Why Marijuana Should Remain Illegal

Washington State has become the second state to legalize marijuana. Christians need to be prepared to speak to this issue. Reasons to oppose marijuana are here given in the form of Questions and Answers.

1. Marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol, and alcohol is legal.

Alcohol is America’s number one drug problem. Why should we now unleash another harmful drug on America? When marijuana has been legalized, it has led to an increase in crime and societal problems.

Alcohol and marijuana have been classified as “gateway drugs,” drugs that often lead to harder drugs. Isn’t one legal gateway drug enough?

2. We have not won the war against drugs, including marijuana. So why not legalize it?

We haven’t won the war against murder either. Should we therefore legalize murder? Should we just tax murder? Of course not. Passing a law against a harmful practice does not eliminate the practice. But it does limit it, stigmatize it, and punish the abusers.

3. Medical marijuana should be legalized.

The argument for medical marijuana usually is just a way of opening the door to the recreational use of marijuana. When a state legalizes smoking marijuana for pain, you can expect the next push to be for legalizing recreational marijuana. Christian abstainers, however, do accept the use of drugs for medicinal necessity, rather than recreational purposes.

For some the pain-relieving aspects of marijuana loses appeal when you take away the idea of smoking a joint and getting high. Marijuana is already available in drug form that does not get you high, yet can be used for pain or other medical conditions.

Barrett Duke of the ERLC explains, “Marijuana’s pain-relieving ingredient has been available by prescription for years. A person can purchase Marinol—right now—with a doctor’s prescription. The plain fact of the matter is that there are better and safer drugs [for pain]” (bpnews.net; 8-6-2012).

4. People have a right to smoke marijuana if they choose.

Our rights must sometimes end when a practice or substance becomes too harmful to ourselves and others. I know there is a fine line that sometimes has to be drawn, but dangerous drugs that harm the user and innocent others should be severely limited. Isn’t it strange that just as society is turning against smoking tobacco, it is now moving toward sanctioning smoking marijuana?

5. We can get taxes from the legal sales of marijuana.

We could also get taxes from legalizing other harmful practices. Invariably, when we allow and tax a practice that is harmful to society, we end up paying more to control it and deal with its consequences than we receive in taxes. Government would do better to get their taxes up front and honestly, not by legalizing destructive behavior.

6. You can’t legislate morality.

Yes you can. Our laws against murder and theft legislate morality. The question is where you draw the line. Some things need to be criminalized, limited, and stigmatized.

7. Penalties for marijuana should change.

Perhaps this is true. Barrett Duke has suggested, “A system of increasing fines, penalties and requirements, like substance-abuse counseling, can be developed. Penalties even could include the loss of one’s driver’s license. Jail could be a last resort for habitual offenders” (-BP).

8. Marijuana is not that bad.

Rather, when marijuana has been legalized, it has magnified an existing problem. Marijuana has multiple toxic chemicals and gives a higher risk for cancer, psychosis, strokes, respiratory damage and heart attack. It causes impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, impairs driving and reaction time. It lowers the I.Q. of teenage smokers.

Acceptance of another mind-altering recreational drug always changes things for the worse.

Biblical reasons to oppose marijuana

Every biblical injunction against alcohol is also a condemnation of marijuana and other recreational drugs.

  1. Scripture describes in detail the dangerous effects of alcoholic wine and says not to even look at it (Proverbs 23:29-35). It’s not much of a leap to take the same low view of other dangerous drugs.
  2. Scripture directly says wine is a mocker (Proverbs 20:1).
  3. Scripture commands us to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8, 1 Peter 5:8, etc.).
  4. Kings are commanded not to drink wine lest they pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-5). Believers are called kings and priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) and neither should we take drugs that would cause us to do things we’d never do in our right minds.
  5. A Christian is to honor God with his mind and body (Matthew 22:37, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Both are adversely affected by alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs.
  6. Drinking hurts your Christian influence and leads others astray (1 Corinthians 8:9, 10:23).

One very big problem Christian social drinkers have is if they are justified in taking one mind-altering recreational drug (alcohol), then they have no legitimate argument against another legal mind-altering recreational drug (marijuana). The wise thing for Christians is to have nothing to do with either drug.

It should also be remembered that legal and moral are not synonymous. Whether alcohol, marijuana, or other harmful drugs are legal, a Christian answers to a higher standard.

Let’s not legalize another destructive drug.

