Blunts, joints, bongs, pipes, hookah tubes, vaporizers–all of these (and even more creative ways which I don’t care to elaborate on) are ways that the 21st century American consumes cannabis. What’s that? You don’t know what cannabis is? Forgive me, I meant weed. These are all ways of ingesting marijuana.
Recently, Colorado and Washington have made it perfectly legal to purchase, sell, and engage in the consumption of this drug. But can Christians smoke weed?
Can Christians smoke weed?
Call it what you will, it is a drug. The first day of drugstore sales of cannabis, the state of Colorado made over $5,000,000. You read that correctly. Five million dollars in five days, just from selling recreational marijuana. Consequently, more people moved to Colorado that same week, giving the state more taxpayer money, which also consequently caused the real estate market to rise. All in all, Colorado made close to $14,000,000 in its first seven days of legalized sale. Who would’ve thought it would be such an economical goldmine?
How should we as Christians see the legalized smoking of the cannabis plant? Questions and statements I hear Christians make very often are things like:
- “If God made it, He must want us to enjoy it, right?”
- “It’s legal, so there’s not any problem with it.”
- “It’s not addicting, so it’s ok.”
- “I don’t actually get high on it; I just enjoy the ride.”
Well I’m not here to burst bubbles or anything, but I’m just going to give a biblical walkthrough of these questions to show you what God has to say about all that.
“If God made it, He must want us to enjoy it, right?”
Fact: God makes things that are great, beautiful, and filled with His glory!… And things we are not meant to know or interact with. Let’s throw back to the beginning, shall we?
And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat it you will surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
That’s heavy stuff. “Dude, eat whatever you want! You see that pear? That’s yours. See that grapevine? Go pluck those little berries off and have a party eating them! But don’t eat from that one tree right there, ’cause you’ll die.” Clearly, God did not want Adam and Eve eating from that tree. He created it! He put it right in front of their face and said “No touchy!” He warned them that they’d die if they did it! Something tells me that He created something, but still didn’t want them messing with it.
The other approach is that God had intentions for marijuana to be used practically, just as the missionaries in Africa would use tobacco leaves to keep leeches out of their boots. In the words of Ray Comfort, “God created marijuana for practical use. Hemp, from which marijuana is made, makes excellent rope. God also created sand, and if someone wants to eat it by the spoonful, they may. But they shouldn’t complain when they get a stomachache.”
“It’s legal, so there’s not any problem with it.”
Huh, is that so? I don’t remember reading that anywhere in the Bible. Matthew 21, the famous story of Jesus and the tossing of the tables. Technically, what the merchants were doing was legal. In that day and age, licenses to sell in public places were not required, and local business was a free market. Businessmen saw a potential location and seized it. Jesus didn’t walk up and say “Excuse me, could you maybe take that elsewhere?” The dude walked up and flipped the guy’s table over! Jesus was passionate about His Father’s house! It didn’t matter that it was legal according to state law, Jesus wasn’t a fan.
Example number two: modern day. I’m sure you’ve heard on the news that until this last month, it was perfectly legal to take upskirt photos of women in the New England area. Nothing lawfully wrong with it. But as a Christian, acknowledging that it is wrong to take those voyeuristic photographs of a woman should be a given! And if not, I’ve got a whole new article to write. Legalism is not an excuse to sin.
“It’s not addictive, so it’s ok.”
Well, yes and no. Marijuana itself has been proven to not be an addictive drug. Now I don’t mean addictive like nicotine in cigarettes, where you have your smoke and your body craves the chemical hormone release that only that particular drug can offer. However, what is addictive is the high it gives you. I’ve tried it and experienced it. Complete transparency, it didn’t feel half bad. I never desired the flavor, the smoke, or the comradery it supplied again. To this day I still don’t.
But what I did feel for the next few weeks was the desire to have that release again. I liked how free it felt. I like how it relaxed me, and made me feel like there was nothing wrong with anything, even though it was just for a little bit. Every former weed-smoker I’ve asked thus far has said the same thing.
That’s why it’s a gateway drug; you don’t get hung up on marijuana, you just get hung up on being high. When you become dependant on that high to relieve you of your life stress and to get away from your problems, you enter a world of potential candidates for the next big distraction. The difference is that the new options are all far more dangerous and far more addicting than cannabis.
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” (Psalm 119:50)
“I don’t actually get high on it; I just enjoy the ride.”
I’m going to go back to bursting bubbles and present this question: do you understand what getting high is? It’s enjoying the ride of the drug. It’s not being an enthusiast of it’s flavor, it’s not creating a methodical study of the effects, and however else you may define it. It’s not true. You are on the train, or you’re off. James 5:12 says,
“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”
There is no grey area. You are high or you are not. It’s not like alcohol (which Jesus often drank by the way) where you can have a wee bit without becoming drunk. From the first puff, you start going up. The more you take, the higher you’ll go.
The Bible also speaks out against any form of intoxication quite often. The Greek word methuska was the word for drunkenness and intoxication alike. Intoxication does not even have to simply refer to alcohol and drugs, but anything that captivates or alters your state of mind. That could be alcohol, lust, drugs, idolatry, you name it. Here are some examples:
Cast off the works of darkness, walk properly, not in drunkenness. Make no provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Romans 13:12-14)
If a church member commits drunkenness and refuses to repent, he should be disciplined so we don’t keep company with him. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30)
Clearly, God isn’t fond of the idea of an intoxicated or altered state of mind.
To close, I would just like to present that I am just as great a sinner as everyone and this is not an article of condemnation. This is simply the direct biblical perspective of smoking marijuana. It does not make you a “worse sinner” than some if you do happen to struggle with it, because not such a thing exists. What separates Christians from the world is the fact that we as believers are trying to live set apart. In the world, not of it. That is hard to do when our biggest focus is on obtaining something we seek solace in that is not God. The moment you go looking for something to throw your burdens on outside of Jesus, you will come up empty-handed. Marijuana can’t do it. I can’t do it. Neither can you. Only God will hold steadfast when everything falls away.