Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Weed and Weed Substitutes

Some time back, a friend of mine from many years ago asked me a question regarding a "weed substitute" which has apparently been making the rounds. He wanted to know if it was Biblically permissible to smoke this substance if it was legal to do so.

We could discuss these issues in two different ways. The first way, which settles it easily, is to ask the question, "Is it legal?" If the answer is no, then there we go. Done deal. Romans 13 says that we must submit to the magistrate. This applies to marijuana, and therefore takes all of the thought out of the issue, doesn't it?

On the other hand, in only a few years, if we're really honest with ourselves, marijuana probably will become a legal substance, and so we as Christians need to decide at this moment what we will do with marijuana once it is no longer a banned substance. Since my friend asked about this legal substance "Blue Grass" (which I've never actually heard of), we ought to broaden the question and pretend that both marijuana and blue grass are both legal for the sake of discussion.

So we've got these two substances which we are not strictly prohibited from using, in terms of Biblical commands. Does it follow that we ought to partake of something, simply because it is NOT forbidden? Most would agree, I think, that this would be swinging the pendulum a bit too far. After all,
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV).
I think these verse by Paul here are very helpful when we're considering what we will ingest and why we will ingest it. Simply because we're not prohibited from using something does not justify its use. Paul seems concerned with two questions in particular:
1. Is it helpful?
2. Will it enslave me?
I used to be quite liberal about my own use of alcohol. When Arryn and I were living in Phoenix, a friend of hers from high school took us out to eat at a Japanese steak house. He brought his boyfriend along. Being a Biblical Christian who understands that alcohol is a gift of God, when he offered to buy us drinks, I heartily accepted. However, two sake-bombers later, I realized I may have made a huge mistake. I could feel my judgment slipping.

Then, the companion of Arryn's friend explained to me that he was a Christian and that he felt bad about having a gay relationship. He wanted to know what I thought about their relationship. Now, I can't remember exactly what I said, but I do recall that it was the wrong answer. It was the wrong thing to say in that situation, but for the first time in my life, I really, really regretted drinking. Ever since then, I have been so careful in my consumption of alcohol as to resemble a paranoid teetotaler.

The point of this story is that it is a foolish decision to use mind-altering substances - either legal or otherwise, as a Christian. My own reason for it is that 1 Peter says you must always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you. I now know from personal experience that ingesting some things can, in fact, inhibit our ability to live life to the glory of God and to consistently show the real Jesus to others.

So this answer is very broad. In short, I would argue that Blue Grass may be permissible, but it is not helpful, AND it does have the potential to enslave us.


Several years ago, I read an article by Douglas Wilson, "One Toke Over the Line," which I found very helpful in regard to this subject. I would be sore amiss if I did not mention it, since it goes much more in depth than I have done, here.

1 comment:

  1. I think your friend was talking about Bluegrass MUSIC, which I would argue is also permissible but not necessarily helpful.


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