David Brumbelow bio


David R. Brumbelow is pastor of Northside Baptist Church, Highlands, Texas and a graduate of ETBU and SWBTS. David is the author of “Ancient Wine and the Bible” and “The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow.” He writes at gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com.

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jeremiahsa's picture

You have made at least three assertions which you believe to be facts, but to which you offer no support.

Ancients knew and practiced multiple ways of preserving unfermented wine. It was available throughout the year.

Unfermented wine or grape juice has many, probably more, healthy properties than alcoholic wine; without the harmful side effects.

3. Strictly for medicinal purposes.

The third of these, I would argue that Paul is not conceding that Timothy may, if he so desires, consume some alcohol, but is in fact admonishing him to drink it. This passage cannot be construed to mean that this is the only occasion upon which the consumption of alcohol is permitted. However, the case can be made that there is at least one occasion on which its consumption is commanded.

On a different note, I would be curious to hear from the abstentionists how they explain Psalm 104:15 how unfermented wine produces a gladdening effect on the heart of man. I do not know of this effect happening over a glass of Welch's, but perhaps someone else has a different experience.

Mark_Smith's picture

and I read physics stuff written for "mere laymen" so as to get insight. I guess so called "theologians" are above that in alex o's world!

Enjoy your wine and toke dude! Someone pass him the cheetos;-)

Mike Harding's picture

As our society heads further into godless paganism, we can expect to see more liberal social policies regarding sex (LGBTQ for example) and drugs.  People are living for the moment, the high, the experience.  They are looking for escape anyway they can find it.  All of this behavior hurts society and affects the social climate in which we raise our families, lead our churches, and run our schools. I am concerned about drunk drivers and mentally impaired drivers.  They needlessly kill thousands of people every year.  None of us want our surgeons, pilots, dentists, pastors, police officers, magistrates to be using these substances while they are employing their craft. 

Drug-dealers, dope-addicts, Mexican cartels are not the good guys.  They are harming our neighborhoods, our families, ruining communities, and causing the downfall of legitimate commercial enterprise. The fact I have to state the obvious proves how corrupt our society has become. For a Christian drugs such as marijuana distort our minds, pervert our judgment and defile our temple.  The curse has effected creation, our bodies, our natures.  Just because God made something does not give us the right to abuse it or use it for evil ends.  Dave's article is helpful. 

Pastor Mike Harding

David R. Brumbelow's picture

jeremiahsa,

Perhaps you would be interested in the following article:

"Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Possibly. Some research studies suggest that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine, including:

Reducing the risk of blood clots

Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol

Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart

Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure

Grapes are rich in health-protecting antioxidants, including resveratrol and flavonoids. These antioxidants are found mainly in the skin, stem, leaf and seeds of grapes, rather than in their pulp.

The amount of antioxidants in grapes depends on many factors, including the kind of grape, its geographic origin and how it's processed. Dark red and purple grapes tend to be higher in antioxidants than are white or green grapes. Likewise, the level of antioxidants, such as resveratrol found in wine, varies with higher levels in red wine.

Besides grape juice, other grape products, including dealcoholized wine, grape extracts and grape powder, may offer health benefits.

Keep in mind that it's also beneficial to eat whole grapes — not just grape juice. Some research suggests that whole grapes deliver the same amount of antioxidants that are in grape juice and wine but have the added benefit of providing dietary fiber" 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/ex...

David R. Brumbelow

Sean Fericks's picture

Mike,

Legalizing drugs would immediately take away income from many Mexican cartels and terrorist organizations.  It would eliminate a black market and bring it into the light of day.  There are no more Mexican alcohol cartels, cigarette cartels, etc. because these are legal.  Just a thought.

My suggestion:  end the war on drugs, and double down on investigation, prosecution, and prison time for DUI, theft, murder, rape, etc.

One thing is for certain, drug prohibition should not be a federal issue.  It should be left to the states.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Actually, ancient people had multiple ways of preserving unfermented wine. Just because we don’t know those methods, doesn’t mean they did not know.

They accomplished this without pasteurization and refrigeration. Although, at times they came very close to pasteurization.

Methods used in Bible times to preserve unfermented wine.

1. Boiling down fresh wine to a thick consistency that would not spoil or ferment. When ready to drink, they simply added water. This thick, strong wine (grape molasses, pekmez, vincotto) was also used for cooking.

