Two Birds With One Stoner

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We have been looking at self-control as the foundation of all civic and political liberty. Living as we do in a time when such liberty is eroding at alarming rates, we need to make sure that when we run our spiritual inventories we do not do what sinners always love to do, which is to blame someone else.Exhort

Now while Scripture warns us against the abuse of alcohol, that same Bible sets alcoholic gifts before us as legitimate gifts from God—aesthetic gifts, gifts for your thirst, sacramental gifts, and so on. It is noteworthy that the only thing that pot does for you—get you buzzed—is the one use prohibited concerning alcohol. When Paul tells us not to be drunk with wine, he did not mean that getting drunk with beer or scotch was acceptable. The problem is not the wine, but rather the loss of self-control. And because such mental impairment is the whole point of smoking pot, recreational marijuana use is a serious sin, from the very first toke on down. No one smokes pot because it pairs nicely with the fish.

We live just a few miles from a town where recreational pot use is now legal, and shops there are doing a brisk business, and the tax man has stars in his eyes. The statist thieves who would take all our liberties can, with every purchase, kill two birds with one stoner. They can rake in money from lotus-eating fools, and they can simultaneously advance the kind of fuzzy and self-indulgent thinking that makes their style of despotic governance possible.

The kind of liberty that God gives is the liberty to do right. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Gal. 5:13). The Spirit does not bring us into liberty so that we might suit ourselves. And He did not grant us liberty so that we might sell it to socialist planners. A free man has calluses on his hands from honest work, and not brown stains on his fingers from rolling up our liberties and blowing them into thin air.

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Jon Swerens
5 years ago

OK, a question from a guy born in the ’60s who somehow has never smoked anything, tobacco or marijuana or otherwise:

What is the aesthetic difference between a man enjoying a fine cigar and the same man enjoying marijuana? I honestly have no dog in the hunt.

Bugs
Bugs
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Without having ready research at my disposal for the effects of tobacco or alcohol on hand, I think it is more a question of degree of altered consciousness vs whether consciousness is altered or not. If a small amount of alcohol or nicotine relaxes you, your consciousness is slightly altered in that you are more relaxed then you were before. (Disclaimer: I don’t smoke, but I do like the occasional Guiness)

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

According to a few medical sites I visited, tobacco–like caffeine and ordinary over the counter medications like Benadryl–is a psychoactive drug. All of them have some effect on perception, mood, or consciousness. Certainly nicotine, like caffeine, has been shown to improve mood and alertness. I would understand a flat-out prohibition on Christians using marijuana if the use of any mood altering substance is equally forbidden. But just as someone can enjoy a scotch without intending to get drunk, a person can use just enough marijuana to relax. If the sin lies in deliberately getting drunk, it would also lie in… Read more »

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Many drugs will have some effect. The point is “intoxication”. Wine has a legitimate use and it may have a mild effect at acceptable doses but we should avoid intoxication. Cannabis doesn’t have a significant use except for intoxication. If it is shown to have health benefits in low doses then it would be acceptable, just as it is acceptable to use morphine or amphetamines in doses that are medically beneficial but it is not morally right to take them for their intoxicating effects. Doug is not saying avoid any possible effect, he is saying avoid intoxication. Caffeine and nicotine… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

The cigar does alter consciousness a bit, kind of like coffee, which goes really well with cigars btw. Not the same effects but similar in degree. The consciousness altering is sort of the point, though not to as great an extent as with pot. Pot of course alters consciousness a great deal more and is the whole point of indulging. You could say the difference between cigars and pot is the difference being slightly elevated and being drunk, between taking a glass of wine with dinner and pounding shots. This suggests that small doses of pot could conceivably be acceptable,… Read more »

Joey Wells
Joey Wells
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Alteration of consciousness is a question of degree, not category. The Marijuana for sale today is analogous to prohibition-strength moonshine–only good for dressing wounds and killing brain cells. It’s unsuitability for lawful enjoyment is an artifact of its production method, not is ethanol (or THC) content. For fifty years this plant has been aggressively bred for potency and profits by gangsters. Once (if) this prohibition really ends, will likely have to wait a few years for the return of something suitable for sippin’.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I’m not sure if that’s true for tobacco, but it’s certainly not true for alcohol.

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Napping alters consciousness

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

If I may…The difference between marijuana and a fine cigar is that marijuana makes it seem that the Grateful Dead produced actual music.

timothy
timothy
5 years ago
Reply to  Jon Swerens

I was once a drug abuser. Don’t be tempted, it sucks. Early on, it was cool–a social thing to do with my fellow outcasts. There was a sense of ‘insight’ that was really stupor masquerading as intelligence/depth. Music (rock-n-roll) sounded more interesting, you thought you where experiencing something Munchies. Over time, it disconnects you from reality and traps you in a stilted way of being. You lose connection with nicer things–you separate yourself, by being stoned, from truly interesting things and activities. Your life begins to revolve around it. Like the scene in The Two Towers where Gollum crawled out… Read more »

ME
ME
5 years ago

I’m at ground zero for the legalized pot industry. I call this place the 9th circuit of hell, because morally we’re all hoping the legalized marijuana trade drives out the illegal meth and heroin trade that has utterly devastated the community. I wish the world was not so broken, I wish the moral and ethical challenges were simpler, but they aren’t, they can be really quite complex.

