|Recreational weed was just legalized across Canada and the the United States will probably follow, state by state.
What do we do with this, especially as we want to disciple young people (and sometimes the not so young)?
Paul the apostle told the Ephesian Christians, “Do not get drunk with wine.” Peter wrote, “be sober.”
1st century Mediterranean sorcery cults indulged in mind bending drug abuse, some equivalent to contemporary marijuana or hashish. Some, if not all of these compounds, were taken from the plant world. Paul evangelized these cults and many Christians in his early churches were converted out of them.
John, the apostle, and Paul both wrote about sorcery. One of the Greek words used for sorcery in the New Testament is transliterated as “pharmakeia”, which is the word from which the western languages get “pharmacy”. This definition evolved because of the intertwined connectedness of mind bending substances and these 1st century sorcery cults.
The hallucinogenic trajectory is clearly anti-Christian.
The relationship between altered consciousness and aberrant spirituality is thus historic. Dr. Timothy Leary conducted “the good Friday experiment” in the last century where he had several Boston area theology students take a psilocybin trip and attend church during Easter weekend. He later asked them if they had a “mystical” experience. Of course, they said yes. “Yes” but was it a Biblically “good”, “bad” or an “indifferent” spiritual encounter? My response from simple math, totally apart from what the Bible states about drunkenness, is 2 out of 3 chances are that it was not a good spiritual encounter. Dr. Leary reported all kinds of bizarre and, at times, outright dangerous behavior from those students on that Easter weekend.
So, the question is: does smoking weed fulfill Peter and Paul’s mandated call for sobriety? My answer is absolutely not.
Imagine Jesus hitting on a bong and passing it around, first to Peter, then to John who both wrote, later, about sobriety and pharmakeia. This hypothetical “Jesus smoked weed” scenario is ridiculous beyond words.
Some people see no difference between a glass of wine over steak and taking a hit on a bong for social reasons. But, there is only one reason people hit off a bong and it is not the same as wine over dinner. Jesus drank wine, as did Peter and John, which we know from the Scriptures. Paul even urged Timothy to drink wine, and that, not for mind altering reasons.
There are certain limited, legitimate reasons for medical marijuana, just as for opioids.
But, Can you imagine Paul urging Timothy to “take a little Acapulco gold for your stomach’s sake” – knowing that his problem was a simple digestive issue? Paul wrote, “do not get drunk with wine” to the same Ephesian region, where Timothy was bishop, around the same time.
Motive is a big deal to Jesus: lust, anger and covetousness were all important to him. What is the motive for toking up? Why hit a bong? We know why.
Drunkenness alters judgment, whether it comes from alcohol or from weed.
Since weed was legalized, recently, in one major municipality, traffic accidents went up 40% in that locale. Is it merely coincidental? Quite possibly, time will tell but then again perhaps there is a dark connection. To me, that darker connection is more likely.
Paul and Peter rule out smoking weed as proper Christian behavior.