I have some of this grape molasses. Although it says to refrigerate after opening, I purposely kept it at room temperature. After over two years it was still fresh, unspoiled, and unfermented.

2. The grape harvest lasted six months and certain type grapes would keep fresh for months. These grapes could be pressed into wine at any time of the year (Genesis 40:11).

3. Dried grapes or raisins were re-hydrated and pressed into fresh un-intoxicating wine, a practice used by many Jews right up to modern times. Ancient warriors were issued cakes of dried grapes to make their own wine as needed.

4. Nonalcoholic wine was also preserved with salt and lactic fermentation.

“Ancient Wine and the Bible” goes into great detail, quoting ancient and modern sources, on these methods.

There is also a little more on this at:

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2010/10/preserving-unfermented-wine-...

David R. Brumbelow

alex o.'s picture

Mike Harding wrote:

None of us want our surgeons, pilots, dentists, pastors, police officers, magistrates to be using these substances while they are employing their craft.  

You like rollmops too?

I thought I was done and am now but want to point out the tactics of the prohibitionists: nobody has even intimated this in the thread what you assert. Not one argument that prohibitionists offer really holds any water on this debate. Sometime what is said is true but it doesn't really apply to the overall debate. Talk amongst yourselves as your methods are transparent. 

 

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net

Bert Perry's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

As our society heads further into godless paganism, we can expect to see more liberal social policies regarding sex (LGBTQ for example) and drugs.  People are living for the moment, the high, the experience.  They are looking for escape anyway they can find it.  All of this behavior hurts society and affects the social climate in which we raise our families, lead our churches, and run our schools. I am concerned about drunk drivers and mentally impaired drivers.  They needlessly kill thousands of people every year.  None of us want our surgeons, pilots, dentists, pastors, police officers, magistrates to be using these substances while they are employing their craft. 

Drug-dealers, dope-addicts, Mexican cartels are not the good guys.  They are harming our neighborhoods, our families, ruining communities, and causing the downfall of legitimate commercial enterprise. The fact I have to state the obvious proves how corrupt our society has become. For a Christian drugs such as marijuana distort our minds, pervert our judgment and defile our temple.  The curse has effected creation, our bodies, our natures.  Just because God made something does not give us the right to abuse it or use it for evil ends.  Dave's article is helpful. 

Once again, marijuana kills a few thousand people annually (assuming its implications in traffic accidents and such are verified), alcohol about 88,000 and the standard U.S. diet and lack of exercise kills over half a million people from heart disease and another 200,000 from diabetes.    Being a quality engineer by trade, I start with #1 on the Pareto.  Let's end corn, sugar, and dairy subsidies, and then we can start looking at lesser factors.

Interesting side note; some claim that George Washington's diary indicates that he separated male and female hemp plants, which makes no difference in the quality of the fiber.  However, it does increase the amount of THC in the female plants.  Was somebody smoking it?

That said, I have no objection to banning certain drugs if the danger of them really does surpass a certain threshold.  I see that with heroin, morphine, crystal meth, and some other drugs--they are physically addicting (not just habit-forming), and the physical effects are far greater.  People die of heroin overdoses, for example.  I just don't see that with marijuana.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

jeremiahsa's picture

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

jeremiahsa,

Perhaps you would be interested in the following article:

"Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Possibly. Some research studies suggest that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine, including:

Reducing the risk of blood clots

Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol

Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart

Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure

Grapes are rich in health-protecting antioxidants, including resveratrol and flavonoids. These antioxidants are found mainly in the skin, stem, leaf and seeds of grapes, rather than in their pulp.

The amount of antioxidants in grapes depends on many factors, including the kind of grape, its geographic origin and how it's processed. Dark red and purple grapes tend to be higher in antioxidants than are white or green grapes. Likewise, the level of antioxidants, such as resveratrol found in wine, varies with higher levels in red wine.

Besides grape juice, other grape products, including dealcoholized wine, grape extracts and grape powder, may offer health benefits.

Keep in mind that it's also beneficial to eat whole grapes — not just grape juice. Some research suggests that whole grapes deliver the same amount of antioxidants that are in grape juice and wine but have the added benefit of providing dietary fiber" 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/ex...

David R. Brumbelow

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. I sincerely doubt that I will persuade an abstentionist of the moderationist position or that an abstentionist will persuade me of theirs, but when I studied the Scriptures prior to becoming a moderationist a few years ago, it is possible that there were facts that I missed. I think this is why it is vital to document sources in this debate.

