, according to the bible and common church practice.

As I mentioned previously though, I’m no theologian, so I welcome other people’s thoughts on my conclusion in the comments.

Here are some final words of wisdom from my spiritual guides at GQ, this time on addiction:

As for drug addiction, not all illicit drugs are physically addictive. Nevertheless, they are all psychologically addictive. While most people are familiar with physical addiction – the progressive condition whereby the human body becomes physically dependent upon a drug in order to function properly – psychological addiction is less well-known. Psychological addiction is an enslavement of the mind, often characterized by obsessive tendencies and a lack of desire to quit. While physical addiction brings the body into subjection, psychological addiction brings the will into submission. Users tend to say things like, “I could quit if I wanted to, but I just don’t want to.” This attitude tends to ensure a long-term pattern of drug use whereby users become devotees in defiance of a very poignant biblical principle. The fact is, no one can wholeheartedly serve two masters (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). Any time spent kneeling before the god of drugs [Best god freakin’ ever!!1] is time spent with your back towards the God of the Bible.

Fantastic stuff.

Finally, be sure to take a look at what neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris has to say about Religion & Drugs.

Here’s the link to the GQ page I’ve been quoting from, so you can bask in its glory..

9 Responses to What The Bible Has To Say About Drugs

  1. Dr Philippe K Fenderson, KSC, ASL says:

    I wrote a lot of this a while ago, and the sources are at the bottom:

    The myrrh wine that Jesus was offered on the cross also contained cannabis leaves and buds crushed to make a mixture similar to the ‘bhang’ wine that the Sufis and Zoroastrians use. The reason (of course) that he didn’t ingest it was because to do so would have lessened the suffering he endured during the crucifixion. As part of the early Jewish Friday night services in the Temple of Solomon, 60-80,000 men ritually passed around and inhaled 20,000 incense burners filled with kanabosom (cannabis), before returning home for the largest meal of the week (munchies?).
    Also, during the time that Jesus and his family spent in Egypt, it was the most commonly used plant and was used as food, clothing, oil, medicine and as a relaxant. In fact, at that time it was the most used medicine in that area for pain relief, sleeping troubles, muscle and breathing problems, and as a fever reducer. So, it was very possible – and in fact most likely – that Jesus *did* in fact use cannabis at some point in his life.

    The Bible never explicitly discourages its use. In fact there are many references to the opposite and supporting the use of herb and other plants. (Gen. 1:12, Sirach 38:4, Matt. 15:11)
    Furthermore, an interpretation of 1 Tim. 4:1-5 could lead you to believe that Paul foresaw prohibition. In fact, cannabis use was extremely common for everyone until around 350 AD when the Catholic councils of the time outlawed its use – along with all other medicines, eating forks (“the devils tool”), the idea that the earth was round or the stars were more than 7 miles away from the earth – which eventually led to the Dark Ages. The motive, of course, being the control of knowledge since hemp was used to make much of the paper that was used at the time – including the Bible – and that hemp oil was used for many the lamps of the time. People were sometimes put to death for possessing this paper without the Church’s express permission.

    As for the health claims regarding cancer and the other absurd claims, we have only to look to some medical journals and researchers:

    The whole “cannabis screwing your brain” has been disproved time and time again. Drs. Ungerlieder and Shaeffer of UCLA conducted a test showing that there is no difference between heavy smokers’ brain (an average of over 50 joints a day per person) and a non-smokers brain.

    Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a number of irritants and carcinogens. But marijuana users typically smoke much less often than tobacco smokers, and over time, inhale much less smoke. As a result, the risk of serious lung damage should be lower in marijuana smokers.

    There have been no reports of lung cancer related solely to marijuana. However, because researchers have found precancerous changes in cells taken from the lungs of heavy marijuana smokers, the possibility of lung cancer from marijuana cannot be ruled out. Unlike heavy tobacco smokers, heavy marijuana smokers exhibit no obstruction of the lung’s small airway. That indicates that people will not develop emphysema from smoking marijuana. Actually, cannabis is one of the most powerful natural expectorants, allowing smokers to expel most harmful particles from the lungs. Also, many smokers use such devices as vaporizers and water pipes which further reduces the harm of smoking.