Bro. Steve
Bro. Steve
5 years ago

A friend once asked me why I don’t smoke grass. “Because it’s illegal,” I said.

“That’s wrong,” he said. “The reason you don’t smoke it is because your mama raised you a certain way and told you not to do that.”

And he was right.

This isn’t really about civil liberty. It’s about how people’s mamas and daddies raised them.

andrewlohr
andrewlohr
5 years ago

Legalize (not all sins are crimes), but let people and groups maintain their own standards: church discipline at Christ Church, for instance, or let bakers refuse to sell cakes to the Pothouse.

Bike bubba
5 years ago

I’m no fan of pot–in fact my doctor once told me I’m allergic to it (scratch tests)–but it strikes me that the Old Testament speaks first of being “merry” (Hebrew “good heart”, more or less) with wine, that could mean either the good, sociable feeling one gets with a drink or in some contexts drunkenness. Given that it takes a fair amount of marijuana to get legally stoned, could we posit a legitimate use of it in that regard in the same way we can suggest it’s legitimate for giving cancer patients the munchies? Agreed that it’s poisonous, some people… Read more »

Lance Roberts
5 years ago

Thanks for this post. I’m am so disappointed in most churches for not teaching specifics of why things like this are sins. This has always been one of the three points I use to show why mind-altering drug use (to include marijuana) is a sin. I’m knee-deep in the war against pot here in Alaska since it became legalized, and am amazed by how modern christians have been hornswaggled. Here’s my 3 reasons why pot is a sin: 1) Those who are choosing to do mind-altering drugs are seeking to escape the reality God created. They are attempting to alter… Read more »

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

Lance, have you ever smoked the devil’s lettuce? How do you know there are not varying degrees? If I told you that you were wrong, would you even believe me?
As for point 1. weed itself is not like psychedelics unless you ingest some ungodly amount, probably like drinking a ton. Responsible amounts result in nothing like this.
As for point 2. Which drugs fit this definition? Or is it any drug, like coffee, which alters your body?

Lance Roberts
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve H

Been there, done that, made my escape, praise God! I’m only referring to mind-altering drugs. You can build up a tolerance so you don’t feel as affected, i.e. you need to smoke more to get the high-high you crave, but any non-de minimus amount will impair you, you’ll be in that state of drunkenness. There is no range of moderation as with alcohol.

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

Alcohol is the same as far as tolerance goes. The effects of THC and CBD are quite different and both are different than drunkeness. If you are less affected, could there not be tolerable level?

Lance Roberts
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve H

No, it has more to do with a “lust for more” than “not being impaired”. Alcohol has a range where you are just relaxed; drugs may relax you, but those chemicals do so much more so much sooner.

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

So, if there was a ‘relaxation zone’, say if a weaker weed tea was made, then this would be fine by your definition. It could be argued that drinking 2oz of everclear would get you past a lawful point sooner, but I don’t see you arguing for 100% prohibition on Alcohol. I have had weed tincture tea that only made me feel a bit sleepy and not “high” at all. Ive smoked high CBD strains that only relaxed the body a tad. Many people who have cancer use high CBD strains to relax the body and to increase appetite. I’ve… Read more »

Lance Roberts
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve H

Without trying to hammer out every detail, I’m fine with someone extracting CBDs for the few (very few) actual medicinal benefits that might come from that. The THC is what causes the elements in my three points to apply.

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

Are you a doctor Lance? Not that you can’t have an opinion if not.Just checking. So you could not be lumped into the 100% prohibition crew?

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

It could certainly be argued that the weed industry is producing strains that lead to greater intoxication, but if the quicker-to-lawless issue is the real issue, perhaps an enterprising Christian should go the Guiness route…

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

And since I am going off, alcohol has certainly given me a “lust for more” and with worse results. Alcohol brings out the worst in people, I have seldom of never seen grass do this

Steve H
Steve H
5 years ago

This is one issue (there aren’t many!) that I disagree with Doug on. Since I live in a bastion of lowgressive tomfoolery (Portland, OR), I have seen it all. And pot is a plenty here. I was a daily pot smoker for 1.5 years coping with a panic disorder and I can personally attest to the fact that weed has varying effects depending on dosage and CBD and THC levels (in fact there are many CBD dominant strains that don’t get you high, but offer body calmness) After smoking regular amounts, the “high” had little effect, but the calm that… Read more »

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve H

“…doesn’t joint with reality.”

Pun intended?