I do hope that my abstentionist brethren will consider their methods in the light of the Scriptures as carefully as (or more carefully than) they consider their positions. Far be it from me to cause my brother to stumble by offering him a drink in his weakness. Using civil prohibition as a means to force moderationists to be abstentionists is not a means authorized by Scripture. This applies both to alcohol and any other drug. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to work as we disciple others to be like Christ. If you believe in your heart that alcohol is wrong for a Christian, you would be sinning not to disciple that way. What I object to here is merely the use of government to aid in discipleship.

Another point that keeps coming up should be addressed. No one (and I mean no one!) advocates that driving while intoxicated should be legalized. The deaths due to marijuana and alcohol intoxication while driving are tragic, but we have a problem here with enforcement, not with lack of law. Let us not send SWAT teams into people's homes to raid their marijuana while they are at home instead of spending those resources enforcing DUI and DWI laws. The logic behind prohibition is the same whether it is guns or alcohol or marijuana. We have laws to make murder illegal, but making guns illegal will not prevent murder. We have laws against DUI, but making marijuana illegal does not prevent DUI.

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding Timothy's illnesses,if indeed grape harvest lasted six months and any grape product would have been sufficient for Timothy's ailments, Paul would have told Timothy simply to eat grapes or raisins.   Paul instead tells a young man to drink wine.

Since a young man's biggest health risks back in that day were malnutrition and infection, only wine would do, because unfermented foods do not kill bacteria, and boiling destroys vitamin C and other vitamins.   So grape molasses is right out. The only one of David's methods that might work would be lactic fermentation, but you would also get yeast from the same place you get lactobacillus--the air.  So that would be alcoholic, too.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mike Harding's picture

When you legalize something like marijuana, it only increases its use and thus its needless damage.  The cartels will simply put more of their energy into harder drugs.  Dairy, sugar, corn are normal parts of a legitimate diet.  Agreed, we eat too much of it; nevertheless, life spans keep expanding for both men and women compared to generations ago when obesity rates were less.  Yes, we should all exercise more, but that doesn't mean we should ban cars.  We are dealing with an increasingly dangerous substance which used recreationally causes harm physically, psychologically, intellectually, and societally.  Nothing good will come about by legalizing it.  The legalization will legitimize its use among the puerile and naive.

Pastor Mike Harding

Sean Fericks's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
Nothing good will come about by legalizing it.

Fewer people would be in jail.

Fewer 4th Amendment violations by police.

Reduced crime at the border.

Industrial Hemp business in the US (jobs).

Reduced pressure on police, more assets for real crime.

Increased sales tax revenue for states when it is taken off the black (non-taxed) market.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Somehow, the command for personal holiness has been lost in this entire discussion. I am disappointed in anybody who wants to argue that recreational marijuana use is a holy and acceptable activity. Consider the holiness required of OT priests to minister in the tabernacle and the temple, and then realize that we are individual priests who can approach God directly, and our bodies are new tabernacles of our Holy God under the New Covenant. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry's picture

Moderator

Legalizing drugs would immediately take away income from many Mexican cartels and terrorist organizations.  It would eliminate a black market and bring it into the light of day.  There are no more Mexican alcohol cartels, cigarette cartels, etc. because these are legal.  Just a thought.

So you think the drug cartels will just roll over? Is there no black market for anything legal? Cigarettes is an interesting comparison. States with high cig taxes have a huge black market. CBS News reported that more than 1/2 of cigarettes in New York are smuggled in and sold under the table. So whatever the merits/demerits of legalization of drugs might be, it probably will not kill the drug cartels or the black market. It might increase it because there is no longer a fear of prosecution for use or for selling.

Fewer people would be in jail.

Perhaps, but not an appreciable amount. Very few people are in prison for marijuana alone, and most are for growing or dealing, not for using. But this argument could be made for any number of things. If we just make something not illegal, we can reduce a lot of the jail population. In fact, why not just do away with incarceration altogether?

If the goal is reducing jail and prison population, there are other crimes that make sense to eliminate, or at least eliminate incarceration for, such as white collar crimes. It doubtful our society is better off because Madoff or Lay went to prison. It's doubtful our society here in Detroit is better off because Kwame Kilpatrick is in prison. ... Unless you consider the deterrence factor, and even that is disputed. Personally, I think incarceration is important.