    Furthermore, according to the US mortality report and Dr. Donald Tashkin (the foremost lung expert in the field of cannabis) there has never been a recorded case of cancer caused by cannabis. In fact – Dr. Tashkin reports that the biggest risk to lungs from cannabis is hypoxia – which only occurs at ingestion levels exceeding that normally possible in a human (around 80 joints a day).

    Sources:
    Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence, (Lynn Zimmer and John Morgan, New York: The Lindesmith Center, 1997)
    Department of Health and Human Services, National Household Survey on
    Drug Abuse, 1997
    Ganja in Jamaica – A Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use (Vera Rubin and Lambros Comitas)
    Cannabis in Costa Rica – A Study In Chronic Marijuana Use (Institute for Study if Human Issues)
    US Morbidity and Mortality Report
    Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years (Abel, Earnest; Plenum Press, 1980)
    Encyclopedia Britannica
    “Pharmacological Cults”, Marijuana and Medicine(Roffman)
    Harvard Botanical (Schultes)
    SOMA, Divine Mushroom of Immortality (Wasson, R. Gordon)
    Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (Allego, J.M.; Doubleday and Co, 1970)
    Colombia History of the World (Harper and Row, 1981)
    The Bible

  2. Slicedmind says:

    Great article and great comment above also.
    Obviously this is a very timely piece what with God’s mouth-hole arriving in the UK, perhaps in future an article of comparative religion would be interesting, assessing the drugs condemned or encouraged by different religions, or Which Religion Will Get You The Highest. A guide for people to make a somewhat rational, informed decision of which particular set of irrational, uninformed belief systems is for them.

  3. Sharayah says:

    Dr Philippe K Fenderson, KSC, ASL, can you please tell me where you have confirmed the information in the first paragraph of your response?

  4. Jay-5th says:

    Ok, so the Lord thought drinking alcohol was bad during prohibition, but is ok with drunks now??? Our government here in the US is far from serving the Lord and that’s a fact. Eating McDonald’s is bad for your health so I guess that sinning also, Tylenol has taken more lives than cannabis has, and plenty of people depend on cannabis to maintain their quality of life. The Bible also says it is a sin to wear clothing of different material, so we could go on and on about whether or not many things are acceptable, but maybe you could use some more research.

  5. Gil says:

    It appears to me that attempting to ‘justify’ the use of cannabis is the theme of the comments here. The bible does address the overuse of alcohol “do not be overcome with strong drink” but Jesus did say to his disciples after His resurrection that he would not taste the ‘fruit of the vine’ (wine) until his return to the Mount of Olives, suggesting wine is an earthly pleasure and not consumed (or needed?) in heaven. The bible states clearly that EVERYTHING God made is good and put here for our use, but that we need to use good sense in how we use these things. Paul addresses the breaking of biblical law about eating non-kosher foods in Romans 14 19-23

    Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

    22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

    About the body being the Temple of the Holy Spirit: I do not disagree with good advice about not defiling the body, but the flesh is yet unredeemed and sin still resides in it. How then are we to reconcile the thought of it being indwelt with the Holy Spirit while being a vessel of sin? Has not God chosen to dwell in our sinful bodies? Since our bodies are corrupt, and nothing we do can change that, do we condemn God for bestowing His Spirit upon us? Earlier in his letter to the Romans (Roman Jews) Paul says (Romans 8 9-11)
    You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

    The point is, whatever doesn’t come from faith is sin. Is your faith strong enough to drink in moderation? Good for you. Should you let your freedom be the cause of sin in someone who’s faith is weak and believes ANY drinking is sin? Certainly not. I would venture to guess this also applies to cannabis, fatty foods, white sugar, or anything else. Keep it between you and God and your conscience.

  6. Bobby says:

    So much bad information on this site…

    YOU CANT USE MARGERIN!!!!

    WEED GIVES NO SIGNS OF CANCER!!!

    YOUR A FUCK HEAD!!!!!!!!!

    WHY are you quouting the bible about laws and justic this has nothing to do with the earbs of the eather. Weed is a plant the grows on its own and is our MOST RENEWABLE RESOURCE!!!!!!