But the goal of making something legal or illegal is not to control prison population but whether or not a particular act or issue is detrimental to the wellbeing of society as a whole.

Reduced crime at the border.

Doubtful, but a very small, almost negligible issue.

Reduced pressure on police, more assets for real crime.

Marijuana use is a real crime, and will be so until the laws are changed.

Increased sales tax revenue for states when it is taken off the black (non-taxed) market.

Perhaps, but remember, there are always ways to avoid paying sales tax.

Regarding the question of Timothy, why would Paul have to tell him to drink?

Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

You'll note that the people who endorsed recreational alcohol have no problem with toking a joint! At least they are consistent.

Not quite true, Mark--let's make sure we're not taking cheap shots, brother, as that was at least borderline.  Remember that Ephesians 4:29 and other passages make clear that reckless insults are every bit as much a sin as is drunkenness.

Moreover, the question here is not whether we have a problem with pot (or alcohol I guess), but rather whether it should be illegal to do so.  And given that it's pretty safe in comparison to the American diet and lifestyle, it's my view that the case for keeping it illegal is pretty weak, especially when we consider its benefits for cancer victims (like my late mother, who did take Marinol) and others.

In the church, yes, it's different; there are any number of immoral behaviors that the church ought to police, but are not illegal.  Gluttony (there's that American diet and lifestyle), laziness, intoxication, obscenity, immodesty, careless and evil speech, and the like are all things that are not regulated by law, but ought to be addressed by the church.  For that matter, I'd address a huge problem of treating cultural norms as if they were Biblical as a very real thing that needs to be rebuked by the church.  

But again, these are matters predominantly of sanctification, not human government, and we confuses these at our peril.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

jeremiahsa's picture

Larry,

http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Marijuana#Total

There is a table here that shows the arrests for marijuana possession in the US. More people are arrested for marijuana possession than are arrested for violent crimes. The question isn't whether or not to have jail. The question is whether jail should be used to keep people from harming themselves when they are not harming others. And if society decides that fundamentalists are harmful to themselves, the precedent to imprison them has been set by imprisoning others who are harmful to themselves. Nothing in the constitution makes allowance for protecting people against themselves. Government is supposed to protect the people against others. I think what Sean meant by "real crime" is the category of crime that harms other people.

As for the black market, there would indeed still be a black market if marijuana were legalized, but it would be significantly smaller. But allowing the money from legitimate sales of marijuana to flow legally would decrease the power of the cartels by eliminating their need to smuggle drugs across the border from Canada or Mexico. The alcohol prohibition gave power to people like Al Capone because organization was required to sell alcohol illegally. When the alcohol prohibition ended, gangs like Capone's dissolved. Making something illegal also makes it rare and valuable. That's why the cartels do not want marijuana legalized any more than Baptists. The principle is called Baptists and Bootleggers. An odd coalition for sure.

Mark_Smith's picture

I was not taking a shot. If you think "responsible" alcohol use is acceptable, what is your argument against "responsible" marijuana use (assuming you live in a state where it is legal, like CO). You have none. That was my point.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, usually putting a word in quotes, as you do with "responsible", means that you are implying that there is no responsible use of alcohol.  It's not blatant, but yes, there is a cheap shot there.  Take heed of your attitude, dear brother.

And the reason I do not extensively discuss Biblical reasons not to smoke marijuana (though I did mention I'm allergic to it above) is simply because this thread is about the civil law, not the operation of the church.  We need to keep that distinction in mind.

But if I must address what objections I have to marijuana use, it would actually look fairly similar to the objections David cites, except I would clarify that not every use of mind-altering drugs (like caffeine) violates the Bible's prohibition on drunkenness.  You've got health effects, legal consequences, and the simple fact that smelling like an ashtray is about as winsome for the Gospel as refusing to bathe.  Really it would also be the same kind of thing I note to the kids regarding alcohol, cigarettes, and for that matter the Mountain Dew and Burger King they love.   I try to address the sins they're vulnerable to, after all.  

Important in the church, but I don't believe the civil law needs to speak to these things.  As others have noted, the cost of the war on "Reefer Madness" is too high, and the benefits are too small.  You work to solve the big issues on the Pareto.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

  • All contact sports should be outlawed
  • Motorcycles should be outlawed [if you've ever ridden a bike (I mean a motorcycle) without a helmet at 70+ ... that's a joy no one should ever experience again!)] [This is for the motorcycle rebel Steve Davis who sometimes frequents this site! We're trying to help you buddy!]
  • Also bungee jumping and sky diving
  • Water skiing & swiming in oceans (sharks)
  • Swimming in lakes and ponds because of amoeba
  • Bicycling on two wheels
  • Rock climbing and hiking in the outdoors ... a puma could get you!
  • We should eliminate steps and carpet as much as we can! 
  • And ban red meat, chicken and pork. Also peanut butter
  • And let's bubble wrap everyone! 
  • Please God .. I mean .. the government ... save me from myself! 

Bert Perry's picture

Where is that guy's helmet?  And his respirator to get rid of harmful gases?  

Keep Our Own Kids Safe campaign forever!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

I am not attacking you personally, never was. I put those in quotes because NO, I do not think that there is any need for recreational alcohol consumption, thus there is no responsible use of alcohol. My argument with these couple of posts is that people like you who do support what I would call so-called responsible use of alcohol have no reason to oppose similar use of marijuana. Have a blessed day.

jeremiahsa's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:
I do not think that there is any need for recreational alcohol consumption, thus there is no responsible use of alcohol.

This logic is not valid. Just because you don't think that recreational alcohol is not necessary doesn't mean that it's not possible to use it responsibly.

As for reasons to distinguish alcohol from marijuana, you must have overlooked the arguments I presented above. It doesn't take much to get high (from what I'm told) from a few puffs on a joint, but for a 200lb man to get drunk would take at least 2-3 servings of alcohol per hour. If one limits himself to one serving of alcohol per hour, it's pretty much impossible to get drunk. Can a person take the same approach to marijuana? Possibly. Even searching the internet, however, it's hard to find testimonies of people who can demonstrate this to be true.

And this still address the original issue, which is not whether or not marijuana is a good thing for a Christian to consume (which I would say it is not), but whether or not the possession of the substance (which God created) should be in itself cause for a person to be arrested and put in jail in order to prevent him from causing self-harm. And that is something no one here has yet defended with any biblical support. After all, we don't incarcerate people who commit clear biblical sins (such as looking lustfully at a woman, refusing to aid widows and orphans, etc.). Despite the potential for abuse, alcohol was not made illegal in Israel to prevent its abuse, and that was in a Theocracy.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

 I put those in quotes because NO, I do not think that there is any need for recreational alcohol consumption, thus there is no responsible use of alcohol. My argument with these couple of posts is that people like you who do support what I would call so-called responsible use of alcohol have no reason to oppose similar use of marijuana. Have a blessed day.

Mark, if need is the criterion for a behavior being responsible, then we ought to conclude that there is no such thing as responsible consumption of coffee, tea, soda, meat, dairy, and a host of other foods that our bodies do not need to survive.  Our bodies can subsist on (e.g. Daniel) a rather Spartan diet, after all--bread & beans with a few vegetables will do the trick.  (this was the diet of the Roman army, for example)

So if your logic is correct, the person who eats meat, dairy, chocolate, coffee, tea, or soda is then powerless to object to the use of heroin.  

Obviously your logic needs a bit of work, doesn't it?  It needs work because it's not a Biblical argument; the Bible nowhere states that we must need a food or drink to be allowed to enjoy it.  Rather, Scripture encourages us to enjoy foods and drinks if we so desire, but not to be a glutton, a drunkard, or one who gives needless offense to his neighbor.  

And if indeed dope cannot be enjoyed without smelling like an ashtray or being stoned--much like intoxication is the very point of amphetamines, cocaine, meth, heroin, and the like--then we would conclude that, possibly apart from the cancer patient, that it cannot be ethically enjoyed by a Christian.

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Sean Fericks's picture

In reading this thread, I wonder if some posters believe alcohol, adultery, or homosexual acts should still be illegal.  Do any of you think that people should be fined or imprisoned for alcohol consumption, adultery, or homosexual acts?

Bert Perry's picture

Sean Fericks wrote:

In reading this thread, I wonder if some posters believe alcohol, adultery, or homosexual acts should still be illegal.  Do any of you think that people should be fined or imprisoned for alcohol consumption, adultery, or homosexual acts?

Alcohol consumption: no.  Public drunkenness, especially while driving or operating heavy equipment, emphatically yes.  