    WEED CAN BE USED TO HELP THE HUMAN BODY AND DOES NOT DAMAGE IT IN ANY WAY AND IT CAN BE USED TO MAKE CLOTHES AND SHELTER. It could probaly fuel our cars to

    GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. nedmorlef says:

    Awesome topic with awesome comments.
    As an american professing born again I use both wine and weed. I feel the world has been seduced by the devil into thinking that any of God’s creation is “evil of itself”. That’s the same ideology that, says “guns kill people”. There are several gun factories all over the world and I have never ,ever heard of a gun going on a rampage and killing anyone. I guess it could be a coverup or a media conspiracy.
    I support the assertions that, the bible speaks highly of herbs as food and medicine. Gen 1:27,28,29 and ezekiel 46 or 47 :12 give or take a verse.
    Trust me, it won’t hurt one bit to read an extra verse. I have been studying the bible close to 20 years and I learn every time I seek to learn. It is modernly condemned as a book of fables yet, it feeds my soul and mind. It energizes my body. It’s not just a book. Therefore when, the young, blind and ignorant and much flawed law of the US.Gov’t [mere man] steps on the principles laid down for thousands of years of human psychology as well as history, I tend to lean with the most proof of performance. God wins.
    If nothing is evil of itself, it’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him but, that which, comes out . For what comes out of his mouth is what’s in the heart. That’s paraphrased KJV. and herbs are good on then, it is the gov’t which, is wrong and overstepped it’s authority. Commerce laws are a bs way of taking control of edibles.
    Search abe lincoln. He said in 1840 while running for senate that, prohibition went against the principles of Constitutional freedom. Again a paraphrase.
    Now the doctor up top there fired off enough truth to slaughter any drug war law based on morality or health. Of course we all know it’s just about control. There’s no justice in the enforcement. There’s more death and loss than rehabilitation. Whom is being helped? The devil is easy to read. God bless.

  8. Josh says:

    This is ridiculous. Where did you find that graph showing the order of rank of how harmful each substance is. Marijuana is not dangerous at all. You claim it causes lung cancer but there is not a single case of a marijuana only smoker developing lung cancer. Yes cannabis contains more carcinogenics than what nicotine does, but researchers claims that the canabinoids in the cannabis have anti-tumor properties which do not allow celluar malignancies to form. This is a theory of why smoking marijuana does not cause cancer. As far as cognitive ability, research shows no long term effects from marijuana use. Sure it affects short term memory and motor skills while the person is under the influence of the drug but these effects are temporary and only lasts as long as the high. The only long term negative effects that have been actually proven is for kids under 16 years old who smoke more than 3 times/week. In this case research has shown a correlation between smoking and an increased risk of development or exacerbation of pshycosis, bipolar disorder, and other mental health problems later on in life. So yeah dont smoke before the age of 16 as your brain is still developing up to this age (atleast that was the theory of the researchers as to why this only seemed to effect those who started smoking befpre the age of 16.

    As far as following the law or its a sin. I ialso think thats a little extreme. I mean it is against the law to have prayer in school. So if one was to break the law by having a mandatory prayer before each class, would god consider that to be a sin? The man is breaking the law but he is praying to the Holy Father. So whats your opinion on that.

    Hey all I ask id that you dont post things that are incorrect about marijuana. As a smoker I already have a tough enough time dealing with judgement from people who look down on pot smokers because they are ignorant closed minded people who dont take the time to educate themselves on a topic before making a judgement. It is all popular belief and it is posts like this that make people have a negative outlook are marijuana.

  9. GIB PETERSON says:

    i have been smoking pot and its derivatives for forty years and have found no negatives except an occasional comment from unenlightened acquaintances. i manufacture very high quality ‘green’ butter, and then VERY tasty cookies (no smell of pot and no taste of pot when eaten) . i do suggest not to eat more than one, until the potency is realized. my own recipe is quite simple – a quantity of leaves and trimmings, a large pot half filled with water, bring to a boil after mixing well together, then add one+ pound of high quality (low moisture content) butter. after all the butter is melted in, stir in 6 to 12 (at least half a mickey) ounces of booze/food grade alcohol (enables thc to meld into the butter more completely) stir well and simmer for minimum 4 hours, better to cook for eight hours. remove mass of cooked pot sieving and squeezing liquid into smaller containers and place in fridge until the oils solidify on the surface (oils float to the top). i then melt the butter down and store in the freezer in 500ml containers (500ml is equal to one cup for recipes – the cookies are IMPRESSIVE !!!!!

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