Adultery: prison, no, unless the victim of adultery gets and STD or something out of the deal. However, I would favor granting lifetime alimony, 70% of shared assets, and full custody of children to the victim in such a case when the victim decides to divorce the perp.  I believe "loss of consortium" civil lawsuits are also appropriate whereby the victim can attach the property of the homewrecker.

Homosexual acts: definitely if HIV is spread, and 20% of homosexuals are carrying it, according to the CDC.  

Not gonna hold my breath on the last two in this "Corinthian" culture, but it illustrates the point that we ought to be able to quantify serious damage before banning things.  20% of a group dying from predictable results of the behavior counts.  Near certainty of transmitting STDs counts (NIH/CDC data; 50% of adults have/have had an STD).  15,000 drunken driving deaths annually counts.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

You are being absurd. My posts on this thread are a continuation from the thread on Hymns in the Guiness commercial. NONE OF MY RESPONSES had anything to do with the legality of marijuana. I was strictly speaking as a continuation of the other thread. 

My argument has always been that alcohol consumption is a cause of much evil in the world. I have witnessed and felt it first hand. My argument is that in 2014 there is no need to consume alcohol. It might be a freedom to do so for a Christian, but it is not helpful (1 Cor 6:12). Drinking alcohol sets a bad witness for any believer, and might cause those to stumble or despair around them. 

I then said on this thread that anyone who thinks they can consume alcohol should also think they can consume marijuana. 

This is all I am claiming.

If you want to make some kind of equivalency between eating milk, cheese, or Big Macs and drinking alcohol...well, I have nothing to discuss. Of course gluttony is a sin, though you and others seem to be rather militant about the issue, so I don't really know where you are at with regards to being overweight/having a poor diet.

Mark_Smith's picture

I had made an extended argument on several different threads about alcohol. See the 7:40 pm post to Bert for a summary.

I was never addressing the civil legality issue of marijuana at all. 

jeremiahsa's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I had made an extended argument on several different threads about alcohol. See the 7:40 pm post to Bert for a summary.

I was never addressing the civil legality issue of marijuana at all. 

I can tell you're quite passionate about alcohol. I sympathize with your concern as I have seen many families hurt by the abuse of alcohol. I have also seen it used in moderation and enjoyment. 

The civil legality of marijuana, however, was the title for the original post, so I assumed that is what you were getting at. 

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, yes, it is absurd, but it is your argument.

Again, you're arguing that if one does not "need" wine and drinks it, that is not a "responsible" use of alcohol.  I am simply applying the exact same argument to the teetotaler.  We do not need to eat meat, fish, dairy, chocolate, coffee, candy, tea, or pop, all of which most Baptists like ourselves indulge on a daily basis.  So if I cannot argue against marijuana because using wine without a need is irresponsible, then I apply the exact same logic to you and point out that you, eating chocolate and meat or drinking coffee without a bodily need, then you are powerless to argue against the use of heroin.  

So congratulations on making an argument that is reduced to absurdity by applying it to your situation, and for that matter, mine.  I enjoy meat, dairy, chocolate, and coffee, none of which I need but all of which I enjoy to the glory of God.  And yet I have a coherent argument against the use of marijuana and heroin.

Along the same lines, for every death attributable to the abuse of alcohol (those alcohol related deaths come almost always from drunkenness, not one drink with dinner, statistically speaking), I can point to about eight attributable to the irresponsible use of food.  Now if one is a pastor or member at a mostly teetotaling Baptist Church, which sin ought I address, drunkenness or gluttony?  Take a look around the room at the next potluck and you will have your answer.  

Now you can try and retreat and say that you were threadjacking by arguing against the use of wine in a thread discussing the legality of dope, and if that's the case, may I encourage you to mind your manners?  But really, again, what you were trying to do at your core is to argue that one who accepts alcohol can't argue against the use of other drugs.  Since some here have made that case Biblically, maybe it's time to drop that argument.   It just doesn't wash.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

Truth be told, I was being light hearted about this whole thing. Before you got here, there had been several threads about alcohol use and the use of a hymn in a Guiness commercial. The issue was thoroughly discussed. Then one day a marijuana thread starts...I just fired off a light hearted "if you support alcohol use you can't deny limited marijuana use" post. Nothing really happened. Then you come along and act all defensive and get your dander up about it. I wasn't thread jacking...but I really have nothing to say about legalization of marijuana at this time. Never intended to. Let's move on.

 

Maybe you need a sip of wine to calm down?

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